Jeremiah 12

Idols and the Living God

10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:

Learn not the way of the nations,

nor be dismayed at the signs of the heavens

because the nations are dismayed at them,

ffor the customs of the peoples are vanity.1

gA tree from the forest is cut down

and worked with an axe by the hands of a craftsman.

hThey decorate it with silver and gold;

ithey fasten it with hammer and nails

so that it cannot move.

Their idols2 are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,

and jthey cannot speak;

kthey have to be carried,

for they cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them,

lfor they cannot do evil,

neither is it in them to do good.

mThere is none like you, O Lord;

you are great, and your name is great in might.

nWho would not fear you, O King of the nations?

For this is your due;

for among all the wise ones of the nations

and in all their kingdoms

there is none like you.

oThey are both pstupid and foolish;

the instruction of idols is but wood!

qBeaten silver is brought from rTarshish,

and gold from sUphaz.

qThey are the work of the craftsman and of the hands of the goldsmith;

their clothing is violet and purple;

tthey are all the work of skilled men.

10  uBut the Lord is the true God;

vhe is the living God and the everlasting King.

At his wrath the earth quakes,

and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

11 Thus shall you say to them: wThe gods who did not make the heavens and the earth xshall perish from the earth and from under the heavens.3

12  yIt is he who zmade the earth by his power,

zwho established the world by his wisdom,

and aby his understanding stretched out the heavens.

13  bWhen he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens,

cand he makes the mist rise from the ends of the earth.

cHe makes lightning dfor the rain,

cand he brings forth the wind efrom his storehouses.

14  fEvery man is stupid and without knowledge;

gevery goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,

for his images are false,

hand there is no breath in them.

15  They are worthless, a work of delusion;

at the time of their punishment they shall perish.

16  Not like these is he who is ithe portion of Jacob,

for he is the one who formed all things,

jand Israel is the tribe of his inheritance;

kthe Lord of hosts is his name.

17  lGather up your bundle from the ground,

O you who dwell under siege!

18  For thus says the Lord:

mBehold, I am slinging out the inhabitants of the land

at this time,

nand I will bring distress on them,

that they may feel it.

19  Woe is me because of my hurt!

oMy wound is grievous.

But I said, Truly this is an affliction,

and I must bear it.

20  pMy tent is destroyed,

and all my cords are broken;

my children have gone from me,

qand they are not;

there is no one to spread my tent again

and pto set up my curtains.

21  rFor the shepherds sare stupid

and do not inquire of the Lord;

therefore they have not prospered,

tand all their flock is scattered.

22  A voice, a rumor! Behold, it comes!

ua great commotion out of the north country

to make vthe cities of Judah a desolation,

va lair of jackals.

23  wI know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself,

that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps.

24  xCorrect me, O Lord, but in justice;

not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.

25  yPour out your wrath on the nations that know you not,

and on the peoples that call not on your name,

zfor they have devoured Jacob;

they have devoured him and consumed him,

and have laid waste his habitation.

The Broken Covenant

11 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: aHear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: bCursed be the man who does not hear the words of this covenant that I commanded your fathers when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, cfrom the iron furnace, saying, dListen to my voice, and do all that I command you. dSo shall you be my people, and I will be your God, ethat I may confirm the oath that I swore to your fathers, fto give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day. Then I answered, So be it, Lord.

And the Lord said to me, gProclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: hHear the words of this covenant and do them. For I solemnly warned your fathers when I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, iwarning them persistently, even to this day, saying, dObey my voice. jYet they did not obey or incline their ear, kbut everyone walked in the stubbornness of his evil heart. Therefore I brought upon them all hthe words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.

Again the Lord said to me, lA conspiracy exists among the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to mthe iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words. mThey have gone after other gods to serve them. nThe house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant that I made with their fathers. 11 Therefore, thus says the Lord, Behold, I am bringing disaster upon them that they cannot escape. oThough they cry to me, I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem pwill go and cry to the gods to whom they make offerings, pbut they cannot save them in the time of their trouble. 13 pFor your gods have become as many as your cities, O Judah, and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to shame, qaltars to make offerings to Baal.

