Jeremiah 14-17 Bible in Basic English

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The Message about the Drought

14 1  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when there was no water. 2  Judah is weeping and its doors are dark with sorrow, and people are seated on the earth clothed in black; and the cry of Jerusalem has gone up. 3  Their great men have sent their servants for water: they come to the holes and there is no water to be seen; they come back with nothing in their vessels; they are overcome with shame and fear, covering their heads. 4  Those who do work on the land are in fear, for there has been no rain on the land, and the farmers are shamed, covering their heads. 5  And the roe, giving birth in the field, lets her young one be uncared for, because there is no grass. 6  And the asses of the field on the open hilltops are opening their mouths wide like jackals to get air; their eyes are hollow because there is no grass. 7  Though our sins give witness against us, do something, O Lord, for the honour of your name: for again and again we have been turned away from you, we have done evil against you. 8  O you hope of Israel, its saviour in time of trouble, why are you like one who is strange in the land, and like a traveller putting up his tent for a night? 9  Why are you like a man surprised, like a man of war who is not able to give help? but you, O Lord, are with us, and we are named by your name; do not go away from us.

10  This is what the Lord has said about this people: Even so they have been glad to go from the right way; they have not kept their feet from wandering, so the Lord has no pleasure in them; now he will keep their wrongdoing in mind and send punishment for their sins. 11  And the Lord said to me, Make no prayer for this people for their good. 12  When they go without food, I will not give ear to their cry; when they give burned offerings and meal offerings, I will not take pleasure in them: but I will put an end to them by the sword and by need of food and by disease. 13  Then I said, Ah, Lord God! see, the prophets say to them, You will not see the sword or be short of food; but I will give you certain peace in this place. 14  Then the Lord said to me, The prophets say false words in my name, and I gave them no orders, and I said nothing to them: what they say to you is a false vision and wonder-working words without substance, the deceit of their hearts. 15  So this is what the Lord has said about the prophets who make use of my name, though I sent them not, and say, The sword and need of food will not be in this land: the sword and need of food will put an end to those prophets. 16  And the people to whom they are prophets will be pushed out dead into the streets of Jerusalem, because there is no food, and because of the sword; and they will have no one to put their bodies into the earth, them or their wives or their sons or their daughters: for I will let loose their evil-doing on them.

17  And you are to say this word to them, Let my eyes be streaming with water night and day, and let it not be stopped; for the virgin daughter of my people is wounded with a great wound, with a very bitter blow. 18  If I go out into the open country, there are those put to death by the sword! and if I go into the town, there are those who are diseased from need of food! for the prophet and the priest go about in the land and have no knowledge. 19  Have you completely given up Judah? is your soul turned in disgust from Zion? why have you given us blows from which there is no one to make us well? we were looking for peace, but no good came; and for a time of well-being, but there was only a great fear. 20  We are conscious, O Lord, of our sin and of the wrongdoing of our fathers: we have done evil against you. 21  Do not be turned from us in disgust, because of your name; do not put shame on the seat of your glory: keep us in mind, let not your agreement with us be broken. 22  Are any of the false gods of the nations able to make rain come? are the heavens able to give showers? are you not he, O Lord our God? so we will go on waiting for you, for you have done all these things.

The LORD's Unrepenting Anger with Judah

15 1  Then the Lord said to me, Even if Moses and Samuel came before me, I would have no desire for this people: send them away from before me, and let them go. 2  And it will be, when they say to you, Where are we to go? then you are to say to them, The Lord has said, Such as are for death, to death; and such as are for the sword, to the sword; and such as are to be in need of food, to need of food; and such as are to be taken away prisoners, to be taken away. 3  And I will put over them four divisions, says the Lord: the sword causing death, dogs pulling the dead bodies about, and the birds of heaven, and the beasts of the earth to take their bodies for food and put an end to them. 4  And I will make them a cause of fear to all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and what he did in Jerusalem. 5  For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem? and who will have sorrow for you? or who will go out of his way to see how you are? 6  You have given me up, says the Lord, you have gone back: so my hand is stretched out against you for your destruction; I am tired of changing my purpose. 7  And I have sent a cleaning wind on them in the public places of the land; I have taken their children from them; I have given my people to destruction; they have not been turned from their ways. 8  I have let their widows be increased in number more than the sand of the seas: I have sent against them, against the mother and the young men, one who makes waste in the heat of the day, causing pain and fears to come on her suddenly. 9  The mother of seven is without strength; her spirit is gone from her, her sun has gone down while it is still day: she has been shamed and overcome: and the rest of them I will give up to the sword before their haters, says the Lord.

