Jeremiah 2

The Humble and Contrite in Spirit

66  aThus says the Lord:

bHeaven is my throne,

and the earth is my footstool;

what is the house that you would build for me,

and what is the place of my rest?

cAll these things my hand has made,

and so all these things came to be,

declares the Lord.

dBut this is the one to whom I will look:

he who is humble and contrite in spirit

and trembles at my word.

eHe who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;

he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog's neck;

he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers fpig's blood;

he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol.

gThese have chosen their own ways,

and their soul delights in their abominations;

hI also will choose harsh treatment for them

and bring itheir fears upon them,

jbecause when I called, no one answered,

when I spoke, they did not listen;

kbut they did what was evil in my eyes

and chose that in which I did not delight.

Hear the word of the Lord,

you who tremble at his word:

Your brothers who hate you

and cast you out for my name's sake

have said, lLet the Lord be glorified,

that we may see your joy;

but it is they who shall be put to shame.

The sound of an uproar from the city!

A sound from the temple!

The sound of the Lord,

mrendering recompense to his enemies!

Rejoice with Jerusalem

nBefore she was in labor

she gave birth;

before her pain came upon her

she delivered a son.

Who has heard such a thing?

Who has seen such things?

Shall a land be born in one day?

Shall a nation be brought forth in one moment?

For nas soon as Zion was in labor

she brought forth her children.

Shall I bring to the point of birth and not cause to bring forth?

says the Lord;

shall I, who cause to bring forth, shut the womb?

says your God.

10  oRejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,

all you who love her;

rejoice with her in joy,

all you who mourn over her;

11  that you may nurse and be satisfied

from her consoling breast;

that you may drink deeply with delight

from her glorious abundance.1

12  For thus says the Lord:

pBehold, I will extend peace to her like a river,

and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;

and qyou shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,

and bounced upon her knees.

13  As one whom his mother comforts,

so rI will comfort you;

you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.

14  You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;

syour bones shall flourish like the grass;

and tthe hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,

and he shall show his indignation against his enemies.

Final Judgment and Glory of the Lord

15  For behold, uthe Lord will come in fire,

and vhis chariots like the whirlwind,

to render his anger in fury,

and his rebuke with flames of fire.

16  For wby fire xwill the Lord enter into judgment,

and by his sword, with all flesh;

and those slain by the Lord shall be many.

17 yThose who sanctify and purify themselves to go into the gardens, following one in the midst, zeating pig's flesh and the abomination and mice, shall come to an end together, declares the Lord.

18 For I know2 their works and their thoughts, and the time is coming3 ato gather all nations and tongues. And they shall come and shall see my glory, 19 and I will set a sign among them. And from them bI will send survivors to the nations, to cTarshish, dPul, and dLud, who draw the bow, to eTubal and eJavan, fto the coastlands far away, gthat have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. 20 hAnd they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations ias an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries, to my holy mountain Jerusalem, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their grain offering in a clean vessel to the house of the Lord. 21 jAnd some of them also I will take for priests and for Levites, says the Lord.

22  For as kthe new heavens and the new earth

that I make

shall remain before me, says the Lord,

so lshall your offspring and your name remain.

23  mFrom new moon to new moon,

and from Sabbath to Sabbath,

all flesh shall come to worship before me,

declares the Lord.

24 And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For ntheir worm shall not die, otheir fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.

Jeremiah Illustration

Jeremiah

The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one aof the priests who were in bAnathoth in the land of Benjamin, 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. 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

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying,

iBefore 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.

Then I said, Ah, Lord God! Behold, lI do not know how to speak, mfor I am only a youth. But the Lord said to me,

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.

oDo not be afraid of them,

pfor I am with you to deliver you,

declares the Lord.

qThen the Lord put out his hand and rtouched my mouth. And the Lord said to me,

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, uJeremiah, 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, wOut 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

The word of the Lord came to me, saying, 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.

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.

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:

rWhat wrong did your fathers find in me

that they went far from me,

sand went after tworthlessness, and became worthless?

They did not say, uWhere 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?

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.

The priests did not say, Where is the Lord?

yThose who handle the law did not know me;

zthe shepherds1 transgressed against me;

athe prophets prophesied by Baal

and went after bthings that do not profit.

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:

kthey have forsaken lme,

the fountain of mliving waters,

and hewed out cisterns for themselves,

broken cisterns that can hold no water.

14  nIs 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.

16  Moreover, the men of qMemphis and rTahpanhes

shave shaved2 the crown of your head.

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

to drink the waters of ythe Euphrates?3

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, eI 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.

gIf1 a man divorces his wife

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.

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.

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.

Have you not just now ncalled to me,

My father, you are the friend of my youth

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

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? 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. 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. 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.

11 And the Lord said to me, xFaithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward ythe north, and say,

zReturn, 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  rReturn, 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 orgies2 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.

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,

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.

For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

cBreak up your fallow ground,

and dsow not among thorns.

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

Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,

hBlow the trumpet through the land;

cry aloud and say,

iAssemble, and let us go

into the fortified cities!

jRaise a standard toward Zion,

flee for safety, stay not,

for I bring disaster from kthe north,

land great destruction.

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

nwithout inhabitant.

For this oput on sackcloth,

lament and wail,

for pthe fierce anger of the Lord

has not turned back from us.

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 wisein 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  pFor 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.