161Again the LORD spoke to me and said, 2“Do not marry or have children in a place like this. 3I will tell you what is going to happen to the children who are born here and to their parents. 4They will die of terrible diseases, and no one will mourn for them or bury them. Their bodies will lie like piles of manure on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation, and their bodies will be food for the birds and the wild animals.
5“You must not enter a house where there is mourning. Do not grieve for anyone. I will no longer bless my people with peace or show them love and mercy. 6The rich and the poor will die in this land, but no one will bury them or mourn for them. No one will gash himself or shave his head to show his grief. 7No one will eat or drink with anyone to comfort him when a loved one dies. No one will show sympathy, not even for someone who has lost his father or mother.
8“Do not enter a house where people are feasting. Do not sit down with them to eat and drink. 9
Listen to what I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, have to say. I will silence the sounds of joy and gladness and the happy sounds of wedding feasts. The people here will live to see this happen.
10“When you tell them all this, they will ask you why I have decided to punish them so harshly. They will ask what crime they are guilty of and what sin they have committed against the LORD their God. 11Then tell them that the LORD has said, ‘Your ancestors turned away from me and worshipped and served other gods. They abandoned me and did not obey my teachings. 12But you have done even worse than your ancestors. All of you are stubborn and evil, and you do not obey me. 13So then, I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. And there you will serve other gods day and night, and I will show you no mercy.’ ”
14The LORD says, “The time is coming when people will no longer swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt. 15Instead, they will swear by me as the living God who brought the people of Israel out of a northern land and out of all the other countries where I had scattered them. I will bring them back to their own country, to the land that I gave their ancestors. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
16The LORD says, “I am sending for many fishermen to come and catch these people. Then I will send for many hunters to hunt them down on every mountain and hill and in the caves among the rocks. 17I see everything they do. Nothing is hidden from me; their sins do not escape my sight. 18I will make them pay double for their sin and wickedness, because they have defiled my land with idols that are as lifeless as corpses, and have filled it with their false gods.”
19LORD, you are the one who protects me and gives me strength; you help me in times of trouble. Nations will come to you from the ends of the earth and say, “Our ancestors had nothing but false gods, nothing but useless idols. 20Can people make their own gods? No, if they did, those would not really be gods.”
21“So then,” says the LORD, “once and for all I will make the nations know my power and my might; they will know that I am the LORD.”
171The LORD says, “People of Judah, your sin is written with an iron pen; it is engraved on your hearts with a diamond point and carved on the corners of your altars. 2Your people worship at the altars and the symbols that have been set up for the goddess Asherah by every green tree, on the hilltops 3and on the mountains in the open country. I will make your enemies take away your wealth and your treasures because of all the sins you have committed17.3 Probable text because of all the sins you have committed; Hebrew your high places for sins. throughout your land. 4You will have to give up17.4 Probable text You… give up; Hebrew unclear. the land I gave you, and I will make you serve your enemies in a land you know nothing about, because my anger is like a fire, and it will burn for ever.”
5The LORD says,
“I will condemn those
who turn away from me
and put their trust in human beings,
in the strength of mortals.
6They are like bushes in the desert,
which grow in the dry wilderness,
on salty ground where nothing else grows.
Nothing good ever happens to them.
7“But I will bless those
who put their trust in me.
They are like trees growing near a stream
and sending out roots to the water.
They are not afraid when hot weather comes,
because their leaves stay green;
they have no worries when there is no rain;
they keep on bearing fruit.
9“Who can understand the human heart?
There is nothing else so deceitful;
it is too sick to be healed.
I, the LORD, search human minds
and test human hearts.
I treat each one according to the way he lives,
according to what he does.”
11The person who gets money dishonestly
is like a bird that hatches eggs it didn't lay.
In the prime of life he will lose his riches,
and in the end he is nothing but a fool.
12Our Temple is like a glorious throne,
standing on a high mountain from the beginning.
13LORD, you are Israel's hope;
all who abandon you will be put to shame.
They will disappear like names written in the dust,17.13 disappear… dust; or go to the world of the dead.
because they have abandoned you, the LORD,
the spring of fresh water.
14LORD, heal me and I will be completely well; rescue me and I will be perfectly safe. You are the one I praise!
