The False Gods and the True God
101 Hear the word which Yahweh speaks to you, house of Israel! 2 Thus says Yahweh, “Don’t learn the way of the nations, and don’t be dismayed at the signs of the sky; for the nations are dismayed at them. 3 For the customs of the peoples are vanity; for one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. 4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it not move. 5 They are like a palm tree, of turned work, and don’t speak: they must be carried, because they can’t go. Don’t be afraid of them; for they can’t do evil, neither is it in them to do good.” 6 There is none like you, Yahweh; you are great, and your name is great in might. 7 Who should not fear you, King of the nations? For it appertains to you; because among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their royal estate, there is none like you. 8 But they are together brutish and foolish: the instruction of idols! it is but a stock. 9 There is silver beaten into plates, which is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the artificer and of the hands of the goldsmith; blue and purple for their clothing; they are all the work of skillful men. 10 But Yahweh is the true God; he is the living God, and an everlasting King: at his wrath the earth trembles, and the nations are not able to abide his indignation. 11 You shall say this to them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, these shall perish from the earth, and from under the heavens. 12 He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding has he stretched out the heavens: 13 when he utters his voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth; he makes lightnings for the rain, and brings forth the wind out of his treasuries. 14 Every man is become brutish and is without knowledge; every goldsmith is disappointed by his engraved image; for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them. 15 They are vanity, a work of delusion: in the time of their visitation they shall perish. 16 The portion of Jacob is not like these; for he is the former of all things; and Israel is the tribe of his inheritance: Yahweh of Armies is his name.
The Desolation of Judah
17 Gather up your wares out of the land, you who abide in the siege. 18 For thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this time, and will distress them, that they may feel it. 19 Woe is me because of my hurt! my wound is grievous: but I said, Truly this is my grief, and I must bear it. 20 My tent is destroyed, and all my cords are broken: my children are gone forth from me, and they are no more: there is none to spread my tent any more, and to set up my curtains. 21 For the shepherds are become brutish, and have not inquired of Yahweh: therefore they have not prospered, and all their flocks are scattered. 22 The voice of news, behold, it comes, and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah a desolation, a dwelling place of jackals. 23 Yahweh, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. 24 Yahweh, correct me, but in measure: not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing. 25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that don’t know you, and on the families that don’t call on your name: for they have devoured Jacob, yes, they have devoured him and consumed him, and have laid waste his habitation.
The Broken Covenant
111 The word that came to Jeremiah from Yahweh, saying, 2 Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 3 and say to them, Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel: Cursed is the man who doesn’t hear the words of this covenant, 4 which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so you shall be my people, and I will be your God; 5 that I may establish the oath which I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as at this day. Then answered I, and said, Amen, Yahweh. 6 Yahweh said to me, Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear the words of this covenant, and do them. 7 For I earnestly protested to your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even to this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. 8 Yet they didn’t obey, nor turn their ear, but walked everyone in the stubbornness of their evil heart: therefore I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they didn’t do them. 9 Yahweh said to me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah, and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words; and they are gone after other gods to serve them: the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their fathers.
11 Therefore thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will bring evil on them, which they shall not be able to escape; and they shall cry to me, but I will not listen to them. 12 Then shall the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem go and cry to the gods to which they offer incense: but they will not save them at all in the time of their trouble. 13 For according to the number of your cities are your gods, Judah; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have you set up altars to the shameful thing, even altars to burn incense to Baal. 14 Therefore don’t pray for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them; for I will not hear them in the time that they cry to me because of their trouble. 15 What has my beloved to do in my house, seeing she has worked lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from you? when you do evil, then you rejoice. 16 Yahweh called your name, A green olive tree, beautiful with goodly fruit: with the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire on it, and its branches are broken. 17 For Yahweh of Armies, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you, because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have worked for themselves in provoking me to anger by offering incense to Baal.
The Plot against Jeremiah
18 Yahweh gave me knowledge of it, and I knew it: then you showed me their doings. 19 But I was like a gentle lamb that is led to the slaughter; and I didn’t know that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered. 20 But, Yahweh of Armies, who judges righteously, who tests the heart and the mind, I shall see your vengeance on them; for to you have I revealed my cause. 21 Therefore thus says Yahweh concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, You shall not prophesy in the name of Yahweh, that you not die by our hand; 22 therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, Behold, I will punish them: the young men shall die by the sword; their sons and their daughters shall die by famine; 23 and there shall be no remnant to them: for I will bring evil on the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
Jeremiah's Complaint and God's Answer
121 You are righteous, Yahweh, when I contend with you; yet I would reason the cause with you: why does the way of the wicked prosper? why are all they at ease who deal very treacherously? 2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bring forth fruit: you are near in their mouth, and far from their heart. 3 But you, Yahweh, know me; you see me, and try my heart toward you: pull them out like sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. 4 How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of the whole country wither? for the wickedness of those who dwell therein, the animals are consumed, and the birds; because they said, He shall not see our latter end. 5 If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? and though in a land of peace you are secure, yet how will you do in the pride of the Jordan? 6 For even your brothers, and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; even they have cried aloud after you: don’t believe them, though they speak beautiful words to you.
