2 to whom the word of the Lord came in the days of cJosiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in dthe thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of eJehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, and funtil the end of the eleventh year of gZedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, huntil the captivity of Jerusalem in the fifth month.
The Call of Jeremiah
4 Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,
5 i“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you,
and before you were born jI consecrated you;
I appointed you a prophet kto the nations.”
“Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’;
for to all to whom I send you, you shall go,
and nwhatever I command you, you shall speak.
8 oDo not be afraid of them,
pfor I am with you to deliver you,
declares the Lord.”
“Behold, I have put smy words in your mouth.
10 See, I have set you this day kover nations and over kingdoms,
tto pluck up and to break down,
to destroy and to overthrow,
to build and to plant.”
11 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, u“Jeremiah, what do you see?” And I said, “I see an almond1 branch.” 12 Then the Lord said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over my word to perform it.”
13 The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see va boiling pot, facing away wfrom the north.” 14 Then the Lord said to me, w“Out of the north disaster2 shall be let loose upon all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For behold, xI am calling all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north, declares the Lord, yand they shall come, and every one shall set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, against all its walls all around and against all the cities of Judah. 16 And zI will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil ain forsaking me. bThey have made offerings to other gods and cworshiped the works of their own hands. 17 But you, ddress yourself for work;3 arise, and esay to them everything that I command you. fDo not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 And I, behold, I make you this day ga fortified city, han iron pillar, and ibronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the people of the land. 19 iThey will fight against you, but they shall not prevail against you, for jI am with you, declares the Lord, to deliver you.”
Israel Forsakes the Lord
2 The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord,
“I remember the devotion of kyour youth,
your love las a bride,
mhow you followed me in the wilderness,
nin a land not sown.
3 oIsrael was holy to the Lord,
pthe firstfruits of his harvest.
qAll who ate of it incurred guilt;
disaster came upon them,
declares the Lord.”
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord:
r“What wrong did your fathers find in me
that they went far from me,
6 They did not say, u‘Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us vin the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and pits,
in a land of drought and deep darkness,
in a land that none passes through,
where no man dwells?’
7 wAnd I brought you into a plentiful land
to enjoy its fruits and its good things.
But when you came in, xyou defiled my land
and made my heritage an abomination.
8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’
yThose who handle the law did not know me;
athe prophets prophesied by Baal
and went after bthings that do not profit.
9 “Therefore cI still contend with you,
declares the Lord,
and dwith your children’s children I will contend.
10 For cross to the coasts of eCyprus and see,
or send to fKedar and examine with care;
see if there has been such a thing.
11 gHas a nation changed its gods,
heven though they are no gods?
But my people ihave changed their glory
for bthat which does not profit.
12 Be appalled, jO heavens, at this;
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils:
the fountain of mliving waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
broken cisterns that can hold no water.
14 n“Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
Why then has he become a prey?
15 oThe lions have roared against him;
they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
his cities are in ruins, pwithout inhabitant.
17 tHave you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
when uhe led you in the way?
18 vAnd now what do you gain by going to Egypt
to drink the waters of wthe Nile?
xOr what do you gain by going to Assyria
19 zYour evil will chastise you,
and ayour apostasy will reprove you.
Know and see that it is evil and bbitter
for cyou to forsake the Lord your God;
the fear of me is not in you,
declares the Lord God of hosts.
20 “For long ago I dbroke your yoke
and burst your bonds;
but you said, e‘I will not serve.’
Yes, fon every high hill
and under every green tree
you bowed down glike a whore.
21 hYet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
iHow then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?
22 Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
jthe stain of your guilt is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
23 kHow can you say, ‘I am not unclean,
I have not gone after the Baals’?
Look at your way lin the valley;
know what you have done—
a restless young camel running here and there,
24 ma wild donkey used to the wilderness,
in her heat sniffing the wind!
Who can restrain her lust?
None who seek her need weary themselves;
in her month they will find her.
25 Keep nyour feet from going unshod
and oyour throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is hopeless,
pfor I have loved foreigners,
and after them I will go.’
26 “As a thief is shamed when caught,
so the house of Israel shall be shamed:
qthey, their kings, their officials,
their priests, and their prophets,
27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
For they have turned their back to me,
and not their face.
But rin the time of their trouble they say,
‘Arise and save us!’
28 But swhere are your gods
that you made for yourself?
Let them arise, tif they can save you,
in your time of trouble;
for uas many as your cities
are your gods, O Judah.
29 “Why do you contend with me?
You have all transgressed against me,
declares the Lord.
30 In vain have I vstruck your children;
they took no correction;
wyour own sword devoured your prophets
like a ravening lion.
31 And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord.
Have I been a wilderness to Israel,
or a land of thick darkness?
Why then do my people say, ‘We are free,
we will come no more to you’?
32 xCan a virgin forget her ornaments,
or a bride her attire?
Yet ymy people have forgotten me
days without number.
33 “How well you direct your course
to seek love!
So that even to wicked women
you have taught your ways.
34 Also on your skirts is found
zthe lifeblood of the guiltless poor;
you did not find them abreaking in.
Yet in spite of all these things
35 you say, ‘I am innocent;
surely his anger has turned from me.’
bBehold, I will bring you to judgment
for csaying, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 dHow much you go about,
changing your way!
You shall be eput to shame by Egypt
as you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 From it too you will come away
with fyour hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
and you will not prosper by them.
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
hWould not that land be greatly polluted?
iYou have played the whore with many lovers;
and would you return to me?
declares the Lord.
