Jeremiah 16

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.

The Lord Will Not Relent

15 Then the Lord said to me, pThough 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! And when they ask you, Where shall we go? you shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:

tThose 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.

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. 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.

zWho will have pity on you, O Jerusalem,

zor who will grieve for you?

Who will turn aside

to ask about your welfare?

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.

dI have winnowed them with ea winnowing fork

in the gates of the land;

I have bereaved them; I have destroyed my people;

fthey did not turn from their ways.

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.

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.

Jeremiah's Complaint

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 not1 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 nYour 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,

stand take vengeance for me on my persecutors.

In your forbearance take me not away;

uknow that vfor your sake I bear reproach.

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:

dIf 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.

Famine, Sword, and Death

16 The word of the Lord came to me: You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who bore them and the fathers who fathered them in this land: jThey shall die of deadly diseases. kThey shall not be lamented, nor shall they be buried. lThey shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. mThey shall perish by the sword and by famine, nand their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.

For thus says the Lord: oDo not enter the house of mourning, or go to lament or grieve for them, for I have taken away my peace from this people, my steadfast love and mercy, declares the Lord. Both great and small shall die in this land. kThey shall not be buried, and no one shall lament for them or pcut himself qor make himself bald for them. No one shall rbreak bread for the mourner, to comfort him for the dead, nor shall anyone give him the cup of consolation to drink for his father or his mother. You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink. For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: sBehold, I will silence in this place, before your eyes and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

10 And when you tell this people all these words, and they say to you, tWhy has the Lord pronounced all this great evil against us? What is our iniquity? What is the sin that we have committed against the Lord our God? 11 then you shall say to them: uBecause your fathers have forsaken me, declares the Lord, and vhave gone after other gods and have served and worshiped them, and have forsaken me and have not kept my law, 12 and because wyou have done worse than your fathers, for behold, xevery one of you follows his stubborn, evil will, refusing to listen to me. 13 Therefore yI will hurl you out of this land into za land that neither you nor your fathers have known, aand there you shall serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no favor.

The Lord Will Restore Israel

14 bTherefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, cAs the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt, 15 but cAs the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel dout of the north country and out of all the countries where he had driven them. For eI will bring them back to their own land that I gave to their fathers.

16 Behold, fI am sending for many fishers, declares the Lord, and they shall catch them. And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out gof the clefts of the rocks. 17 For hmy eyes are on all their ways. iThey are not hidden from me, inor is their iniquity concealed from my eyes. 18 But first jI will doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted my land with the carcasses of their detestable idols, and khave filled my inheritance with their abominations.

19  lO Lord, my strength and my stronghold,

mmy refuge in the day of trouble,

nto you shall the nations come

from the ends of the earth and say:

Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies,

oworthless things in which there is no profit.

20  Can man make for himself pgods?

Such are not gods!

21 Therefore, behold, I will make them know, this once I will make them know my power and my might, and they shall know that qmy name is the Lord.

The Sin of Judah

17 The sin of Judah is written with ra pen of iron; with a point of diamond it is engraved on sthe tablet of their heart, and on tthe horns of their altars, while utheir children remember their altars and their vAsherim, wbeside every green tree and on the high hills, xon the mountains in the open country. yYour wealth and all your treasures I will give for spoil as the price of your high places for sin throughout all your territory. You shall loosen your hand from your heritage that I gave to you, zand I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you do not know, afor in my anger a fire is kindled that shall burn forever.

Thus says the Lord:

Cursed is the man bwho trusts in man

and makes flesh his strength,1

whose heart turns away from the Lord.

cHe is like a shrub in the desert,

dand shall not see any good come.

He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness,

in ean uninhabited salt land.

fBlessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,

gwhose trust is the Lord.

hHe is like a tree planted by water,

that sends out its roots by the stream,

and does not fear when heat comes,

for its leaves remain green,

and is not anxious in the year of drought,

for it does not cease to bear fruit.

The heart is deceitful above all things,

and desperately sick;

who can understand it?

10  iI the Lord search the heart

jand test the mind,2

kto give every man according to his ways,

according to the fruit of his deeds.

11  Like the lpartridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch,

so is mhe who gets riches but not by justice;

nin the midst of his days they will leave him,

oand at his end he will be a fool.

12  A glorious throne set on high from the beginning

is the place of our sanctuary.

