The False Gods and the True God
101 Give ear to the word which the Lord says to you, O people of Israel: 2 This is what the Lord has said: Do not go in the way of the nations; have no fear of the signs of heaven, for the nations go in fear of them. 3 For that which is feared by the people is foolish: it is the work of the hands of the workman; for a tree is cut down by him out of the woods with his axe. 4 They make it beautiful with silver and gold; they make it strong with nails and hammers, so that it may not be moved. 5 It is like a pillar in a garden of plants, and has no voice: it has to be lifted, for it has no power of walking. Have no fear of it; for it has no power of doing evil and it is not able to do any good. 6 There is no one like you, O Lord; you are great and your name is great in power. 7 Who would not have fear of you, O King of the nations? for it is your right: for among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. 8 But they are together like beasts and foolish: the teaching of false gods is wood. 9 Silver hammered into plates is sent from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the expert workman and of the hands of the gold-worker; blue and purple is their clothing, all the work of expert men. 10 But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and an eternal king: when he is angry, the earth is shaking with fear, and the nations give way before his wrath. 11 This is what you are to say to them: The gods who have not made the heavens and the earth will be cut off from the earth and from under the heavens. 12 He has made the earth by his power, he has made the world strong in its place by his wisdom, and by his wise design the heavens have been stretched out. 13 At the sound of his voice there is a massing of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mists go up from the ends of the earth; he makes the thunder-flames for the rain, and sends out the wind from his store-houses. 14 Then every man becomes like a beast without knowledge; every gold-worker is put to shame by the image he has made: for his metal image is deceit, and there is no breath in them. 15 They are nothing, a work of error: in the time of their punishment, destruction will overtake them. 16 The heritage of Jacob is not like these; for the maker of all things is his heritage: the Lord of armies is his name.
The Desolation of Judah
17 Get your goods together and go out of the land, O you who are shut up in the walled town. 18 For the Lord has said, I will send the people in flight like a stone from the land at this time, troubling them so that they will be conscious of it. 19 Sorrow is mine for I am wounded! my wound may not be made well; and I said, Cruel is my disease, I may not be free from it. 20 My tent is pulled down and all my cords are broken: my children have gone from me, and they are not: no longer is there anyone to give help in stretching out my tent and hanging up my curtains. 21 For the keepers of the sheep have become like beasts, not looking to the Lord for directions: so they have not done wisely and all their flocks have been put to flight. 22 News is going about, see, it is coming, a great shaking is coming from the north country, so that the towns of Judah may be made waste and become the living-place of jackals. 23 O Lord, I am conscious that a man's way is not in himself: man has no power of guiding his steps. 24 O Lord, put me right, but with wise purpose; not in your wrath, or you will make me small. 25 Let your wrath be let loose on the nations which have no knowledge of you, and on the families who give no worship to your name: for they have made a meal of Jacob, truly they have made a meal of him and put an end to him and made his fields a waste.
The Broken Covenant
111 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Give ear to the words of this agreement, and say to the men of Judah and to the people of Jerusalem, 3 The Lord, the God of Israel, has said, Let that man be cursed who does not give ear to the words of this agreement, 4 To the order which I gave your fathers on the day when I took them out of the land of Egypt, out of the oven of iron, saying, Give ear to my voice, and do all the orders I have given you: so you will be my people, and I will be your God: 5 So that I may give effect to the oath which I made to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey as at this day. And I said in answer, So be it, O Lord. 6 And the Lord said to me, Give out these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Give ear to the words of this agreement and do them. 7 For I gave certain witness to your fathers on the day when I took them up out of the land of Egypt, and even to this day, getting up early and witnessing and saying, Give ear to my voice. 8 But they gave no attention and did not give ear, but they went on, every man in the pride of his evil heart: so I sent on them all the curses in this agreement, which I gave them orders to keep, but they did not. 9 And the Lord said to me, There is an evil design at work among the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. 10 They are turned back to the sins of their fathers, who would not give ear to my words; they have gone after other gods and become their servants: the people of Israel and the people of Judah have not kept the agreement which I made with their fathers.
11 So the Lord has said, I will send evil on them, which they will not be able to get away from; and they will send up a cry for help to me, but I will not give ear to them. 12 Then the towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go crying for help to the gods to whom they have been burning perfumes: but they will give them no salvation in the time of their trouble. 13 For the number of your gods is as the number of your towns, O Judah; and for every street in Jerusalem you have put up altars to the Baal for burning perfumes to the Baal. 14 And as for you, make no prayers for this people, send up no cry or prayer for them: for I will not give ear to their cry in the time of their trouble. 15 About Judah. What have you to do in my house? is it your thought that oaths and holy flesh will get you out of your trouble? will you make yourself safe in this way? 16 You had been named by the Lord, A branching olive-tree, fair with beautiful fruit: with the noise of a great rushing he has put it on fire and its branches are broken. 17 For the Lord of armies, by whom you were planted, has given his decision for evil against you, because of the evil which the people of Israel and the people of Judah have done, In moving me to wrath by offering perfumes to the Baal.
The Plot against Jeremiah
18 And the Lord gave me knowledge of it and I saw it: then you made clear to me their doings. 19 But I was like a gentle lamb taken to be put to death; I had no thought that they were designing evil against me, saying, Come and let us make trouble his food, cutting him off from the land of the living, so that there may be no more memory of his name. 20 But, O Lord of armies, judging in righteousness, testing the thoughts and the heart, let me see your punishment come on them: for I have put my cause before you. 21 So this is what the Lord of armies has said about the men of Anathoth who have made designs against your life, saying, You are not to be a prophet in the name of the Lord, or death will overtake you by our hands: 22 So the Lord of armies has said, See, I will send punishment on them: the young men will be put to the sword; their sons and their daughters will come to death through need of food: 23 Not one of them will keep his life, for I will send evil on the men of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.
