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Judah’s Terrible Drought
1 This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord, explaining why he was holding back the rain:
2 “Judah wilts;
commerce at the city gates grinds to a halt.
All the people sit on the ground in mourning,
and a great cry rises from Jerusalem.
3 The nobles send servants to get water,
but all the wells are dry.
The servants return with empty pitchers,
confused and desperate,
covering their heads in grief.
4 The ground is parched
and cracked for lack of rain.
The farmers are deeply troubled;
they, too, cover their heads.
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn
because there is no grass in the field.
6 The wild donkeys stand on the bare hills
panting like thirsty jackals.
They strain their eyes looking for grass,
but there is none to be found.”
7 The people say, “Our wickedness has caught up with us, Lord,
but help us for the sake of your own reputation.
We have turned away from you
and sinned against you again and again.
8 O Hope of Israel, our Savior in times of trouble,
why are you like a stranger to us?
Why are you like a traveler passing through the land,
stopping only for the night?
9 Are you also confused?
Is our champion helpless to save us?
You are right here among us, Lord.
We are known as your people.
Please don’t abandon us now!”
10 So this is what the Lord says to his people:
“You love to wander far from me
and do not restrain yourselves.
Therefore, I will no longer accept you as my people.
Now I will remember all your wickedness
and will punish you for your sins.”
The Lord Forbids Jeremiah to Intercede
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore. 12 When they fast, I will pay no attention. When they present their burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.”
13 Then I said, “O Sovereign Lord, their prophets are telling them, ‘All is well—no war or famine will come. The Lord will surely send you peace.’”
14 Then the Lord said, “These prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or tell them to speak. I did not give them any messages. They prophesy of visions and revelations they have never seen or heard. They speak foolishness made up in their own lying hearts. 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I will punish these lying prophets, for they have spoken in my name even though I never sent them. They say that no war or famine will come, but they themselves will die by war and famine! 16 As for the people to whom they prophesy—their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one left to bury them. Husbands, wives, sons, and daughters—all will be gone. For I will pour out their own wickedness on them. 17 Now, Jeremiah, say this to them:
“Night and day my eyes overflow with tears.
I cannot stop weeping,
for my virgin daughter—my precious people—
has been struck down
and lies mortally wounded.
18 If I go out into the fields,
I see the bodies of people slaughtered by the enemy.
If I walk the city streets,
I see people who have died of starvation.
The prophets and priests continue with their work,
but they don’t know what they’re doing.”
A Prayer for Healing
19 Lord, have you completely rejected Judah?
Do you really hate Jerusalem?[a]
Why have you wounded us past all hope of healing?
We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.
20 Lord, we confess our wickedness
and that of our ancestors, too.
We all have sinned against you.
21 For the sake of your reputation, Lord, do not abandon us.
Do not disgrace your own glorious throne.
Please remember us,
and do not break your covenant with us.
22 Can any of the worthless foreign gods send us rain?
Does it fall from the sky by itself?
No, you are the one, O Lord our God!
Only you can do such things.
So we will wait for you to help us.
- 14:19 Hebrew Zion?
Jeremiah’s Linen Loincloth
1 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it on, but do not wash it.” 2 So I bought the loincloth as the Lord directed me, and I put it on.
3 Then the Lord gave me another message: 4 “Take the linen loincloth you are wearing, and go to the Euphrates River.[a] Hide it there in a hole in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates as the Lord had instructed me.
6 A long time afterward the Lord said to me, “Go back to the Euphrates and get the loincloth I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to the Euphrates and dug it out of the hole where I had hidden it. But now it was rotting and falling apart. The loincloth was good for nothing.
8 Then I received this message from the Lord: 9 “This is what the Lord says: This shows how I will rot away the pride of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people refuse to listen to me. They stubbornly follow their own desires and worship other gods. Therefore, they will become like this loincloth—good for nothing! 11 As a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I created Judah and Israel to cling to me, says the Lord. They were to be my people, my pride, my glory—an honor to my name. But they would not listen to me.
