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.”
Jerusalem Refused to Repent
5 yRun to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,
look and take note!
Search her squares to see
zif you can find a man,
one who does justice
and seeks truth,
athat I may pardon her.
2 bThough they say, “As the Lord lives,”
cyet they swear falsely.
3 O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?
dYou have struck them down,
but they felt no anguish;
you have consumed them,
but they refused to take correction.
eThey have made their faces harder than rock;
they have refused to repent.
4 Then I said, “These are only the poor;
they have no sense;
ffor they do not know the way of the Lord,
the justice of their God.
5 I will go to the great
and will speak to them,
for they know the way of the Lord,
the justice of their God.”
gBut they all alike had broken the yoke;
they had burst the bonds.
6 Therefore ha lion from the forest shall strike them down;
a iwolf from the desert shall devastate them.
jA leopard is watching their cities;
everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces,
because their transgressions are many,
their kapostasies are great.
7 l“How can I pardon you?
Your children have forsaken me
mand have sworn by those who are no gods.
nWhen I fed them to the full,
othey committed adultery
pand trooped to the houses of whores.
8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions,
qeach neighing rfor his neighbor’s wife.
9 sShall I not punish them for these things?
declares the Lord;
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?
10 t“Go up through her vine rows and destroy,
ubut make not a full end;
strip away her branches,
for they are not the Lord’s.
11 vFor the house of Israel and the house of Judah
have been utterly treacherous to me,
declares the Lord.
12 They have spoken falsely of the Lord
and have said, ‘He will do nothing;
wno disaster will come upon us,
xnor shall we see sword or famine.
13 The prophets will become wind;
the word is not in them.
Thus shall it be done to them!’”
The Lord Proclaims Judgment
14 Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
“Because you have spoken this word,
behold, yI am making my words in your mouth za fire,
and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them.
15 aBehold, I am bringing against you
a nation from afar, O house of Israel,
declares the Lord.
It is an enduring nation;
it is an ancient nation,
a nation whose language you do not know,
bnor can you understand what they say.
16 cTheir quiver is like dan open tomb;
they are all mighty warriors.
17 eThey shall eat up your harvest and your food;
they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;
they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;
they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;
your ffortified cities in which you trust
they shall beat down with the sword.”
18 “But even in those days, declares the Lord, uI will not make a full end of you. 19 And when your people say, g‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, hso you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’”
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob;
proclaim it in Judah:
21 “Hear this, iO foolish and senseless people,
jwho have eyes, but see not,
who have ears, but hear not.
22 kDo you not fear me? declares the Lord.
Do you not tremble before me?
I placed the sand las the boundary for the sea,
a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;
though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;
though mthey roar, they cannot pass over it.
23 nBut this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;
they have turned aside and gone away.
24 They do not say in their hearts,
‘Let us fear the Lord our God,
owho gives the rain in its season,
the autumn rain and the spring rain,
and keeps for us
pthe weeks appointed for the harvest.’
25 qYour iniquities have turned these away,
and your sins have kept good from you.
26 For wicked men are found among my people;
rthey lurk like fowlers lying in wait.1
sThey set a trap;
they catch men.
27 Like a cage full of birds,
their houses are full of deceit;
therefore they have become great and rich;
28 tthey have grown fat and sleek.
They know no bounds in deeds of evil;
uthey judge not with justice
the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,
and they do not defend the rights of the needy.
29 vShall I not punish them for these things?
declares the Lord,
and shall I not avenge myself
on a nation such as this?”
30 An appalling and whorrible thing
has happened in the land:
31 xthe prophets prophesy falsely,
and the priests rule at their direction;
ymy people love to have it so,
but what will you do when the end comes?
Impending Disaster for Jerusalem
6 Flee for safety, zO people of Benjamin,
from the midst of Jerusalem!
Blow the trumpet in aTekoa,
and raise a signal on bBeth-haccherem,
for disaster looms cout of the north,
and great destruction.
2 The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy,
3 eShepherds with their flocks shall come against her;
fthey shall pitch their tents around her;
they shall pasture, each in his place.
4 g“Prepare war against her;
arise, and let us attack hat noon!
