1 The Lord sent me to the gate of the Temple where the people of Judah went in to worship. He told me to stand there and announce what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, had to say to them: "Change the way you are living and the things you are doing, and I will let you go on living here. 4 Stop believing those deceitful words, "We are safe! This is the Lord's Temple, this is the Lord's Temple, this is the Lord's Temple!' 5 "Change the way you are living and stop doing the things you are doing. Be fair in your treatment of one another. 6 Stop taking advantage of aliens, orphans, and widows. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop worshiping other gods, for that will destroy you. 7 If you change, I will let you go on living here in the land which I gave your ancestors as a permanent possession. 8 "Look, you put your trust in deceitful words. 9 You steal, murder, commit adultery, tell lies under oath, offer sacrifices to Baal, and worship gods that you had not known before. 10 You do these things I hate, and then you come and stand in my presence, in my own Temple, and say, "We are safe!' 11 Do you think that my Temple is a hiding place for robbers? I have seen what you are doing. 12 Go to Shiloh, the first place where I chose to be worshiped, and see what I did to it because of the sins of my people Israel. 13 You have committed all these sins, and even though I spoke to you over and over again, you refused to listen. You would not answer when I called you. 14 And so, what I did to Shiloh I will do to this Temple of mine, in which you trust. Here in this place that I gave to your ancestors and you, I will do the same thing that I did to Shiloh. 15 I will drive you out of my sight as I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel. I, the Lord, have spoken." 16 The Lord said, "Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not cry or pray on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Don't you see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather firewood, the men build fires, and the women mix dough to bake cakes for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They also pour out offerings of wine to other gods, in order to hurt me. 19 But am I really the one they are hurting? No, they are hurting themselves and bringing shame on themselves. 20 And so I, the Sovereign Lord, will pour out my fierce anger on this Temple. I will pour it out on people and animals alike, and even on the trees and the crops. My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out. 21 "My people, some sacrifices you burn completely on the altar, and some you are permitted to eat. But what I, the Lord, say is that you might as well eat them all. 22 I gave your ancestors no commands about burnt offerings or any other kinds of sacrifices when I brought them out of Egypt. 23 But I did command them to obey me, so that I would be their God and they would be my people. And I told them to live the way I had commanded them, so that things would go well for them. 24 But they did not obey or pay any attention. Instead, they did whatever their stubborn and evil hearts told them to do, and they became worse instead of better. 25 From the day that your ancestors came out of Egypt until this very day I have kept on sending to you my servants, the prophets. 26 Yet no one listened or paid any attention. Instead, you became more stubborn and rebellious than your ancestors. 27 "So, Jeremiah, you will speak all these words to my people, but they will not listen to you; you will call them, but they will not answer. 28 You will tell them that their nation does not obey me, the Lord their God, or learn from their punishment. Faithfulness is dead. No longer is it even talked about. 29 "Mourn, people of Jerusalem; cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a funeral song on the hilltops, because I, the Lord, am angry and have rejected my people. 30 "The people of Judah have done an evil thing. They have placed their idols, which I hate, in my Temple and have defiled it. 31 In Hinnom Valley they have built an altar called Topheth, so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire. I did not command them to do this - it did not even enter my mind. 32 And so, the time will come when it will no longer be called Topheth or Hinnom Valley, but Slaughter Valley. They will bury people there because there will be nowhere else to bury them. 33 The corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals, and there will be no one to scare them off. 34 The land will become a desert. In the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the happy sounds of wedding feasts.
