91I wish my head were a well of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I could cry day and night
for my people who have been killed.
2I wish I had a place to stay in the desert
where I could get away from my people.
They are all unfaithful,
a mob of traitors.
3They are always ready to tell lies;
dishonesty instead of truth rules the land.
The LORD says,
“My people do one evil thing after another,
and do not acknowledge me as their God.”
4Everyone must be on guard against his friend,
and no one can trust his brother;
for every brother is as deceitful as Jacob,
and everyone slanders his friends.
5-6They all mislead their friends,
and no one tells the truth;
they have taught their tongues to lie
and will not give up their sinning.
They do one violent thing after another,
and one deceitful act follows another.
The LORD says that his people reject him.
7Because of this the LORD Almighty says,
“I will refine my people like metal
and put them to the test.
My people have done evil —
what else can I do with them?
8Their tongues are like deadly arrows;
they always tell lies.
Everyone speaks friendly words to his neighbour,
but is really setting a trap for him.
9Will I not punish them for these things?
Will I not take revenge on a nation like this?
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
10I said, “I will mourn for the mountains
and weep for the pastures,
because they have dried up,
and no one travels through them.
The sound of livestock is no longer heard;
birds and wild animals have fled and gone.”
11The LORD says, “I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins,
a place where jackals live;
the cities of Judah will become a desert,
a place where no one lives.”
12I asked, “LORD, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that he can tell others?”
13The LORD answered, “This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshipped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15So then, listen to what I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them.”
17The LORD Almighty said,
“Think about what is happening!
Call for the mourners to come,
for the women who sing funeral songs.”
18The people said,
“Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us,
until our eyes fill with tears,
and our eyelids are wet from crying.”
19Listen to the sound of crying in Zion,
“We are ruined!
We are completely disgraced!
We must leave our land;
our homes have been torn down.”
“Listen to the LORD, you women,
and pay attention to his words.
Teach your daughters how to mourn,
and your friends how to sing a funeral song.
21Death has come in through our windows
and entered our palaces;
it has cut down the children in the streets
and the young men in the market places.
22Dead bodies are scattered everywhere,
like piles of manure on the fields,
like corn cut and left behind by the reapers,
corn that no one gathers.
This is what the LORD has told me to say.”
23The LORD says,
“The wise should not boast of their wisdom,
nor the strong of their strength,
nor the rich of their wealth.
If anyone wants to boast,
he should boast that he knows and understands me,
because my love is constant,
and I do what is just and right.
These are the things that please me.
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
25-26The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will punish the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people, who have their hair cut short.9.25–26 hair cut short: The desert people cut their hair short in honour of their god, a pagan practice forbidden to the Israelites (see Lev 19.27). All these people are circumcised, but have not kept the covenant it symbolizes. None of these people and none of the people of Israel have kept my covenant.”
101People of Israel, listen to the message that the LORD has for you. 2He says,
“Do not follow the ways of other nations;
do not be disturbed by unusual sights in the sky,
even though other nations are terrified.
3The religion of these people is worthless.
A tree is cut down in the forest;
it is carved by the tools of the woodcarver,
4and decorated with silver and gold.
It is fastened down with nails
to keep it from falling over.
5Such idols are like scarecrows in a field of melons;
they cannot speak;
they have to be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them:
they can cause you no harm,
and they can do you no good.”
6LORD, there is no one like you;
you are mighty,
and your name is great and powerful.
Who would not honour you, the king of all nations?
You deserve to be honoured.
There is no one like you
among all the wise men of the nations
or among any of their kings.
8All of them are stupid and foolish.
What can they learn from wooden idols?10.8 What can… idols?; or What their idols teach is worthless.
9Their idols are covered with silver from Spain
and with gold from Uphaz,
all the work of artists;
they are dressed in violet and purple cloth
woven by skilled weavers.
10But you, LORD, are the true God,
you are the living God
and the eternal king.
When you are angry, the world trembles;
the nations cannot endure your anger.
11(You people must tell them that the gods who did not make the earth and the sky will be destroyed. They will no longer exist anywhere on earth.)
12The LORD made the earth by his power;
by his wisdom he created the world
and stretched out the heavens.
13At his command the waters above the sky10.13 waters above the sky: See Gen 1.6–8. roar;
he brings clouds from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning flash in the rain
and sends the wind from his storeroom.