Woe to us, for the day declines,
for the shadows of evening lengthen!
5 Arise, and let us attack by night
and destroy her palaces!”
6 For thus says the Lord of hosts:
i“Cut down her trees;
jcast up a siege mound against Jerusalem.
This is the city that must be kpunished;
there is nothing but oppression within her.
7 lAs a well keeps its water fresh,
so she keeps fresh her evil;
mviolence and destruction are heard within her;
sickness and wounds are ever before me.
8 Be warned, O Jerusalem,
nlest I turn from you in disgust,
lest I make you oa desolation,
an uninhabited land.”
9 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
p“They shall glean thoroughly as a vine
the remnant of Israel;
like a grape gatherer pass your hand again
over its branches.”
10 qTo whom shall I speak and give warning,
that they may hear?
rBehold, their ears are uncircumcised,
sthey cannot listen;
behold, tthe word of the Lord is to them an object of scorn;
they take no pleasure in it.
11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of the Lord;
uI am weary of holding it in.
v“Pour it out upon the children in the street,
and upon the gatherings of young men, also;
wboth husband and wife xshall be taken,
the elderly and the very aged.
12 yTheir houses shall be turned over to others,
their fields and wives together,
for I will stretch out my hand
against the inhabitants of the land,”
declares the Lord.
13 z“For from the least to the greatest of them,
everyone ais greedy for unjust gain;
and from bprophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly,
saying, c‘Peace, peace,’
dwhen there is no peace.
15 eWere they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, they were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;
fat the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,”
says the Lord.
16 Thus says the Lord:
“Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for gthe ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it,
hand find rest for your souls.
But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
17 iI set watchmen over you, saying,
‘Pay attention to jthe sound of the trumpet!’
But they said, k‘We will not pay attention.’
18 Therefore hear, O nations,
and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.
19 Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people,
lthe fruit of their devices,
because they have not paid attention to my words;
and as for my law, they have rejected it.
20 mWhat use to me is nfrankincense that comes from oSheba,
or sweet cane from a distant land?
pYour burnt offerings are not acceptable,
nor your sacrifices pleasing to me.
21 Therefore thus says the Lord:
q‘Behold, I will lay before this people
stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;
fathers and sons together,
neighbor and friend shall perish.’”
22 Thus says the Lord:
r“Behold, a people is coming sfrom the north country,
a great nation is stirring from tthe farthest parts of the earth.
23 They lay hold on bow and javelin;
they are ucruel and have no mercy;
vthe sound of them is like the roaring sea;
they ride on horses,
set in array as a man for battle,
against you, O daughter of Zion!”
24 We have heard the report of it;
wour hands fall helpless;
anguish has taken hold of us,
xpain as of a woman in labor.
25 Go not out into the field,
nor walk on the road,
for the enemy has a sword;
yterror is on every side.
26 O daughter of my people, zput on sackcloth,
and aroll in ashes;
bmake mourning as for an only son,
most bitter lamentation,
for suddenly the destroyer
will come upon us.
27 “I have made you ca tester of metals among my people,
that you may know and dtest their ways.
28 eThey are all stubbornly rebellious,
fgoing about with slanders;
they are gbronze and iron;
all of them act corruptly.
29 The gbellows blow fiercely;
the lead is consumed by the fire;
hin vain the refining goes on,
for the wicked are not removed.
30 iRejected silver they are called,
for the Lord has rejected them.”
Evil in the Land
7 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 j“Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. 3 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: kAmend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 lDo not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’
5 “For if you truly mamend your ways and your deeds, if you truly nexecute justice one with another, 6 if you ndo not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, mor shed innocent blood in this place, oand if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, 7 pthen I will let you dwell in this place, qin the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.
8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9 rWill you steal, murder, commit adultery, sswear falsely, tmake offerings to Baal, oand go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, uwhich is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 vHas this house, uwhich is called by my name, wbecome a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the Lord. 12 Go now to xmy place that was in Shiloh, ywhere I made my name dwell at first, and zsee what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the Lord, and awhen I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and bwhen I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to cthe house uthat is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, zas I did to Shiloh. 15 cAnd I will cast you out of my sight, das I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of eEphraim.
