Good News Translation (GNB)
17

The Sin and Punishment of Judah

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 Yougive 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.”

Various Sayings

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.

8

17.8:
Ps 1.3
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.

10

17.10:
Ps 62.12
Rev 2.23
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 disappeardust; or go to the world of the dead.

because they have abandoned you, the LORD,

the spring of fresh water.

Jeremiah Asks the LORD for Help

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.

On Observing the Sabbath

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

17.21:
Neh 13.15–22
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
17.22:
Ex 20.8–10
Deut 5.12–14
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.”

18

Jeremiah at the Potter's House

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.’ ”

The People Reject the LORD

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.”

A Plot against Jeremiah

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.”

19

The Broken Jar

191The LORD told me to go and buy a clay jar. He also told me to take some of the elders of the people and some of the older priests, 2

19.2:
2 Kgs 23.10
Jer 7.30–32
32.34–35
and to go through Potsherd Gate out to the Valley of Hinnom. There I was to proclaim the message that he would give me. 3The LORD told me to say, “Kings of Judah and people of Jerusalem, listen to what I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, have to say. I am going to bring such a disaster on this place that everyone who hears about it will be stunned. 4I am going to do this because the people have abandoned me and defiled this place by offering sacrifices here to other gods — gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah have known anything about. They have filled this place with the blood of innocent people, 5
19.5:
Lev 18.21
and they have built altars for Baal in order to burn their children in the fire as sacrifices. I never commanded them to do this; it never even entered my mind. 6So then, the time will come when this place will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Hinnom. Instead, it will be known as the Valley of Slaughter. 7In this place I will frustrate all the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will let their enemies triumph over them and kill them in battle. I will give their corpses to the birds and the wild animals as food. 8I will bring such terrible destruction on this city that everyone who passes by will be shocked and amazed. 9The enemy will surround the city and try to kill its people. The siege will be so terrible that the people inside the city will eat one another and even their own children.”

10Then the LORD told me to break the jar in front of those who had gone with me 11and to tell them that the LORD Almighty had said, “I will break this people and this city, and it will be like this broken clay jar that cannot be put together again. People will bury their dead even in Topheth because there will be nowhere else to bury them. 12I promise that I will make this city and its inhabitants like Topheth. 13The houses of Jerusalem, the houses of the kings of Judah, and indeed all the houses on whose roofs incense has been burnt to the stars and where wine has been poured out as an offering to other gods — they will all be as unclean as Topheth.”

14Then I left Topheth, where the LORD had sent me to proclaim his message. I went and stood in the court of the Temple and told all the people 15that the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, had said, “I am going to bring on this city and on every nearby town all the punishment that I said I would, because you are stubborn and will not listen to what I say.”