15The people say to me, “Where are those threats the LORD made against us? Let him carry them out now!”
16But, LORD, I never urged you to bring disaster on them;17.16 Probable text bring disaster on them; Hebrew from being a shepherd after you. I did not wish a time of trouble for them. LORD, you know this; you know what I have said. 17Do not be a terror to me; you are my place of safety when trouble comes. 18Bring disgrace on those who persecute me, but spare me, LORD. Fill them with terror, but do not terrify me. Bring disaster on them and break them to pieces.
19The LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, go and announce my message at the People's Gate, through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city; then go to all the other gates of Jerusalem. 20Tell the kings and all the people of Judah and everyone who lives in Jerusalem and enters these gates, to listen to what I say. 21
Tell them that if they love their lives, they must not carry any load on the Sabbath; they must not carry anything in through the gates of Jerusalem 22
or carry anything out of their houses on the Sabbath. They must not work on the Sabbath; they must observe it as a sacred day, as I commanded their ancestors. 23Their ancestors did not listen to me or pay any attention. Instead, they became stubborn; they would not obey me or learn from me.
24“Tell these people that they must obey all my commands. They must not carry any load in through the gates of this city on the Sabbath. They must observe the Sabbath as a sacred day and must not do any work at all. 25Then their kings and princes will enter the gates of Jerusalem and have the same royal power that David had. Together with the people of Judah and of Jerusalem, they will ride in chariots and on horses, and the city of Jerusalem will always be filled with people. 26People will come from the towns of Judah and from the villages round Jerusalem; they will come from the territory of Benjamin, from the foothills, from the mountains, and from southern Judah. They will bring to my Temple burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, as well as thank-offerings. 27But they must obey me and observe the Sabbath as a sacred day. They must not carry any load through the gates of Jerusalem on that day, for if they do, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. Fire will burn down the palaces of Jerusalem, and no one will be able to put it out.”
181The LORD said to me, 2“Go down to the potter's house, where I will give you my message.” 3So I went there and saw the potter working at his wheel. 4Whenever a piece of pottery turned out imperfect, he would take the clay and make it into something else.
5Then the LORD said to me, 6“Haven't I the right to do with you people of Israel what the potter did with the clay? You are in my hands just like clay in the potter's hands. 7If at any time I say that I am going to uproot, break down, or destroy any nation or kingdom, 8but then that nation turns from its evil, I will not do what I said I would. 9On the other hand, if I say that I am going to plant or build up any nation or kingdom, 10but then that nation disobeys me and does evil, I will not do what I said I would. 11Now then, tell the people of Judah and of Jerusalem that I am making plans against them and getting ready to punish them. Tell them to stop living sinful lives — to change their ways and the things they are doing. 12They will answer, ‘No, why should we? We will all be just as stubborn and evil as we want to be.’ ”
13The LORD says,
“Ask every nation if such a thing
has ever happened before.
The people of Israel have done a terrible thing!
14Are Lebanon's rocky heights ever without snow?
Do its cool mountain streams ever run dry?
15Yet my people have forgotten me;
they burn incense to idols.
They have stumbled in the way they should go,
they no longer follow the old ways;
they walk on unmarked paths.
16They have made this land a thing of horror,
to be despised for ever.
All who pass by will be shocked at what they see;
they will shake their heads in amazement.
17I will scatter my people before their enemies,
like dust blown by the east wind.
I will turn my back on them;
I will not help them when the disaster comes.”
18Then the people said, “Let's do something about Jeremiah! There will always be priests to instruct us, the wise to give us counsel, and prophets to proclaim God's message. Let's bring charges against him, and stop listening to what he says.”
19So I prayed, “LORD, hear what I am saying and listen to what my enemies are saying about me. 20Is evil the payment for good? Yet they have dug a pit for me to fall in. Remember how I came to you and spoke on their behalf, so that you would not deal with them in anger. 21But now, LORD, let their children starve to death; let them be killed in war. Let the women lose their husbands and children; let the men die of disease and the young men be killed in battle. 22Send a mob to plunder their homes without warning; make them cry out in terror. They have dug a pit for me to fall in and have set traps to catch me. 23But, LORD, you know all their plots to kill me. Do not forgive their evil or pardon their sin. Throw them down in defeat and deal with them while you are angry.”