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Jeremiah 2-9

New American Standard Bible

Chapter 2

1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2 'Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘This is what the LORD says: 'I remember regarding you the devotion of your youth, Your love when you were a bride, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the LORD, The first of His harvest. All who ate of it became guilty; Evil came upon them,' declares the LORD.’?'
4 Hear the word of the LORD, house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel.
5 This is what the LORD says: 'What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me, And walked after emptiness and became empty? 6 They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no person lived?’ 7 I brought you into the fruitful land To eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, And you made My inheritance an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the Law did not know Me; The rulers also revolted against Me, And the prophets prophesied by Baal And walked after things that were of no benefit. 9 'Therefore I will still contend with you,' declares the LORD, 'And I will contend with your sons’ sons. 10 For cross to the coastlands of Kittim and see, And send to Kedar and observe closely, And see if there has been anything like this! 11 Has a nation changed gods, When they were not gods? But My people have exchanged their glory For that which is of no benefit. 12 Be appalled at this, you heavens, And shudder, be very desolate,' declares the LORD. 13 'For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned Me, The fountain of living waters, To carve out for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That do not hold water. 14 'Is Israel a slave? Or is he a servant born in the home? Why has he become plunder? 15 The young lions have roared at him, They have roared loudly. And they have made his land a waste; His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant. 16 Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes Have shaved your head. 17 Have you not done this to yourself By your abandoning the LORD your God When He led you in the way? 18 But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt, Except to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, Except to drink the waters of the Euphrates River? 19 Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will punish you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to abandon the LORD your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,' declares the Lord GOD of armies. 20 'For long ago I broke your yoke And tore off your restraints; But you said, ‘I will not serve!’ For on every high hill And under every leafy tree You have lain down as a prostitute. 21 Yet I planted you as a choice vine, A completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? 22 Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your guilt is before Me,' declares the Lord GOD. 23 'How can you say, ‘I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done! You are a swift young camel running about senselessly on her ways, 24 A wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness, That sniffs the wind in her passion. Who can turn her away in her mating season? None who seek her will grow weary; In her month they will find her. 25 Keep your feet from being bare, And your throat from thirst; But you said, ‘It is hopeless! No! For I have loved strangers, And I will walk after them.’ 26 'Like the shame of a thief when he is discovered, So the house of Israel is shamed; They, their kings, their leaders, Their priests, and their prophets, 27 Who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ And to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their backs to Me, And not their faces; But in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us!’ 28 But where are your gods Which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble! For as many as the number of your cities Are your gods, Judah. 29 'Why do you contend with Me? You have all revolted against Me,' declares the LORD. 30 'In vain I have struck your sons; They did not accept discipline. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion. 31 You generation, look to the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of thick darkness? Why do My people say, ‘We are free to roam; We will no longer come to You’? 32 Can a virgin forget her jewelry, Or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me For days without number. 33 How well you prepare your way To seek love! Therefore even to the wicked women You have taught your ways. 34 Also on your skirts is found The lifeblood of the innocent poor; You did not find them breaking in. But in spite of all these things, 35 You said, ‘I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.’ Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ 36 Why do you go around so much Changing your way? Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt, Just as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 From this place as well you will go out With your hands on your head; For the LORD has rejected those in whom you trust, And you will not prosper with them.'

Chapter 3

1 God says, 'If a husband divorces his wife And she leaves him And becomes another man’s wife, Will he return to her again? Would that land not be completely defiled? But you are a prostitute with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me,' declares the LORD. 2 'Raise your eyes to the bare heights and see; Where have you not been violated? You have sat for them by the roads Like an Arab in the desert, And you have defiled a land With your prostitution and your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no spring rain. Yet you had a prostitute’s forehead; You refused to be ashamed. 4 Have you not just now called to Me, ‘My Father, You are the friend of my youth?
5 Will He be angry forever, Or keep His anger to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken And have done evil things, And you have had your own way.'
6 Then the LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah, 'Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every leafy tree, and she prostituted herself there. 7 Yet I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a certificate of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and prostituted herself also. 9 And because of the thoughtlessness of her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,' declares the LORD.
11 And the LORD said to me, 'Faithless Israel has proved herself to be more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not look at you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your wrongdoing, That you have revolted against the LORD your God, And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every leafy tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the LORD.
14 ‘Return, you faithless sons,’ declares the LORD; ‘For I am a master to you, And I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, And bring you to Zion.’
15 'Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall be in those days when you become numerous and are fruitful in the land,' declares the LORD, 'they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will assemble at it, at Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; and they will no longer follow the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.
19 'Then I said, ‘How I would set you among My sons And give you a pleasant land, The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!’ And I said, ‘You shall call Me, My Father, And not turn away from following Me.’
20 However, as a woman treacherously leaves her lover, So you have dealt treacherously with Me, House of Israel,' declares the LORD. 21 A voice is heard on the bare heights, The weeping, the pleading of the sons of Israel. Because they have perverted their way, They have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 'Return, you faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness.' 'Behold, we come to You; For You are the LORD our God.
23 Certainly the hills are a deception, Commotion on the mountains. Certainly in the LORD our God Is the salvation of Israel.
24 'But the shame has consumed the product of our fathers’ labor since our youth—their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our humiliation cover us; for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day. And we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.'

Chapter 4

1 'If you will return, Israel,' declares the LORD, 'Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detestable things from My presence, And will not waver,
2 And if you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ In truth, in justice, and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will boast.'
3 For this is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: 'Break up your uncultivated ground, And do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your hearts, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will spread like fire And burn with no one to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.' 5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, 'Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble, and let’s go Into the fortified cities.’ 6 Raise a flag toward Zion! Take refuge, do not stand still, For I am bringing evil from the north, And great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, And a destroyer of nations has set out; He has gone out from his place To make your land a waste. Your cities will be ruins, Without an inhabitant.
8 For this, put on sackcloth, Mourn and wail; For the fierce anger of the LORD Has not turned away from us.'
9 'And it shall come about on that day,' declares the LORD, 'that the heart of the king and the hearts of the leaders will fail; and the priests will tremble, and the prophets will be astonished.'
10 Then I said, 'Oh, Lord GOD! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; yet a sword touches the throat.'
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, 'A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness, in the direction of the daughter of My people—not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for this—will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.'
13 'Behold, he goes up like clouds, And his chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!' 14 Wash your heart from evil, Jerusalem, So that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim. 16 'Report it to the nations, now! Proclaim to Jerusalem, ‘Enemies are coming from a remote country, And they raise their voices against the cities of Judah. 17 Like watchmen of a field they are against her all around, Because she has rebelled against Me,’ declares the LORD. 18 Your ways and your deeds Have brought these things upon you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart!' 19 My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot keep silent, Because, my soul, you have heard The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Disaster upon disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, And my curtains in an instant. 21 How long must I see the flag And hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 'For My people are foolish, They do not know Me; They are foolish children And have no understanding. They are skillful at doing evil, But they do not know how to do good.' 23 I looked at the earth, and behold, it was a formless and desolate emptiness; And to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills jolted back and forth. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no human, And all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the LORD, before His fierce anger. 27 For this is what the LORD says: 'The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction. 28 For this the earth will mourn, And the heavens above will become dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I have not changed My mind, nor will I turn from it.' 29 At the sound of the horseman and archer every city flees; They go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; Every city is abandoned, And no one lives in them. 30 And you, desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you adorn yourself with jewelry of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with makeup, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your lovers despise you; They seek your life. 31 For I heard a voice cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child. The voice of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her hands, saying, 'Ah, woe to me, for I faint before murderers.'

Chapter 5

1 'Roam about through the streets of Jerusalem, And look and take notice. And seek in her public squares, If you can find a person, If there is one who does justice, who seeks honesty, Then I will forgive her. 2 And although they say, ‘As the LORD lives,’ Certainly they swear falsely.' 3 LORD, do Your eyes not look for honesty? You have struck them, But they did not weaken; You have consumed them, But they refused to accept discipline. They have made their faces harder than rock; They have refused to repent. 4 Then I said, 'They are only the poor, They are foolish; For they do not know the way of the LORD Or the judgment of their God. 5 I will go to the great And speak to them, For they know the way of the LORD And the judgment of their God.' But together they too have broken the yoke And burst the restraints. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest will kill them, A wolf of the deserts will destroy them, A leopard is watching their cities. Everyone who goes out of them will be torn in pieces, Because their wrongdoings are many, Their apostasies are numerous. 7 'Why should I forgive you? Your sons have forsaken Me And sworn by those who are not gods. When I had fed them to the full, They committed adultery And stayed at the prostitute’s house. 8 They were well-fed lusty horses, Each one neighing at his neighbor’s wife. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?' declares the LORD, 'And shall I not avenge Myself On a nation such as this? 10 'Go up through her vine rows and destroy, But do not execute a complete destruction; Strip away her branches, For they are not the LORD’S. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah Have dealt very treacherously with Me,' declares the LORD. 12 They have lied about the LORD And said, 'Not He; Misfortune will not come upon us, Nor will we see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are as wind, And the word is not in them. So it will be done to them!' 14 Therefore, this is what the LORD, the God of armies says: 'Because you have spoken this word, Behold, I am making My words fire in your mouth, And this people wood, and it will consume them. 15 Behold, I am bringing a nation against you from far away, you house of Israel,' declares the LORD. 'It is an enduring nation, It is an ancient nation, A nation whose language you do not know, Nor can you understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is like an open grave, All of them are warriors.
17 They will devour your harvest and your food; They will devour your sons and your daughters; They will devour your flocks and your herds; They will devour your vines and your fig trees; They will demolish your fortified cities, in which you trust, with the sword.
18 'Yet even in those days,' declares the LORD, 'I will not make a complete destruction of you. 19 And it shall come about when they say, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?’ then you shall say to them, ‘Just as you have abandoned Me and served foreign gods in your land, so you will serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’
20 'Declare this in the house of Jacob And proclaim it in Judah, saying, 21 ‘Now hear this, you foolish and senseless people, Who have eyes but do not see, Who have ears but do not hear. 22 Do you not fear Me?’ declares the LORD. ‘Do you not tremble in My presence? For I have placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, An eternal limit, and it will not cross over it. Though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; Though they roar, they will not cross over it. 23 But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; They have turned aside and departed. 24 They do not say in their heart, 'Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain in its season, Both the autumn rain and the spring rain, Who keeps for us The appointed weeks of the harvest.' 25 Your wrongdoings have turned these away, And your sins have kept good away from you. 26 For wicked people are found among My people, They watch like fowlers lying in wait; They set a trap, They catch people. 27 Like a cage full of birds, So their houses are full of deceit; Therefore they have become great and rich. 28 They are fat, they are sleek, They also excel in deeds of wickedness; They do not plead the cause, The cause of the orphan, so that they may be successful; And they do not defend the rights of the poor. 29 Shall I not punish them for these things?’ declares the LORD, ‘Or shall I not avenge Myself On a nation such as this?’ 30 'An appalling and horrible thing Has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, And the priests rule on their own authority; And My people love it this way! But what will you do when the end comes?

Chapter 6

1 'Flee to safety, you sons of Benjamin, From the midst of Jerusalem! Blow a trumpet in Tekoa And raise a warning signal over Beth-haccerem; For evil looks down from the north, Along with a great destruction. 2 The beautiful and delicate one, the daughter of Zion, I will destroy. 3 Shepherds and their flocks will come to her, They will pitch their tents around her, They will pasture, each in his place. 4 ‘Prepare for war against her; Arise, and let’s attack at noon. Woe to us, for the day declines, For the shadows of the evening lengthen! 5 Arise, and let’s attack by night And destroy her palaces!’?' 6 For this is what the LORD of armies says: 'Cut down her trees And pile up an assault ramp against Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, In whose midst there is only oppression. 7 As a well keeps its waters fresh, So she keeps fresh her wickedness. Violence and destruction are heard in her; Sickness and wounds are constantly before Me. 8 Be warned, Jerusalem, Or I shall be alienated from you, And make you a desolation, An uninhabited land.' 9 This is what the LORD of armies says: 'They will thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel like the vine; Pass your hand over the branches again Like a grape gatherer.' 10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, That they may hear? Behold, their ears are closed And they cannot listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become for them a rebuke; They take no delight in it. 11 But I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. 'Pour it out on the children in the street And on the gathering of young men together; For both husband and wife shall be taken, The old and the very old. 12 Their houses shall be turned over to others, Their fields and their wives together; For I will stretch out My hand Against the inhabitants of the land,' declares the LORD. 13 'For from the least of them to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet to the priest Everyone deals falsely. 14 They have healed the brokenness of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They were not ashamed at all, Nor did they know even how to be ashamed. Therefore they will fall among those who fall; At the time that I punish them, They will collapse,' says the LORD. 16 This is what the LORD says: 'Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, Where the good way is, and walk in it; Then you will find a resting place for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.17 And I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen.’ 18 Therefore hear, you nations, And know, you congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, earth: behold, I am bringing disaster on this people, The fruit of their plans, Because they have not listened to My words, And as for My Law, they have rejected it also. 20 For what purpose does frankincense come to Me from Sheba, And the sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable And your sacrifices are not pleasing to Me.' 21 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: 'Behold, I am placing stumbling blocks before this people. And they will stumble against them, Fathers and sons together; Neighbor and friend will perish.' 22 This is what the LORD says: 'Behold, there is a people coming from the north land, And a great nation will be stirred up from the remote parts of the earth. 23 They seize bow and spear; They are cruel and have no mercy; Their voice roars like the sea, And they ride on horses, Lined up as a man for the battle Against you, daughter of Zion!' 24 We have heard the report of it; Our hands are limp. Anguish has seized us, Pain like that of a woman in childbirth. 25 Do not go out into the field, And do not walk on the road; For the enemy has a sword, Terror is on every side. 26 Daughter of my people, put on sackcloth And roll in ashes; Mourn as for an only son, A most bitter mourning. For suddenly the destroyer Will come against us. 27 'I have made you an assayer and an examiner among My people, So that you may know and put their way to the test.' 28 All of them are stubbornly rebellious, Going about as a slanderer; They are bronze and iron. They are, all of them, corrupt. 29 The bellows blow fiercely, The lead is consumed by the fire; In vain the refining goes on, But the wicked are not separated. 30 They call them rejected silver, Because the LORD has rejected them.

