Jeremiah 18; Jeremiah 19; Jeremiah 20; Jeremiah 21; Jeremiah 22

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Jeremiah 18

1 A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
2 "Go down to the potter's house. I will give you my message there."
3 So I went down to the potter's house. I saw him working at his wheel.
4 His hands were shaping a pot out of clay. But he saw that something was wrong with it. So he formed it into another pot. He shaped it in the way that seemed best to him.
5 Then the LORD's message came to me. He said,
6 "People of Israel, I can do with you just as this potter does," announces the Lord. "The clay is in the potter's hand. And you are in my hand, people of Israel.
7 "Suppose at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is going to be pulled up by the roots. And I tell it that it will be torn down and destroyed.
8 But suppose the nation I warned turns away from its sins. Then I will not do what I said I would. I will not bring trouble on it as I had planned.
9 "Suppose at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is going to be built up and planted.
10 But it does what is evil in my sight. It does not obey me. Then I will think again about the good things I had wanted to do for it.
11 "So speak to the people of Judah and Jerusalem. Tell them, 'The LORD says, "Look! I am making plans against you. I am going to bring trouble on you. So each one of you must turn from your evil ways. Change the way you live and act." '
12 "But they will reply, 'It's no use. We will continue to do what we've already planned. All of us will do what our stubborn and evil hearts want us to do.' "
13 So the LORD says, "Ask the nations a question. Say to them, 'Who has ever heard anything like this? The people of Israel have done a very horrible thing.
14 Does the snow ever disappear from Lebanon's rocky slopes? Do its cool waters ever stop flowing from places far away?
15 But my people have forgotten me. They burn incense to worthless gods. Their gods made them trip and fall as they walked on the old paths. They made them use side roads instead of roads that were built up.
16 So their land will be completely destroyed. People will make fun of it again and again. All those who pass by it will be shocked. They will shake their heads.
17 I will sweep over my people like a wind from the east. I will use the Babylonians to scatter them. I will show them my back and not my face. I will desert them when their day of trouble comes.' "
18 They said, "Come on. Let's make plans against Jeremiah. We'll still have priests to teach us the law. We'll always have wise people to give us advice. We'll have prophets to bring us messages from the Lord. So come on. Let's speak out against Jeremiah. We shouldn't pay any attention to what he says."
19 Lord, please listen to me! Hear what my enemies are saying about me!
20 Should the good things I've done be paid back with evil? But my enemies have dug a pit for me. Remember that I stood in front of you and spoke up for them. I tried to turn your anger away from them.
21 So let their children die of hunger. Let my enemies be killed in war. Let their wives lose their children and husbands. Let their men be put to death. Let their young men be killed in battle.
22 Bring their enemies against them without warning. Let cries be heard from their houses. They have dug a pit to capture me. They have hidden traps for my feet.
23 But Lord, you know all about their plans to kill me. Don't forgive their crimes. Don't erase their sins from your sight. Destroy my enemies. Punish them when the time to show your anger comes.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 19

1 The LORD said to me, "Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. Take along some of the elders of the people. Also tell some of the priests to go with you.
2 Go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom. Stand near the entrance of the gate where broken pieces of pottery are thrown away. "There announce the message I give you.
3 Tell the people, 'Listen to the LORD's message, you kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem. The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, "Listen! I am going to bring trouble on Jerusalem. It will be so horrible that it will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring.
4 " ' "My people have deserted me. They have made this city a place where other gods are worshiped. They have burned sacrifices to them here. They and their people and the kings of Judah had never had anything to do with those gods before. My people have also filled this place with the blood of those who are not guilty of anything.
5 They have built the high places where they worship Baal. There they sacrifice their children in the fire as offerings to Baal. That is something I did not command or talk about. It did not even enter my mind.
6 " ' "So watch out!" announces the Lord. "The days are coming when people will not call this place Topheth anymore. And they will not call it the Valley of Ben Hinnom either. Instead, they will call it the Valley of Death.
7 " ' "In this place I will make the plans of Judah and Jerusalem as useless as a broken jar. I will use their enemies to kill my people with swords. They will die at the hands of those who want to take their lives. I will give their dead bodies as food to the birds of the air and the wild animals.
8 " ' "I will destroy this city completely. People will make fun of it. All those who pass by it will be shocked. They will laugh at its people because of all of their wounds.
9 I will make the people of this city eat the dead bodies of their sons and daughters. And they will eat one another. They will do it because things will be so bad during the attack. The enemies who want to take their lives will bring all of that trouble on them." '
10 "Jeremiah, break the jar while those who go with you are watching.
11 Tell them, 'The LORD who rules over all says, "This potter's jar is smashed and can't be repaired. And I will smash this nation and this city. People will bury their dead in Topheth. But they will run out of room.
12 Here is what I will do to Jerusalem and those who live here," announces the Lord. "I will make this city like Topheth.
13 The houses in Jerusalem will be made 'unclean' like Topheth. So will the houses of the kings of Judah. All of those people burned incense on their roofs to all of the stars. They poured out drink offerings to other gods." ' "
14 Then I returned from Topheth. That's where the LORD had sent me to prophesy. I stood in the courtyard of the LORD's temple. I spoke to all of the people. I said,
15 "The LORD who rules over all is the God of Israel. He says, 'Listen! I am going to punish this city and the villages that are around it. I am going to bring against them all of the trouble I have announced. That is because my people were stubborn. They would not listen to what I said.' "
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 20

