Jeremiah Intro

The prophet Jeremiah spoke to the kingdom of Judah for forty years—from the end of the Assyrian period until Judah was destroyed by Babylon. The book mixes sermons, prophetic oracles, and biographical narratives of Jeremiah’s experiences during the last years of the Judean kingdom. We are given an intimate look into the prophet’s own heart as he brings God’s message to his fellow Judeans, who reject him and even conspire to kill him.

The book begins and ends with historical references to the event Jeremiah was best known for predicting: the fall of Jerusalem. The four main parts generally consist (in order) of oracles, narratives (two sections), and then oracles. Significantly, each of these four parts ends with a reference to Jeremiah’s words being written in a book or scroll. A long poetic oracle is inserted in the middle narrative of the book. So Jeremiah’s prophecies appear at the beginning, middle and end of the book, highlighting their importance. The middle oracle, promising a new covenant designed to change the human heart, is shown to be the most important of all. God will do more than simply punish evil—he will overcome it with good.

The book of Jeremiah carries us back and forth in place and time as we turn its pages, yet its themes are consistent. The message of judgment for wrongdoing is followed by the restorative power of forgiveness and new life:

to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.


Jeremiah 1

1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, one of the priests at Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.

2 The word of theLordcame to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah,

3 and through the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, down to the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.

The Call of Jeremiah

4 The word of theLordcame to me, saying,

5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knewyou,

before you were born I set you apart;

I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”

6 “Alas, SovereignLord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.”

7 But theLordsaid to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you.

8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares theLord.

9 Then theLordreached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth.

10 See, today I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant.”

11 The word of theLordcame to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?”

“I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.

12 TheLordsaid to me, “You have seen correctly, for I am watchingto see that my word is fulfilled.”

13 The word of theLordcame to me again: “What do you see?”

“I see a pot that is boiling,” I answered. “It is tilting toward us from the north.”

14 TheLordsaid to me, “From the north disaster will be poured out on all who live in the land.

15 I am about to summon all the peoples of the northern kingdoms,” declares theLord.

“Their kings will come and set up their thrones

in the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem;

they will come against all her surrounding walls

and against all the towns of Judah.

16 I will pronounce my judgments on my people

because of their wickedness in forsaking me,

in burning incense to other gods

and in worshiping what their hands have made.

17 “Get yourself ready! Stand up and say to them whatever I command you. Do not be terrified by them, or I will terrify you before them.

18 Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.

19 They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares theLord.



Jeremiah 2

Israel Forsakes God

1 The word of theLordcame to me:

2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

“This is what theLordsays:

“ ‘I remember the devotion of your youth,

how as a bride you loved me

and followed me through the wilderness,

through a land not sown.

3 Israel was holy to theLord,

the firstfruits of his harvest;

all who devoured her were held guilty,

and disaster overtook them,’ ”

declares theLord.

4 Hear the word of theLord, you descendants of Jacob,

all you clans of Israel.

5 This is what theLordsays:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,

that they strayed so far from me?

They followed worthless idols

and became worthless themselves.

6 They did not ask, ‘Where is theLord,

who brought us up out of Egypt

and led us through the barren wilderness,

through a land of deserts and ravines,

a land of drought and utter darkness,

a land where no one travels and no one lives?’

7 I brought you into a fertile land

to eat its fruit and rich produce.

But you came and defiled my land

and made my inheritance detestable.

8 The priests did not ask,

‘Where is theLord?’

Those who deal with the law did not know me;

the leaders rebelled against me.

The prophets prophesied by Baal,

following worthless idols.

9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,”

declares theLord.

“And I will bring charges against your children’s children.

10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,

send to Kedarand observe closely;

see if there has ever been anything like this:

11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?

(Yet they are not gods at all.)

But my people have exchanged their glorious God

for worthless idols.

12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,

and shudder with great horror,”

declares theLord.

13 “My people have committed two sins:

They have forsaken me,

the spring of living water,

and have dug their own cisterns,

broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?

Why then has he become plunder?

15 Lions have roared;

they have growled at him.

They have laid waste his land;

his towns are burned and deserted.

16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes

have cracked your skull.

17 Have you not brought this on yourselves

by forsaking theLordyour God

when he led you in the way?

