1 People of Israel, listen to the message that the Lord has for you. 2 He says, "Do not follow the ways of other nations; do not be disturbed by unusual sights in the sky, even though other nations are terrified. 3 The religion of these people is worthless. A tree is cut down in the forest; it is carved by the tools of the woodworker 4 and decorated with silver and gold. It is fastened down with nails to keep it from falling over. 5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a field of melons; they cannot speak; they have to be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them: they can cause you no harm, and they can do you no good." 6 Lord, there is no one like you; you are mighty, and your name is great and powerful. 7 Who would not honor you, the king of all nations? You deserve to be honored. There is no one like you among all the wise men of the nations or among any of their kings. 8 All of them are stupid and foolish. What can they learn from wooden idols? 9 Their idols are covered with silver from Spain and with gold from Uphaz, all the work of artists; they are dressed in violet and purple cloth woven by skilled weavers. 10 But you, Lord, are the true God, you are the living God and the eternal king. When you are angry, the world trembles; the nations cannot endure your anger. 11 (You people must tell them that the gods who did not make the earth and the sky will be destroyed. They will no longer exist anywhere on earth.) 12 The Lord made the earth by his power; by his wisdom he created the world and stretched out the heavens. 13 At his command the waters above the sky roar; he brings clouds from the ends of the earth. He makes lightning flash in the rain and sends the wind from his storeroom. 14 At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless; those who make idols are disillusioned, because the gods they make are false and lifeless. 15 They are worthless and should be despised; they will be destroyed when the Lord comes to deal with them. 16 The God of Jacob is not like them; he is the one who made everything, and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people. The Lord Almighty is his name. 17 People of Jerusalem, you are under siege! Gather up your belongings. 18 The Lord is going to throw you out of this land; he is going to crush you until not one of you is left. The Lord has spoken. 19 The people of Jerusalem cried out, "How badly we are hurt! Our wounds will not heal. And we thought this was something we could endure! 20 Our tents are ruined; the ropes that held them have broken. Our children have all gone away; there is no one left to put up our tents again; there is no one to hang their curtains." 21 I answered, "Our leaders are stupid; they do not ask the Lord for guidance. This is why they have failed, and our people have been scattered. 22 Listen! News has come! There is a great commotion in a nation to the north; its army will turn the cities of Judah into a desert, a place where jackals live." 23 Lord, I know that none of us are in charge of our own destiny; none of us have control over our own life. 24 Correct your people, Lord, but do not be too hard on us or punish us when you are angry; that would be the end of us. 25 Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you and on the people who reject you. They have killed your people; they have destroyed us completely and left our country in ruins.
1 The Lord said to me, 2 "Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem 3 that I, the Lord God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 4 It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be my people and I would be their God. 5 Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have." I said, "Yes, Lord." 6 Then the Lord said to me, "Go to the cities of Judah and to the streets of Jerusalem. Proclaim my message there and tell the people to listen to the terms of the covenant and to obey them. 7 When I brought their ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them to obey me, and I have kept on warning the people until this day. 8 But they did not listen or obey. Instead, everyone continued to be as stubborn and evil as ever. I had commanded them to keep the covenant, but they refused. So I brought on them all the punishments described in it." 9 Then the Lord said to me, "The people of Judah and of Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10 They have gone back to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to do what I said; they have worshiped other gods. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11 So now I, the Lord, warn them that I am going to bring destruction on them, and they will not escape. And when they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the people of Judah and of Jerusalem will go to the gods to whom they offer sacrifices and will cry out to them for help. But those gods will not be able to save them when this destruction comes. 13 The people of Judah have as many gods as they have cities, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have set up as many altars for sacrifices to that disgusting god Baal as there are streets in the city. 14 Jeremiah, don't pray to me or plead with me on behalf of these people. When they are in trouble and call to me for help, I will not listen to them." 15 The Lord says, "The people I love are doing evil things. What right do they have to be in my Temple? Do they think they can prevent disaster by making promises and by offering animal sacrifices? Will they then rejoice? 16 I once called them a leafy olive tree, full of beautiful fruit; but now, with a roar like thunder I will set its leaves on fire and break its branches. 17 "I, the Lord Almighty, planted Israel and Judah; but now I threaten them with disaster. They have brought this on themselves because they have done wrong; they have made me angry by offering sacrifices to Baal." 18 The Lord informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, "Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy; let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more." 20 Then I prayed, "Almighty Lord, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people." 21 The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the Lord's message. 22 So the Lord Almighty said, "I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23 I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive."