12 “So tell them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: May all your jars be filled with wine.’ And they will reply, ‘Of course! Jars are made to be filled with wine!’
13 “Then tell them, ‘No, this is what the Lord means: I will fill everyone in this land with drunkenness—from the king sitting on David’s throne to the priests and the prophets, right down to the common people of Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them against each other, even parents against children, says the Lord. I will not let my pity or mercy or compassion keep me from destroying them.’”
A Warning against Pride
15 Listen and pay attention!
Do not be arrogant, for the Lord has spoken.
16 Give glory to the Lord your God
before it is too late.
Acknowledge him before he brings darkness upon you,
causing you to stumble and fall on the darkening mountains.
For then, when you look for light,
you will find only terrible darkness and gloom.
17 And if you still refuse to listen,
I will weep alone because of your pride.
My eyes will overflow with tears,
because the Lord’s flock will be led away into exile.
18 Say to the king and his mother,
“Come down from your thrones
and sit in the dust,
for your glorious crowns
will soon be snatched from your heads.”
19 The towns of the Negev will close their gates,
and no one will be able to open them.
The people of Judah will be taken away as captives.
All will be carried into exile.
20 Open up your eyes and see
the armies marching down from the north!
Where is your flock—
your beautiful flock—
that he gave you to care for?
21 What will you say when the Lord takes the allies you have cultivated
and appoints them as your rulers?
Pangs of anguish will grip you,
like those of a woman in labor!
22 You may ask yourself,
“Why is all this happening to me?”
It is because of your many sins!
That is why you have been stripped
and raped by invading armies.
23 Can an Ethiopian[b] change the color of his skin?
Can a leopard take away its spots?
Neither can you start doing good,
for you have always done evil.
24 “I will scatter you like chaff
that is blown away by the desert winds.
25 This is your allotment,
the portion I have assigned to you,”
says the Lord,
“for you have forgotten me,
putting your trust in false gods.
26 I myself will strip you
and expose you to shame.
27 I have seen your adultery and lust,
and your disgusting idol worship out in the fields and on the hills.
What sorrow awaits you, Jerusalem!
How long before you are pure?”
Jeremiah Questions the Lord’s Justice
1 Lord, you always give me justice
when I bring a case before you.
So let me bring you this complaint:
Why are the wicked so prosperous?
Why are evil people so happy?
2 You have planted them,
and they have taken root and prospered.
Your name is on their lips,
but you are far from their hearts.
3 But as for me, Lord, you know my heart.
You see me and test my thoughts.
Drag these people away like sheep to be butchered!
Set them aside to be slaughtered!
4 How long must this land mourn?
Even the grass in the fields has withered.
The wild animals and birds have disappeared
because of the evil in the land.
For the people have said,
“The Lord doesn’t see what’s ahead for us!”
The Lord’s Reply to Jeremiah
5 “If racing against mere men makes you tired,
how will you race against horses?
If you stumble and fall on open ground,
what will you do in the thickets near the Jordan?
6 Even your brothers, members of your own family,
have turned against you.
They plot and raise complaints against you.
Do not trust them,
no matter how pleasantly they speak.
7 “I have abandoned my people, my special possession.
I have surrendered my dearest ones to their enemies.
8 My chosen people have roared at me like a lion of the forest,
so I have treated them with contempt.
9 My chosen people act like speckled vultures,[a]
but they themselves are surrounded by vultures.
Bring on the wild animals to pick their corpses clean!
10 “Many rulers have ravaged my vineyard,
trampling down the vines
and turning all its beauty into a barren wilderness.
11 They have made it an empty wasteland;
I hear its mournful cry.
The whole land is desolate,
and no one even cares.
12 On all the bare hilltops,
destroying armies can be seen.
The sword of the Lord devours people
from one end of the nation to the other.
No one will escape!
13 My people have planted wheat
but are harvesting thorns.
They have worn themselves out,
but it has done them no good.