18 Now why go to Egypt

to drink water from the Nile?

And why go to Assyria

to drink water from the Euphrates?

19 Your wickedness will punish you;

your backsliding will rebuke you.

Consider then and realize

how evil and bitter it is for you

when you forsake theLordyour God

and have no awe of me,”

declares the Lord, theLordAlmighty.

20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke

and tore off your bonds;

you said, ‘I will not serve you!’

Indeed, on every high hill

and under every spreading tree

you lay down as a prostitute.

21 I had planted you like a choice vine

of sound and reliable stock.

How then did you turn against me

into a corrupt, wild vine?

22 Although you wash yourself with soap

and use an abundance of cleansing powder,

the stain of your guilt is still before me,”

declares the SovereignLord.

23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;

I have not run after the Baals’?

See how you behaved in the valley;

consider what you have done.

You are a swift she-camel

running here and there,

24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert,

sniffing the wind in her craving—

in her heat who can restrain her?

Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;

at mating time they will find her.

25 Do not run until your feet are bare

and your throat is dry.

But you said, ‘It’s no use!

I love foreign gods,

and I must go after them.’

26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught,

so the people of Israel are disgraced—

they, their kings and their officials,

their priests and their prophets.

27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’

and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’

They have turned their backs to me

and not their faces;

yet when they are in trouble, they say,

‘Come and save us!’

28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?

Let them come if they can save you

when you are in trouble!

For you, Judah, have as many gods

as you have towns.

29 “Why do you bring charges against me?

You have all rebelled against me,”

declares theLord.

30 “In vain I punished your people;

they did not respond to correction.

Your sword has devoured your prophets

like a ravenous lion.

31 “You of this generation, consider the word of theLord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel

or a land of great darkness?

Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;

we will come to you no more’?

32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,

a bride her wedding ornaments?

Yet my people have forgotten me,

days without number.

33 How skilled you are at pursuing love!

Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.

34 On your clothes is found

the lifeblood of the innocent poor,

though you did not catch them breaking in.

Yet in spite of all this

35 you say, ‘I am innocent;

he is not angry with me.’

But I will pass judgment on you

because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’

36 Why do you go about so much,

changing your ways?

You will be disappointed by Egypt

as you were by Assyria.

37 You will also leave that place

with your hands on your head,

for theLordhas rejected those you trust;

you will not be helped by them.



Jeremiah 3

1 “If a man divorces his wife

and she leaves him and marries another man,

should he return to her again?

Would not the land be completely defiled?

But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers—

would you now return to me?”

declares theLord.

2 “Look up to the barren heights and see.

Is there any place where you have not been ravished?

By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers,

sat like a nomad in the desert.

You have defiled the land

with your prostitution and wickedness.

3 Therefore the showers have been withheld,

and no spring rains have fallen.

Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute;

you refuse to blush with shame.

4 Have you not just called to me:

‘My Father, my friend from my youth,

5 will you always be angry?

Will your wrath continue forever?’

This is how you talk,

but you do all the evil you can.”

Unfaithful Israel

6 During the reign of King Josiah, theLordsaid to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there.

7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it.

8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery.

9 Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood.

10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares theLord.

11 TheLordsaid to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.

12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:

“ ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares theLord,

‘I will frown on you no longer,

for I am faithful,’ declares theLord,

‘I will not be angry forever.

13 Only acknowledge your guilt—

you have rebelled against theLordyour God,

you have scattered your favors to foreign gods

under every spreading tree,

and have not obeyed me,’ ”

declares theLord.

14 “Return, faithless people,” declares theLord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion.

15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares theLord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of theLord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.

17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of theLord, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of theLord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.

18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

19 “I myself said,

“ ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children

and give you a pleasant land,

the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.’

I thought you would call me ‘Father’

and not turn away from following me.

20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,

so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,”

declares theLord.

21 A cry is heard on the barren heights,

the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel,

because they have perverted their ways

and have forgotten theLordtheir God.

22 “Return, faithless people;

I will cure you of backsliding.”

“Yes, we will come to you,

for you are theLordour God.

23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills

and mountains is a deception;

surely in theLordour God

is the salvation of Israel.