2 Lift up your eyes to jthe bare heights, and see!
Where have you not been ravished?
kBy the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers
like an Arab in the wilderness.
hYou have polluted the land
with your vile whoredom.
3 lTherefore the showers have been withheld,
and the spring rain has not come;
yet you have mthe forehead of a whore;
you refuse to be ashamed.
4 Have you not just now ncalled to me,
‘My father, you are the friend of my youth—
5 owill he be angry forever,
will he be indignant to the end?’
Behold, you have spoken,
but you have done all the evil that you could.”
Faithless Israel Called to Repentance
6 The Lord said to me in the days of pKing Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, qhow she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there iplayed the whore? 7 And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous rsister Judah saw it. 8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, sI had sent her away with ta decree of divorce. uYet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went iand played the whore. 9 Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with vstone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me wwith her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the Lord.”
z“‘Return, faithless Israel,
declares the Lord.
I will not look on you in anger,
for aI am merciful,
declares the Lord;
bI will not be angry forever.
13 cOnly acknowledge your guilt,
that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and scattered your favors among foreigners under devery green tree,
and that you have not obeyed my voice,
declares the Lord.
14 eReturn, O faithless children,
declares the Lord;
ffor I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city and two from a family,
and I will bring you to Zion.
15 “‘And gI will give you shepherds after my own heart, hwho will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the Lord, iand all nations shall gather to it, jto the presence of the Lord in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 kIn those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land lof the north to mthe land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
19 “‘I said,
How I would set you among my sons,
and give you a pleasant land,
a heritage most beautiful of all nations.
And I thought you would ncall me, My Father,
and would not turn from following me.
20 oSurely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel,
declares the Lord.’”
21 A voice on the pbare heights is heard,
qthe weeping and pleading of Israel’s sons
because they have perverted their way;
they have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 r“Return, O faithless sons;
sI will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to you,
for you are the Lord our God.
23 Truly tthe hills are a delusion,
the orgies8 on the mountains.
uTruly in the Lord our God
is the salvation of Israel.
24 “But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 vLet us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For wwe have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
4 “If you return, O Israel,
declares the Lord,
xto me you should return.
If you remove your detestable things from my presence,
yand do not waver,
2 zand if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’
in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,
then anations shall bless themselves in him,
band in him shall they glory.”
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:
c“Break up your fallow ground,
and dsow not among thorns.
4 eCircumcise yourselves to the Lord;
remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
flest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
gbecause of the evil of your deeds.”
Disaster from the North
5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,
h“Blow the trumpet through the land;
cry aloud and say,
i‘Assemble, and let us go
into the fortified cities!’
6 jRaise a standard toward Zion,
flee for safety, stay not,
for I bring disaster from kthe north,
land great destruction.
7 mA lion has gone up from his thicket,
a destroyer of nations has set out;
he has gone out from his place
to make your land a waste;
your cities will be ruins
8 For this oput on sackcloth,
lament and wail,
for pthe fierce anger of the Lord
has not turned back from us.”
9 “In that day, declares the Lord, qcourage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.” 10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God, rsurely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.”
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from sthe bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who tspeak in judgment upon them.”
13 Behold, he comes up like clouds;
uhis chariots like the whirlwind;
his horses are vswifter than eagles—
woe to us, wfor we are ruined!
14 O Jerusalem, xwash your heart from evil,
that you may be saved.
How long shall your wicked thoughts
lodge within you?
15 For a voice ydeclares from Dan
and proclaims trouble from zMount Ephraim.
16 Warn the nations that he is coming;
announce to Jerusalem,
“Besiegers come afrom a distant land;
they shout against the cities of Judah.
17 Like keepers of a field bare they against her all around,
because she has rebelled against me,
declares the Lord.
18 Your ways and your deeds
have brought this upon you.
This is your doom, and cit is bitter;
it has reached your very heart.”
Anguish over Judah’s Desolation
19 dMy anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!
Oh the walls of my heart!
My heart is beating wildly;
I cannot keep silent,
for I hear the sound of the trumpet,
the alarm of war.
20 eCrash follows hard on crash;
the whole land is laid waste.
fSuddenly my tents are laid waste,
my curtains in a moment.
21 How long must I see the standard
and hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 “For gmy people are foolish;
they know me not;
they are stupid children;
they have no understanding.
hThey are ‘wise’—in doing evil!
But how to do good they know not.”
23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was iwithout form and void;
jand to the heavens, and they had no light.
24 I looked on kthe mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
and all the hills moved to and fro.
25 lI looked, and behold, there was no man,
and all the birds of the air had fled.
26 I looked, and behold, the mfruitful land was a desert,
and all its cities were laid in ruins
before the Lord, before nhis fierce anger.
27 For thus says the Lord, “The whole land shall be a desolation; oyet I will not make a full end.
28 p“For this the earth shall mourn,
qand the heavens above be dark;
for I have spoken; I have purposed;
rI have not relented, nor will I turn back.”
29 At the noise of horseman and archer
every city takes to flight;
they enter thickets; they climb among rocks;
all the cities are forsaken,
and sno man dwells in them.
30 And you, O desolate one,
what do you mean that you dress in scarlet,
tthat you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
uthat you enlarge your eyes with paint?
In vain you beautify yourself.
vYour lovers despise you;
they seek your life.
31 For I heard wa cry as of a woman in labor,
anguish as of one giving birth to her first child,
the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath,
xstretching out her hands,
“Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”