Chapter 7

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 'Stand at the gate of the LORD’S house and proclaim there this word, and say, ‘Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah, who enter by these gates to worship the LORD!’?' 3 This is what the LORD of armies, the God of Israel says: 'Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words, saying, ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’ 5 For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a person and his neighbor, 6 if you do not oppress the stranger, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor follow other gods to your own ruin, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.
8 'Behold, you are trusting in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, offer sacrifices to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known, 10 then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, ‘We are saved!’—so that you may do all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by My name, become a den of robbers in your sight? Behold, I Myself have seen it,' declares the LORD.
12 'But go now to My place which was in Shiloh, where I made My name dwell at the beginning, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things,' declares the LORD, 'and I spoke to you, speaking again and again, but you did not listen, and I called you but you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house which is called by My name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, just as I did to Shiloh. 15 I will hurl you out of My sight, just as I have hurled out all your brothers, all the descendants of Ephraim.
16 'As for you, do not pray for this people, and do not lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not plead with Me; for I am not listening to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead dough to make sacrificial cakes for the queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods in order to provoke Me to anger. 19 Are they provoking Me?' declares the LORD. 'Is it not themselves instead, to their own shame?' 20 Therefore this is what the Lord GOD says: 'Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on human and animal life, and on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and not be quenched.'
21 This is what the LORD of armies, the God of Israel says: 'Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat flesh. 22 For I did not speak to your fathers, or command them on the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this is what I commanded them, saying, ‘Obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you will be My people; and you shall walk entirely in the way which I command you, so that it may go well for you.’ 24 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked by their own advice and in the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and they went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have sent you all My servants the prophets, sending them daily, again and again. 26 Yet they did not listen to Me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck; they did more evil than their fathers.
27 'So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God or accept discipline; trustworthiness has perished and has been eliminated from their mouth.
29 Cut off your hair and throw it away, And take up a song of mourning on the bare heights; For the LORD has rejected and forsaken The generation of His wrath.’
30 For the sons of Judah have done that which is evil in My sight,' declares the LORD. 'They have put their detestable things in the house which is called by My name, to defile it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, and it did not come into My mind.
32 'Therefore, behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when it will no longer be called Topheth, or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but the Valley of the Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth because there is no other place. 33 The dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the animals of the earth; and no one will frighten them away. 34 Then I will eliminate from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride; for the land will become a site of ruins.

Chapter 8

1 'At that time,' declares the LORD, 'they will bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its leaders, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from their graves. 2 They will spread them out to the sun, the moon, and to all the heavenly lights, which they have loved, which they have served, which they have followed, which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered nor buried; they will be like dung on the face of the ground. 3 And death will be chosen rather than life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family, that remains in all the places to which I have driven them,' declares the LORD of armies.
4 'You shall say to them, ‘This is what the LORD says: 'Do people fall and not get up? Does one turn away and not repent? 5 Why has this people, Jerusalem, Turned away in continual apostasy? They hold on to deceit, They refuse to return. 6 I have listened and heard, They have spoken what is not right; No one repented of his wickedness, Saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his own course, Like a horse charging into the battle. 7 Even the stork in the sky Knows her seasons; And the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane Keep to the time of their migration; But My people do not know The judgment of the LORD. 8 'How can you say, ‘We are wise, And the Law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes Has made it into a lie. 9 The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, So what kind of wisdom do they have? 10 Therefore I will give their wives to others, Their fields to new owners; Because from the least even to the greatest Everyone is greedy for gain; From the prophet even to the priest, Everyone practices deceit. 11 They have healed the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially, Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ But there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed because of the abomination they had done? They were not ashamed at all, And they did not know how to be ashamed; Therefore they will fall among those who fall; At the time of their punishment they will collapse,' Says the LORD. 13 'I will certainly snatch them away,' declares the LORD. 'There will be no grapes on the vine And no figs on the fig tree, And the leaf will wither; And what I have given them will pass away.'?’?' 14 Why are we sitting still? Assemble yourselves, and let’s go into the fortified cities And perish there, For the LORD our God has doomed us And given us poisoned water to drink, Because we have sinned against the LORD. 15 We waited for peace, but no good came; For a time of healing, but behold, terror! 16 From Dan there is heard the snorting of his horses; At the sound of the neighing of his stallions The whole land quakes; For they come and devour the land and its fullness, The city and its inhabitants. 17 'For behold, I am sending serpents among you, Vipers for which there is no charm; And they will bite you,' declares the LORD. 18 My sorrow is beyond healing, My heart is faint within me! 19 Behold, listen! The cry of the daughter of my people from a distant land: 'Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not within her?' 'Why have they provoked Me with their carved images, with foreign idols?' 20 'Harvest is past, summer is over, And we are not saved.' 21 I am broken over the brokenness of the daughter of my people. I mourn, dismay has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has not the health of the daughter of my people been restored?

Chapter 9

1 Oh, that my head were waters And my eyes a fountain of tears, That I might weep day and night For those slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the desert A travelers’ lodging place; So that I might leave my people And go away from them! For all of them are adulterers, An assembly of treacherous people. 3 'They bend their tongues like their bows; Lies and not truth prevail in the land; For they proceed from evil to evil, And they do not know Me,' declares the LORD. 4 'Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor, And do not trust any brother; Because every brother utterly betrays, And every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. 5 Everyone deceives his neighbor And does not speak the truth. They have taught their tongue to speak lies; They weary themselves committing wrongdoing. 6 Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit; Through deceit they refuse to know Me,' declares the LORD.
7 Therefore this is what the LORD of armies says: 'Behold, I will refine them and put them to the test; For what else can I do, because of the daughter of My people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; It speaks deceit; With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor, But inwardly he sets an ambush for him. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things?' declares the LORD. 'Shall I not avenge Myself On a nation such as this? 10 'I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains, And for the pastures of the wilderness a song of mourning, Because they are laid waste so that no one passes through, And the sound of the livestock is not heard; Both the birds of the sky and the animals have fled; they are gone. 11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, A haunt of jackals; And I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.'
12 Who is the wise person who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land destroyed, laid waste like the desert, so that no one passes through? 13 The LORD said, 'Because they have abandoned My Law which I put before them, and have not obeyed My voice nor walked according to it, 14 but have followed the stubbornness of their heart and the Baals, as their fathers taught them,' 15 therefore this is what the LORD of armies, the God of Israel says: 'Behold, I will feed this people wormwood; and I will give them poisoned water to drink. 16 I will also scatter them among the nations, whom neither they nor their fathers have known; and I will send the sword after them until I have put an end to them.'
17 This is what the LORD of armies says: 'Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come; And send for the skillful women, that they may come!
18 Have them hurry and take up a wailing for us, So that our eyes may shed tears, And our eyelids flow with water. 19 For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How devastated we are! We are put to great shame, For we have abandoned the land Because they have torn down our homes.’?' 20 Now hear the word of the LORD, you women, And let your ears receive the word of His mouth; Teach your daughters wailing, And have every woman teach her neighbor a song of mourning. 21 For death has come up through our windows; It has entered our palaces To eliminate the children from the streets, The young men from the public squares.
22 Speak, 'This is what the LORD says: ‘The corpses of people will fall like dung on the open field, And like the sheaf after the reaper, But no one will gather them.’?'
23 This is what the LORD says: 'Let no wise man boast of his wisdom, nor let the mighty man boast of his might, nor a rich man boast of his riches; 24 but let the one who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises mercy, justice, and righteousness on the earth; for I delight in these things,' declares the LORD.
25 'Behold, the days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all those inhabiting the desert who trim the hair on their temples; for all the nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.'
King James Version

Chapter 2

1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. 3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD. 4 Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel: 5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? 6 Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt? 7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination. 8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children's children will I plead. 10 For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing. 11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit. 12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. 13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
14 Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled? 15 The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant. 16 Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head. 17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way? 18 And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river? 19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot. 21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me? 22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD. 23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways; 24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her. 25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go. 26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets, 27 Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us. 28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
29 Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD. 30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. 31 O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee? 32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. 33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways. 34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these. 35 Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned. 36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria. 37 Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.

Chapter 3

1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. 4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? 5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
6 The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. 11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. 13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. 14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers. 19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. 21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God. 23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.

Chapter 4

1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. 2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. 6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. 7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. 8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us. 9 And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. 10 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul. 11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, 12 Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them. 13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. 14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? 15 For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim. 16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD. 18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.
19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. 27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. 30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. 31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.

Chapter 5

1 Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it. 2 And though they say, The LORD liveth; surely they swear falsely. 3 O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return. 4 Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God. 5 I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds. 6 Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and the 7 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses. 8 They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour's wife. 9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
10 Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD'S. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the LORD. 12 They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not he; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine: 13 And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them. 14 Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make my words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them. 15 Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel, saith the LORD: it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say. 16 Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men. 17 And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword. 18 Nevertheless in those days, saith the LORD, I will not make a full end with you. 19 And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us? then shalt thou answer them, Like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not your's.
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying, 21 Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not: 22 Fear ye not me? saith the LORD: will ye not tremble at my presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it? 23 But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. 26 For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. 27 As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. 28 They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge. 29 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 30 A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

Chapter 6

1 O ye children of Benjamin, gather yourselves to flee out of the midst of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and set up a sign of fire in Bethhaccerem: for evil appeareth out of the north, and great destruction. 2 I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman. 3 The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place. 4 Prepare ye war against her; arise, and let us go up at noon. Woe unto us! for the day goeth away, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out. 5 Arise, and let us go by night, and let us destroy her palaces. 6 For thus hath the LORD of hosts said, Hew ye down trees, and cast a mount against Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited; she is wholly oppression in the midst of her. 7 As a fountain casteth out her waters, so she casteth out her wickedness: violence and spoil is heard in her; before me continually is grief and wounds. 8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee; lest I make thee desolate, a land not inhabited.
9 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall throughly glean the remnant of Israel as a vine: turn back thine hand as a grapegatherer into the baskets. 10 To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the fury of the LORD; I am weary with holding in: I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of young men together: for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days. 12 And their houses shall be turned unto others, with their fields and wives together: for I will stretch out my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD. 13 For from the least of them even unto the greatest of them every one is given to covetousness; and from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 14 They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore they shall fall among them that fall: at the time that I visit them they shall be cast down, saith the LORD. 16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. 17 Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken.
18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. 19 Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it. 20 To what purpose cometh there to me incense from Sheba, and the sweet cane from a far country? your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices sweet unto me. 21 Therefore thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will lay stumblingblocks before this people, and the fathers and the sons together shall fall upon them; the neighbour and his friend shall perish. 22 Thus saith the LORD, Behold, a people cometh from the north country, and a great nation shall be raised from the sides of the earth. 23 They shall lay hold on bow and spear; they are cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roareth like the sea; and they ride upon horses, set in array as men for war against thee, O daughter of Zion. 24 We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail. 25 Go not forth into the field, nor walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and fear is on every side. 26 O daughter of my people, gird thee with sackcloth, and wallow thyself in ashes: make thee mourning, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation: for the spoiler shall suddenly come upon us. 27 I have set thee for a tower and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their way. 28 They are all grievous revolters, walking with slanders: they are brass and iron; they are all corrupters. 29 The bellows are burned, the lead is consumed of the fire; the founder melteth in vain: for the wicked are not plucked away. 30 Reprobate silver shall men call them, because the LORD hath rejected them.