24 From our youth shameful gods have consumed

the fruits of our ancestors’ labor—

their flocks and herds,

their sons and daughters.

25 Let us lie down in our shame,

and let our disgrace cover us.

We have sinned against theLordour God,

both we and our ancestors;

from our youth till this day

we have not obeyed theLordour God.”



Jeremiah 4

1 “If you, Israel, will return,

then return to me,”

declares theLord.

“If you put your detestable idols out of my sight

and no longer go astray,

2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way

you swear, ‘As surely as theLordlives,’

then the nations will invoke blessings by him

and in him they will boast.”

3 This is what theLordsays to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Break up your unplowed ground

and do not sow among thorns.

4 Circumcise yourselves to theLord,

circumcise your hearts,

you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,

or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire

because of the evil you have done—

burn with no one to quench it.

Disaster From the North

5 “Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say:

‘Sound the trumpet throughout the land!’

Cry aloud and say:

‘Gather together!

Let us flee to the fortified cities!’

6 Raise the signal to go to Zion!

Flee for safety without delay!

For I am bringing disaster from the north,

even terrible destruction.”

7 A lion has come out of his lair;

a destroyer of nations has set out.

He has left his place

to lay waste your land.

Your towns will lie in ruins

without inhabitant.

8 So put on sackcloth,

lament and wail,

for the fierce anger of theLord

has not turned away from us.

9 “In that day,” declares theLord,

“the king and the officials will lose heart,

the priests will be horrified,

and the prophets will be appalled.”

10 Then I said, “Alas, SovereignLord! How completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’ when the sword is at our throats!”

11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, “A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse;

12 a wind too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments against them.”

13 Look! He advances like the clouds,

his chariots come like a whirlwind,

his horses are swifter than eagles.

Woe to us! We are ruined!

14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved.

How long will you harbor wicked thoughts?

15 A voice is announcing from Dan,

proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.

16 “Tell this to the nations,

proclaim concerning Jerusalem:

‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land,

raising a war cry against the cities of Judah.

17 They surround her like men guarding a field,

because she has rebelled against me,’ ”

declares theLord.

18 “Your own conduct and actions

have brought this on you.

This is your punishment.

How bitter it is!

How it pierces to the heart!”

19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!

I writhe in pain.

Oh, the agony of my heart!

My heart pounds within me,

I cannot keep silent.

For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;

I have heard the battle cry.

20 Disaster follows disaster;

the whole land lies in ruins.

In an instant my tents are destroyed,

my shelter in a moment.

21 How long must I see the battle standard

and hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 “My people are fools;

they do not know me.

They are senseless children;

they have no understanding.

They are skilled in doing evil;

they know not how to do good.”

23 I looked at the earth,

and it was formless and empty;

and at the heavens,

and their light was gone.

24 I looked at the mountains,

and they were quaking;

all the hills were swaying.

25 I looked, and there were no people;

every bird in the sky had flown away.

26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;

all its towns lay in ruins

before theLord, before his fierce anger.

27 This is what theLordsays:

“The whole land will be ruined,

though I will not destroy it completely.

28 Therefore the earth will mourn

and the heavens above grow dark,

because I have spoken and will not relent,

I have decided and will not turn back.”

29 At the sound of horsemen and archers

every town takes to flight.

Some go into the thickets;

some climb up among the rocks.

All the towns are deserted;

no one lives in them.

30 What are you doing, you devastated one?

Why dress yourself in scarlet

and put on jewels of gold?

Why highlight your eyes with makeup?

You adorn yourself in vain.

Your lovers despise you;

they want to kill you.

31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,

a groan as of one bearing her first child—

the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath,

stretching out her hands and saying,

“Alas! I am fainting;

my life is given over to murderers.”



Jeremiah 5

Not One Is Upright

1 “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem,

look around and consider,

search through her squares.

If you can find but one person

who deals honestly and seeks the truth,

I will forgive this city.

2 Although they say, ‘As surely as theLordlives,’

still they are swearing falsely.”

3 Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?

You struck them, but they felt no pain;

you crushed them, but they refused correction.

They made their faces harder than stone

and refused to repent.

4 I thought, “These are only the poor;

they are foolish,

for they do not know the way of theLord,

the requirements of their God.