16 “As for you, fdo not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, gand the women knead dough, to hmake cakes for ithe queen of heaven. And jthey pour out drink offerings to other gods, kto provoke me to anger. 19 lIs it I whom they provoke? declares the Lord. Is it not themselves, mto their own shame? 20 Therefore thus says the Lord God: Behold, nmy anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; oit will burn and not be quenched.”
21 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: p“Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. 22 For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them qconcerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them: r‘Obey my voice, and sI will be your God, and you shall be my people. tAnd walk in all the way that I command you, uthat it may be well with you.’ 24 vBut they did not obey or incline their ear, wbut walked in their own counsels and xthe stubbornness of their evil hearts, and ywent backward and not forward. 25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, zI have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. 26 vYet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, abut stiffened their neck. bThey did worse than their fathers.
27 c“So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. dYou shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God, and did not accept discipline; etruth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
29 f“‘Cut off your hair and cast it away;
raise a lamentation on gthe bare heights,
for the Lord has rejected and forsaken
the generation of his wrath.’
The Valley of Slaughter
30 “For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the Lord. They have set htheir detestable things in the house ithat is called by my name, to hdefile it. 31 And they have built the high places of jTopheth, which is in kthe Valley of the Son of Hinnom, lto burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, mwhich I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. 32 nTherefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when it will no more be called jTopheth, or kthe Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; ofor they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere. 33 pAnd the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, qand none will frighten them away. 34 rAnd I will silence in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, sfor the land shall become a waste.
8 “At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs. 2 And they shall be spread tbefore the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have gone after, and which they have sought and worshiped. uAnd they shall not be gathered or buried. vThey shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. 3 wDeath shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family xin all the places where I have driven them, declares the Lord of hosts.
Sin and Treachery
4 “You shall say to them, Thus says the Lord:
yWhen men fall, do they not rise again?
If one turns away, does he not return?
5 Why then has this people zturned away
in perpetual abacksliding?
bThey hold fast to deceit;
they refuse to return.
6 cI have paid attention and listened,
but they have not spoken rightly;
no man relents of his evil,
saying, ‘What have I done?’
Everyone turns to his own course,
dlike a horse plunging headlong into battle.
7 Even the stork in the heavens
knows her times,
and ethe turtledove, fswallow, and crane1
keep the time of their coming,
gbut my people know not
the rules2 of the Lord.
8 h“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
and the law of the Lord is with us’?
But behold, the lying pen of the scribes
has made it into a lie.
9 iThe wise men shall be put to shame;
they shall be dismayed jand taken;
behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord,
so what wisdom is in them?
10 kTherefore I will give their wives to others
and their fields to conquerors,
because from the least to the greatest
everyone lis greedy for unjust gain;
from prophet to priest,
everyone deals falsely.
11 They have healed mthe wound of my people lightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
when there is no peace.
12 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination?
No, nthey were not at all ashamed;
they did not know how to blush.
oTherefore they shall fall among the fallen;
when I punish them, they shall be overthrown,
says the Lord.
13 When I would gather them, declares the Lord,
there are qno grapes on the vine,
rnor figs on the fig tree;
seven the leaves are withered,
and what I gave them has passed away from them.”3
14 Why do we sit still?
tGather together; tlet us go into the fortified cities
and perish there,
for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
and has ugiven us vpoisoned water to drink,
because we have sinned against the Lord.
15 wWe looked for peace, but no good came;
for a time of healing, but behold, terror.
16 x“The snorting of their horses is heard yfrom Dan;
at the sound of the neighing zof their stallions
athe whole land quakes.
They come band devour the land and all that fills it,
the city and those who dwell in it.
17 For behold, I am sending among you cserpents,
adders dthat cannot be charmed,
eand they shall bite you,”
declares the Lord.
Jeremiah Grieves for His People
18 My joy is gone; grief is upon me;4
fmy heart is sick within me.
19 Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people
from gthe length and breadth of the land:
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
hIs her King not in her?”
i“Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images
and with their foreign idols?”
20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended,
and we are not saved.”
21 For the wound of jthe daughter of my people is my heart wounded;
kI mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me.
22 Is there no lbalm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has the health of the daughter of my people
not been restored?