10  Sorrow is mine, my mother, because you have given birth to me, a cause of fighting and argument in all the earth! I have not made men my creditors and I am not in debt to any, but every one of them is cursing me. 11  ... 12  Is it possible for iron to be broken; even iron from the north, and brass? 13  I will give your wealth and your stores to your attackers, without a price, because of all your sins, even in every part of your land. 14  They will go away with your haters into a land which is strange to you: for my wrath is on fire with a flame which will be burning on you.

The LORD's Assurance to Jeremiah

15  O Lord, you have knowledge: keep me in mind and come to my help, and give their right reward to those who are attacking me; take me not away, for you are slow to be angry: see how I have undergone shame because of you from all those who make little of your word; 16  But to me your word is a joy, making my heart glad; for I am named by your name, O Lord God of armies. 17  I did not take my seat among the band of those who are glad, and I had no joy; I kept by myself because of your hand; for you have made me full of wrath. 18  Why is my pain unending and my wound without hope of being made well? Sorrow is mine, for you are to me as a stream offering false hope and as waters which are not certain. 19  For this cause the Lord has said, If you will come back, then I will again let you take your place before me; and if you give out what is of value and not that which has no value, you will be as my mouth: let them come back to you, but do not go back to them. 20  And I will make you a strong wall of brass to this people; they will be fighting against you, but they will not overcome you: for I am with you to keep you safe, says the Lord. 21  I will keep you safe from the hands of the evil-doers, and I will give you salvation from the hands of the cruel ones.

The LORD's Judgment on the People

16 1  Then again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2  You are not to take a wife for yourself or have sons or daughters in this place. 3  For this is what the Lord has said about the sons and daughters who come to birth in this place, and about their mothers who have given them birth, and about their fathers who have given life to them in this land: 4  Death from evil diseases will overtake them; there will be no weeping for them and their bodies will not be put to rest; they will be like waste on the face of the earth: the sword and need of food will put an end to them; their dead bodies will be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth. 5  For this is what the Lord has said: Do not go into the house of sorrow, do not go to make weeping or songs of grief for them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, says the Lord, even mercy and pity. 6  Death will overtake great as well as small in the land: their bodies will not be put in a resting-place, and no one will be weeping for them or wounding themselves or cutting off their hair for them: 7  No one will make a feast for them in sorrow, to give them comfort for the dead, or put to their lips the cup of comfort on account of their father or their mother. 8  And you are not to go into the house of feasting, or be seated with them to take food or drink. 9  For the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said, See, before your eyes and in your days I will put an end in this place to the laughing voices and the voice of joy; to the voice of the newly-married man and the voice of the bride.

10  And it will be, that when you say all these words to the people, then they will say to you, Why has the Lord done all this evil against us? what is our wrongdoing and what is our sin which we have done against the Lord our God? 11  Then you will say to them, Because your fathers have given me up, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and become their servants and their worshippers, and have given me up and have not kept my law; 12  And you have done worse evil than your fathers; for see, every one of you is guided by the pride of his evil heart, so as not to give ear to me: 13  For this reason I will send you away out of this land into a land which is strange to you, to you and to your fathers; there you will be the servants of other gods day and night, and you will have no mercy from me.

14  For this cause, see, the days are coming, says the Lord, when it will no longer be said, By the living Lord, who took the children of Israel up out of the land of Egypt. 15  But, By the living Lord, who took the children of Israel up out of the land of the north, and from all the countries where he had sent them: and I will take them back again to their land which I gave to their fathers. 16  See, I will send for great numbers of fishermen, says the Lord, and they will take them like fish in a net; and after that, I will send for numbers of bowmen, and they will go after them, driving them from every mountain and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 17  For my eyes are on all their ways: there is no cover for them from my face, and their evil-doing is not kept secret from my eyes. 18  And I will give them the reward of their evil-doing and their sin twice over; because they have made my land unclean, and have made my heritage full of the bodies of their unholy and disgusting things. 19  O Lord, my strength and my strong tower, my safe place in the day of trouble, the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth, and say, The heritage of our fathers is nothing but deceit, even false things in which there is no profit. 20  Will a man make for himself gods which are no gods? 21  For this reason, truly, I will make them see, this once I will give them knowledge of my hand and my power; and they will be certain that my name is the Lord.