14 Therefore rdo not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, ofor I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble. 15 sWhat right has my beloved in my house, twhen she has done many vile deeds? Can even sacrificial flesh avert your doom? uCan you then exult? 16 The Lord once called you va green olive tree, beautiful with good fruit. But wwith the roar of a great tempest he will set fire to it, and xits branches will be consumed. 17 The Lord of hosts, ywho planted you, has decreed disaster against you, because of the evil that the house of Israel and the house of Judah have done, zprovoking me to anger by making offerings to Baal.

18  The Lord made it known to me and I knew;

then you showed me their deeds.

19  But I was alike a gentle lamb

led to the slaughter.

I did not know bit was against me

they devised schemes, saying,

Let us destroy the tree with its fruit,

clet us cut him off from dthe land of the living,

that his name be remembered no more.

20  But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously,

who etests fthe heart and the mind,

glet me see your vengeance upon them,

for to you have I committed my cause.

21 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the men of hAnathoth, iwho seek your life, and say, jDo not prophesy in the name of the Lord, or you will die by our hand 22 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts: Behold, I will punish them. The young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine, 23 and none of them shall be left. For I will bring disaster upon the men of kAnathoth, lthe year of their punishment.

Jeremiah's Complaint

12  mRighteous are you, O Lord,

when I complain to you;

yet I would plead my case before you.

nWhy does the way of the wicked prosper?

Why do all owho are treacherous thrive?

You plant them, and they take root;

they grow and produce fruit;

pyou are near in their mouth

and far from their heart.

qBut you, O Lord, know me;

ryou see me, and test my heart toward you.

sPull them out like sheep for the slaughter,

and set them apart for tthe day of slaughter.

uHow long will the land mourn

and the grass of every field wither?

vFor the evil of those who dwell in it

wthe beasts and the birds are swept away,

because they said, He will not see our latter end.

The Lord Answers Jeremiah

If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you,

how will you compete with horses?

And if in a safe land you are so trusting,

what will you do in xthe thicket of the Jordan?

For yeven your brothers and the house of your father,

oeven they have dealt treacherously with you;

they are in full cry after you;

zdo not believe them,

though they speak friendly words to you.

I have forsaken my house;

I have abandoned amy heritage;

I have given bthe beloved of my soul

into the hands of her enemies.

aMy heritage has become to me

like a lion in the forest;

she has lifted up her voice against me;

therefore I hate her.

Is amy heritage to me like ca hyena's lair?

Are the cbirds of prey against her all around?

Go, dassemble all the wild beasts;

bring them to devour.

10  Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard;

ethey have trampled down my portion;

they have made my pleasant portion

a desolate wilderness.

11  They have made it a desolation;

desolate, uit mourns to me.

The whole land is made desolate,

fbut no man lays it to heart.

12  Upon all the bare heights in the desert

destroyers have come,

for the sword of the Lord devours

from one end of the land to the other;

no flesh has peace.

13  gThey have sown wheat and have reaped thorns;

hthey have tired themselves out but profit nothing.

They shall be ashamed of their1 harvests

ibecause of the fierce anger of the Lord.

14 Thus says the Lord concerning all jmy evil neighbors kwho touch the heritage that lI have given my people Israel to inherit: Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. 15 And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, mand I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. 16 And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, nto swear by my name, As the Lord lives, even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, othen they shall be built up in the midst of my people. 17 pBut if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord.

The Ruined Loincloth

13 Thus says the Lord to me, Go and buy a linen loincloth and qput it around your waist, and do not dip it in water. So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord, and put it around my waist. And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, Take the loincloth that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, rgo to the Euphrates and hide it there in sa cleft of the rock. So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me. And after many days the Lord said to me, Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take from there qthe loincloth that I commanded you to hide there. Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took qthe loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the loincloth was tspoiled; it was ugood for nothing.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: Thus says the Lord: vEven so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great wpride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, xwho stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is ugood for nothing. 11 For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the Lord, ythat they might be for me a people, za name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not listen.

The Jars Filled with Wine

12 You shall speak to them this word: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, Every jar shall be filled with wine. And they will say to you, Do we not indeed know that aevery jar will be filled with wine? 13 Then you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord: bBehold, I will fill with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land: cthe kings who sit on David's throne, dthe priests, the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 14 And I will edash them one against another, fathers and sons together, declares the Lord. I will not pity or spare or have compassion, that I should not destroy them.

