Jeremiah 7; Jeremiah 8; Jeremiah 9

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Jeremiah 7

1 Jeremiah received the LORD's word:
2 Stand near the gate of the LORD's temple and proclaim there this message: Listen to the LORD's word, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD.
3 This is what the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you in this place.
4 Don't trust in lies: "This is the LORD's temple! The LORD's temple! The LORD's temple!"
5 No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly;
6 if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don't shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin,
7 only then will I dwell with you in this place, in the land that I gave long ago to your ancestors for all time.
8 And yet you trust in lies that will only hurt you.
9 Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, sacrifice to Baal and go after other gods that you don't know,
10 and then come and stand before me in this temple that bears my name, and say, "We are safe," only to keep on doing all these detestable things?
11 Do you regard this temple, which bears my name, as a hiding place for criminals? I can see what's going on here, declares the LORD.
12 Just go to my sanctuary in Shiloh, where I let my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel.
13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, because you haven't listened when I spoke to you again and again or responded when I called you,
14 I will do to this temple that bears my name and on which you rely, the place that I gave to you and your ancestors, just as I did to Shiloh.
15 I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out the rest of your family, all the people of Ephraim.
16 As for you, don't pray for these people, don't cry out or plead for them, and don't intercede with me, for I won't listen to you.
17 Can't you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead dough to make sacrificial cakes for the queen of heaven. And to offend me all the more, they pour out drink offerings to foreign gods.
19 But am I the one they are really offending? declares the LORD. Aren't they in fact humiliating themselves?
20 Therefore, this is what the LORD God says: I'm going to pour out my fierce anger on this place, on humans and beasts, on the trees of the field and the crops of the fertile land. It will burn and not go out.
21 This is what the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Add your entirely burned offerings to your sacrifices and eat them yourselves!
22 On the day I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn't say a thing—I gave no instructions—about entirely burned offerings or sacrifices.
23 Rather, this is what I required of them: Obey me so that I may become your God and you may become my people. Follow the path I mark out for you so that it may go well with you.
24 But they didn't listen or pay attention. They followed their willful and evil hearts and went backward rather than forward.
25 From the moment your ancestors left the land of Egypt to this day, I have sent you all my servants the prophets—day after day.
26 But they didn't listen to me or pay attention; they were stubborn and did more harm than their ancestors.
27 When you tell them all this, they won't listen to you. When you call to them, they won't respond.
28 Therefore, say to them: This nation neither obeys the LORD its God nor accepts correction; truth has disappeared; it has vanished from their lips.
29 Cut off your hair and cast it away; grieve on the well-traveled paths. The LORD has rejected you and has cast off a generation that provokes his anger.
30 The people of Judah have done what displeases me, declares the LORD. They have corrupted the temple that bears my name by setting up their disgusting idols.
31 They have built shrines at Topheth in the Ben-hinnom Valley to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, although I never commanded such a thing, nor did it ever cross my mind.
32 So now the time is coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer speak of Topheth or the Ben-hinnom Valley, but the Carnage Valley. They will bury in Topheth until no space is left.
33 The corpses of this people will be food for birds and wild animals, with no one to drive them off.
34 I will silence the sound of joy and delight as well as the voice of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, for the country will be reduced to a wasteland.
Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible

Jeremiah 8

1 At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah and its officers, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be taken from their graves
2 and exposed to the sun, the moon, and the whole heavenly forces, which they have loved and served and which they have followed, consulted, and worshipped. Their bones won't be gathered for reburial but will become like refuse lying on the ground.
3 The survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, wherever I have scattered them, declares the LORD of heavenly forces.
4 Say to them, The LORD proclaims: When people fall down, don't they get up? When they turn aside, don't they turn back?
5 Why then does this people, rebellious Jerusalem, persistently turn away from me? They cling to deceit and refuse to return.
6 I have listened carefully but haven't heard a word of truth from them. No one regrets their wrongdoing; no one says, "What have I done?" Everyone turns to their own course, like a stallion dashing into the thick of battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky knows the seasons, and the dove, swallow, and crane return in due time. But my people don't know the LORD's ways.
8 How can you say, "We are wise; we possess the LORD's Instruction," when the lying pen of the scribes has surely distorted it?
9 The wise will be shamed and shocked when they are caught. Look, they have rejected the LORD's word; what kind of wisdom is that?
10 Therefore, I will give their wives to others and their fields to their captors. From the least to the greatest, all are eager to profit. From prophet to priest, all trade in falsehood.
11 They treat the wound of my people as if it were nothing: "All is well, all is well," they insist, when in fact nothing is well.
12 They should be ashamed of their detestable practices, but they have no shame; they don't even blush! Therefore, they will fall among the fallen and stumble when disaster arrives, declares the LORD.
13 I will put an end to them, declares the LORD; there are no grapes on the vine, no figs on the tree, only withered leaves. They have squandered what I have given them!
14 Why are we sitting here? Come, let's go to the fortified towns and meet our doom there. The LORD our God has doomed us by giving us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD!
15 We longed for relief, but received none; for a time of healing, but found only terror.
16 The snorting of their horses can be heard as far as Dan; the neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They come to devour the land and everything in it, towns and people alike.
17 See, I'm sending serpents against you, vipers that you can't charm, and they will bite you, declares the LORD.
18 No healing, only grief; my heart is broken.
19 Listen to the weeping of my people all across the land: "Isn't the LORD in Zion? Is her king no longer there?" Why then did they anger me with their images, with pointless foreign gods?
20 "The harvest is past, the summer has ended, yet we aren't saved."
21 Because my people are crushed, I am crushed; darkness and despair overwhelm me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then have my people not been restored to health?
Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible

Jeremiah 9

1 If only my head were a spring of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for the wounds of my people.
2 If only I could flee for shelter in the desert, to leave my people and forget them— for they are all adulterers, a bunch of crooks.
3 They bend their tongues like bows to spew out lies; they are renowned in the land, but not for truth. They go from bad to worse. They don't know me! declares the LORD.
4 Be wary of your friends! Don't trust your sibling! Every sibling is a cheater, and every friend traffics in slander.
5 One cheats the other; no one tells the truth; they train themselves to lie; they wear themselves out by doing wrong.
6 You live in a world of deceit, and in their deceit they refuse to know me, declares the LORD.
7 Therefore, the LORD of heavenly forces proclaims: I'm going to refine and test them, for what else can I do with my people?
8 Their tongue is a lethal arrow; their words are deceitful. They wish their neighbors well, but in their hearts plot their ruin.
9 Shouldn't I punish them for this? declares the LORD; shouldn't I avenge such a nation?
10 I will weep and wail for the mountains, and lament for the grazing lands in the wilderness. They are dried up and deserted; no sound of the flocks is heard; no sign of birds or animals is seen; all have vanished.
11 I will reduce Jerusalem to ruins, a den for wild dogs. I will make the towns of Judah a wasteland, without inhabitant.
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been taught by the LORD and can therefore explain it? Why has the land been reduced to rubble and laid waste like a desert, with no one passing through?
13 The LORD says: It is because they have abandoned my Instruction that I gave them, and haven't obeyed or followed it.
14 Instead, they have followed their own willful hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.
15 Therefore, this is what the LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: I'm going to feed this people bitter food and give them poison to drink.
16 I will scatter them among nations about whom neither they nor their ancestors have ever heard. I will pursue them with the sword until all are gone.
17 The LORD of heavenly forces proclaims: Pay attention! Summon the women who mourn, let them come; send for those best trained, let them come.
18 Hurry! Let them weep for us so that our eyes fill up with tears and water streams down.
19 The sound of sobbing is heard from Zion: "We're devastated! We're so ashamed! We have to leave the land and abandon our homes!"
20 Women, hear the LORD's word. Listen closely to the word from his mouth: teach your daughters to mourn; teach each other to grieve.
21 Death has climbed through our windows; it has entered our fortresses to eliminate children from the streets, the youth from the squares.
22 Declare what the LORD says: Dead bodies will lie like dung on the fields, like bundles of grain after the harvest, with no one to pick them up.
23 The LORD proclaims: the learned should not boast of their knowledge, nor warriors boast of their might, nor the rich boast of their wealth.
24 No, those who boast should boast in this: that they understand and know me. I am the LORD who acts with kindness, justice, and righteousness in the world, and I delight in these things, declares the LORD.
25 The time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will deal with everyone who is physically circumcised:
26 whether they are Egyptians or Judeans, Edomites or Ammonites, Moabites or the desert dwellers who cut the hair on their foreheads. All these nations are really uncircumcised; even the people of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.
Copyright © 2011 Common English Bible