Chapter 7

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, 2 Stand in the gate of the LORD'S house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all ye of Judah, that enter in at these gates to worship the LORD. 3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. 4 Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, The temple of the LORD, are these. 5 For if ye throughly amend your ways and your doings; if ye throughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbour; 6 If ye oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt: 7 Then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever. 8 Behold, ye trust in lying words, that cannot profit. 9 Will ye steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom ye know not; 10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? 11 Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD. 12 But go ye now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because ye have done all these works, saith the LORD, and I spake unto you, rising up early and speaking, but ye heard not; and I called you, but ye answered not; 14 Therefore will I do unto this house, which is called by my name, wherein ye trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim.
16 Therefore pray not thou for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me: for I will not hear thee. 17 Seest thou not what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. 19 Do they provoke me to anger? saith the LORD: do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? 20 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, mine anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place, upon man, and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn, and shall not be quenched.
21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices, and eat flesh. 22 For I spake not unto your fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices: 23 But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. 24 But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. 25 Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: 26 Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers. 27 Therefore thou shalt speak all these words unto them; but they will not hearken to thee: thou shalt also call unto them; but they will not answer thee. 28 But thou shalt say unto them, This is a nation that obeyeth not the voice of the LORD their God, nor receiveth correction: truth is perished, and is cut off from their mouth.
29 Cut off thine hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the LORD hath rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. 30 For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, saith the LORD: they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. 31 And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire; which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart. 32 Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place. 33 And the carcases of this people shall be meat for the fowls of the heaven, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall fray them away. 34 Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.

Chapter 8

1 At that time, saith the LORD, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: 2 And they shall spread them before the sun, and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. 3 And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, which remain in all the places whither I have driven them, saith the LORD of hosts.
4 Moreover thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the LORD; Shall they fall, and not arise? shall he turn away, and not return? 5 Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? they hold fast deceit, they refuse to return. 6 I hearkened and heard, but they spake not aright: no man repented him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? every one turned to his course, as the horse rusheth into the battle. 7 Yea, the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times; and the turtle and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people know not the judgment of the LORD. 8 How do ye say, We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us? Lo, certainly in vain made he it; the pen of the scribes is in vain. 9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them? 10 Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them: for every one from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest every one dealeth falsely. 11 For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the LORD.
13 I will surely consume them, saith the LORD: there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them. 14 Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. 15 We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! 16 The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those that dwell therein. 17 For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, saith the LORD. 18 When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. 19 Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the LORD in Zion? is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their graven images, and with strange vanities? 20 The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. 21 For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black; astonishment hath taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Chapter 9

1 Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them! for they be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. 3 And they bend their tongues like their bow for lies: but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the LORD. 4 Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother: for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. 5 And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth: they have taught their tongue to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity. 6 Thine habitation is in the midst of deceit; through deceit they refuse to know me, saith the LORD. 7 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, Behold, I will melt them, and try them; for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? 8 Their tongue is as an arrow shot out; it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait. 9 Shall I not visit them for these things? saith the LORD: shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? 10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up, so that none can pass through them; neither can men hear the voice of the cattle; both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled; they are gone. 11 And I will make Jerusalem heaps, and a den of dragons; and I will make the cities of Judah desolate, without an inhabitant.
12 Who is the wise man, that may understand this? and who is he to whom the mouth of the LORD hath spoken, that he may declare it, for what the land perisheth and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passeth through? 13 And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; 14 But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them: 15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the heathen, whom neither they nor their fathers have known: and I will send a sword after them, till I have consumed them. 17 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Consider ye, and call for the mourning women, that they may come; and send for cunning women, that they may come: 18 And let them make haste, and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears, and our eyelids gush out with waters. 19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! we are greatly confounded, because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out. 20 Yet hear the word of the LORD, O ye women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing, and every one her neighbour lamentation. 21 For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets. 22 Speak, Thus saith the LORD, Even the carcases of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them.
23 Thus saith the LORD, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches: 24 But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD. 25 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will punish all them which are circumcised with the uncircumcised; 26 Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners, that dwell in the wilderness: for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
Christian Standard Bible

Chapter 2

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 "Go and announce directly to Jerusalem that this is what the Lord says: I remember the loyalty of your youth, your love as a bride -- how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it found themselves guilty; disaster came on them." This is the Lord's declaration. 4 Hear the word of the Lord, house of Jacob and all families of the house of Israel. 5 This is what the Lord says: What fault did your ancestors find in me that they went so far from me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves? 6 They stopped asking, "Where is the Lord who brought us from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, through a land of drought and darkness, a land no one traveled through and where no one lived? " 7 I brought you to a fertile land to eat its fruit and bounty, but after you entered, you defiled my land; you made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests quit asking, "Where is the Lord? " The experts in the law no longer knew me, and the rulers rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal and followed useless idols.
9 Therefore, I will bring a case against you again. This is the Lord's declaration. I will bring a case against your children's children. 10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and take a look. Send someone to Kedar and consider carefully; see if there has ever been anything like this: 11 Has a nation ever exchanged its gods? (But they were not gods!) Yet my people have exchanged their Glory for useless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly desolated! This is the Lord's declaration. 13 For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves-- cracked cisterns that cannot hold water. 14 Is Israel a slave? Was he born into slavery? Why else has he become a prey? 15 The young lions have roared at him; they have roared loudly. They have laid waste his land. His cities are in ruins, without inhabitants. 16 The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have also broken your skull. 17 Have you not brought this on yourself by abandoning the Lord your God while he was leading you along the way? 18 Now what will you gain by traveling along the way to Egypt to drink the water of the Nile? What will you gain by traveling along the way to Assyria to drink the water of the Euphrates?
19 Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Recognize how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the Lord your God and to have no fear of me. This is the declaration of the Lord God of Armies.
20 For long ago I broke your yoke; I tore off your chains. You insisted, "I will not serve! " On every high hill and under every green tree you lay down like a prostitute.
21 I planted you, a choice vine from the very best seed. How then could you turn into a degenerate, foreign vine?
22 Even if you wash with lye and use a great amount of bleach, the stain of your iniquity is still in front of me. This is the Lord God's declaration. 23 How can you protest, "I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals"? Look at your behavior in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. You are a swift young camel twisting and turning on her way, 24 a wild donkey at home in the wilderness. She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire. Who can control her passion? All who look for her will not become weary; they will find her in her mating season.
25 Keep your feet from going bare and your throat from thirst. But you say, "It's hopeless; I love strangers, and I will continue to follow them." 26 Like the shame of a thief when he is caught, so the house of Israel has been put to shame. They, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets 27 say to a tree, "You are my father," and to a stone, "You gave birth to me." For they have turned their back to me and not their face, yet in their time of disaster they beg, "Rise up and save us! " 28 But where are your gods you made for yourself? Let them rise up and save you in your time of disaster if they can, for your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.
29 Why do you bring a case against me? All of you have rebelled against me. This is the Lord's declaration. 30 I have struck down your children in vain; they would not accept discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets like a ravaging lion. 31 Evil generation, pay attention to the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why do my people claim, "We will go where we want; we will no longer come to you"? 32 Can a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding sash? Yet my people have forgotten me for countless days. 33 How skillfully you pursue love; you also teach evil women your ways. 34 Moreover, your skirts are stained with the blood of the innocent poor. You did not catch them breaking and entering. But in spite of all these things 35 you claim, "I am innocent. His anger is sure to turn away from me." But I will certainly judge you because you have said, "I have not sinned." 36 How unstable you are, constantly changing your ways! You will be put to shame by Egypt just as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 Moreover, you will be led out from here with your hands on your head since the Lord has rejected those you trust; you will not succeed even with their help.

Chapter 3

1 If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn't such a land become totally defiled? But you! You have prostituted yourself with many partners -- can you return to me? This is the Lord's declaration. 2 Look to the barren heights and see. Where have you not been immoral? You sat waiting for them beside the highways like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. 3 This is why the showers haven't come -- why there has been no spring rain. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to be ashamed. 4 Haven't you recently called to me, "My Father! You were my friend in my youth. 5 Will he bear a grudge forever? Will he be endlessly infuriated? " This is what you have said, but you have done the evil things you are capable of.
6 In the days of King Josiah the Lord asked me, "Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there. 7 I thought, 'After she has done all these things, she will return to me.' But she didn't return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself. 9 Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn't return to me with all her heart--only in pretense."This is the Lord's declaration.
11 The Lord announced to me, "Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say, 'Return, unfaithful Israel. This is the Lord's declaration. I will not look on you with anger, for I am unfailing in my love. This is the Lord's declaration. I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt -- you have rebelled against the Lord your God. You have scattered your favors to strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed me. This is the Lord's declaration.
14 " 'Return, you faithless children--this is the Lord's declaration--for I am your master, and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds who are loyal to me, and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. 16 When you multiply and increase in the land, in those days--this is the Lord's declaration--no one will say again, "The ark of the Lord's covenant." It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. Another one will not be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem will be called The Lord's Throne, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord in Jerusalem. They will cease to follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit.' "
19 I thought, "How I long to make you my sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of all the nations." I thought, "You will call me 'My Father' and never turn away from me."
20 However, as a woman may betray her lover, so you have betrayed me, house of Israel. This is the Lord's declaration.
21 A sound is heard on the barren heights: the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy, for they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 Return, you faithless children. I will heal your unfaithfulness. "Here we are, coming to you, for you are the Lord our God. 23 Surely, falsehood comes from the hills, commotion from the mountains, but the salvation of Israel is only in the Lord our God. 24 From the time of our youth the shameful one has consumed what our ancestors have worked for -- their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame; let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our ancestors, from the time of our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the Lord our God."

Chapter 4

1 If you return, Israel -- this is the Lord's declaration -- you will return to me, if you remove your abhorrent idols from my presence and do not waver, 2 then you can swear, "As the Lord lives," in truth, justice, and righteousness, and then the nations will be blessed by him and will boast in him.
3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up the unplowed ground; do not sow among the thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. Otherwise, my wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it because of your evil deeds.
5 Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, Blow the ram's horn throughout the land. Cry out loudly and say, "Assemble yourselves, and let's flee to the fortified cities." 6 Lift up a signal flag toward Zion. Run for cover! Don't stand still! For I am bringing disaster from the north -- a crushing blow. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his lair to make your land a waste. Your cities will be reduced to uninhabited ruins. 8 Because of this, put on sackcloth; mourn and wail, for the Lord's burning anger has not turned away from us.
9 "On that day"--this is the Lord's declaration--"the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will tremble in fear, and the prophets will be scared speechless."
10 I said, "Oh no, Lord God, you have certainly deceived this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, 'You will have peace,' while a sword is at our throats."
11 "At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, 'A searing wind blows from the barren heights in the wilderness on the way to my dear people. It comes not to winnow or to sift; 12 a wind too strong for this comes at my call. Now I will also pronounce judgments against them.' "
13 Look, he advances like clouds; his chariots are like a storm. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 Wash the evil from your heart, Jerusalem, so that you will be delivered. How long will you harbor malicious thoughts? 15 For a voice announces from Dan, proclaiming malice from Mount Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations: Look! Proclaim to Jerusalem: Those who besiege are coming from a distant land; they raise their voices against the cities of Judah.
17 They have her surrounded like those who guard a field, because she has rebelled against me. This is the Lord's declaration. 18 Your way and your actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. It is very bitter, because it has reached your heart! 19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in agony! Oh, the pain in my heart! My heart pounds; I cannot be silent. For you, my soul, have heard the sound of the ram's horn -- the shout of battle. 20 Disaster after disaster is reported because the whole land is destroyed. Suddenly my tents are destroyed, my tent curtains, in a moment. 21 How long must I see the signal flag and hear the sound of the ram's horn? 22 "For my people are fools; they do not know me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good." 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills shook. 25 I looked, and there was no human being, and all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I looked, and the fertile field was a wilderness. All its cities were torn down because of the Lord and his burning anger.
27 For this is what the Lord says: "The whole land will be a desolation, but I will not finish it off.
28 Because of this, the earth will mourn; the skies above will grow dark. I have spoken; I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it." 29 Every city flees at the sound of the horseman and the archer. They enter the thickets and climb among the rocks. Every city is abandoned; no inhabitant is left. 30 And you, devastated one, what are you doing that you dress yourself in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry, that you enhance your eyes with makeup? You beautify yourself for nothing. Your lovers reject you; they intend to take your life. 31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor, a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child. The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands: "Woe is me, for my life is weary because of the murderers! "