Judah's Heart Engraved with Sin

17 1  The sin of Judah is recorded with a pen of iron, and with the sharp point of a jewel it is cut on their hearts of stone, and on the horns of their altars for a sign to them: 2  Their altars and their wood pillars under every branching tree, on the high hills and the mountains in the field. 3  I will give your wealth and all your stores to be taken away in war without a price, because of your sins in every part of your land. 4  And your hand will have to let go your heritage which I gave you; and I will make you a servant to your haters in a land which is strange to you: for you have put my wrath on fire with a flame which will go on burning for ever.

5  This is what the Lord has said: Cursed is the man who puts his faith in man, and makes flesh his arm, and whose heart is turned away from the Lord. 6  For he will be like the brushwood in the upland, and will not see when good comes; but his living-place will be in the dry places in the waste land, in a salt and unpeopled land. 7  A blessing is on the man who puts his faith in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. 8  For he will be like a tree planted by the waters, pushing out its roots by the stream; he will have no fear when the heat comes, but his leaf will be green; in a dry year he will have no care, and will go on giving fruit. 9  The heart is a twisted thing, not to be searched out by man: who is able to have knowledge of it? 10  I the Lord am the searcher of the heart, the tester of the thoughts, so that I may give to every man the reward of his ways, in keeping with the fruit of his doings. 11  Like the partridge, getting eggs together but not producing young, is a man who gets wealth but not by right; before half his days are ended, it will go from him, and at his end he will be foolish.

12  A seat of glory, placed on high from the first, is our holy place. 13  O Lord, the hope of Israel, all who give you up will be put to shame; those who go away from you will be cut off from the earth, because they have given up the Lord, the fountain of living waters. 14  Make me well, O Lord, and I will be well; be my saviour, and I will be safe: for you are my hope. 15  See, they say to me, Where is the word of the Lord? let it come now. 16  As for me, I have not said; Let the day of trouble come to them quickly; and I have not been hoping for the death-giving day; you have knowledge of what came from my lips; it was open before you. 17  Be not a cause of fear to me: you are my safe place in the day of evil. 18  Let them be put to shame who are attacking me, but let me not be shamed; let them be overcome with fear, but let me not be overcome: send on them the day of evil, and put them to destruction twice over.

The Sabbath Must Be Hallowed

19  This is what the Lord has said to me: Go and take your place in the doorway of Benjamin, where the kings of Judah come in and by which they go out, and in all the doorways of Jerusalem; 20  And say to them, Give ear to the word of the Lord, you kings of Judah, and all the people of Jerusalem who come in by these doors: 21  This is what the Lord has said: See to yourselves, that you take up no weight on the Sabbath day, or take it in through the doors of Jerusalem; 22  And take no weight out of your houses on the Sabbath day, or do any work, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I gave orders to your fathers; 23  But they gave no attention and would not give ear, but they made their necks stiff so that they might not give ear and might not get teaching. 24  And it will be, that if with all care you give ear to me, says the Lord, and take no weight through the doorways of this town on the Sabbath day, but keep the Sabbath day holy and do no work in it; 25  Then through the doors of this town there will come kings and princes, seated on the seat of David, going in carriages and on horseback, they and their princes, and the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem: and this town will keep its place for ever. 26  And they will come from the towns of Judah, and from the places round about Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the lowlands, and from the mountains, and from the South, with burned offerings and offerings of beasts and meal offerings and perfume and offerings of praise, to the house of the Lord. 27  But if you do not give ear to me, to keep the Sabbath day holy, and to let no weight be lifted and taken through the doors of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: then I will put a fire in its doorways, burning up the great houses of Jerusalem, and it will never be put out.

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