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.
Then the LORD said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel were standing here pleading with me, I would not show these people any mercy. Make them go away; make them get out of my sight. 2
When they ask you where they should go, tell them that I have said:
Some are doomed to die by disease —
that's where they will go!
Others are doomed to die in war —
that's where they will go!
Some are doomed to die of starvation —
that's where they will go!
Others are doomed to be taken away as prisoners —
that's where they will go!3I, the LORD, have decided that four terrible things will happen to them: they will be killed in war; their bodies will be dragged off by dogs; birds will eat them, and wild animals will devour what is left over. 4
5The LORD says,
“Who will pity you, people of Jerusalem,
and who will grieve over you?
Who will stop long enough
to ask how you are?
6You people have rejected me;
you have turned your backs on me.
So I stretched out my hand and crushed you
because I was tired of controlling my anger.15.6 you because… anger; or you; I was tired of feeling sorry for you.
7In every town in the land
I threw you to the wind like straw.
I destroyed you, my people,
I killed your children
because you did not stop your evil ways.
8There are more widows in your land
than grains of sand by the sea.
I killed your young men in their prime
and made their mothers suffer.
I suddenly struck them
with anguish and terror.
9The mother who lost her seven children has fainted,
gasping for breath.
Her daylight has turned to darkness;
she is disgraced and sick at heart.
I will let your enemies kill
those of you who are still alive.
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
10What an unhappy man I am! Why did my mother bring me into the world? I have to quarrel and argue with everyone in the land. I have not lent any money or borrowed any; yet everyone curses me. 11LORD, may all their curses come true if I have not served15.11 Probable text LORD, …served; Hebrew unclear. you well, if I have not pleaded with you on behalf of my enemies when they were in trouble and distress. 12(No one can break iron, especially the iron from the north that is mixed with bronze.)
13The LORD said to me, “I will send enemies to carry away the wealth and treasures of my people, in order to punish them for the sins they have committed throughout the land. 14I will make them serve their enemies in a land they know nothing about, because my anger is like fire, and it will burn for ever.”
15Then I said, “LORD, you understand. Remember me and help me. Let me have revenge on those who persecute me. Do not be so patient with them that they succeed in killing me. Remember that it is for your sake that I am insulted. 16You spoke to me, and I listened to every word. I belong to you, LORD God Almighty, and so your words filled my heart with joy and happiness. 17I did not spend my time with other people, laughing and having a good time. In obedience to your orders I stayed by myself and was filled with anger. 18Why do I keep on suffering? Why are my wounds incurable? Why won't they heal? Do you intend to disappoint me like a stream that goes dry in the summer?”
19To this the LORD replied, “If you return, I will take you back, and you will be my servant again. If instead of talking nonsense you proclaim a worthwhile message, you will be my prophet again. The people will come back to you, and you will not need to go to them. 20I will make you like a solid bronze wall as far as they are concerned. They will fight against you, but they will not defeat you. I will be with you to protect you and keep you safe. 21I will rescue you from the power of wicked and violent people. I, the LORD, have spoken.”