Chapter 5

1 Roam through the streets of Jerusalem. Investigate; search in her squares. If you find one person, any who acts justly, who pursues faithfulness, then I will forgive her. 2 When they say, "As the Lord lives," they are swearing falsely. 3 Lord, don't your eyes look for faithfulness? You have struck them, but they felt no pain. You finished them off, but they refused to accept discipline. They made their faces harder than rock, and they refused to return.
4 Then I thought: They are just the poor; they have been foolish. For they don't understand the way of the Lord, the justice of their God. 5 I will go to the powerful and speak to them. Surely they know the way of the Lord, the justice of their God. However, these also had broken the yoke and torn off the chains.
6 Therefore, a lion from the forest will strike them down. A wolf from arid plains will ravage them. A leopard stalks their cities. Anyone who leaves them will be torn to pieces because their rebellious acts are many, their unfaithful deeds numerous. 7 Why should I forgive you? Your children have abandoned me and sworn by those who are not gods. I satisfied their needs, yet they committed adultery; they gashed themselves at the prostitute's house. 8 They are well-fed, eager stallions, each neighing after someone else's wife.
9 Should I not punish them for these things? This is the Lord's declaration. Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 10 Go up among her vineyard terraces and destroy them, but do not finish them off. Prune away her shoots, for they do not belong to the Lord.
11 They, the house of Israel and the house of Judah, have dealt very treacherously with me. This is the Lord's declaration. 12 They have contradicted the Lord and insisted, "It won't happen. Harm won't come to us; we won't see sword or famine." 13 The prophets become only wind, for the Lord's word is not in them. This will in fact happen to them.
14 Therefore, this is what the Lord God of Armies says: Because you have spoken this word, I am going to make my words become fire in your mouth. These people are the wood, and the fire will consume them.
15 I am about to bring a nation from far away against you, house of Israel. This is the Lord's declaration. It is an established nation, an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know and whose speech you do not understand. 16 Their quiver is like an open grave; they are all warriors. 17 They will consume your harvest and your food. They will consume your sons and your daughters. They will consume your flocks and your herds. They will consume your vines and your fig trees. With the sword they will destroy your fortified cities in which you trust.
18 "But even in those days"--this is the Lord's declaration--"I will not finish you off. 19 When people ask, 'For what offense has the Lord our God done all these things to us? ' You will respond to them, 'Just as you abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land, so will you serve strangers in a land that is not yours.'
20 "Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah, saying:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people. They have eyes, but they don't see. They have ears, but they don't hear.
22 Do you not fear me? This is the Lord's declaration. Do you not tremble before me, the one who set the sand as the boundary of the sea, an enduring barrier that it cannot cross? The waves surge, but they cannot prevail. They roar but cannot pass over it. 23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned aside and have gone away. 24 They have not said to themselves, 'Let's fear the Lord our God, who gives the seasonal rains, both autumn and spring, who guarantees to us the fixed weeks of the harvest.' 25 Your guilty acts have diverted these things from you. Your sins have withheld my bounty from you, 26 for wicked men live among my people. They watch like hunters lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. 27 Like a cage full of birds, so their houses are full of deceit. Therefore they have grown powerful and rich. 28 They have become fat and sleek. They have also excelled in evil matters. They have not taken up cases, such as the case of the fatherless, so they might prosper, and they have not defended the rights of the needy.
29 Should I not punish them for these things? This is the Lord's declaration. Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 30 "An appalling, horrible thing has taken place in the land. 31 The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority. My people love it like this. But what will you do at the end of it?

Chapter 6

1 "Run for cover out of Jerusalem, Benjaminites. Sound the ram's horn in Tekoa; raise a smoke signal over Beth-haccherem, for disaster threatens from the north, even a crushing blow. 2 Though she is beautiful and delicate, I will destroy Daughter Zion. 3 Shepherds and their flocks will come against her; they will pitch their tents all around her. Each will pasture his own portion. 4 Set them apart for war against her; rise up, let's attack at noon. Woe to us, for the day is passing; the evening shadows grow long. 5 Rise up, let's attack by night. Let's destroy her fortresses."
6 For this is what the Lord of Armies says: Cut down the trees; raise a siege ramp against Jerusalem. This city must be punished. There is nothing but oppression within her. 7 As a well gushes out its water, so she pours out her evil. Violence and destruction resound in her. Sickness and wounds keep coming to my attention. 8 Be warned, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you; I will make you a desolation, a land without inhabitants.
9 This is what the Lord of Armies says: Glean the remnant of Israel as thoroughly as a vine. Pass your hand once more like a grape gatherer over the branches. 10 Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen? Look, their ear is uncircumcised, so they cannot pay attention. See, the word of the Lord has become contemptible to them -- they find no pleasure in it. 11 But I am full of the Lord's wrath; I am tired of holding it back. Pour it out on the children in the street, on the gathering of young men as well. For both husband and wife will be captured, the old with the very old.
12 Their houses will be turned over to others, their fields and wives as well, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land. This is the Lord's declaration. 13 For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is making profit dishonestly. From prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. 14 They have treated my people's brokenness superficially, claiming, "Peace, peace," when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they acted so detestably? They weren't at all ashamed. They can no longer feel humiliation. Therefore, they will fall among the fallen. When I punish them, they will collapse, says the Lord.
16 This is what the Lord says: Stand by the roadways and look. Ask about the ancient paths, "Which is the way to what is good? " Then take it and find rest for yourselves. But they protested, "We won't! "
17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, "Listen for the sound of the ram's horn." But they protested, "We won't listen! " 18 Therefore listen, you nations and you witnesses, learn what the charge is against them. 19 Listen, earth! I am about to bring disaster on these people, the fruit of their own plotting, for they have paid no attention to my words. They have rejected my instruction. 20 What use to me is frankincense from Sheba or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me. 21 Therefore, this is what the Lord says: I am going to place stumbling blocks before these people; fathers and sons together will stumble over them; friends and neighbors will also perish.
22 This is what the Lord says: Look, an army is coming from a northern land; a great nation will be stirred up from the remote regions of the earth.
23 They grasp bow and javelin. They are cruel and show no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, lined up like men in battle formation against you, Daughter Zion. 24 We have heard about it, and our hands have become weak. Distress has seized us -- pain, like a woman in labor.
25 Don't go out to the fields; don't walk on the road. For the enemy has a sword; terror is on every side. 26 My dear people, dress yourselves in sackcloth and roll in the dust. Mourn as you would for an only son, a bitter lament, for suddenly the destroyer will come on us. 27 I have appointed you to be an assayer among my people -- a refiner -- so you may know and assay their way of life. 28 All are stubborn rebels spreading slander. They are bronze and iron; all of them are corrupt. 29 The bellows blow, blasting the lead with fire. The refining is completely in vain; the evil ones are not separated out. 30 They are called rejected silver, for the Lord has rejected them.

Chapter 7

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 "Stand in the gate of the house of the Lord and there call out this word: 'Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who enter through these gates to worship the Lord.
3 " 'This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Correct your ways and your actions, and I will allow you to live in this place. 4 Do not trust deceitful words, chanting, "This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord." 5 Instead, if you really correct your ways and your actions, if you act justly toward one another, 6 if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow and no longer shed innocent blood in this place or follow other gods, bringing harm on yourselves, 7 I will allow you to live in this place, the land I gave to your ancestors long ago and forever. 8 But look, you keep trusting in deceitful words that cannot help.
9 " 'Do you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and follow other gods that you have not known? 10 Then do you come and stand before me in this house that bears my name and say, "We are rescued, so we can continue doing all these detestable acts"?
11 Has this house, which bears my name, become a den of robbers in your view? Yes, I too have seen it.This is the Lord's declaration.
12 " 'But return to my place that was at Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first. See what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 Now, because you have done all these things--this is the Lord's declaration--and because I have spoken to you time and time again but you wouldn't listen, and I have called to you, but you wouldn't answer, 14 what I did to Shiloh I will do to the house that bears my name, the house in which you trust, the place that I gave you and your ancestors. 15 I will banish you from my presence, just as I banished all of your brothers, all the descendants of Ephraim.'
16 "As for you, do not pray for these people. Do not offer a cry or a prayer on their behalf, and do not beg me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Don't you see how they behave in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The sons gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven, and they pour out drink offerings to other gods so that they provoke me to anger. 19 But are they really provoking me? " This is the Lord's declaration. "Isn't it they themselves being provoked to disgrace? "
20 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: "Look, my anger--my burning wrath--is about to be poured out on this place, on people and animals, on the tree of the field, and on the produce of the land. My wrath will burn and not be quenched."
21 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: "Add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices, and eat the meat yourselves, 22 for when I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak with them or command them concerning burnt offering and sacrifice. 23 However, I did give them this command: 'Obey me, and then I will be your God, and you will be my people. Follow every way I command you so that it may go well with you.' 24 Yet they didn't listen or pay attention but followed their own advice and their own stubborn, evil heart. They went backward and not forward. 25 Since the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, I have sent all my servants the prophets to you time and time again. 26 However, my people wouldn't listen to me or pay attention but became obstinate; they did more evil than their ancestors.
27 "When you speak all these things to them, they will not listen to you. When you call to them, they will not answer you. 28 Therefore, declare to them, 'This is the nation that would not listen to the Lord their God and would not accept discipline. Truth has perished--it has disappeared from their mouths. 29 Cut off the hair of your sacred vow and throw it away. Raise up a dirge on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned the generation under his wrath.'
30 "For the Judeans have done what is evil in my sight." This is the Lord's declaration. "They have set up their abhorrent things in the house that bears my name in order to defile it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth in Ben Hinnom Valley in order to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, a thing I did not command; I never entertained the thought.
32 "Therefore, look, the days are coming"--the Lord's declaration--"when this place will no longer be called Topheth and Ben Hinnom Valley, but Slaughter Valley. Topheth will become a cemetery, because there will be no other burial place. 33 The corpses of these people will become food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals of the land, with no one to scare them away. 34 I will remove from the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and gladness and the voices of the groom and the bride, for the land will become a desolate waste.

Chapter 8

1 "At that time"--this is the Lord's declaration--"the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of her officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the residents of Jerusalem will be brought out of their graves. 2 They will be exposed to the sun, the moon, and all the stars in the sky, which they have loved, served, followed, consulted, and worshiped. Their bones will not be collected and buried but will become like manure on the soil's surface. 3 Death will be chosen over life by all the survivors of this evil family, those who remain wherever I have banished them." This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.
4 "You are to say to them: This is what the Lord says: Do people fall and not get up again? If they turn away, do they not return? 5 Why have these people turned away? Why is Jerusalem always turning away? They take hold of deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have paid careful attention. They do not speak what is right. No one regrets his evil, asking, 'What have I done? ' Everyone has stayed his course like a horse rushing into battle. 7 Even storks in the sky know their seasons. Turtledoves, swallows, and cranes are aware of their migration, but my people do not know the requirements of the Lord. 8 "How can you claim, 'We are wise; the law of the Lord is with us'? In fact, the lying pen of scribes has produced falsehood. 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and snared. They have rejected the word of the Lord, so what wisdom do they really have? 10 Therefore, I will give their wives to other men, their fields to new occupants, for from the least to the greatest, everyone is making profit dishonestly. From prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. 11 They have treated the brokenness of my dear people superficially, claiming, 'Peace, peace,' when there is no peace.
12 Were they ashamed when they acted so detestably? They weren't at all ashamed. They can no longer feel humiliation. Therefore, they will fall among the fallen. When I punish them, they will collapse," says the Lord.
13 "I will gather them and bring them to an end." This is the Lord's declaration. "There will be no grapes on the vine, no figs on the fig tree, and even the leaf will wither. Whatever I have given them will be lost to them." 14 Why are we just sitting here? Gather together; let's enter the fortified cities and perish there, for the Lord our God has destroyed us. He has given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord.
15 We hoped for peace, but there was nothing good; for a time of healing, but there was only terror. 16 From Dan, the snorting of horses is heard. At the sound of the neighing of mighty steeds, the whole land quakes. They come to devour the land and everything in it, the city and all its residents.
17 Indeed, I am about to send snakes among you, poisonous vipers that cannot be charmed. They will bite you. This is the Lord's declaration. 18 My joy has flown away; grief has settled on me. My heart is sick. 19 Listen--the cry of my dear people from a faraway land, "Is the Lord no longer in Zion, her King not within her? " Why have they angered me with their carved images, with their worthless foreign idols? 20 Harvest has passed, summer has ended, but we have not been saved. 21 I am broken by the brokenness of my dear people. I mourn; horror has taken hold of me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? So why has the healing of my dear people not come about?

