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?
2 You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
pyou are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.
3 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.
4 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
5 “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?
6 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.”
7 “I have forsaken my house;
I have abandoned amy heritage;
I have given bthe beloved of my soul
into the hands of her enemies.
8 aMy heritage has become to me
like a lion in the forest;
she has lifted up her voice against me;
therefore I hate her.
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.” 2 So I bought a loincloth according to the word of the Lord, and put it around my waist. 3 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, 4 “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.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me. 6 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.” 7 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.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “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.’”
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.
“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,
o‘Why 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.
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:
2 z“Judah mourns,
and aher gates languish;
her people lament on the ground,
and bthe cry of Jerusalem goes up.
3 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.
4 Because of the ground that is dismayed,
since there is eno rain on the land,
the farmers are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
5 Even fthe doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
6 gThe wild donkeys stand on the bare heights;
they pant for air like jackals;
their eyes fail
because there is no vegetation.
7 “Though our iniquities testify against us,
act, O Lord, hfor your name’s sake;
ifor our backslidings are many;
jwe have sinned against you.
8 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?
9 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: r“Do 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.”
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, t‘Sword 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 them—them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their evil upon them.
17 “You shall say to them this word:
b‘Let 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.
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.
The Lord Will Not Relent
15 Then the Lord said to me, p“Though qMoses rand Samuel sstood before me, yet my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them out of my sight, and let them go! 2 And when they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?’ you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord:
t“‘Those who are for pestilence, to pestilence,
and those who are for the sword, to the sword;
those who are for famine, to famine,
and those who are for captivity, to captivity.’
3 uI will appoint over them four kinds of destroyers, declares the Lord: the sword to kill, the dogs to tear, and vthe birds of the air wand the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. 4 xAnd I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what yManasseh the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.
5 z“Who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,
zor who will grieve for you?
Who will turn aside
to ask about your welfare?
6 aYou have rejected me, declares the Lord;
byou keep going backward,
so I have stretched out my hand against you and destroyed you—
cI am weary of relenting.
in the gates of the land;
I have bereaved them; I have destroyed my people;
fthey did not turn from their ways.
8 I have made their widows more in number
than gthe sand of the seas;
I have brought against the mothers of young men
a destroyer at noonday;
I have made anguish and terror
fall upon them suddenly.
9 hShe who bore seven has grown feeble;
ishe has fainted away;
jher sun went down while it was yet day;
she has been shamed and disgraced.
And the rest of them I will give to the sword
before their enemies,
declares the Lord.”
10 kWoe is me, my mother, that you bore me, a man of strife and contention to the whole land! lI have not lent, nor have I borrowed, yet all of them curse me. 11 The Lord said, “Have I not3 set you free for their good? Have I not pleaded for you before the enemy in the time of trouble and in the time of distress? 12 Can one break iron, iron mfrom the north, and bronze?
13 n“Your wealth and your treasures I will give as ospoil, without price, for all your sins, throughout all your territory. 14 I will make you serve your enemies pin a land that you do not know, qfor in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.”
15 rO Lord, you know;
sremember me and visit me,
In your forbearance take me not away;
16 Your words were found, wand I ate them,
and xyour words became to me a joy
and the delight of my heart,
yfor I am called by your name,
O Lord, God of hosts.
17 zI did not sit in the company of revelers,
nor did I rejoice;
aI sat alone, because your hand was upon me,
for you had filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain unceasing,
bmy wound incurable,
refusing to be healed?
Will you be to me clike a deceitful brook,
like waters that fail?
19 Therefore thus says the Lord:
d“If you return, I will restore you,
and you shall estand before me.
If you utter what is precious, and not what is worthless,
you shall be as my mouth.
They shall turn to you,
but you shall not turn to them.
20 fAnd I will make you to this people
a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you,
gbut they shall not prevail over you,
hfor I am with you
to save you and deliver you,
declares the Lord.
21 gI will deliver you out of the hand of the wicked,
and redeem you from the grasp of ithe ruthless.”