They will harvest a crop of shame
because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
A Message for Israel’s Neighbors
14 Now this is what the Lord says: “I will uproot from their land all the evil nations reaching out for the possession I gave my people Israel. And I will uproot Judah from among them. 15 But afterward I will return and have compassion on all of them. I will bring them home to their own lands again, each nation to its own possession. 16 And if these nations truly learn the ways of my people, and if they learn to swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’ (just as they taught my people to swear by the name of Baal), then they will be given a place among my people. 17 But any nation who refuses to obey me will be uprooted and destroyed. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
- 12:9 Or speckled hyenas.
Amy Guenther and Paul Nison have a conversation about submission according to the Bible and other relationship topics. Amy’s website is https://torahsisters.com/
Judah’s Broken Covenant
1 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Remind the people of Judah and Jerusalem about the terms of my covenant with them. 3 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Cursed is anyone who does not obey the terms of my covenant! 4 For I said to your ancestors when I brought them out of the iron-smelting furnace of Egypt, “If you obey me and do whatever I command you, then you will be my people, and I will be your God.” 5 I said this so I could keep my promise to your ancestors to give you a land flowing with milk and honey—the land you live in today.’”
Then I replied, “Amen, Lord! May it be so.”
6 Then the Lord said, “Broadcast this message in the streets of Jerusalem. Go from town to town throughout the land and say, ‘Remember the ancient covenant, and do everything it requires. 7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, “Obey me!” I have repeated this warning over and over to this day, 8 but your ancestors did not listen or even pay attention. Instead, they stubbornly followed their own evil desires. And because they refused to obey, I brought upon them all the curses described in this covenant.’”
9 Again the Lord spoke to me and said, “I have discovered a conspiracy against me among the people of Judah and Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors. They have refused to listen to me and are worshiping other gods. Israel and Judah have both broken the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am going to bring calamity upon them, and they will not escape. Though they beg for mercy, I will not listen to their cries. 12 Then the people of Judah and Jerusalem will pray to their idols and burn incense before them. But the idols will not save them when disaster strikes!13 Look now, people of Judah; you have as many gods as you have towns. You have as many altars of shame—altars for burning incense to your god Baal—as there are streets in Jerusalem.
14 “Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, for I will not listen to them when they cry out to me in distress.
15 “What right do my beloved people have to come to my Temple,
when they have done so many immoral things?
Can their vows and sacrifices prevent their destruction?
They actually rejoice in doing evil!
16 I, the Lord, once called them a thriving olive tree,
beautiful to see and full of good fruit.
But now I have sent the fury of their enemies
to burn them with fire,
leaving them charred and broken.
17 “I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, who planted this olive tree, have ordered it destroyed. For the people of Israel and Judah have done evil, arousing my anger by burning incense to Baal.”
A Plot against Jeremiah
18 Then the Lord told me about the plots my enemies were making against me. 19 I was like a lamb being led to the slaughter. I had no idea that they were planning to kill me! “Let’s destroy this man and all his words,” they said. “Let’s cut him down, so his name will be forgotten forever.”
20 O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
you make righteous judgments,
and you examine the deepest thoughts and secrets.
Let me see your vengeance against them,
for I have committed my cause to you.
21 This is what the Lord says about the men of Anathoth who wanted me dead. They had said, “We will kill you if you do not stop prophesying in the Lord’s name.”22 So this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says about them: “I will punish them! Their young men will die in battle, and their boys and girls will starve to death. 23 Not one of these plotters from Anathoth will survive, for I will bring disaster upon them when their time of punishment comes.”
Idolatry Brings Destruction
1 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O Israel! 2 This is what the Lordsays:
“Do not act like the other nations,
who try to read their future in the stars.
Do not be afraid of their predictions,
even though other nations are terrified by them.
3 Their ways are futile and foolish.
They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
4 They decorate it with gold and silver
and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
so it won’t fall over.
5 Their gods are like
helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field!