5 So I will go to the leaders

and speak to them;

surely they know the way of theLord,

the requirements of their God.”

But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke

and torn off the bonds.

6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them,

a wolf from the desert will ravage them,

a leopard will lie in wait near their towns

to tear to pieces any who venture out,

for their rebellion is great

and their backslidings many.

7 “Why should I forgive you?

Your children have forsaken me

and sworn by gods that are not gods.

I supplied all their needs,

yet they committed adultery

and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.

8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions,

each neighing for another man’s wife.

9 Should I not punish them for this?”

declares theLord.

“Should I not avenge myself

on such a nation as this?

10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,

but do not destroy them completely.

Strip off her branches,

for these people do not belong to theLord.

11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah

have been utterly unfaithful to me,”

declares theLord.

12 They have lied about theLord;

they said, “He will do nothing!

No harm will come to us;

we will never see sword or famine.

13 The prophets are but wind

and the word is not in them;

so let what they say be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what theLordGod Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,

I will make my words in your mouth a fire

and these people the wood it consumes.

15 People of Israel,” declares theLord,

“I am bringing a distant nation against you—

an ancient and enduring nation,

a people whose language you do not know,

whose speech you do not understand.

16 Their quivers are like an open grave;

all of them are mighty warriors.

17 They will devour your harvests and food,

devour your sons and daughters;

they will devour your flocks and herds,

devour your vines and fig trees.

With the sword they will destroy

the fortified cities in which you trust.

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares theLord, “I will not destroy you completely.

19 And when the people ask, ‘Why has theLordour God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.’

20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob

and proclaim it in Judah:

21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,

who have eyes but do not see,

who have ears but do not hear:

22 Should you not fear me?” declares theLord.

“Should you not tremble in my presence?

I made the sand a boundary for the sea,

an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.

The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;

they may roar, but they cannot cross it.

23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts;

they have turned aside and gone away.

24 They do not say to themselves,

‘Let us fear theLordour God,

who gives autumn and spring rains in season,

who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’

25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;

your sins have deprived you of good.

26 “Among my people are the wicked

who lie in wait like men who snare birds

and like those who set traps to catch people.

27 Like cages full of birds,

their houses are full of deceit;

they have become rich and powerful

28 and have grown fat and sleek.

Their evil deeds have no limit;

they do not seek justice.

They do not promote the case of the fatherless;

they do not defend the just cause of the poor.

29 Should I not punish them for this?”

declares theLord.

“Should I not avenge myself

on such a nation as this?

30 “A horrible and shocking thing

has happened in the land:

31 The prophets prophesy lies,

the priests rule by their own authority,

and my people love it this way.

But what will you do in the end?



Jeremiah 6

Jerusalem Under Siege

1 “Flee for safety, people of Benjamin!

Flee from Jerusalem!

Sound the trumpet in Tekoa!

Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem!

For disaster looms out of the north,

even terrible destruction.

2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,

so beautiful and delicate.

3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her;

they will pitch their tents around her,

each tending his own portion.”

4 “Prepare for battle against her!

Arise, let us attack at noon!

But, alas, the daylight is fading,

and the shadows of evening grow long.

5 So arise, let us attack at night

and destroy her fortresses!”

6 This is what theLordAlmighty says:

“Cut down the trees

and build siege ramps against Jerusalem.

This city must be punished;

it is filled with oppression.

7 As a well pours out its water,

so she pours out her wickedness.

Violence and destruction resound in her;

her sickness and wounds are ever before me.

8 Take warning, Jerusalem,

or I will turn away from you

and make your land desolate

so no one can live in it.”

9 This is what theLordAlmighty says:

“Let them glean the remnant of Israel

as thoroughly as a vine;

pass your hand over the branches again,

like one gathering grapes.”

10 To whom can I speak and give warning?

Who will listen to me?

Their ears are closed

so they cannot hear.

The word of theLordis offensive to them;

they find no pleasure in it.

11 But I am full of the wrath of theLord,

and I cannot hold it in.

“Pour it out on the children in the street

and on the young men gathered together;

both husband and wife will be caught in it,

and the old, those weighed down with years.

