71-3The LORD sent me to the gate of the Temple where the people of Judah went in to worship. He told me to stand there and announce what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, had to say to them: “Change the way you are living and the things you are doing, and I will let you go on living here. 4Stop believing those deceitful words, ‘We are safe! This is the LORD's Temple, this is the LORD's Temple, this is the LORD's Temple!’
5“Change the way you are living and stop doing the things you are doing. Be fair in your treatment of one another. 6Stop taking advantage of aliens, orphans, and widows. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop worshipping other gods, for that will destroy you. 7If you change, I will let you go on living here in the land which I gave your ancestors as a permanent possession.
8“Look, you put your trust in deceitful words. 9You steal, murder, commit adultery, tell lies under oath, offer sacrifices to Baal, and worship gods that you had not known before. 10You do these things I hate, and then you come and stand in my presence, in my own Temple, and say, ‘We are safe!’ 11
Do you think that my Temple is a hiding place for robbers? I have seen what you are doing. 12
Go to Shiloh,7.12 Shiloh: The city where the Covenant Box was kept in the time of Eli (see 1 Sam 1.3). The city was destroyed, probably by the Philistines. the first place where I chose to be worshipped, and see what I did to it because of the sins of my people Israel. 13You have committed all these sins, and even though I spoke to you over and over again, you refused to listen. You would not answer when I called you. 14And so, what I did to Shiloh I will do to this Temple of mine, in which you trust. Here in this place that I gave to your ancestors and to you, I will do the same thing that I did to Shiloh. 15I will drive you out of my sight as I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel. I, the LORD, have spoken.”
16The LORD said, “Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not cry or pray on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17Don't you see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18
The children gather firewood, the men build fires, and the women mix dough to bake cakes for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They also pour out wine offerings to other gods, in order to hurt me. 19But am I really the one they are hurting? No, they are hurting themselves and bringing shame on themselves. 20And so I, the Sovereign LORD, will pour out my fierce anger on this Temple. I will pour it out on people and animals alike, and even on the trees and the crops. My anger will be like a fire that no one can put out.
21“My people, some sacrifices you burn completely on the altar, and some you are permitted to eat. But what I, the LORD, say is that you might as well eat them all. 22I gave your ancestors no commands about burnt offerings or any other kinds of sacrifices, when I brought them out of Egypt. 23But I did command them to obey me, so that I would be their God and they would be my people. And I told them to live as I had commanded them, so that things would go well for them. 24But they did not obey or pay any attention. Instead, they did whatever their stubborn and evil hearts told them to do, and they became worse instead of better. 25From the day that your ancestors came out of Egypt until this very day, I have kept on sending my servants, the prophets, to you. 26Yet no one listened or paid any attention. Instead, you became more stubborn and rebellious than your ancestors.
27“So, Jeremiah, you will speak all these words to my people, but they will not listen to you; you will call them, but they will not answer. 28You will tell them that their nation does not obey me, the LORD their God, or learn from their punishment. Faithfulness is dead. No longer is it even talked about.
29“Mourn, people of Jerusalem;
cut off your hair and throw it away.
Sing a funeral song on the hilltops,
because I, the LORD, am angry,
and have rejected my people.
30“The people of Judah have done an evil thing. They have placed their idols, which I hate, in my Temple and have defiled it. 31
In the Valley of Hinnom they have built an altar called Topheth, so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters in the fire. I did not command them to do this — it did not even enter my mind. 32And so, the time will come when it will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury people there because there will be nowhere else to bury them. 33The corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals, and there will be no one to scare them off. 34
The land will become a desert. In the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the happy sounds of wedding feasts.
81“At that time the bones of the kings and of the officials of Judah, as well as the bones of the priests, of the prophets, and of the other people who lived in Jerusalem, will be taken out of their graves. 2Instead of being gathered and buried, their bones will be like manure lying on the ground. They will be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the stars, which these people have loved and served, and which they have consulted and worshipped. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive, who live in the places where I have scattered them, will prefer to die rather than to go on living. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken.”
4The LORD told me to say to his people, “When someone falls down, doesn't he get back up? If someone misses the road, doesn't he turn back? 5Why then, my people, do you turn away from me without ever turning back? You cling to your idols and refuse to return to me. 6I listened carefully, but you did not speak the truth. Not one of you has been sorry for his wickedness; not one of you has asked, ‘What have I done wrong?’ Everyone keeps on going his own way, like a horse rushing into battle. 7Even storks know when it is time to return; doves, swallows, and thrushes know when it is time to migrate. But, my people, you do not know the laws by which I rule you. 8How can you say that you are wise, and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes. 9Your wise men are put to shame; they are confused and trapped. They have rejected my words; what wisdom have they got now? 10
So I will give their fields to new owners and their wives to other men. Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly. Even prophets and priests cheat the people. 11
They act as if my people's wounds were only scratches. ‘All is well,’ they say, when all is not well. 12My people, were you ashamed because you did these disgusting things? No, you were not ashamed at all; you don't even know how to blush! And so you will fall as others have fallen; when I punish you, that will be the end of you. I, the LORD, have spoken.