1 "Lord, if I argued my case with you, you would prove to be right. Yet I must question you about matters of justice. Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why do dishonest people succeed? 2 You plant them, and they take root; they grow and bear fruit. They always speak well of you, yet they do not really care about you. 3 But, Lord, you know me; you see what I do and how I love you. Drag these evil people away like sheep to be butchered; guard them until it is time for them to be slaughtered. 4 How long will our land be dry, and the grass in every field be withered? Animals and birds are dying because of the wickedness of our people, people who say, "God doesn't see what we are doing.' " 5 The Lord said, "Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people, how can you race against horses? If you can't even stand up in open country, how will you manage in the jungle by the Jordan? 6 Even your relatives, members of your own family, have betrayed you; they join in the attacks against you. Do not trust them, even though they speak friendly words." 7 The Lord says, "I have abandoned Israel; I have rejected my chosen nation. I have given the people I love into the power of their enemies. 8 My chosen people have turned against me; like a lion in the forest they have roared at me, and so I hate them. 9 My chosen people are like a bird attacked from all sides by hawks. Call the wild animals to come and join in the feast! 10 Many foreign rulers have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled down my fields; they have turned my lovely land into a desert. 11 They have made it a wasteland; it lies desolate before me. The whole land has become a desert, and no one cares. 12 Across all the desert highlands people have come to plunder. I have sent war to destroy the entire land; no one can live in peace. 13 My people planted wheat, but gathered weeds; they have worked hard, but got nothing for it. Because of my fierce anger their crops have failed." 14 The Lord says, "I have something to say about Israel's neighbors who have ruined the land I gave to my people Israel. I will take those wicked people away from their countries like an uprooted plant, and I will rescue Judah from them. 15 But after I have taken them away, I will have mercy on them; I will bring each nation back to its own land and to its own country. 16 If with all their hearts they will accept the religion of my people and will swear, "As the Lord lives' - as they once taught my people to swear by Baal - then they will also be a part of my people and will prosper. 17 But if any nation will not obey, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it. I, the Lord, have spoken."
1 The Lord told me to go and buy myself some linen shorts and to put them on; but he told me not to put them in water. 2 So I bought them and put them on. 3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 4 "Go to the Euphrates River and hide the shorts in a hole in the rocks." 5 So I went and hid them near the Euphrates. 6 Some time later the Lord told me to go back to the Euphrates and get the shorts. 7 So I went back, and when I found the place where I had hidden them, I saw that they were ruined and were no longer any good. 8 Then the Lord spoke to me again. He said, 9 "This is how I will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These evil people have refused to obey me. They have been as stubborn and wicked as ever, and have worshiped and served other gods. So then, they will become like these shorts that are no longer any good. 11 Just as shorts fit tightly around the waist, so I intended all the people of Israel and Judah to hold tightly to me. I did this so that they would be my people and would bring praise and honor to my name; but they would not obey me." 12 The Lord God said to me, "Jeremiah, tell the people of Israel that every wine jar should be filled with wine. They will answer that they know every wine jar should be filled with wine. 13 Then tell them that I, the Lord, am going to fill the people in this land with wine until they are drunk: the kings, who are David's descendants, the priests, the prophets, and all the people of Jerusalem. 14 Then I will smash them like jars against one another, old and young alike. No pity, compassion, or mercy will stop me from killing them." 15 People of Israel, the Lord has spoken! Be humble and listen to him. 16 Honor the Lord, your God, before he brings darkness, and you stumble on the mountains; before he turns into deep darkness the light you hoped for. 17 If you will not listen, I will cry in secret because of your pride; I will cry bitterly, and my tears will flow because the Lord's people have been taken away as captives. 18 The Lord said to me, "Tell the king and his mother to come down from their thrones, because their beautiful crowns have fallen from their heads. 19 The towns of southern Judah are under siege; no one can get through to them. All the people of Judah have been taken away into exile." 20 Jerusalem, look! Your enemies are coming down from the north! Where are the people entrusted to your care, your people you were so proud of? 21 What will you say when people you thought were your friends conquer you and rule over you? You will be in pain like a woman giving birth. 22 If you ask why all this has happened to you - why your clothes have been torn off and you have been raped - it is because your sin is so terrible. 23 Can people change the color of their skin, or a leopard remove its spots? If they could, then you that do nothing but evil could learn to do what is right. 24 The Lord will scatter you like straw that is blown away by the desert wind. 25 He has said that this will be your fate. This is what he has decided to do with you, because you have forgotten him and have trusted in false gods. 26 The Lord himself will strip off your clothes and expose you to shame. 27 He has seen you do the things he hates. He has seen you go after pagan gods on the hills and in the fields, like a man lusting after his neighbor's wife or like a stallion after a mare. People of Jerusalem, you are doomed! When will you ever be pure?