14At the sight of this, people feel stupid and senseless;
those who make idols are disillusioned,
because the gods they make are false and lifeless.
15They are worthless and should be despised;
they will be destroyed when the LORD comes to deal with them.
16The God of Jacob is not like them;
he is the one who made everything,
and he has chosen Israel to be his very own people.
The LORD Almighty is his name.
17People of Jerusalem, you are under siege! Gather up your belongings. 18The LORD is going to throw you out of this land; he is going to crush you until not one of you is left. The LORD has spoken.
19The people of Jerusalem cried out,
“How badly we are hurt!
Our wounds will not heal.
And we thought this was something we could endure!
20Our tents are ruined;
the ropes that held them have broken.
Our children have all gone away;
there is no one left to put up our tents again;
there is no one to hang their curtains.”
21I answered, “Our leaders are stupid;
they do not ask the LORD for guidance.
This is why they have failed,
and our people have been scattered.
22Listen! News has come!
There is a great commotion in a nation to the north;
its army will turn the cities of Judah into a desert,
a place where jackals live.”
23LORD, I know that no one is the master of his own destiny;
no person has control over his own life.
24Correct your people, LORD;
but do not be too hard on us
or punish us when you are angry;
that would be the end of us.
25Turn your anger on the nations that do not worship you
and on the people who reject you.
They have killed your people;
they have destroyed us completely
and left our country in ruins.
111The LORD said to me, 2“Listen to the terms of the covenant. Tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem 3that I, the LORD God of Israel, have placed a curse on everyone who does not obey the terms of this covenant. 4It is the covenant I made with their ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, the land that was like a blazing furnace to them. I told them to obey me and to do everything that I had commanded. I told them that if they obeyed, they would be my people and I would be their God. 5Then I would keep the promise I made to their ancestors that I would give them the rich and fertile land which they now have.”
I said, “Yes, LORD.”
6Then the LORD said to me, “Go to the cities of Judah and to the streets of Jerusalem. Proclaim my message there and tell the people to listen to the terms of the covenant and to obey them. 7When I brought their ancestors out of Egypt, I solemnly warned them to obey me, and I have kept on warning the people until this day. 8But they did not listen or obey. Instead, everyone continued to be as stubborn and evil as ever. I had commanded them to keep the covenant, but they refused. So I brought on them all the punishments described in it.”
9Then the LORD said to me, “The people of Judah and of Jerusalem are plotting against me. 10They have gone back to the sins of their ancestors, who refused to do what I said; they have worshipped other gods. Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant that I made with their ancestors. 11So now, I, the LORD, warn them that I am going to bring destruction on them, and they will not escape. And when they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12Then the people of Judah and of Jerusalem will go to the gods to whom they offer sacrifices and will cry out to them for help. But those gods will not be able to save them when this destruction comes. 13The people of Judah have as many gods as they have cities, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem have set up as many altars for sacrifices to that disgusting god Baal as there are streets in the city. 14Jeremiah, don't pray to me or plead with me on behalf of these people. When they are in trouble and call to me for help, I will not listen to them.”
15The LORD says, “The people I love are doing evil things. What right have they to be in my Temple? Do they think they can prevent disaster by making promises11.15 One ancient translation promises; Hebrew many. and by offering animal sacrifices? Will that make them happy? 16I once called them a leafy olive tree, full of beautiful fruit; but now, with a roar like thunder I will set its leaves on fire and break its branches.
17“I, the LORD Almighty, planted Israel and Judah; but now I threaten them with disaster. They have brought this on themselves because they have done wrong; they have made me angry by offering sacrifices to Baal.”
18The LORD informed me of the plots that my enemies were making against me. 19I was like a trusting lamb taken out to be killed, and I did not know that it was against me that they were planning evil things. They were saying, “Let's chop down the tree while it is still healthy;11.19 Probable text while it is still healthy; Hebrew with its bread. let's kill him so that no one will remember him any more.”
20Then I prayed, “Almighty LORD, you are a just judge; you test people's thoughts and feelings. I have placed my cause in your hands; so let me watch you take revenge on these people.”
21The people of Anathoth wanted me killed, and they told me that they would kill me if I kept on proclaiming the LORD's message. 22So the LORD Almighty said, “I will punish them! Their young men will be killed in war; their children will die of starvation. 23I have set a time for bringing disaster on the people of Anathoth, and when that time comes, none of them will survive.”