Jeremiah's Complaint and God's Answer
121 You are in the right, O Lord, when I put my cause before you: still let me take up with you the question of your decisions: why does the evil-doer do well? why are the workers of deceit living in comfort? 2 They have been planted by you, they have taken root; they go on and give fruit: you are near in their mouths but far from their thoughts. 3 But you, O Lord, have knowledge of me; you see me, searching and testing how my heart is with you: let them be pulled out like sheep to be put to death, make them ready for the day of death. 4 How long will the land have grief, and the plants of all the land be dry? because of the sins of the people living in it, destruction has overtaken the beasts and the birds; because they said, God does not see our ways. 5 If running with the fighting-men has made you tired, how will you be able to keep up with horses? and if in a land of peace you go in flight, what will become of you in the thick growth of Jordan? 6 For even your brothers, your father's family, even they have been untrue to you, crying loudly after you: have no faith in them, though they say fair words to you.
7 I have given up my house, I have let my heritage go; I have given the loved one of my soul into the hands of her haters. 8 My heritage has become like a lion in the woodland to me; her voice has been loud against me; so I have hate for her. 9 My heritage is like a brightly coloured bird to me; the cruel birds are attacking her on every side: go, get together all the beasts of the field, make them come for destruction. 10 The keepers of sheep have been the destruction of my vine-garden, crushing my heritage under their feet; they have made my fair heritage an unplanted waste; 11 They have made it waste; it is weeping to me, being wasted; all the land is made waste, because no man takes it to heart. 12 Those who make waste have come on all the open hilltops in the waste land; for the sword of the Lord sends destruction from one end of the land to the other end of the land: no flesh has peace. 13 Though good grain was planted, they have got in thorns: they have given themselves pain without profit: they will be shamed on account of their produce, because of the burning wrath of the Lord.
14 This is what the Lord has said against all my evil neighbours, who put their hands on the heritage which I gave my people Israel: See, I will have them uprooted from their land, uprooting the people of Judah from among them. 15 And it will come about that, after they have been uprooted, I will again have pity on them; and I will take them back, every man to his heritage and every man to his land. 16 And it will be that, if they give their minds to learning the ways of my people, using my name in their oaths, By the living Lord; as they have been teaching my people to take oaths by the Baal; then their place will be made certain among my people. 17 But if they will not give ear, then I will have that nation uprooted, and given to destruction, says the Lord.
The Lesson from the Marred Girdle
131 This is what the Lord said to me: Go and get yourself a linen band and put it round you and do not put it in water. 2 So, as the Lord said, I got a band for a price and put it round my body. 3 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 Take the band which you got for a price, which is round your body, and go to Parah and put it in a secret place there in a hole of the rock. 5 So I went and put it in a secret place by Parah, as the Lord had said to me. 6 Then after a long time, the Lord said to me, Up! go to Parah and get the band which I gave you orders to put there. 7 So I went to Parah and, uncovering the hole, took the band from the place where I had put it away: and the band was damaged and of no use for anything. 8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 The Lord has said, In this way I will do damage to the pride of Judah and to the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These evil people who say they will not give ear to my words, who go on in the pride of their hearts and have become servants and worshippers of other gods, will become like this band which is of no use for anything. 11 For as a band goes tightly round a man's body, so I made all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah tightly united to me; so that they might be a people for me and a name and a praise and a glory: but they would not give ear.
The Lesson from the Filled Bottles
12 So you are to say this word to them: This is the word of the Lord, the God of Israel: Every skin bottle will be full of wine; and they will say to you, Is it not quite clear to us that every skin bottle will be full of wine? 13 Then you are to say to them, The Lord has said, I will make all the people of this land, even the kings seated on David's seat, and the priests and the prophets and all the people of Jerusalem, overcome with strong drink. 14 I will have them smashed against one another, fathers and sons together, says the Lord: I will have no pity or mercy, I will have no feeling for them to keep me from giving them to destruction.
Captivity Threatened for Judah's Impenitence
15 Give ear and let your ears be open; be not lifted up: for these are the words of the Lord. 16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he makes it dark, and before your feet are slipping on the dark mountains, and, while you are looking for a light, he makes it into deep dark, into black night. 17 But if you do not give ear to it, my soul will be weeping in secret for your pride; my eye will be weeping bitterly, streaming with water, because the Lord's flock has been taken away as prisoners. 18 Say to the king and to the queen-mother, Make yourselves low, be seated on the earth: for the crown of your glory has come down from your heads. 19 The towns of the south are shut up, and there is no one to make them open: Judah is taken away as prisoners; all Judah is taken away as prisoners. 20 Let your eyes be lifted up (O Jerusalem), and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock which was given to you, your beautiful flock? 21 What will you say when he puts over you those whom you yourself have made your friends? will not pains take you like a woman in childbirth?
22 And if you say in your heart, Why have these things come on me? because of the number of your sins, your skirts have been uncovered and violent punishment overtakes you. 23 Is it possible for the skin of the Ethiopian to be changed, or the markings on the leopard? Then it might be possible for you to do good, who have been trained to do evil. 24 So I will send them in all directions, as dry grass is taken away by the wind of the waste land. 25 This is your fate, the part measured out to you by me, says the Lord, because you have put me out of your memory and put your faith in what is false. 26 So I will have your skirts uncovered before your face, in order that your shame may be seen. 27 I have seen your disgusting acts, even your false behaviour and your cries of desire and your loose ways on the hills in the field. Unhappy are you, O Jerusalem, you have no desire to be made clean; how long will you be in turning back to me?