7 I have forsaken my house, I have cast off my heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. 8 My heritage is become to me as a lion in the forest: she has uttered her voice against me; therefore I have hated her. 9 Is my heritage to me as a speckled bird of prey? are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the animals of the field, bring them to devour. 10 Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion under foot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. 11 They have made it a desolation; it mourns to me, being desolate; the whole land is made desolate, because no man lays it to heart. 12 Destroyers are come on all the bare heights in the wilderness; for the sword of Yahweh devours from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land: no flesh has peace. 13 They have sown wheat, and have reaped thorns; they have put themselves to pain, and profit nothing: and you shall be ashamed of your fruits, because of the fierce anger of Yahweh.
14 Thus says Yahweh against all my evil neighbors, who touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit: behold, I will pluck them up from off their land, and will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. 15 It shall happen, after that I have plucked them up, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them again, every man to his heritage, and every man to his land. 16 It shall happen, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, As Yahweh lives; even as they taught my people to swear by Baal; then shall they be built up in the midst of my people. 17 But if they will not hear, then will I pluck up that nation, plucking up and destroying it, says Yahweh.
The Lesson from the Marred Girdle
131 Thus says Yahweh to me, Go, and buy yourself a linen belt, and put it on your waist, and don’t put it in water. 2 So I bought a belt according to the word of Yahweh, and put it on my waist. 3 The word of Yahweh came to me the second time, saying, 4 Take the belt that you have bought, which is on your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates, and hide it there in a cleft of the rock. 5 So I went, and hid it by the Euphrates, as Yahweh commanded me. 6 It happened after many days, that Yahweh said to me, Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take the belt from there, which I commanded you to hide there. 7 Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and took the belt from the place where I had hid it; and behold, the belt was marred, it was profitable for nothing. 8 Then the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 9 Thus says Yahweh, After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah, and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their heart, and are gone after other gods to serve them, and to worship them, shall even be as this belt, which is profitable for nothing. 11 For as the belt cleaves to the waist of a man, so have I caused to cleave to me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, says Yahweh; that they may be to me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory: but they would not hear.
The Lesson from the Filled Bottles
12 Therefore you shall speak to them this word: Thus says Yahweh, the God of Israel, Every bottle shall be filled with wine: and they shall tell you, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? 13 Then you shall tell them, Thus says Yahweh, Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land, even the kings who sit on David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, with drunkenness. 14 I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, says Yahweh: I will not pity, nor spare, nor have compassion, that I should not destroy them.
Captivity Threatened for Judah's Impenitence
15 Hear, and give ear; don’t be proud; for Yahweh has spoken. 16 Give glory to Yahweh your God, before he causes darkness, and before your feet stumble on the dark mountains, and, while you look for light, he turns it into the shadow of death, and makes it gross darkness. 17 But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride; and my eye shall weep sore, and run down with tears, because Yahweh’s flock is taken captive. 18 Say to the king and to the queen mother, Humble yourselves, sit down; for your headdresses have come down, even the crown of your glory. 19 The cities of the South are shut up, and there is none to open them: Judah is carried away captive, all of it; it is wholly carried away captive. 20 Lift up your eyes, and see those who come from the north: where is the flock that was given you, your beautiful flock? 21 What will you say, when he shall set over you as head those whom you have yourself taught to be friends to you? shall not sorrows take hold of you, as of a woman in travail?
22 If you say in your heart, Why are these things come on me? for the greatness of your iniquity are your skirts uncovered, and your heels suffer violence. 23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may you also do good, who are accustomed to do evil. 24 Therefore will I scatter them, as the stubble that passes away, by the wind of the wilderness. 25 This is your lot, the portion measured to you from me, says Yahweh; because you have forgotten me, and trusted in falsehood. 26 Therefore will I also uncover your skirts on your face, and your shame shall appear. 27 I have seen your abominations, even your adulteries, and your neighing, the lewdness of your prostitution, on the hills in the field. Woe to you, Jerusalem! You will not be made clean; how long shall it yet be?