Chapter 9

1 If my head were a flowing spring, my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night over the slain of my dear people.
2 If only I had a traveler's lodging place in the wilderness, I would abandon my people and depart from them, for they are all adulterers, a solemn assembly of treacherous people.
3 They bent their tongues like their bows; lies and not faithfulness prevail in the land, for they proceed from one evil to another, and they do not take me into account. This is the Lord's declaration. 4 Everyone has to be on guard against his friend. Don't trust any brother, for every brother will certainly deceive, and every friend spread slander. 5 Each one betrays his friend; no one tells the truth. They have taught their tongues to speak lies; they wear themselves out doing wrong.
6 You live in a world of deception. In their deception they refuse to know me. This is the Lord's declaration.
7 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Armies says: I am about to refine them and test them, for what else can I do because of my dear people? 8 Their tongues are deadly arrows -- they speak deception. With his mouth one speaks peaceably with his friend, but inwardly he sets up an ambush.
9 Should I not punish them for these things? This is the Lord's declaration. Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 10 I will raise weeping and a lament over the mountains, a dirge over the wilderness grazing land, for they have been so scorched that no one passes through. The sound of cattle is no longer heard. From the birds of the sky to the animals, everything has fled--they have gone away. 11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of rubble, a jackals' den. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, an uninhabited place.
12 Who is the person wise enough to understand this? Who has the Lord spoken to, that he may explain it? Why is the land destroyed and scorched like a wilderness, so no one can pass through?
13 The Lord said, "It is because they abandoned my instruction, which I set before them, and did not obey my voice or walk according to it. 14 Instead, they followed the stubbornness of their hearts and followed the Baals as their ancestors taught them." 15 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: "I am about to feed this people wormwood and give them poisonous water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among the nations that they and their ancestors have not known. I will send a sword after them until I have finished them off."
17 This is what the Lord of Armies says: Consider, and summon the women who mourn; send for the skillful women. 18 Let them come quickly to raise a lament over us so that our eyes may overflow with tears, our eyelids be soaked with weeping.
19 For a sound of lamentation is heard from Zion: How devastated we are. We are greatly ashamed, for we have abandoned the land; our dwellings have been torn down. 20 Now hear the word of the Lord, you women. Pay attention to the words from his mouth. Teach your daughters a lament and one another a dirge, 21 for Death has climbed through our windows; it has entered our fortresses, cutting off children from the streets, young men from the squares.
22 "Speak as follows: 'This is what the Lord declares: Human corpses will fall like manure on the surface of the field, like newly cut grain after the reaper with no one to gather it.
23 " 'This is what the Lord says: The wise person should not boast in his wisdom; the strong should not boast in his strength; the wealthy should not boast in his wealth.
24 But the one who boasts should boast in this: that he understands and knows me -- that I am the Lord, showing faithful love, justice, and righteousness on the earth, for I delight in these things. This is the Lord's declaration.
25 " 'Look, the days are coming--this is the Lord's declaration--when I will punish all the circumcised yet uncircumcised: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all the inhabitants of the desert who clip the hair on their temples. All these nations are uncircumcised, and the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.' "
New Living Translation

Chapter 2

1 The LORD gave me another message. He said,
2 'Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the LORD says: 'I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. 3 In those days Israel was holy to the LORD, the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the LORD, have spoken!'
4 Listen to the word of the LORD, people of Jacob--all you families of Israel!
5 This is what the LORD says: 'What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. 6 They did not ask, 'Where is the LORD who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness--a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?'
7 'And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the possession I had promised you. 8 The priests did not ask, 'Where is the LORD?' Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols. 9 Therefore, I will bring my case against you,' says the LORD. 'I will even bring charges against your children's children in the years to come.
10 'Go west and look in the land of Cyprus; go east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this? 11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! 12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,' says the LORD. 13 'For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me--the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
14 'Why has Israel become a slave? Why has he been carried away as plunder? 15 Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins, and no one lives in them anymore. 16 Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel's glory and power. 17 And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the LORD your God, even though he was leading you on the way!
18 'What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River? 19 Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the LORD your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, have spoken!
20 'Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, 'I will not serve you.' On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols. 21 But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock--the very best. How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine? 22 No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!
23 'You say, 'That's not true! I haven't worshiped the images of Baal!' But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate. 24 You are like a wild donkey, sniffing the wind at mating time. Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don't need to search, for she goes running to them! 25 When will you stop running? When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, 'Save your breath. I'm in love with these foreign gods, and I can't stop loving them now!'
26 'Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets--all are alike in this. 27 To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, 'You are my father.' To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, 'You are my mother.' They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, 'Come and save us!' 28 But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are towns in Judah. 29 Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,' says the LORD. 30 'I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline. You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey.
31 'O my people, listen to the words of the LORD! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, 'At last we are free from God! We don't need him anymore!' 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry? Does a bride hide her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.
33 'How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you! 34 Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor, though you didn't catch them breaking into your houses! 35 And yet you say, 'I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn't angry with me!' But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned. 36 First here, then there--you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. 37 In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the LORD has rejected the nations you trust. They will not help you at all.

Chapter 3

1 'If a man divorces a woman and she goes and marries someone else, he will not take her back again, for that would surely corrupt the land. But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers, so why are you trying to come back to me?' says the LORD. 2 'Look at the shrines on every hilltop. Is there any place you have not been defiled by your adultery with other gods? You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer. You sit alone like a nomad in the desert. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and your wickedness. 3 That's why even the spring rains have failed. For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless. 4 Yet you say to me, 'Father, you have been my guide since my youth. 5 Surely you won't be angry forever! Surely you can forget about it!' So you talk, but you keep on doing all the evil you can.'
6 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, 'Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. 7 I thought, 'After she has done all this, she will return to me.' But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. 8 She saw that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. 9 Israel treated it all so lightly--she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted. 10 But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the LORD, have spoken!'
11 Then the LORD said to me, 'Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah!
12 Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. This is what the LORD says: 'O Israel, my faithless people, come home to me again, for I am merciful. I will not be angry with you forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt. Admit that you rebelled against the LORD your God and committed adultery against him by worshiping idols under every green tree. Confess that you refused to listen to my voice. I, the LORD, have spoken!
14 'Return home, you wayward children,' says the LORD, 'for I am your master. I will bring you back to the land of Israel--one from this town and two from that family--from wherever you are scattered. 15 And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
16 'And when your land is once more filled with people,' says the LORD, 'you will no longer wish for 'the good old days' when you possessed the Ark of the LORD's Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. 17 In that day Jerusalem will be known as 'The Throne of the LORD.' All nations will come there to honor the LORD. They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires. 18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave their ancestors as an inheritance forever.
19 'I thought to myself, 'I would love to treat you as my own children!' I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land--the finest possession in the world. I looked forward to your calling me 'Father,' and I wanted you never to turn from me. 20 But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel! You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband. I, the LORD, have spoken.'
21 Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains, the weeping and pleading of Israel's people. For they have chosen crooked paths and have forgotten the LORD their God.
22 'My wayward children,' says the LORD, 'come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.' 'Yes, we're coming,' the people reply, 'for you are the LORD our God. 23 Our worship of idols on the hills and our religious orgies on the mountains are a delusion. Only in the LORD our God will Israel ever find salvation. 24 From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for--their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters--was squandered on a delusion. 25 Let us now lie down in shame and cover ourselves with dishonor, for we and our ancestors have sinned against the LORD our God. From our childhood to this day we have never obeyed him.'

Chapter 4

1 'O Israel,' says the LORD, 'if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. 2 Then when you swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.'
3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: 'Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 4 O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
5 'Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: 'Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!' 6 Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem: 'Flee now! Do not delay!' For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.'
7 A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It's going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore. 8 So put on clothes of mourning and weep with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the LORD is still upon us.
9 'In that day,' says the LORD, 'the king and the officials will tremble in fear. The priests will be struck with horror, and the prophets will be appalled.'
10 Then I said, 'O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!'
11 The time is coming when the LORD will say to the people of Jerusalem, 'My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert, and it's not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain. 12 It is a roaring blast sent by me! Now I will pronounce your destruction!'
13 Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed! 14 O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts? 15 Your destruction has been announced from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim.
16 'Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah. 17 They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me,' says the LORD. 18 'Your own actions have brought this upon you. This punishment is bitter, piercing you to the heart!'
19 My heart, my heart--I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. 20 Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed. 21 How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?
22 'My people are foolish and do not know me,' says the LORD. 'They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!'
23 I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light. 24 I looked at the mountains and hills, and they trembled and shook. 25 I looked, and all the people were gone. All the birds of the sky had flown away. 26 I looked, and the fertile fields had become a wilderness. The towns lay in ruins, crushed by the LORD's fierce anger.
27 This is what the LORD says: 'The whole land will be ruined, but I will not destroy it completely. 28 The earth will mourn and the heavens will be draped in black because of my decree against my people. I have made up my mind and will not change it.'
29 At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned--not a person remains! 30 What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you.
31 I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, 'Help! I'm being murdered!'

Chapter 5

1 'Run up and down every street in Jerusalem,' says the LORD. 'Look high and low; search throughout the city! If you can find even one just and honest person, I will not destroy the city. 2 But even when they are under oath, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' they are still telling lies!'
3 LORD, you are searching for honesty. You struck your people, but they paid no attention. You crushed them, but they refused to be corrected. They are determined, with faces set like stone; they have refused to repent.
4 Then I said, 'But what can we expect from the poor? They are ignorant. They don't know the ways of the LORD. They don't understand God's laws. 5 So I will go and speak to their leaders. Surely they know the ways of the LORD and understand God's laws.' But the leaders, too, as one man, had thrown off God's yoke and broken his chains. 6 So now a lion from the forest will attack them; a wolf from the desert will pounce on them. A leopard will lurk near their towns, tearing apart any who dare to venture out. For their rebellion is great, and their sins are many.
7 'How can I pardon you? For even your children have turned from me. They have sworn by gods that are not gods at all! I fed my people until they were full. But they thanked me by committing adultery and lining up at the brothels. 8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor's wife. 9 Should I not punish them for this?' says the LORD. 'Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?
10 'Go down the rows of the vineyards and destroy the grapevines, leaving a scattered few alive. Strip the branches from the vines, for these people do not belong to the LORD. 11 The people of Israel and Judah are full of treachery against me,' says the LORD. 12 'They have lied about the LORD and said, 'He won't bother us! No disasters will come upon us. There will be no war or famine. 13 God's prophets are all windbags who don't really speak for him. Let their predictions of disaster fall on themselves!''
14 Therefore, this is what the LORD God of Heaven's Armies says: 'Because the people are talking like this, my messages will flame out of your mouth and burn the people like kindling wood. 15 O Israel, I will bring a distant nation against you,' says the LORD. 'It is a mighty nation, an ancient nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you cannot understand. 16 Their weapons are deadly; their warriors are mighty. 17 They will devour the food of your harvest; they will devour your sons and daughters. They will devour your flocks and herds; they will devour your grapes and figs. And they will destroy your fortified towns, which you think are so safe.
18 'Yet even in those days I will not blot you out completely,' says the LORD. 19 'And when your people ask, 'Why did the LORD our God do all this to us?' you must reply, 'You rejected him and gave yourselves to foreign gods in your own land. Now you will serve foreigners in a land that is not your own.'
20 'Make this announcement to Israel, and say this to Judah: 21 Listen, you foolish and senseless people, with eyes that do not see and ears that do not hear. 22 Have you no respect for me? Why don't you tremble in my presence? I, the LORD, define the ocean's sandy shoreline as an everlasting boundary that the waters cannot cross. The waves may toss and roar, but they can never pass the boundaries I set. 23 But my people have stubborn and rebellious hearts. They have turned away and abandoned me. 24 They do not say from the heart, 'Let us live in awe of the LORD our God, for he gives us rain each spring and fall, assuring us of a harvest when the time is right.' 25 Your wickedness has deprived you of these wonderful blessings. Your sin has robbed you of all these good things.
26 'Among my people are wicked men who lie in wait for victims like a hunter hiding in a blind. They continually set traps to catch people. 27 Like a cage filled with birds, their homes are filled with evil plots. And now they are great and rich. 28 They are fat and sleek, and there is no limit to their wicked deeds. They refuse to provide justice to orphans and deny the rights of the poor. 29 Should I not punish them for this?' says the LORD. 'Should I not avenge myself against such a nation? 30 A horrible and shocking thing has happened in this land-- 31 the prophets give false prophecies, and the priests rule with an iron hand. Worse yet, my people like it that way! But what will you do when the end comes?

