A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
"Listen to the terms of the covenant I made with my people long ago. Tell Judah the terms still apply to them. Tell those who live in Jerusalem that they must obey them too.
"I am the God of Israel. So let the people know what I want them to do. Tell them I am saying, 'May the man who does not obey the terms of the covenant be under my curse.
I gave those terms to your people long ago. That was when I brought them out of Egypt. I saved them out of that furnace that melts iron down and makes it pure.' I said, 'Obey me. Do everything I command you to do. Then you will be my people. And I will be your God.
" 'I raised my hand and made an oath to your people long ago. I promised them I would give them a land that had plenty of milk and honey.' It is the land you own today. I kept my promise." I replied, "Amen, Lord."
The LORD said to me, "Here is what I want you to announce in the towns of Judah. Say it also in the streets of Jerusalem. Tell the people, 'Listen to the terms of my covenant. Obey them.
Long ago I brought your people up from Egypt. From that time until today, I warned them again and again. I said, "Obey me."
" 'But they did not listen. They did not pay any attention to me. Instead, they did what their stubborn and evil hearts wanted them to do. So I brought down on them all of the curses of the covenant. I commanded them to obey it. But they refused.' "
The LORD continued, "The people of Judah have made some evil plans. So have those who live in Jerusalem.
All of them have returned to the sins their people committed long ago. Those people refused to listen to what I told them. And now the people of Israel and Judah alike have worshiped other gods and served them. They have broken the covenant I made with their people who lived before them.
"So I say, 'I will bring trouble on them. They will not be able to escape it. They will cry out to me. But I will not listen to them.
" 'The people of Jerusalem and of the towns of Judah will cry out to the gods they burn incense to. But those gods will not help them at all when trouble strikes them.
Judah, you have as many gods as you have towns. And in Jerusalem you have set up as many altars as there are streets. You are burning incense to that shameful god Baal.'
"Jeremiah, do not pray for those people. Do not make any appeal or request for them. They will call out to me when they are in trouble. But I will not listen to them.
"I love the people of Judah. But they are working out their evil plans along with many others. So what are they doing in my temple? Can meat that is offered to me keep me from punishing you? When you do evil things, you get a lot of pleasure from them."
People of Judah, the LORD once called you a healthy olive tree. He thought its fruit was beautiful. But now he will come with the roar of a mighty storm. He will set the tree on fire. And its branches will be broken.
The LORD who rules over all planted you. But now he has ordered your enemies to destroy you. The people of Israel and Judah have done what is evil. They have made the LORD very angry by burning incense to Baal.
The LORD told me about the evil plans of my enemies. That's how I knew about them. He showed me what they were doing.
I had been like a gentle lamb that was led off to be killed. I didn't realize they had made plans against me. They had said, "Let's destroy the tree and its fruit. Let's cut him off while he's still living. Then his name won't be remembered anymore."
But Lord, you rule over all. You always judge fairly. You put people's hearts and minds to the test. So pay them back for what they've done. I've committed my cause to you.
The LORD says, "Jeremiah, here is what I am telling you about the men of Anathoth. They want to kill you. They are saying, 'Don't prophesy in the LORD's name. If you do, we will kill you with our own hands.' "
So the LORD who rules over all says, "I will punish them. Their young men will be killed with swords. Their sons and daughters will die of hunger.
Only a few people will be left alive. I will judge the men of Anathoth. I will destroy them when the time to punish them comes."