13  O Lord, pthe hope of Israel,

qall who forsake you shall be put to shame;

those who turn away from you3 rshall be written in the earth,

for sthey have forsaken tthe Lord, the fountain of living water.

Jeremiah Prays for Deliverance

14  uHeal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed;

save me, and I shall be saved,

for vyou are my praise.

15  wBehold, they say to me,

Where is the word of the Lord?

Let it come!

16  I have not run away from being your shepherd,

nor have I desired the day of sickness.

xYou know xwhat came out of my lips;

it was before your face.

17  Be not a terror to me;

yyou are my refuge in the day of disaster.

18  zLet those be put to shame who persecute me,

but let me not be put to shame;

zlet them be dismayed,

but let me not be dismayed;

abring upon them the day of disaster;

destroy them with double destruction!

Keep the Sabbath Holy

19 Thus said the Lord to me: Go and stand in the People's Gate, by which bthe kings of Judah enter and by which they go out, and in all the gates of Jerusalem, 20 and say: Hear the word of the Lord, byou kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter by these gates. 21 Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and cdo not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem. 22 And do not carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath dor do any work, but ekeep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your fathers. 23 Yet fthey did not listen or incline their ear, gbut stiffened their neck, that they hmight not hear and receive instruction.

24 But if you listen to me, declares the Lord, and cbring in no burden by the gates of this city on the Sabbath day, but ekeep the Sabbath day holy and do no work on it, 25 then ithere shall enter by the gates of this city kings and princes who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their officials, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city shall be inhabited forever. 26 And people shall come from jthe cities of Judah kand the places around Jerusalem, jfrom the land of Benjamin, kfrom the Shephelah, from the hill country, kand from lthe Negeb, bringing mburnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and frankincense, and mbringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you do not listen to me, to ekeep the Sabbath day holy, cand not to bear a burden and enter by the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will nkindle a fire in its gates, and it shall odevour the palaces of Jerusalem and pshall not be quenched.

The Potter and the Clay

18 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Arise, and go down to qthe potter's house, and there I will let you hear1 my words. So I went down to rthe potter's house, and there he was working at his wheel. And the vessel he was making of clay was sspoiled in the potter's hand, and the reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: O house of Israel, ucan I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. vBehold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will wpluck up and break down and destroy it, and if that nation, concerning which I have spoken, xturns from its evil, yI will relent of the disaster that I intended to do to it. And if at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom that I will wbuild and plant it, 10 and if it does evil in my sight, not listening to my voice, then I will relent of the good that I had intended to do to it. 11 Now, therefore, say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord, Behold, I am shaping disaster against you and devising a plan against you. zReturn, every one from his evil way, and aamend your ways and your deeds.

12 But they say, bThat is in vain! We will follow our own plans, and will every one act according to cthe stubbornness of his evil heart.

13  Therefore thus says the Lord:

dAsk among the nations,

Who has heard the like of this?

The virgin Israel

has done ea very horrible thing.

14  Does the snow of Lebanon leave

the crags of Sirion?2

Do the mountain waters run dry,3

the cold flowing streams?

15  fBut my people have forgotten me;

they make offerings to gfalse gods;

they made them stumble in their ways,

hin the ancient roads,

and to walk into side roads,

inot the highway,

16  making their land ja horror,

a thing jto be hissed at forever.

kEveryone who passes by it is horrified

land shakes his head.

17  mLike the east wind nI will scatter them

before the enemy.

oI will show them my back, not my face,

in the day of their calamity.

18 Then they said, pCome, let us make plots against Jeremiah, qfor the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. rCome, let us strike him with the tongue, and let us not pay attention to any of his words.

19  Hear me, O Lord,

and slisten to the voice of my adversaries.

20  tShould good be repaid with evil?

Yet uthey have dug a pit for my life.

vRemember how I stood before you

to speak good for them,

to turn away your wrath from them.

21  Therefore wdeliver up their children to famine;

give them over to the power of the sword;

let their wives become childless xand widowed.

May their men meet death by pestilence,

their youths be struck down by the sword in battle.

22  yMay a cry be heard from their houses,

when you bring the plunderer suddenly upon them!

For uthey have dug a pit to take me

zand laid snares for my feet.

23  Yet ayou, O Lord, know

all their plotting to kill me.

bForgive not their iniquity,

nor blot out their sin from your sight.

Let them be overthrown before you;

deal with them in the time of your anger.