Good News Translation (GNB)
11

Jeremiah and the Covenant

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.”

A Plot against Jeremiah's Life

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.”

12

Jeremiah Questions the LORD

121LORD, if I argued my case with you,

you would prove to be right.

Yet I must question you about matters of justice.

Why are the wicked so prosperous?

Why do dishonest people succeed?

2You plant them, and they take root;

they grow and bear fruit.

They always speak well of you,

yet they do not really care about you.

3But, LORD, you know me;

you see what I do,

and how I love you.

Drag these evil people away like sheep to be butchered;

guard them until it is time for them to be slaughtered.

4How long will our land be dry,

and the grass in every field be withered?

Animals and birds are dying

because of the wickedness of our people,

people who say, ‘God doesn't see what we are doing.’ ”12.4 Some ancient translations what we are doing; Hebrew our latter end.

5The LORD said,

“Jeremiah, if you get tired racing against people,

how can you race against horses?

If you can't even stand up in open country,

how will you manage in the jungle by the Jordan?

6Even your relatives, members of your own family, have betrayed you;

they join in the attacks against you.

Do not trust them, even though they speak friendly words.”

The LORD's Sorrow because of his People

7The LORD says,

“I have abandoned Israel;

I have rejected my chosen nation.

I have given the people I love

into the power of their enemies.

8My chosen people have turned against me;

like a lion in the forest

they have roared at me,

and so I hate them.

9My chosen people are like a bird

attacked from all sides by hawks.

Call the wild animals

to come and join in the feast!

10Many foreign rulers have destroyed my vineyard;

they have trampled down my fields;

they have turned my lovely land into a desert.

11They have made it a wilderness;

it lies desolate before me.

The whole land has become a desert,

and no one cares.

12Across all the desert highlands

people have come to plunder.

I have sent war to destroy the entire land;

no one can live in peace.

13My people sowed wheat, but gathered weeds;

they have worked hard, but got nothing for it.

Because of my fierce anger

their crops have failed.”

The LORD's Promise to Israel's Neighbours

14The LORD says, “I have something to say about Israel's neighbours who have ruined the land I gave to my people Israel. I will take those wicked people away from their countries like an uprooted plant, and I will rescue Judah from them. 15But after I have taken them away, I will have mercy on them; I will bring each nation back to its own land and to its own country. 16If with all their hearts they will accept the religion of my people and will swear, ‘As the LORD lives’ — as they once taught my people to swear by Baal — then they will also be a part of my people and will prosper. 17But if any nation will not obey, then I will completely uproot it and destroy it. I, the LORD, have spoken.”

13

The Linen Shorts

131The LORD told me to go and buy myself some linen shorts and to put them on; but he told me not to put them in water. 2So I bought them and put them on. 3Then the LORD spoke to me again, and said, 4“Go to the River Euphrates and hide the shorts in a hole in the rocks.” 5So I went and hid them near the Euphrates.

6Some time later the LORD told me to go back to the Euphrates and get the shorts. 7So I went back, and when I found the place where I had hidden them, I saw that they were ruined and were no longer any good.

8Then the LORD spoke to me again. He said, 9“This is how I will destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10These evil people have refused to obey me. They have been as stubborn and wicked as ever, and have worshipped and served other gods. So then, they will become like these shorts that are no longer any good. 11Just as shorts fit tightly round the waist, so I intended all the people of Israel and Judah to hold tightly to me. I did this so that they would be my people and would bring praise and honour to my name; but they would not obey me.”

The Wine Jar

12The LORD God said to me, “Jeremiah, tell the people of Israel that every wine jar should be filled with wine. They will answer that they know every wine jar should be filled with wine. 13Then tell them that I, the LORD, am going to fill the people in this land with wine until they are drunk: the kings, who are David's descendants, the priests, the prophets, and all the people of Jerusalem. 14Then I will smash them like jars against one another, old and young alike. No pity, compassion, or mercy will stop me from killing them.”

Jeremiah Warns against Pride

15People of Israel, the LORD has spoken!

Be humble and listen to him.

16Honour the LORD, your God,

before he brings darkness,

and you stumble on the mountains;

before he turns into deep darkness

the light you hoped for.

17If you will not listen,

I will cry in secret because of your pride;

I will cry bitterly, and my tears will flow

because the LORD's people have been taken away as captives.

18The LORD said to me, “Tell the king and his mother to come down from their thrones, because their beautiful crowns have fallen from their heads.13.18 Some ancient translations from their heads; Hebrew unclear. 19The towns of southern Judah are under siege; no one can get through to them. All the people of Judah have been taken away into exile.”

20Jerusalem, look! Your enemies are coming down from the north! Where are the people entrusted to your care, your people you were so proud of? 21What will you say when people you thought were your friends conquer you and rule over you?13.21 Probable text Whatover you; Hebrew unclear. You will be in pain like a woman giving birth. 22If you ask why all this has happened to you — why your clothes have been torn off and you have been raped — it is because your sin is so terrible. 23Can a Nubian change the colour of his skin, or a leopard remove its spots? If they could, then you that do nothing but evil could learn to do what is right. 24The LORD will scatter you like straw that is blown away by the desert wind. 25He has said that this will be your fate. This is what he has decided to do with you, because you have forgotten him and have trusted in false gods. 26The LORD himself will strip off your clothes and expose you to shame. 27He has seen you do the things he hates. He has seen you go after pagan gods on the hills and in the fields, like a man lusting after his neighbour's wife or like a stallion after a mare. People of Jerusalem, you are doomed! When will you ever be pure?