1 The priest Pashhur was chief officer in the LORD's temple. He was the son of Immer. Pashhur heard me prophesying that Jerusalem would be destroyed.
2 So he had me beaten. Then he put me in prison at the Upper Gate of Benjamin at the LORD's temple.
3 The next day Pashhur set me free. I said to him, "The LORD's name for you isn't Pashhur. It's Magor-Missabib. That name means Terror on Every Side.
4 "The LORD says to you, 'I will make you a terror to yourself. You will also be a terror to all of your friends. With your own eyes you will see them die. Their enemies will kill them with swords. I will hand all of the people of Judah over to the king of Babylonia. He will carry them away to Babylonia or kill them with swords.
5 " 'I will hand all of the wealth of this city over to Judah's enemies. I will give them all of its products and everything of value. I will turn over to them all of the treasures that belonged to the kings of Judah. They will take those things and carry them off to Babylon.
6 " 'Pashhur, you and everyone who lives in your house will also be forced to go there. You have prophesied lies to all of your friends. So all of you will die in Babylonia. And that's where your bodies will be buried.' "
7 Lord, you tricked me, and I was tricked. You overpowered me and won. People make fun of me all day long. Everyone laughs at me.
8 Every time I speak, I cry out. All you ever tell me to talk about is fighting and trouble. Your message has brought me nothing but dishonor. It has made me suffer shame all day long.
9 Sometimes I think, "I won't talk about him anymore. I'll never speak in his name again." But then your message burns in my heart. It's like a fire inside my very bones. I'm tired of holding it in. In fact, I can't.
10 I hear many people whispering, "There is terror on every side! Report Jeremiah! Let's report him to the authorities!" All of my friends are waiting for me to slip. They are saying, "Perhaps he will be tricked into making a mistake. Then we'll win out over him. We'll get even with him."
11 But you are with me like a mighty warrior. So those who are trying to harm me will trip and fall. They won't win out over me. They will fail. They'll be totally put to shame. Their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12 Lord, you rule over all. You test those who do what is right. You see what is in people's hearts and minds. So pay them back for what they've done. I've committed my cause to you.
13 Sing to the Lord, you people! Give praise to him! He saves the lives of those who are in need. He saves them from the powerful hands of sinful people.
14 May the day I was born be under a curse! May the day I was born to my mother not be blessed!
15 May the man who brought my father the news be under a curse! He's the one who made my father very glad. He said, "You have had a baby! It's a boy!"
16 May that man be like the towns the LORD destroyed without pity. May that man hear loud sobs in the morning. May he hear a battle cry at noon.
17 He should have killed me in my mother's body. He should have made my mother my grave. He should have let her body stay large forever.
18 Why did I ever come out of my mother's body? I've seen nothing but trouble and sorrow. My days will end in shame.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 21

1 A message came to me from the LORD. It came when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur to me. Pashhur was the son of Malkijah. Zedekiah sent the priest Zephaniah along with him. Zephaniah was the son of Maaseiah. They said to me,
2 "Ask the LORD to help us. Nebuchadnezzar is attacking us. He is king of Babylonia. In the past the LORD did wonderful things for us. Maybe he'll do them again. Then Nebuchadnezzar will pull his armies back from us."
3 But I answered them, "Tell Zedekiah and his people,
4 'The LORD is the God of Israel. He says, "The king of Babylonia and his armies are all around this city. They are getting ready to attack you. You have weapons of war in your hands to fight against them. But I am about to turn your weapons against you. And I will bring your enemies inside this city.
5 " ' "I myself will fight against you. I will reach out my powerful hand and mighty arm. I will come against you with all of my burning anger.
6 I will strike down those who live in this city. I will kill people and animals alike. They will die of a terrible plague.
7 " ' "After that, I will hand you over to your enemies who want to kill you," announces the Lord. "I will hand over Zedekiah, the king of Judah. I will hand over his officials and the people in this city who live through the plague, war and hunger. All of them will be turned over to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. He will kill them with swords. He will not show them any kindness. He will not feel sorry for them. In fact, he will not have any concern for them at all." '
8 "Tell the people, 'The LORD says, "I am offering you a choice. You can choose the way that leads to life. Or you can choose the way that leads to death.
9 Those who stay in this city will die of war, hunger or plague. But those who go out and give themselves up to the Babylonians who are attacking you will live. They will escape with their lives.
10 " ' "I have decided to do this city harm and not good," announces the Lord. "It will be handed over to the king of Babylonia. And he will destroy it with fire." '
11 "Also speak to Judah's royal family. Tell them, 'Listen to the LORD's message.
12 The LORD says to you who belong to David's royal house, " ' "Every morning do what is right and fair. Save those who have been robbed. Set them free from the people who have treated them badly. If you do not, my anger will blaze out against you. It will burn like fire because of the evil things you have done. No one will be able to put it out.
13 Jerusalem, I am against you," announces the Lord. "You live above this valley. You are on a high, rocky flatland. And you say, 'Who can come against us? Who can enter our place of safety?'
14 But I will punish you in keeping with what you have done," announces the Lord. "I will start a fire in your forests. It will burn up everything around you." ' "
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.