12 Their houses will be turned over to others,

together with their fields and their wives,

when I stretch out my hand

against those who live in the land,”

declares theLord.

13 “From the least to the greatest,

all are greedy for gain;

prophets and priests alike,

all practice deceit.

14 They dress the wound of my people

as though it were not serious.

‘Peace, peace,’ they say,

when there is no peace.

15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?

No, they have no shame at all;

they do not even know how to blush.

So they will fall among the fallen;

they will be brought down when I punish them,”

says theLord.

16 This is what theLordsays:

“Stand at the crossroads and look;

ask for the ancient paths,

ask where the good way is, and walk in it,

and you will find rest for your souls.

But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’

17 I appointed watchmen over you and said,

‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’

But you said, ‘We will not listen.’

18 Therefore hear, you nations;

you who are witnesses,

observe what will happen to them.

19 Hear, you earth:

I am bringing disaster on this people,

the fruit of their schemes,

because they have not listened to my words

and have rejected my law.

20 What do I care about incense from Sheba

or sweet calamus from a distant land?

Your burnt offerings are not acceptable;

your sacrifices do not please me.”

21 Therefore this is what theLordsays:

“I will put obstacles before this people.

Parents and children alike will stumble over them;

neighbors and friends will perish.”

22 This is what theLordsays:

“Look, an army is coming

from the land of the north;

a great nation is being stirred up

from the ends of the earth.

23 They are armed with bow and spear;

they are cruel and show no mercy.

They sound like the roaring sea

as they ride on their horses;

they come like men in battle formation

to attack you, Daughter Zion.”

24 We have heard reports about them,

and our hands hang limp.

Anguish has gripped us,

pain like that of a woman in labor.

25 Do not go out to the fields

or walk on the roads,

for the enemy has a sword,

and there is terror on every side.

26 Put on sackcloth, my people,

and roll in ashes;

mourn with bitter wailing

as for an only son,

for suddenly the destroyer

will come upon us.

27 “I have made you a tester of metals

and my people the ore,

that you may observe

and test their ways.

28 They are all hardened rebels,

going about to slander.

They are bronze and iron;

they all act corruptly.

29 The bellows blow fiercely

to burn away the lead with fire,

but the refining goes on in vain;

the wicked are not purged out.

30 They are called rejected silver,

because theLordhas rejected them.”



Jeremiah 7

False Religion Worthless

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from theLord:

2 “Stand at the gate of theLord’s house and there proclaim this message:

“ ‘Hear the word of theLord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship theLord.

3 This is what theLordAlmighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place.

4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, “This is the temple of theLord, the temple of theLord, the temple of theLord!”

5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,

6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm,

7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.

8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.

9 “ ‘Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury,burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known,

10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?

11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares theLord.

12 “ ‘Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel.

13 While you were doing all these things, declares theLord, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer.

14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors.

15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’

16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.

17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger.

19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares theLord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?

20 “ ‘Therefore this is what the SovereignLordsays: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.

21 “ ‘This is what theLordAlmighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves!

22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices,

23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you.

24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward.

25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets.

26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.’

27 “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.

28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed theLordits God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29 “ ‘Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for theLordhas rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter

30 “ ‘The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares theLord. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it.

31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.

32 So beware, the days are coming, declares theLord, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room.

33 Then the carcasses of this people will become food for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.

34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.



Jeremiah 8

1 “ ‘At that time, declares theLord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves.

2 They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground.

3 Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares theLordAlmighty.’

Sin and Punishment

4 “Say to them, ‘This is what theLordsays:

“ ‘When people fall down, do they not get up?

When someone turns away, do they not return?

5 Why then have these people turned away?

Why does Jerusalem always turn away?

They cling to deceit;

they refuse to return.

6 I have listened attentively,

but they do not say what is right.

None of them repent of their wickedness,

saying, “What have I done?”

Each pursues their own course

like a horse charging into battle.

7 Even the stork in the sky

knows her appointed seasons,

and the dove, the swift and the thrush

observe the time of their migration.

But my people do not know

the requirements of theLord.

8 “ ‘How can you say, “We are wise,

for we have the law of theLord,”

when actually the lying pen of the scribes

has handled it falsely?