Exile Threatened

15  Hear and give ear; be not proud,

for the Lord has spoken.

16  fGive glory to the Lord your God

gbefore he brings darkness,

before your feet stumble

on the twilight mountains,

and gwhile you look for light

he turns it into gloom

and makes it hdeep darkness.

17  But if you will not listen,

imy soul will weep in secret for your pride;

my eyes will weep bitterly and run down with tears,

because the Lord's flock has been taken captive.

18  Say to jthe king and jthe queen mother:

Take a lowly seat,

for kyour beautiful crown

has come down from your head.

19  lThe cities of the Negeb are shut up,

with none to open them;

all Judah is taken into exile,

wholly taken into exile.

20  Lift up your eyes mand see

those who come from the north.

Where is the flock that was given you,

your beautiful flock?

21  What will you say when they set as head over you

those whom you yourself have taught to be friends to you?

nWill not pangs take hold of you

like those of a woman in labor?

22  And if you say in your heart,

oWhy have these things come upon me?

it is for the greatness of your iniquity

that pyour skirts are lifted up

and you suffer violence.

23  qCan the Ethiopian change his skin

or qthe leopard his spots?

Then also you can do good

who are accustomed to do evil.

24  I will scatter you1 rlike chaff

driven by the wind from the desert.

25  sThis is your lot,

the portion I have measured out to you, declares the Lord,

because tyou have forgotten me

and trusted in lies.

26  pI myself will lift up your skirts over your face,

and your shame will be seen.

27  I have seen uyour abominations,

your adulteries and vneighings, your lewd whorings,

won the hills in the field.

Woe to you, O Jerusalem!

How long will it be xbefore you are made clean?

Famine, Sword, and Pestilence

14 The word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning ythe drought:

zJudah mourns,

and aher gates languish;

her people lament on the ground,

and bthe cry of Jerusalem goes up.

Her nobles send their servants for water;

they come to the cisterns;

they find no water;

they return with their vessels empty;

they are cashamed and confounded

and dcover their heads.

Because of the ground that is dismayed,

since there is eno rain on the land,

the farmers are ashamed;

they cover their heads.

Even fthe doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn

because there is no grass.

gThe wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;

they pant for air like jackals;

their eyes fail

because there is no vegetation.

Though our iniquities testify against us,

act, O Lord, hfor your name's sake;

ifor our backslidings are many;

jwe have sinned against you.

kO you hope of Israel,

its savior in time of trouble,

why should you be like a stranger in the land,

like a traveler who turns aside to tarry for a night?

Why should you be like a man confused,

llike a mighty warrior who cannot save?

Yet myou, O Lord, are in the midst of us,

and nwe are called by your name;

odo not leave us.

10  Thus says the Lord concerning this people:

They have loved to wander thus;

they have not restrained their feet;

ptherefore the Lord does not accept them;

qnow he will remember their iniquity

and punish their sins.

11 The Lord said to me: rDo not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, sand though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them tby the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.

Lying Prophets

13 Then I said: Ah, Lord God, behold, the prophets usay to them, You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place. 14 And the Lord said to me: The vprophets are prophesying lies in my name. wI did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, xworthless divination, and ythe deceit of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name although wI did not send them, and who say, tSword and famine shall not come upon this land: zBy sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword, awith none to bury themthem, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.

17  You shall say to them this word:

bLet my eyes run down with tears night and day,

and let them not cease,

for the virgin cdaughter of my people is shattered with a great wound,

dwith a very grievous blow.

18  eIf I go out into the field,

behold, those pierced by the sword!

eAnd if I enter the city,

behold, the diseases of famine!

fFor both prophet and priest ply their trade through the land

and have no knowledge.

19  gHave you utterly rejected Judah?

Does your soul loathe Zion?

Why have you struck us down

hso that there is no healing for us?

iWe looked for peace, but no good came;

ifor a time of healing, but behold, terror.

20  jWe acknowledge our wickedness, O Lord,

and the iniquity of our fathers,

jfor we have sinned against you.

21  Do not spurn us, kfor your name's sake;

do not dishonor your glorious throne;

lremember and do not break your covenant with us.

22  Are there any among mthe false gods of the nations nthat can bring rain?

Or can the heavens give showers?

Are you not he, O Lord our God?

We set our hope on you,

ofor you do all these things.