They cannot speak,
and they need to be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of such gods,
for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”
6 Lord, there is no one like you!
For you are great, and your name is full of power.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations?
That title belongs to you alone!
Among all the wise people of the earth
and in all the kingdoms of the world,
there is no one like you.
8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.
The things they worship are made of wood!
9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz,
and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen
who make their idols.
Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes
made by expert tailors.
10 But the Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King!
The whole earth trembles at his anger.
The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.
11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”[a]
12 But the Lord made the earth by his power,
and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
he stretched out the heavens.
13 When he speaks in the thunder,
the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain
and releases the wind from his storehouses.
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
These idols have no breath or power.
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16 But the God of Israel[b] is no idol!
He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including Israel, his own special possession.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
The Coming Destruction
17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave;
the siege is about to begin.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
“Suddenly, I will fling out
all you who live in this land.
I will pour great troubles upon you,
and at last you will feel my anger.”
19 My wound is severe,
and my grief is great.
My sickness is incurable,
but I must bear it.
20 My home is gone,
and no one is left to help me rebuild it.
My children have been taken away,
and I will never see them again.
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses.
They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord.
Therefore, they fail completely,
and their flocks are scattered.
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies
as they roll down from the north.
The towns of Judah will be destroyed
and become a haunt for jackals.
23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.
24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.
Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—
on the peoples that do not call upon your name.
For they have devoured your people Israel[c];
they have devoured and consumed them,
making the land a desolate wilderness.
1 [a]If only my head were a pool of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night
for all my people who have been slaughtered.
2 [b]Oh, that I could go away and forget my people
and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert.
For they are all adulterers—
a pack of treacherous liars.
Judgment for Disobedience
3 “My people bend their tongues like bows
to shoot out lies.
They refuse to stand up for the truth.
They only go from bad to worse.
They do not know me,”
says the Lord.
4 “Beware of your neighbor!
Don’t even trust your brother!
For brother takes advantage of brother,
and friend slanders friend.
5 They all fool and defraud each other;
no one tells the truth.
With practiced tongues they tell lies;
they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
6 They pile lie upon lie
and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,”
says the Lord.
7 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“See, I will melt them down in a crucible
and test them like metal.
What else can I do with my people?[c]
8 For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows.
They speak friendly words to their neighbors
while scheming in their heart to kill them.
9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?”
10 I will weep for the mountains
and wail for the wilderness pastures.
For they are desolate and empty of life;
the lowing of cattle is heard no more;
the birds and wild animals have all fled.
11 “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord.
“It will be a place haunted by jackals.
The towns of Judah will be ghost towns,
with no one living in them.”
12 Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?
13 The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. 14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. 15 So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”
Weeping in Jerusalem
17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Consider all this, and call for the mourners.
Send for the women who mourn at funerals.
18 Quick! Begin your weeping!
Let the tears flow from your eyes.
19 Hear the people of Jerusalem[d] crying in despair,
‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated!
We must leave our land,
because our homes have been torn down.’”
20 Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord;
open your ears to what he has to say.
Teach your daughters to wail;
teach one another how to lament.
21 For death has crept in through our windows
and has entered our mansions.
It has killed off the flower of our youth:
Children no longer play in the streets,
and young men no longer gather in the squares.
22 This is what the Lord says:
“Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure,
like bundles of grain after the harvest.
No one will be left to bury them.”
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
25 “A time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— 26 the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places,[e] and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”
Why is it okay to drink wine but not smoke pot?
What Submission Means According to the Bible
1 “In that day,” says the Lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2 They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3 And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
Deception by False Prophets
4 “Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5 Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6 I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7 Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.[a]
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the Lord’s laws.
8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the Lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9 These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the Lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10 I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11 They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12 Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the Lord.
13 I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the Lord, have spoken!’
14 “Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the Lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the Lord.
15 We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16 “The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17 I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah
18 My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19 Listen to the weeping of my people;
it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem?[b]” the people ask.
“Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord.
20 “The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22 Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?