Jeremiah 22

1 The LORD said to me, "Jeremiah, go down to the palace of the king of Judah. Announce my message there. Tell him,
2 'King of Judah, listen to the LORD's message. You are sitting on David's throne. You and your officials and your people come through these gates.
3 The LORD says, "Do what is fair and right. Save those who have been robbed. Set them free from the people who have treated them badly. Do not do anything wrong to outsiders or widows in this place. Do not harm children whose fathers have died. Do not kill those who are not guilty of doing anything wrong.
4 " ' "Be careful to obey those commands. Then kings who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace. They will come riding in chariots and on horses. Their officials and their people will come along with them.
5 " ' "But suppose you do not obey those commands," announces the Lord. "Then I promise you that this palace will be destroyed. I make that promise by taking an oath in my own name." ' "
6 The LORD speaks about the palace of the king of Judah. He says, "You are like the land of Gilead to me. You are like the highest mountain in Lebanon. But I will make you like a desert. You will become like towns that no one lives in.
7 I will send destroyers against you. All of them will come with their weapons. They will cut up your fine cedar beams. They will throw them into the fire.
8 "People from many nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, 'Why has the LORD done such a thing to this great city?'
9 "And the answer will be, 'Because its people have turned away from the covenant the LORD their God made with them. They have worshiped other gods. And they have served them.' "
10 Don't sob over dead King Josiah. Don't be sad because he's gone. Instead, sob bitterly over King Jehoahaz. He was forced to leave his country. He will never return. He'll never see his own land again.
11 Jehoahaz became king of Judah after his father Josiah. But he has gone away from this place. That's because the LORD says about him, "He will never return.
12 He will die in Egypt. That is where he was taken as a prisoner. He will not see this land again."
13 The LORD says, "How terrible it will be for King Jehoiakim! He builds his palace by mistreating his people. He builds its upstairs rooms with money that was gained by sinning. He makes his own people work for nothing. He does not pay them for what they do.
14 He says, 'I will build myself a great palace. It will have large rooms upstairs.' So he makes big windows in it. He covers its walls with cedar boards. He decorates it with red paint.
15 "Jehoiakim, does having more and more cedar boards make you a king? Your father Josiah had enough to eat and drink. He did what was right and fair. So everything went well with him.
16 He stood up for those who were poor or needy. So everything went well with him. That is what it means to know me," announces the Lord.
17 "Jehoiakim, the only thing on your mind is to get rich by cheating others. You would even kill people who are not guilty of doing anything wrong. You would mistreat them. You would take everything they own."
18 So the LORD speaks about King Jehoiakim, the son of Josiah. He says, "His people will not sob over him. They will not say, 'My poor brother! My poor sister!' They will not sob over him. They will not say, 'My poor master! How sad that his glory is gone!'
19 In fact, he will be buried like a donkey. His body will be dragged away and thrown outside the gates of Jerusalem."
20 The LORD says, "People of Jerusalem, go up to Lebanon. Cry out for help. Let your voice be heard in the land of Bashan. Cry out from the mountains of Abarim. All those who were going to help you are crushed.
21 When you felt secure, I warned you. But you said, 'I won't listen!' You have acted like that ever since you were young. You have not obeyed me.
22 The wind will drive all of your shepherds away. All those who were going to help you will be carried off as prisoners. Then you will be dishonored and put to shame. That will happen because you have been so sinful.
23 Some of you live in Jerusalem in the Palace of the Forest of Lebanon. You are comfortable in your cedar buildings. But you will groan when pain comes on you. It will be like the pain of a woman having a baby.
24 "King Jehoiachin, you are the son of Jehoiakim," announces the Lord. "Suppose you were a ring on my right hand. And suppose the ring even had my royal seal on it. Then I would still pull you off my finger. And that is just as sure as I am alive.
25 "I will hand you over to those who are trying to kill you. I will turn you over to people you are afraid of. I will give you to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylonia. I will hand you over to his armies.
26 "I will throw you out into another country. I will throw your mother out. Neither of you was born in that country. But both of you will die there.
27 You will never come back to the land you long to return to."
28 This man Jehoiachin is like a broken pot. Everyone hates him. No one wants him. Why will he and his children be thrown out of this land? Why will they be sent to a land they didn't have anything to do with before?
29 Land, land, land, listen to the LORD's message!
30 The LORD says, "Let the record say that this man did not have any children. Let it report that he did not have any success in life. None of his children will have success either. None of them will sit on David's throne. None of them will ever rule over Judah.
Holy Bible, New International Reader's Version® Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998 by Biblica.   All rights reserved worldwide.