Chapter 6

1 'Run for your lives, you people of Benjamin! Get out of Jerusalem! Sound the alarm in Tekoa! Send up a signal at Beth-hakkerem! A powerful army is coming from the north, coming with disaster and destruction. 2 O Jerusalem, you are my beautiful and delicate daughter--but I will destroy you! 3 Enemies will surround you, like shepherds camped around the city. Each chooses a place for his troops to devour. 4 They shout, 'Prepare for battle! Attack at noon!' 'No, it's too late; the day is fading, and the evening shadows are falling.' 5 'Well then, let's attack at night and destroy her palaces!''
6 This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: 'Cut down the trees for battering rams. Build siege ramps against the walls of Jerusalem. This is the city to be punished, for she is wicked through and through. 7 She spouts evil like a fountain. Her streets echo with the sounds of violence and destruction. I always see her sickness and sores. 8 Listen to this warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn from you in disgust. Listen, or I will turn you into a heap of ruins, a land where no one lives.'
9 This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: 'Even the few who remain in Israel will be picked over again, as when a harvester checks each vine a second time to pick the grapes that were missed.'
10 To whom can I give warning? Who will listen when I speak? Their ears are closed, and they cannot hear. They scorn the word of the LORD. They don't want to listen at all.
11 So now I am filled with the LORD's fury. Yes, I am tired of holding it in! 'I will pour out my fury on children playing in the streets and on gatherings of young men, on husbands and wives and on those who are old and gray. 12 Their homes will be turned over to their enemies, as will their fields and their wives. For I will raise my powerful fist against the people of this land,' says the LORD. 13 'From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. From prophets to priests, they are all frauds. 14 They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions? Not at all--they don't even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them,' says the LORD.
16 This is what the LORD says: 'Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, 'No, that's not the road we want!' 17 I posted watchmen over you who said, 'Listen for the sound of the alarm.' But you replied, 'No! We won't pay attention!'
18 'Therefore, listen to this, all you nations. Take note of my people's situation. 19 Listen, all the earth! I will bring disaster on my people. It is the fruit of their own schemes, because they refuse to listen to me. They have rejected my word. 20 There's no use offering me sweet frankincense from Sheba. Keep your fragrant calamus imported from distant lands! I will not accept your burnt offerings. Your sacrifices have no pleasing aroma for me.'
21 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: 'I will put obstacles in my people's path. Fathers and sons will both fall over them. Neighbors and friends will die together.'
22 This is what the LORD says: 'Look! A great army coming from the north! A great nation is rising against you from far-off lands. 23 They are armed with bows and spears. They are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like a roaring sea as they ride forward on horses. They are coming in battle formation, planning to destroy you, beautiful Jerusalem.'
24 We have heard reports about the enemy, and we wring our hands in fright. Pangs of anguish have gripped us, like those of a woman in labor. 25 Don't go out to the fields! Don't travel on the roads! The enemy's sword is everywhere and terrorizes us at every turn! 26 Oh, my people, dress yourselves in burlap and sit among the ashes. Mourn and weep bitterly, as for the loss of an only son. For suddenly the destroying armies will be upon you!
27 'Jeremiah, I have made you a tester of metals, that you may determine the quality of my people. 28 They are the worst kind of rebel, full of slander. They are as hard as bronze and iron, and they lead others into corruption. 29 The bellows fiercely fan the flames to burn out the corruption. But it does not purify them, for the wickedness remains. 30 I will label them 'Rejected Silver,' for I, the LORD, am discarding them.'

Chapter 7

1 The LORD gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 'Go to the entrance of the LORD's Temple, and give this message to the people: 'O Judah, listen to this message from the LORD! Listen to it, all of you who worship here!
3 This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies, the God of Israel, says: ''Even now, if you quit your evil ways, I will let you stay in your own land. 4 But don't be fooled by those who promise you safety simply because the LORD's Temple is here. They chant, 'The LORD's Temple is here! The LORD's Temple is here!' 5 But I will be merciful only if you stop your evil thoughts and deeds and start treating each other with justice; 6 only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows; only if you stop your murdering; and only if you stop harming yourselves by worshiping idols. 7 Then I will let you stay in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8 ''Don't be fooled into thinking that you will never suffer because the Temple is here. It's a lie! 9 Do you really think you can steal, murder, commit adultery, lie, and burn incense to Baal and all those other new gods of yours, 10 and then come here and stand before me in my Temple and chant, 'We are safe!'--only to go right back to all those evils again? 11 Don't you yourselves admit that this Temple, which bears my name, has become a den of thieves? Surely I see all the evil going on there. I, the LORD, have spoken!
12 ''Go now to the place at Shiloh where I once put the Tabernacle that bore my name. See what I did there because of all the wickedness of my people, the Israelites. 13 While you were doing these wicked things, says the LORD, I spoke to you about it repeatedly, but you would not listen. I called out to you, but you refused to answer. 14 So just as I destroyed Shiloh, I will now destroy this Temple that bears my name, this Temple that you trust in for help, this place that I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 And I will send you out of my sight into exile, just as I did your relatives, the people of Israel.'
16 'Pray no more for these people, Jeremiah. Do not weep or pray for them, and don't beg me to help them, for I will not listen to you. 17 Don't you see what they are doing throughout the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 No wonder I am so angry! Watch how the children gather wood and the fathers build sacrificial fires. See how the women knead dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. And they pour out liquid offerings to their other idol gods! 19 Am I the one they are hurting?' asks the LORD. 'Most of all, they hurt themselves, to their own shame.'
20 So this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'I will pour out my terrible fury on this place. Its people, animals, trees, and crops will be consumed by the unquenchable fire of my anger.'
21 This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies, the God of Israel, says: 'Take your burnt offerings and your other sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22 When I led your ancestors out of Egypt, it was not burnt offerings and sacrifices I wanted from them. 23 This is what I told them: 'Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Do everything as I say, and all will be well!'
24 'But my people would not listen to me. They kept doing whatever they wanted, following the stubborn desires of their evil hearts. They went backward instead of forward. 25 From the day your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have continued to send my servants, the prophets--day in and day out. 26 But my people have not listened to me or even tried to hear. They have been stubborn and sinful--even worse than their ancestors.
27 'Tell them all this, but do not expect them to listen. Shout out your warnings, but do not expect them to respond. 28 Say to them, 'This is the nation whose people will not obey the LORD their God and who refuse to be taught. Truth has vanished from among them; it is no longer heard on their lips. 29 Shave your head in mourning, and weep alone on the mountains. For the LORD has rejected and forsaken this generation that has provoked his fury.'
30 'The people of Judah have sinned before my very eyes,' says the LORD. 'They have set up their abominable idols right in the Temple that bears my name, defiling it. 31 They have built pagan shrines at Topheth, the garbage dump in the valley of Ben-Hinnom, and there they burn their sons and daughters in the fire. I have never commanded such a horrible deed; it never even crossed my mind to command such a thing! 32 So beware, for the time is coming,' says the LORD, 'when that garbage dump will no longer be called Topheth or the valley of Ben-Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter. They will bury the bodies in Topheth until there is no more room for them. 33 The bodies of my people will be food for the vultures and wild animals, and no one will be left to scare them away. 34 I will put an end to the happy singing and laughter in the streets of Jerusalem. The joyful voices of bridegrooms and brides will no longer be heard in the towns of Judah. The land will lie in complete desolation.

Chapter 8

1 'In that day,' says the LORD, 'the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2 They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars--the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3 And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, have spoken!
4 'Jeremiah, say to the people, 'This is what the LORD says: ''When people fall down, don't they get up again? When they discover they're on the wrong road, don't they turn back? 5 Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path? Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back? They cling tightly to their lies and will not turn around. 6 I listen to their conversations and don't hear a word of truth. Is anyone sorry for doing wrong? Does anyone say, 'What a terrible thing I have done'? No! All are running down the path of sin as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle! 7 Even the stork that flies across the sky knows the time of her migration, as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane. They all return at the proper time each year. But not my people! They do not know the LORD's laws.
8 ''How can you say, 'We are wise because we have the word of the LORD,' when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies? 9 These wise teachers will fall into the trap of their own foolishness, for they have rejected the word of the LORD. Are they so wise after all? 10 I will give their wives to others and their farms to strangers. From the least to the greatest, their lives are ruled by greed. Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that. They are all frauds. 11 They offer superficial treatments for my people's mortal wound. They give assurances of peace when there is no peace. 12 Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions? Not at all--they don't even know how to blush! Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered. They will be brought down when I punish them, says the LORD. 13 I will surely consume them. There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes. Their fruit trees will all die. Whatever I gave them will soon be gone. I, the LORD, have spoken!'
14 'Then the people will say, 'Why should we wait here to die? Come, let's go to the fortified towns and die there. For the LORD our God has decreed our destruction and has given us a cup of poison to drink because we sinned against the LORD. 15 We hoped for peace, but no peace came. We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.'
16 'The snorting of the enemies' warhorses can be heard all the way from the land of Dan in the north! The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble. They are coming to devour the land and everything in it--cities and people alike. 17 I will send these enemy troops among you like poisonous snakes you cannot charm. They will bite you, and you will die. I, the Lord, have spoken!'
18 My grief is beyond healing; my heart is broken.
19 Listen to the weeping of my people; it can be heard all across the land. 'Has the LORD abandoned Jerusalem?' the people ask. 'Is her King no longer there?' 'Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols and their worthless foreign gods?' says the LORD.
20 'The harvest is finished, and the summer is gone,' the people cry, 'yet we are not saved!'
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people. I mourn and am overcome with grief. 22 Is there no medicine in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why is there no healing for the wounds of my people?

Chapter 9

1 If only my head were a pool of water and my eyes a fountain of tears, I would weep day and night for all my people who have been slaughtered. 2 Oh, that I could go away and forget my people and live in a travelers' shack in the desert. For they are all adulterers--a pack of treacherous liars.
3 'My people bend their tongues like bows to shoot out lies. They refuse to stand up for the truth. They only go from bad to worse. They do not know me,' says the LORD.
4 'Beware of your neighbor! Don't even trust your brother! For brother takes advantage of brother, and friend slanders friend. 5 They all fool and defraud each other; no one tells the truth. With practiced tongues they tell lies; they wear themselves out with all their sinning. 6 They pile lie upon lie and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,' says the LORD.
7 Therefore, this is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: 'See, I will melt them down in a crucible and test them like metal. What else can I do with my people? 8 For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows. They speak friendly words to their neighbors while scheming in their heart to kill them. 9 Should I not punish them for this?' says the LORD. 'Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?'
10 I will weep for the mountains and wail for the wilderness pastures. For they are desolate and empty of life; the lowing of cattle is heard no more; the birds and wild animals have all fled.
11 'I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,' says the LORD. 'It will be a place haunted by jackals. The towns of Judah will be ghost towns, with no one living in them.'
12 Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?
13 The LORD replies, 'This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. 14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. 15 So now, this is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.'
17 This is what the LORD of Heaven's Armies says: 'Consider all this, and call for the mourners. Send for the women who mourn at funerals. 18 Quick! Begin your weeping! Let the tears flow from your eyes. 19 Hear the people of Jerusalem crying in despair, 'We are ruined! We are completely humiliated! We must leave our land, because our homes have been torn down.''
20 Listen, you women, to the words of the LORD; open your ears to what he has to say. Teach your daughters to wail; teach one another how to lament. 21 For death has crept in through our windows and has entered our mansions. It has killed off the flower of our youth: Children no longer play in the streets, and young men no longer gather in the squares.
22 This is what the LORD says: 'Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure, like bundles of grain after the harvest. No one will be left to bury them.'
23 This is what the LORD says: 'Don't let the wise boast in their wisdom, or the powerful boast in their power, or the rich boast in their riches. 24 But those who wish to boast should boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who demonstrates unfailing love and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!
25 'A time is coming,' says the LORD, 'when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit-- 26 the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places, and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.'
English Standard Version

Chapter 2

1 The word of the LORD came to me, saying, 2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” 4 Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the LORD: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
6 They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’ 7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit. 9 “Therefore I still contend with you, declares the LORD, and with your children’s children I will contend. 10 For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see, or send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has been such a thing. 11 Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. 12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD, 13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water. 14 “Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant? Why then has he become a prey? 15 The lions have roared against him; they have roared loudly. They have made his land a waste; his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant. 16 Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have shaved the crown of your head. 17 Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the LORD your God, when he led you in the way? 18 And now what do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what do you gain by going to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates? 19 Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the LORD your God; the fear of me is not in you, declares the Lord GOD of hosts. 20 “For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore. 21 Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine? 22 Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord GOD. 23 How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done— a restless young camel running here and there, 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her. 25 Keep your feet from going unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’ 26 “As a thief is shamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed: they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets, 27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they say, ‘Arise and save us!’ 28 But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah. 29 “Why do you contend with me? You have all transgressed against me, declares the LORD. 30 In vain have I struck your children; they took no correction; your own sword devoured your prophets like a ravening lion. 31 And you, O generation, behold the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘We are free, we will come no more to you’? 32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number. 33 “How well you direct your course to seek love! So that even to wicked women you have taught your ways. 34 Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things 35 you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’ 36 How much you go about, changing your way! You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 From it too you will come away with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those in whom you trust, and you will not prosper by them.