1 "At that time the bones of the kings and of the officials of Judah, as well as the bones of the priests, of the prophets, and of the other people who lived in Jerusalem, will be taken out of their graves. 2 Instead of being gathered and buried, their bones will be like manure lying on the ground. They will be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the stars, which these people have loved and served, and which they have consulted and worshiped. 3 And the people of this evil nation who survive, who live in the places where I have scattered them, will prefer to die rather than to go on living. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken." 4 The Lord told me to say to his people, "When someone falls down, doesn't he get back up? If someone misses the road, doesn't he turn back? 5 Why then, my people, do you turn away from me without ever turning back? You cling to your idols and refuse to return to me. 6 I listened carefully, but you did not speak the truth. Not one of you has been sorry for your wickedness; not one of you has asked, "What have I done wrong?' Each of you keep on going your own way, like a horse rushing into battle. 7 Even storks know when it is time to return; doves, swallows, and thrushes know when it is time to migrate. But, my people, you do not know the laws by which I rule you. 8 How can you say that you are wise and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes. 9 Your wise men are put to shame; they are confused and trapped. They have rejected my words; what wisdom do they have now? 10 So I will give their fields to new owners and their wives to other men. Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly. Even prophets and priests cheat the people. 11 They act as if my people's wounds were only scratches. "All is well,' they say, when all is not well. 12 My people, were you ashamed because you did these disgusting things? No, you were not ashamed at all; you don't even know how to blush! And so you will fall as others have fallen; when I punish you, that will be the end of you. I, the Lord, have spoken. 13 "I wanted to gather my people, as a farmer gathers a harvest; but they are like a vine with no grapes, like a fig tree with no figs; even the leaves have withered. Therefore, I have allowed outsiders to take over the land." 14 "Why are we sitting still?" God's people ask. "Come on, we will run to the fortified cities and die there. The Lord our God has condemned us to die; he has given us poison to drink, because we have sinned against him. 15 We hoped for peace and a time of healing, but it was no use; terror came instead. 16 Our enemies are already in the city of Dan; we hear the snorting of their horses. The whole land trembles when their horses neigh. Our enemies have come to destroy our land and everything in it, our city and all its people." 17 "Watch out!" the Lord says, "I am sending snakes among you, poisonous snakes that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you." 18 My sorrow cannot be healed; I am sick at heart. 19 Listen! Throughout the land I hear my people crying out, "Is the Lord no longer in Zion? Is Zion's king no longer there?" The Lord, their king, replies, "Why have you made me angry by worshiping your idols and by bowing down to your useless foreign gods?" 20 The people cry out, "The summer is gone, the harvest is over, but we have not been saved." 21 My heart has been crushed because my people are crushed; I mourn; I am completely dismayed. 22 Is there no medicine in Gilead? Are there no doctors there? Why, then, have my people not been healed?
1 I wish my head were a well of water, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I could cry day and night for my people who have been killed. 2 I wish I had a place to stay in the desert where I could get away from my people. They are all unfaithful, a mob of traitors. 3 They are always ready to tell lies; dishonesty instead of truth rules the land. The Lord says, "My people do one evil thing after another and do not acknowledge me as their God." 4 Everyone must be on guard against their friends, and no one can trust their relatives; for all relatives are as deceitful as Jacob, and everyone slanders their friends. 5 They all mislead their friends, and no one tells the truth; they have taught their tongues to lie and will not give up their sinning. They do one violent thing after another, and one deceitful act follows another. The Lord says that his people reject him. 7 Because of this the Lord Almighty says, "I will refine my people like metal and put them to the test. My people have done evil - what else can I do with them? 8 Their tongues are like deadly arrows; they always tell lies. Everyone speaks friendly words to their neighbors, but they are really setting a trap for them. 9 Will I not punish them for these things? Will I not take revenge on a nation like this? I, the Lord, have spoken." 10 I said, "I will mourn for the mountains and weep for the pastures, because they have dried up, and no one travels through them. The sound of livestock is no longer heard; birds and wild animals have fled and gone." 11 The Lord says, "I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins, a place where jackals live; the cities of Judah will become a desert, a place where no one lives." 12 I asked, "Lord, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that they can tell others?" 13 The Lord answered, "This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14 Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshiped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15 So then, listen to what I, the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them." 17 The Lord Almighty said, "Think about what is happening! Call for the mourners to come, for the women who sing funeral songs." 18 The people said, "Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us, until our eyes fill with tears, and our eyelids are wet from crying." 19 Listen to the sound of crying in Zion: "We are ruined! We are completely disgraced! We must leave our land; our homes have been torn down." 20 I said, "Listen to the Lord, you women, and pay attention to his words. Teach your daughters how to mourn, and your friends how to sing a funeral song. 21 Death has come in through our windows and entered our palaces; it has cut down the children in the streets and the young men in the marketplaces. 22 Dead bodies are scattered everywhere, like piles of manure on the fields, like grain cut and left behind by the reapers, grain that no one gathers. This is what the Lord has told me to say." 23 The Lord says, "The wise should not boast of their wisdom, nor the strong of their strength, nor the rich of their wealth. 24 If any want to boast, they should boast that they know and understand me, because my love is constant, and I do what is just and right. These are the things that please me. I, the Lord, have spoken." 25 The Lord says, "The time is coming when I will punish the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people, who have their hair cut short. All these people are circumcised, but have not kept the covenant it symbolizes. None of these people and none of the people of Israel have kept my covenant."