121“LORD, 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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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 What… over 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?
141The LORD said to me concerning the drought,
2“Judah is in mourning;
its cities are dying,
its people lie on the ground in sorrow,
and Jerusalem cries out for help.
3The rich people send their servants for water;
they go to the cisterns,
but find no water;
they come back with their jars empty.
Discouraged and confused,
they hide their faces.
4Because there is no rain
and the ground is dried up,
the farmers are sick at heart;
they hide their faces.
5In the field the mother deer
abandons her newborn fawn
because there is no grass.
6The wild donkeys stand on the hilltops
and pant for breath like jackals;
their eyesight fails them
because they have no food.
7My people cry out to me,
‘Even though our sins accuse us,
help us, LORD, as you have promised.
We have turned away from you many times;
we have sinned against you.
8You are Israel's only hope;
you are the one who saves us from disaster.
Why are you like a stranger in our land,
like a traveller who stays for only one night?
9Why are you like someone taken by surprise,
like a soldier powerless to help?
Surely, LORD, you are with us!
We are your people;
do not abandon us.’ ”
10The LORD says about these people, “They love to run away from me, and they will not control themselves. So I am not pleased with them. I will remember the wrongs they have done and punish them because of their sins.”
11The LORD said to me, “Do not ask me to help these people. 12Even if they fast, I will not listen to their cry for help; and even if they offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not be pleased with them. Instead, I will kill them in war and by starvation and disease.”
13Then I said, “Sovereign LORD, you know that the prophets are telling the people that there will be no war or starvation, because you have promised, they say, that there will be only peace in our land.”
14But the LORD replied, “The prophets are telling lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I give them any orders or speak one word to them. The visions they talk about have not come from me; their predictions are worthless things that they have imagined. 15I, the LORD, tell you what I am going to do to those prophets whom I did not send but who speak in my name and say war and starvation will not strike this land — I will kill them in war and by starvation. 16The people to whom they have said these things will be killed in the same way. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to all of them — including their wives, their sons, and their daughters. I will make them pay for their wickedness.”
17The LORD commanded me to tell the people about my sorrow and to say:
“May my eyes flow with tears day and night,
may I never stop weeping,
for my people are deeply wounded
and are badly hurt.
18When I go out into the fields,
I see the bodies of men killed in war;
when I go into the towns,
I see people starving to death.
Prophets and priests carry on their work,
but they don't know what they are doing.”14.18 Prophets… doing; or Prophets and priests have been dragged away to a land they know nothing about.
19LORD, have you completely rejected Judah?
Do you hate the people of Zion?
Why have you hurt us so badly
that we cannot be healed?
We looked for peace, but nothing good happened;
we hoped for healing, but terror came instead.
20We have sinned against you, LORD;
we confess our own sins
and the sins of our ancestors.
21Remember your promises and do not despise us;
do not bring disgrace on Jerusalem,
the place of your glorious throne.
Do not break the covenant you made with us.
22None of the idols of the nations can send rain;
the sky by itself cannot make showers fall.
We have put our hope in you, O LORD our God,
because you are the one who does these things.