Chapter 3

1 “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me? declares the LORD. 2 Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers like an Arab in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come; yet you have the forehead of a whore; you refuse to be ashamed. 4 Have you not just now called to me, ‘My father, you are the friend of my youth— 5 will he be angry forever, will he be indignant to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken, but you have done all the evil that you could.” 6 The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? 7 And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. 9 Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.”
11 And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD. 14 Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 “‘And I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
19 “‘I said, How I would set you among my sons, and give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beautiful of all nations. And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me. 20 Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.’” 21 A voice on the bare heights is heard, the weeping and pleading of Israel’s sons because they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 “Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.” “Behold, we come to you, for you are the LORD our God. 23 Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 “But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor cover us. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day, and we have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”

Chapter 4

1 “If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver, 2 and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” 3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” 5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, “Blow the trumpet through the land; cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities!’
6 Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not, for I bring disaster from the north, and great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant. 8 For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us.” 9 “In that day, declares the LORD, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.” 10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.”
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.”
13 Behold, he comes up like clouds; his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles— woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims trouble from Mount Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations that he is coming; announce to Jerusalem, “Besiegers come from a distant land; they shout against the cities of Judah. 17 Like keepers of a field are they against her all around, because she has rebelled against me, declares the LORD. 18 Your ways and your deeds have brought this upon you. This is your doom, and it is bitter; it has reached your very heart.” 19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Crash follows hard on crash; the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment. 21 How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 “For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’—in doing evil! But how to do good they know not.” 23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says the LORD, “The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.
28 “For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back.” 29 At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them. 30 And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life. 31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands, “Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”

Chapter 5

1 Run to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look and take note! Search her squares to see if you can find a man, one who does justice and seeks truth, that I may pardon her. 2 Though they say, “As the LORD lives,” yet they swear falsely. 3 O LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You have struck them down, but they felt no anguish; you have consumed them, but they refused to take correction. They have made their faces harder than rock; they have refused to repent. 4 Then I said, “These are only the poor; they have no sense; for they do not know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God. 5 I will go to the great and will speak to them, for they know the way of the LORD, the justice of their God.” But they all alike had broken the yoke; they had burst the bonds. 6 Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down; a wolf from the desert shall devastate them. A leopard is watching their cities; everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great. 7 “How can I pardon you? Your children have forsaken me and have sworn by those who are no gods. When I fed them to the full, they committed adultery and trooped to the houses of whores. 8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbor’s wife. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD; and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? 10 “Go up through her vine rows and destroy, but make not a full end; strip away her branches, for they are not the LORD’s. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly treacherous to me, declares the LORD. 12 They have spoken falsely of the LORD and have said, ‘He will do nothing; no disaster will come upon us, nor shall we see sword or famine. 13 The prophets will become wind; the word is not in them. Thus shall it be done to them!’” 14 Therefore thus says the LORD, the God of hosts: “Because you have spoken this word, behold, I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them. 15 Behold, I am bringing against you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, declares the LORD. It is an enduring nation; it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say. 16 Their quiver is like an open tomb; they are all mighty warriors. 17 They shall eat up your harvest and your food; they shall eat up your sons and your daughters; they shall eat up your flocks and your herds; they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees; your fortified cities in which you trust they shall beat down with the sword.” 18 “But even in those days, declares the LORD, I will not make a full end of you. 19 And when your people say, ‘Why has the LORD our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’”
20 Declare this in the house of Jacob; proclaim it in Judah: 21 “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not. 22 Do you not fear me? declares the LORD. Do you not tremble before me? I placed the sand as the boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail; though they roar, they cannot pass over it. 23 But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say in their hearts, ‘Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives the rain in its season, the autumn rain and the spring rain, and keeps for us the weeks appointed for the harvest.’ 25 Your iniquities have turned these away, and your sins have kept good from you. 26 For wicked men are found among my people; they lurk like fowlers lying in wait. They set a trap; they catch men. 27 Like a cage full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; therefore they have become great and rich; 28 they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy. 29 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this?” 30 An appalling and horrible thing has happened in the land: 31 the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule at their direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?

Chapter 6

1 Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem, for disaster looms out of the north, and great destruction. 2 The lovely and delicately bred I will destroy, the daughter of Zion. 3 Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her; they shall pitch their tents around her; they shall pasture, each in his place. 4 “Prepare war against her; arise, and let us attack at noon! Woe to us, for the day declines, for the shadows of evening lengthen! 5 Arise, and let us attack by night and destroy her palaces!” 6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: “Cut down her trees; cast up a siege mound against Jerusalem. This is the city that must be punished; there is nothing but oppression within her. 7 As a well keeps its water fresh, so she keeps fresh her evil; violence and destruction are heard within her; sickness and wounds are ever before me. 8 Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I turn from you in disgust, lest I make you a desolation, an uninhabited land.” 9 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “They shall glean thoroughly as a vine the remnant of Israel; like a grape gatherer pass your hand again over its branches.” 10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it. 11 Therefore I am full of the wrath of the LORD; I am weary of holding it in. “Pour it out upon the children in the street, and upon the gatherings of young men, also; both husband and wife shall be taken, the elderly and the very aged. 12 Their houses shall be turned over to others, their fields and wives together, for I will stretch out my hand against the inhabitants of the land,” declares the LORD. 13 “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. 14 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. 15 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,” says the LORD. 16 Thus says the LORD: “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ 17 I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Pay attention to the sound of the trumpet!’ But they said, ‘We will not pay attention.’ 18 Therefore hear, O nations, and know, O congregation, what will happen to them. 19 Hear, O earth; behold, I am bringing disaster upon this people, the fruit of their devices, because they have not paid attention to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it. 20 What use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba, or sweet cane from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me. 21 Therefore thus says the LORD: ‘Behold, I will lay before this people stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble; fathers and sons together, neighbor and friend shall perish.’” 22 Thus says the LORD: “Behold, a people is coming from the north country, a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth. 23 They lay hold on bow and javelin; they are cruel and have no mercy; the sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride on horses, set in array as a man for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion!” 24 We have heard the report of it; our hands fall helpless; anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor. 25 Go not out into the field, nor walk on the road, for the enemy has a sword; terror is on every side. 26 O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth, and roll in ashes; make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us. 27 “I have made you a tester of metals among my people, that you may know and test their ways. 28 They are all stubbornly rebellious, going about with slanders; they are bronze and iron; all of them act corruptly. 29 The bellows blow fiercely; the lead is consumed by the fire; in vain the refining goes on, for the wicked are not removed. 30 Rejected silver they are called, for the LORD has rejected them.”

Chapter 7

1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 “Stand in the gate of the LORD’s house, and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the LORD, all you men of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD. 3 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your deeds, and I will let you dwell in this place. 4 Do not trust in these deceptive words: ‘This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD.’
5 “For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly execute justice one with another, 6 if you do not oppress the sojourner, the fatherless, or the widow, or shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not go after other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave of old to your fathers forever.
8 “Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. 9 Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations? 11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, I myself have seen it, declares the LORD. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, and in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your fathers, as I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight, as I cast out all your kinsmen, all the offspring of Ephraim.
16 “As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers kindle fire, and the women knead dough, to make cakes for the queen of heaven. And they pour out drink offerings to other gods, to provoke me to anger. 19 Is it I whom they provoke? declares the LORD. Is it not themselves, to their own shame? 20 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, my anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; it will burn and not be quenched.”
21 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh. 22 For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.’ 24 But they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and the stubbornness of their evil hearts, and went backward and not forward. 25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day. 26 Yet they did not listen to me or incline their ear, but stiffened their neck. They did worse than their fathers.
27 “So you shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you. You shall call to them, but they will not answer you. 28 And you shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the LORD their God, and did not accept discipline; truth has perished; it is cut off from their lips.
29 “‘Cut off your hair and cast it away; raise a lamentation on the bare heights, for the LORD has rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath.’ 30 “For the sons of Judah have done evil in my sight, declares the LORD. They have set their detestable things in the house that is called by my name, to defile it. 31 And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind. 32 Therefore, behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when it will no more be called Topheth, or the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter; for they will bury in Topheth, because there is no room elsewhere. 33 And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, and none will frighten them away. 34 And I will silence in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, for the land shall become a waste.

Chapter 8

1 “At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs. 2 And they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have gone after, and which they have sought and worshiped. And they shall not be gathered or buried. They shall be as dung on the surface of the ground. 3 Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, declares the LORD of hosts.
4 “You shall say to them, Thus says the LORD: When men fall, do they not rise again? If one turns away, does he not return? 5 Why then has this people turned away in perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have paid attention and listened, but they have not spoken rightly; no man relents of his evil, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turns to his own course, like a horse plunging headlong into battle. 7 Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD. 8 “How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us’? But behold, the lying pen of the scribes has made it into a lie. 9 The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and taken; behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them? 10 Therefore I will give their wives to others and their fields to conquerors, because from the least to the greatest everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. 11 They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace. 12 Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among the fallen; when I punish them, they shall be overthrown, says the LORD. 13 When I would gather them, declares the LORD, there are no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree; even the leaves are withered, and what I gave them has passed away from them.” 14 Why do we sit still? Gather together; let us go into the fortified cities and perish there, for the LORD our God has doomed us to perish and has given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. 15 We looked for peace, but no good came; for a time of healing, but behold, terror. 16 “The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan; at the sound of the neighing of their stallions the whole land quakes. They come and devour the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it. 17 For behold, I am sending among you serpents, adders that cannot be charmed, and they shall bite you,” declares the LORD. 18 My joy is gone; grief is upon me; my heart is sick within me. 19 Behold, the cry of the daughter of my people from the length and breadth of the land: “Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King not in her?” “Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images and with their foreign idols?” 20 “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” 21 For the wound of the daughter of my people is my heart wounded; I mourn, and dismay has taken hold on me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then has the health of the daughter of my people not been restored?

Chapter 9

1 Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people! 2 Oh that I had in the desert a travelers’ lodging place, that I might leave my people and go away from them! For they are all adulterers, a company of treacherous men. 3 They bend their tongue like a bow; falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the LORD. 4 Let everyone beware of his neighbor, and put no trust in any brother, for every brother is a deceiver, and every neighbor goes about as a slanderer. 5 Everyone deceives his neighbor, and no one speaks the truth; they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they weary themselves committing iniquity. 6 Heaping oppression upon oppression, and deceit upon deceit, they refuse to know me, declares the LORD. 7 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will refine them and test them, for what else can I do, because of my people? 8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully; with his mouth each speaks peace to his neighbor, but in his heart he plans an ambush for him. 9 Shall I not punish them for these things? declares the LORD, and shall I not avenge myself on a nation such as this? 10 “I will take up weeping and wailing for the mountains, and a lamentation for the pastures of the wilderness, because they are laid waste so that no one passes through, and the lowing of cattle is not heard; both the birds of the air and the beasts have fled and are gone. 11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair of jackals, and I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.” 12 Who is the man so wise that he can understand this? To whom has the mouth of the LORD spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined and laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13 And the LORD says: “Because they have forsaken my law that I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice or walked in accord with it, 14 but have stubbornly followed their own hearts and have gone after the Baals, as their fathers taught them. 15 Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed this people with bitter food, and give them poisonous water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among the nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them, until I have consumed them.”
17 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Consider, and call for the mourning women to come; send for the skillful women to come; 18 let them make haste and raise a wailing over us, that our eyes may run down with tears and our eyelids flow with water. 19 For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion: ‘How we are ruined! We are utterly shamed, because we have left the land, because they have cast down our dwellings.’” 20 Hear, O women, the word of the LORD, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth; teach to your daughters a lament, and each to her neighbor a dirge. 21 For death has come up into our windows; it has entered our palaces, cutting off the children from the streets and the young men from the squares. 22 Speak: “Thus declares the LORD, ‘The dead bodies of men shall fall like dung upon the open field, like sheaves after the reaper, and none shall gather them.’” 23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”
25 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will punish all those who are circumcised merely in the flesh— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”
New International Version

Chapter 2

1 The word of the LORD came to me:
2 Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: 'This is what the LORD says: ''I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,'' declares the LORD. 4 Hear the word of the LORD, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel.
5 This is what the LORD says: 'What fault did your ancestors find in me, that they strayed so far from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. 6 They did not ask, 'Where is the LORD, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?' 7 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask, 'Where is the LORD?' Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols. 9 Therefore I bring charges against you again,' declares the LORD. 'And I will bring charges against your children's children. 10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar and observe closely; see if there has ever been anything like this: 11 Has a nation ever changed its gods? (Yet they are not gods at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols. 12 Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror,' declares the LORD. 13 My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water. 14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder? 15 Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted. 16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull. 17 Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the LORD your God when he led you in the way? 18 Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the LORD your God and have no awe of me,' declares the Lord, the LORD Almighty. 20 Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, 'I will not serve you!' Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute. 21 I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine? 22 Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,' declares the Sovereign LORD. 23 How can you say, 'I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals'? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there, 24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, sniffing the wind in her craving-- in her heat who can restrain her? Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves; at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare and your throat is dry. But you said, 'It's no use! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.' 26 As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the people of Israel are disgraced-- they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets. 27 They say to wood, 'You are my father,' and to stone, 'You gave me birth.' They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, 'Come and save us!'
28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns. 29 Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,' declares the LORD. 30 In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets like a ravenous lion.
31 You of this generation, consider the word of the LORD: 'Have I been a desert to Israel or a land of great darkness? Why do my people say, 'We are free to roam; we will come to you no more'? 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number. 33 How skilled you are at pursuing love! Even the worst of women can learn from your ways. 34 On your clothes is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all this 35 you say, 'I am innocent; he is not angry with me.' But I will pass judgment on you because you say, 'I have not sinned.' 36 Why do you go about so much, changing your ways? You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria. 37 You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them.