9 The wise will be put to shame;

they will be dismayed and trapped.

Since they have rejected the word of theLord,

what kind of wisdom do they have?

10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men

and their fields to new owners.

From the least to the greatest,

all are greedy for gain;

prophets and priests alike,

all practice deceit.

11 They dress the wound of my people

as though it were not serious.

“Peace, peace,” they say,

when there is no peace.

12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?

No, they have no shame at all;

they do not even know how to blush.

So they will fall among the fallen;

they will be brought down when they are punished,

says theLord.

13 “ ‘I will take away their harvest,

declares theLord.

There will be no grapes on the vine.

There will be no figs on the tree,

and their leaves will wither.

What I have given them

will be taken from them.’ ”

14 Why are we sitting here?

Gather together!

Let us flee to the fortified cities

and perish there!

For theLordour God has doomed us to perish

and given us poisoned water to drink,

because we have sinned against him.

15 We hoped for peace

but no good has come,

for a time of healing

but there is only terror.

16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses

is heard from Dan;

at the neighing of their stallions

the whole land trembles.

They have come to devour

the land and everything in it,

the city and all who live there.

17 “See, I will send venomous snakes among you,

vipers that cannot be charmed,

and they will bite you,”

declares theLord.

18 You who are my Comforterin sorrow,

my heart is faint within me.

19 Listen to the cry of my people

from a land far away:

“Is theLordnot in Zion?

Is her King no longer there?”

“Why have they aroused my anger with their images,

with their worthless foreign idols?”

20 “The harvest is past,

the summer has ended,

and we are not saved.”

21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed;

I mourn, and horror grips me.

22 Is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician there?

Why then is there no healing

for the wound of my people?



Jeremiah 9

1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water

and my eyes a fountain of tears!

I would weep day and night

for the slain of my people.

2 Oh, that I had in the desert

a lodging place for travelers,

so that I might leave my people

and go away from them;

for they are all adulterers,

a crowd of unfaithful people.

3 “They make ready their tongue

like a bow, to shoot lies;

it is not by truth

that they triumphin the land.

They go from one sin to another;

they do not acknowledge me,”

declares theLord.

4 “Beware of your friends;

do not trust anyone in your clan.

For every one of them is a deceiver,

and every friend a slanderer.

5 Friend deceives friend,

and no one speaks the truth.

They have taught their tongues to lie;

they weary themselves with sinning.

6 Youlive in the midst of deception;

in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”

declares theLord.

7 Therefore this is what theLordAlmighty says:

“See, I will refine and test them,

for what else can I do

because of the sin of my people?

8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;

it speaks deceitfully.

With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,

but in their hearts they set traps for them.

9 Should I not punish them for this?”

declares theLord.

“Should I not avenge myself

on such a nation as this?”

10 I will weep and wail for the mountains

and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.

They are desolate and untraveled,

and the lowing of cattle is not heard.

The birds have all fled

and the animals are gone.

11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,

a haunt of jackals;

and I will lay waste the towns of Judah

so no one can live there.”

12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by theLordand can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

13 TheLordsaid, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.

14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.”

15 Therefore this is what theLordAlmighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water.

16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.”

17 This is what theLordAlmighty says:

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come;

send for the most skillful of them.

18 Let them come quickly

and wail over us

till our eyes overflow with tears

and water streams from our eyelids.

19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:

‘How ruined we are!

How great is our shame!

We must leave our land

because our houses are in ruins.’ ”

20 Now, you women, hear the word of theLord;

open your ears to the words of his mouth.

Teach your daughters how to wail;

teach one another a lament.

21 Death has climbed in through our windows

and has entered our fortresses;

it has removed the children from the streets

and the young men from the public squares.

22 Say, “This is what theLorddeclares:

“ ‘Dead bodies will lie

like dung on the open field,

like cut grain behind the reaper,

with no one to gather them.’ ”

23 This is what theLordsays:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom

or the strong boast of their strength

or the rich boast of their riches,

24 but let the one who boasts boast about this:

that they have the understanding to know me,

that I am theLord, who exercises kindness,

justice and righteousness on earth,

for in these I delight,”

declares theLord.

25 “The days are coming,” declares theLord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh—

26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.”