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.
7 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.
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 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 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,
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:
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.”
Famine, Sword, and Death
16 The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place. 3 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: 4 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.
5 “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. 6 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. 7 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. 8 You shall not go into the house of feasting to sit with them, to eat and drink. 9 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, t‘Why 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: u‘Because 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 b“Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it shall no longer be said, c‘As the Lord lives who brought up the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but c‘As 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, 2 while utheir children remember their altars and their vAsherim, wbeside every green tree and on the high hills, 3 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. 4 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.”
5 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.
6 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.
7 f“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
gwhose trust is the Lord.
8 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.”
9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10 i“I the Lord search the heart
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: 2 “Arise, and go down to qthe potter’s house, and there I will let you hear1 my words.” 3 So I went down to rthe potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 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.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “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. 7 If at any time I declare concerning a nation or a kingdom, that I will wpluck up and break down and destroy it, 8 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. 9 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, b‘That 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, p“Come, 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.
The Broken Flask
19 Thus says the Lord, “Go, buy ca potter’s earthenware dflask, and take some of ethe elders of the people and some of ethe elders of the priests, 2 and go out fto the Valley of the Son of Hinnom at the entry of the Potsherd Gate, and proclaim there the words that I tell you. 3 You shall say, g‘Hear the word of the Lord, hO kings of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing such disaster upon this place that ithe ears of everyone who hears of it will tingle. 4 jBecause the people have forsaken me and have profaned this place by making offerings in it to other gods whom neither they nor their fathers nor the kings of Judah have known; kand because they have filled this place with the blood of innocents, 5 land have built the high places of Baal lto burn their sons in the fire as burnt offerings to Baal, mwhich I did not command or decree, nor did it come into my mind— 6 therefore, nbehold, days are coming, declares the Lord, when this place shall no more be called Topheth, or othe Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. 7 And in this place pI will make void the plans of Judah and Jerusalem, qand will cause their people to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of those who seek their life. rI will give their dead bodies for food to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the earth. 8 And I will make this city sa horror, sa thing to be hissed at. Everyone who passes by it will be horrified and will hiss because of all its wounds. 9 tAnd I will make them eat the flesh of their sons and their daughters, and everyone shall eat the flesh of his neighbor uin the siege and in the distress, with which their enemies and those who seek their life afflict them.’
10 “Then vyou shall break wthe flask in the sight of the men who go with you, 11 and shall say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, xas one breaks a potter’s vessel, yso that it can never be mended. zMen shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury. 12 Thus will I do to this place, declares the Lord, and to its inhabitants, making this city alike Topheth. 13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah—ball the houses on whose croofs offerings have been offered dto all the host of heaven, and edrink offerings have been poured out to other gods—shall be defiled alike the place of Topheth.’”
14 Then Jeremiah came from fTopheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, gand he stood in the court of the Lord’s house and said to all the people: 15 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, behold, I am bringing upon this city and upon all its towns all the disaster that I have pronounced against it, hbecause they have stiffened their neck, irefusing to hear my words.”