13“I wanted to gather my people, as a farmer gathers a harvest; but they are like a vine with no grapes, like a fig tree with no figs; even the leaves have withered. Therefore, I have allowed outsiders to take over the land.”8.13 Therefore… land; Hebrew unclear.
14“Why are we sitting still?” God's people ask. “Come on, we will run to the fortified cities, and die there. The LORD our God has condemned us to die; he has given us poison to drink, because we have sinned against him. 15We hoped for peace and a time of healing, but it was no use; terror came instead. 16Our enemies are already in the city of Dan; we hear the snorting of their horses. The whole land trembles when their horses neigh. Our enemies have come to destroy our land and everything in it, our city and all its people.”
17“Watch out!” the LORD says, “I am sending snakes among you, poisonous snakes that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you.”
18My sorrow cannot be healed;8.18 Probable text My sorrow… healed; Hebrew unclear.
I am sick at heart.
19Listen! Throughout the land
I hear my people crying out,
“Is the LORD no longer in Zion?
Is Zion's king no longer there?”
The LORD, their king, replies,
“Why have you made me angry by worshipping your idols
and by bowing down to your useless foreign gods?”
20The people cry out,
“The summer is gone, the harvest is over,
but we have not been saved.”
21My heart has been crushed
because my people are crushed;
I mourn; I am completely dismayed.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?8.22 Gilead: A region east of the Jordan, famous for plants that were used for medicinal purposes.
Are there no doctors there?
Why, then, have my people not been healed?
91I wish my head were a well of water,
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
so that I could cry day and night
for my people who have been killed.
2I wish I had a place to stay in the desert
where I could get away from my people.
They are all unfaithful,
a mob of traitors.
3They are always ready to tell lies;
dishonesty instead of truth rules the land.
The LORD says,
“My people do one evil thing after another,
and do not acknowledge me as their God.”
4Everyone must be on guard against his friend,
and no one can trust his brother;
for every brother is as deceitful as Jacob,
and everyone slanders his friends.
5-6They all mislead their friends,
and no one tells the truth;
they have taught their tongues to lie
and will not give up their sinning.
They do one violent thing after another,
and one deceitful act follows another.
The LORD says that his people reject him.
7Because of this the LORD Almighty says,
“I will refine my people like metal
and put them to the test.
My people have done evil —
what else can I do with them?
8Their tongues are like deadly arrows;
they always tell lies.
Everyone speaks friendly words to his neighbour,
but is really setting a trap for him.
9Will I not punish them for these things?
Will I not take revenge on a nation like this?
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
10I said, “I will mourn for the mountains
and weep for the pastures,
because they have dried up,
and no one travels through them.
The sound of livestock is no longer heard;
birds and wild animals have fled and gone.”
11The LORD says, “I will make Jerusalem a pile of ruins,
a place where jackals live;
the cities of Judah will become a desert,
a place where no one lives.”
12I asked, “LORD, why is the land devastated and dry as a desert, so that no one travels through it? Who is wise enough to understand this? To whom have you explained it so that he can tell others?”
13The LORD answered, “This has happened because my people have abandoned the teaching that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them. 14Instead, they have been stubborn and have worshipped the idols of Baal as their ancestors taught them to do. 15So then, listen to what I, the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, will do: I will give my people bitter plants to eat and poison to drink. 16I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have heard about, and I will send armies against them until I have completely destroyed them.”
17The LORD Almighty said,
“Think about what is happening!
Call for the mourners to come,
for the women who sing funeral songs.”
18The people said,
“Tell them to hurry and sing a funeral song for us,
until our eyes fill with tears,
and our eyelids are wet from crying.”
19Listen to the sound of crying in Zion,
“We are ruined!
We are completely disgraced!
We must leave our land;
our homes have been torn down.”
“Listen to the LORD, you women,
and pay attention to his words.
Teach your daughters how to mourn,
and your friends how to sing a funeral song.
21Death has come in through our windows
and entered our palaces;
it has cut down the children in the streets
and the young men in the market places.
22Dead bodies are scattered everywhere,
like piles of manure on the fields,
like corn cut and left behind by the reapers,
corn that no one gathers.
This is what the LORD has told me to say.”
23The LORD says,
“The wise should not boast of their wisdom,
nor the strong of their strength,
nor the rich of their wealth.
If anyone wants to boast,
he should boast that he knows and understands me,
because my love is constant,
and I do what is just and right.
These are the things that please me.
I, the LORD, have spoken.”
25-26The LORD says, “The time is coming when I will punish the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people, who have their hair cut short.9.25–26 hair cut short: The desert people cut their hair short in honour of their god, a pagan practice forbidden to the Israelites (see Lev 19.27). All these people are circumcised, but have not kept the covenant it symbolizes. None of these people and none of the people of Israel have kept my covenant.”