Chapter 3

1 If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers-- would you now return to me?' declares the LORD. 2 Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame. 4 Have you not just called to me: 'My Father, my friend from my youth, 5 will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?' This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.'
6 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, 'Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. 9 Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,' declares the LORD.
11 The LORD said to me, 'Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.
12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: ''Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'' declares the LORD.
14 Return, faithless people,' declares the LORD, 'for I am your husband. I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,' declares the LORD, 'people will no longer say, 'The ark of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.
19 I myself said, ''How gladly would I treat you like my children and give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.' I thought you would call me 'Father' and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,' declares the LORD.
21 A cry is heard on the barren heights, the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten the LORD their God.
22 Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.' 'Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God. 23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 From our youth shameful gods have consumed the fruits of our ancestors' labor-- their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our ancestors; from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the LORD our God.'

Chapter 4

1 If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,' declares the LORD. 'If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, 2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.'
3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: 'Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done-- burn with no one to quench it. 5 Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say: 'Sound the trumpet throughout the land!' Cry aloud and say: 'Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!'
6 Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.' 7 A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.
8 So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us. 9 In that day,' declares the LORD, 'the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled.'
10 Then I said, 'Alas, Sovereign LORD! How completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,' when the sword is at our throats!'
11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, 'A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments against them.'
13 Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined! 14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? 15 A voice is announcing from Dan, proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim. 16 Tell this to the nations, proclaim concerning Jerusalem: 'A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah. 17 They surround her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled against me,'' declares the LORD.
18 Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!' 19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. 20 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.' 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. 25 I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. 26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.
27 This is what the LORD says: 'The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.
28 Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.'
29 At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight. Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks. All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.
30 What are you doing, you devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why highlight your eyes with makeup? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they want to kill you. 31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child-- the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, 'Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.'

Chapter 5

1 Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will forgive this city.
2 Although they say, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' still they are swearing falsely.' 3 LORD, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent. 4 I thought, 'These are only the poor; they are foolish, for they do not know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God. 5 So I will go to the leaders and speak to them; surely they know the way of the LORD, the requirements of their God.' But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke and torn off the bonds.
6 Therefore a lion from the forest will attack them, a wolf from the desert will ravage them, a leopard will lie in wait near their towns to tear to pieces any who venture out, for their rebellion is great and their backslidings many. 7 Why should I forgive you? Your children have forsaken me and sworn by gods that are not gods. I supplied all their needs, yet they committed adultery and thronged to the houses of prostitutes. 8 They are well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for another man's wife.
9 Should I not punish them for this?' declares the LORD. 'Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 10 Go through her vineyards and ravage them, but do not destroy them completely. Strip off her branches, for these people do not belong to the LORD.
11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah have been utterly unfaithful to me,' declares the LORD. 12 They have lied about the LORD; they said, 'He will do nothing! No harm will come to us; we will never see sword or famine. 13 The prophets are but wind and the word is not in them; so let what they say be done to them.'
14 Therefore this is what the LORD God Almighty says: 'Because the people have spoken these words, I will make my words in your mouth a fire and these people the wood it consumes. 15 People of Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I am bringing a distant nation against you-- an ancient and enduring nation, a people whose language you do not know, whose speech you do not understand. 16 Their quivers are like an open grave; all of them are mighty warriors. 17 They will devour your harvests and food, devour your sons and daughters; they will devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees. With the sword they will destroy the fortified cities in which you trust.
18 Yet even in those days,' declares the LORD, 'I will not destroy you completely. 19 And when the people ask, 'Why has the LORD our God done all this to us?' you will tell them, 'As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners in a land not your own.'
20 Announce this to the descendants of Jacob and proclaim it in Judah: 21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people, who have eyes but do not see, who have ears but do not hear: 22 Should you not fear me?' declares the LORD. 'Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot cross. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot cross it. 23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts; they have turned aside and gone away. 24 They do not say to themselves, 'Let us fear the LORD our God, who gives autumn and spring rains in season, who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.'
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away; your sins have deprived you of good. 26 Among my people are the wicked who lie in wait like men who snare birds and like those who set traps to catch people. 27 Like cages full of birds, their houses are full of deceit; they have become rich and powerful 28 and have grown fat and sleek. Their evil deeds have no limit; they do not seek justice. They do not promote the case of the fatherless; they do not defend the just cause of the poor.
29 Should I not punish them for this?' declares the LORD. 'Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this? 30 A horrible and shocking thing has happened in the land: 31 The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?

Chapter 6

1 Flee for safety, people of Benjamin! Flee from Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa! Raise the signal over Beth Hakkerem! For disaster looms out of the north, even terrible destruction. 2 I will destroy Daughter Zion, so beautiful and delicate.
3 Shepherds with their flocks will come against her; they will pitch their tents around her, each tending his own portion.' 4 Prepare for battle against her! Arise, let us attack at noon! But, alas, the daylight is fading, and the shadows of evening grow long. 5 So arise, let us attack at night and destroy her fortresses!'
6 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Cut down the trees and build siege ramps against Jerusalem. This city must be punished; it is filled with oppression. 7 As a well pours out its water, so she pours out her wickedness. Violence and destruction resound in her; her sickness and wounds are ever before me. 8 Take warning, Jerusalem, or I will turn away from you and make your land desolate so no one can live in it.'
9 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Let them glean the remnant of Israel as thoroughly as a vine; pass your hand over the branches again, like one gathering grapes.' 10 To whom can I speak and give warning? Who will listen to me? Their ears are closed so they cannot hear. The word of the LORD is offensive to them; they find no pleasure in it.
11 But I am full of the wrath of the LORD, and I cannot hold it in. 'Pour it out on the children in the street and on the young men gathered together; both husband and wife will be caught in it, and the old, those weighed down with years. 12 Their houses will be turned over to others, together with their fields and their wives, when I stretch out my hand against those who live in the land,' declares the LORD. 13 From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 14 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace. 15 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when I punish them,' says the LORD.
16 This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.' 17 I appointed watchmen over you and said, 'Listen to the sound of the trumpet!' But you said, 'We will not listen.' 18 Therefore hear, you nations; you who are witnesses, observe what will happen to them. 19 Hear, you earth: I am bringing disaster on this people, the fruit of their schemes, because they have not listened to my words and have rejected my law. 20 What do I care about incense from Sheba or sweet calamus from a distant land? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable; your sacrifices do not please me.'
21 Therefore this is what the LORD says: 'I will put obstacles before this people. Parents and children alike will stumble over them; neighbors and friends will perish.'
22 This is what the LORD says: 'Look, an army is coming from the land of the north; a great nation is being stirred up from the ends of the earth.
23 They are armed with bow and spear; they are cruel and show no mercy. They sound like the roaring sea as they ride on their horses; they come like men in battle formation to attack you, Daughter Zion.' 24 We have heard reports about them, and our hands hang limp. Anguish has gripped us, pain like that of a woman in labor. 25 Do not go out to the fields or walk on the roads, for the enemy has a sword, and there is terror on every side.
26 Put on sackcloth, my people, and roll in ashes; mourn with bitter wailing as for an only son, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us. 27 I have made you a tester of metals and my people the ore, that you may observe and test their ways. 28 They are all hardened rebels, going about to slander. They are bronze and iron; they all act corruptly. 29 The bellows blow fiercely to burn away the lead with fire, but the refining goes on in vain; the wicked are not purged out. 30 They are called rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them.'

Chapter 7

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
2 Stand at the gate of the LORD's house and there proclaim this message: ''Hear the word of the LORD, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the LORD. 3 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways and your actions, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust in deceptive words and say, 'This is the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD, the temple of the LORD!' 5 If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, 6 if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting in deceptive words that are worthless.
9 'Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal and follow other gods you have not known, 10 and then come and stand before me in this house, which bears my Name, and say, 'We are safe'--safe to do all these detestable things? 11 Has this house, which bears my Name, become a den of robbers to you? But I have been watching! declares the LORD.
12 'Go now to the place in Shiloh where I first made a dwelling for my Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the LORD, I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen; I called you, but you did not answer. 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that bears my Name, the temple you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence, just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.'
16 So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to arouse my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking? declares the LORD. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?
20 'Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: My anger and my wrath will be poured out on this place--on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land--and it will burn and not be quenched.
21 'This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices and eat the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices, 23 but I gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in obedience to all I command you, that it may go well with you. 24 But they did not listen or pay attention; instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again I sent you my servants the prophets. 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention. They were stiff-necked and did more evil than their ancestors.'
27 When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you; when you call to them, they will not answer. 28 Therefore say to them, 'This is the nation that has not obeyed the LORD its God or responded to correction. Truth has perished; it has vanished from their lips.
29 'Cut off your hair and throw it away; take up a lament on the barren heights, for the LORD has rejected and abandoned this generation that is under his wrath.
30 'The people of Judah have done evil in my eyes, declares the LORD. They have set up their detestable idols in the house that bears my Name and have defiled it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom to burn their sons and daughters in the fire--something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind. 32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter, for they will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses of this people will become food for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. 34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.

Chapter 8

1 'At that time, declares the LORD, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be removed from their graves. 2 They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped. They will not be gathered up or buried, but will be like dung lying on the ground. 3 Wherever I banish them, all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, declares the LORD Almighty.'
4 Say to them, 'This is what the LORD says: ''When people fall down, do they not get up? When someone turns away, do they not return? 5 Why then have these people turned away? Why does Jerusalem always turn away? They cling to deceit; they refuse to return. 6 I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, 'What have I done?' Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky knows her appointed seasons, and the dove, the swift and the thrush observe the time of their migration. But my people do not know the requirements of the LORD. 8 'How can you say, 'We are wise, for we have the law of the LORD,' when actually the lying pen of the scribes has handled it falsely? 9 The wise will be put to shame; they will be dismayed and trapped. Since they have rejected the word of the LORD, what kind of wisdom do they have? 10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men and their fields to new owners. From the least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain; prophets and priests alike, all practice deceit. 11 They dress the wound of my people as though it were not serious. 'Peace, peace,' they say, when there is no peace.
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct? No, they have no shame at all; they do not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they will be brought down when they are punished, says the LORD.
13 'I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.'' 14 Why are we sitting here? Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities and perish there! For the LORD our God has doomed us to perish and given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against him. 15 We hoped for peace but no good has come, for a time of healing but there is only terror.
16 The snorting of the enemy's horses is heard from Dan; at the neighing of their stallions the whole land trembles. They have come to devour the land and everything in it, the city and all who live there.
17 See, I will send venomous snakes among you, vipers that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you,' declares the LORD. 18 You who are my Comforter in sorrow, my heart is faint within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people from a land far away: 'Is the LORD not in Zion? Is her King no longer there?' 'Why have they aroused my anger with their images, with their worthless foreign idols?'
20 The harvest is past, the summer has ended, and we are not saved.' 21 Since my people are crushed, I am crushed; I mourn, and horror grips me. 22 Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?

Chapter 9

1 Oh, that my head were a spring of water and my eyes a fountain of tears! I would weep day and night for the slain of my people.
2 Oh, that I had in the desert a lodging place for travelers, so that I might leave my people and go away from them; for they are all adulterers, a crowd of unfaithful people. 3 They make ready their tongue like a bow, to shoot lies; it is not by truth that they triumph in the land. They go from one sin to another; they do not acknowledge me,' declares the LORD. 4 Beware of your friends; do not trust anyone in your clan. For every one of them is a deceiver, and every friend a slanderer. 5 Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning. 6 You live in the midst of deception; in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,' declares the LORD.
7 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says: 'See, I will refine and test them, for what else can I do because of the sin of my people? 8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow; it speaks deceitfully. With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors, but in their hearts they set traps for them.
9 Should I not punish them for this?' declares the LORD. 'Should I not avenge myself on such a nation as this?'
10 I will weep and wail for the mountains and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands. They are desolate and untraveled, and the lowing of cattle is not heard. The birds have all fled and the animals are gone. 11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; and I will lay waste the towns of Judah so no one can live there.'
12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the LORD and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?
13 The LORD said, 'It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law. 14 Instead, they have followed the stubbornness of their hearts; they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.' 15 Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: 'See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have made an end of them.'
17 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'Consider now! Call for the wailing women to come; send for the most skillful of them. 18 Let them come quickly and wail over us till our eyes overflow with tears and water streams from our eyelids.
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion: 'How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins.'' 20 Now, you women, hear the word of the LORD; open your ears to the words of his mouth. Teach your daughters how to wail; teach one another a lament. 21 Death has climbed in through our windows and has entered our fortresses; it has removed the children from the streets and the young men from the public squares.
22 Say, 'This is what the LORD declares: ''Dead bodies will lie like dung on the open field, like cut grain behind the reaper, with no one to gather them.''
23 This is what the LORD says: 'Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, 24 but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,' declares the LORD.
25 The days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh-- 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places. For all these nations are really uncircumcised, and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.'