12 Lord, you have always been fair
whenever I have complained to you. 1
However, I would like to speak with you about the disposition of justice. 2
Why are wicked people successful? 3
Why do all dishonest people have such easy lives?
2 You plant them like trees and they put down their roots. 4
They grow prosperous and are very fruitful. 5
They always talk about you,
but they really care nothing about you. 6
3 But you, Lord, know all about me.
You watch me and test my devotion to you. 7
Drag these wicked men away like sheep to be slaughtered!
Appoint a time when they will be killed! 8
4 How long must the land be parched 9
and the grass in every field be withered?
How long 10 must the animals and the birds die
because of the wickedness of the people who live in this land? 11
For these people boast,
“God 12 will not see what happens to us.” 13
5 The Lord answered, 14
“If you have raced on foot against men and they have worn you out,
how will you be able to compete with horses?
And if you feel secure only 15 in safe and open country, 16
how will you manage in the thick undergrowth along the Jordan River? 17
6 As a matter of fact, 18 even your own brothers
and the members of your own family have betrayed you too.
Even they have plotted to do away with you. 19
So do not trust them even when they say kind things 20 to you.
7 “I will abandon my nation. 21
I will forsake the people I call my own. 22
I will turn my beloved people 23
over to the power 24 of their enemies.
8 The people I call my own 25 have turned on me
like a lion 26 in the forest.
They have roared defiantly 27 at me.
So I will treat them as though I hate them. 28
9 The people I call my own attack me like birds of prey or like hyenas. 29
But other birds of prey are all around them. 30
Let all the nations gather together like wild beasts.
Let them come and destroy these people I call my own. 31
10 Many foreign rulers 32 will ruin the land where I planted my people. 33
They will trample all over my chosen land. 34
They will turn my beautiful land
into a desolate wasteland.
11 They will lay it waste.
It will lie parched 35 and empty before me.
The whole land will be laid waste.
But no one living in it will pay any heed. 36
12 A destructive army 37 will come marching
over the hilltops in the desert.
For the Lord will use them as his destructive weapon 38
against 39 everyone from one end of the land to the other.
No one will be safe. 40
13 My people will sow wheat, but will harvest weeds. 41
They will work until they are exhausted, but will get nothing from it.
They will be disappointed in their harvests 42
because the Lord will take them away in his fierce anger. 43
14 “I, the Lord, also have something to say concerning 44 the wicked nations who surround my land 45 and have attacked and plundered 46 the land that I gave to my people as a permanent possession. 47 I say: ‘I will uproot the people of those nations from their lands and I will free the people of Judah who have been taken there. 48 15 But after I have uprooted the people of those nations, I will relent 49 and have pity on them. I will restore the people of each of those nations to their own lands 50 and to their own country. 16 But they must make sure you learn to follow the religious practices of my people. 51 Once they taught my people to swear their oaths using the name of the god Baal. 52 But then, they must swear oaths using my name, saying, “As surely as the Lord lives, I swear.” 53 If they do these things, 54 then they will be included among the people I call my own. 55 17 But I will completely uproot and destroy any of those nations that will not pay heed,’” 56 says the Lord.
13 The Lord said to me, “Go and buy some linen shorts 1 and put them on. 2 Do not put them in water.” 3 2 So I bought the shorts as the Lord had told me to do 4 and put them on. 5 3 Then the Lord spoke to me again and said, 6 4 “Take the shorts that you bought and are wearing 7 and go at once 8 to Perath. 9 Bury the shorts there 10 in a crack in the rocks.” 5 So I went and buried them at Perath 11 as the Lord had ordered me to do. 6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go at once to Perath and get 12 the shorts I ordered you to bury there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up 13 the shorts from the place where I had buried them. I found 14 that they were ruined; they were good for nothing.
8 Then the Lord said to me, 15 9 “I, the Lord, say: 16 ‘This shows how 17 I will ruin the highly exalted position 18 in which Judah and Jerusalem 19 take pride. 10 These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. 20 They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance 21 to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So 22 they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing. 11 For,’ I say, 23 ‘just as shorts cling tightly to a person’s body, so I bound the whole nation of Israel and the whole nation of Judah 24 tightly 25 to me.’ I intended for them to be my special people and to bring me fame, honor, and praise. 26 But they would not obey me.
12 “So tell them, 27 ‘The Lord, the God of Israel, says, “Every wine jar is made to be filled with wine.”’ 28 And they will probably say to you, ‘Do you not think we know 29 that every wine jar is supposed to be filled with wine?’ 13 Then 30 tell them, ‘The Lord says, “I will soon fill all the people who live in this land with stupor. 31 I will also fill the kings from David’s dynasty, 32 the priests, the prophets, and the citizens of Jerusalem with stupor. 33 14 And I will smash them like wine bottles against one another, children and parents alike. 34 I will not show any pity, mercy, or compassion. Nothing will keep me from destroying them,’ 35 says the Lord.”
15 Then I said to the people of Judah, 36
“Listen and pay attention! Do not be arrogant!
For the Lord has spoken.
16 Show the Lord your God the respect that is due him. 37
Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster. 38
Do it before you stumble 39 into distress
like a traveler on the mountains at twilight. 40
Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for
into the darkness and gloom of exile. 41
17 But if you will not pay attention to this warning, 42
I will weep alone because of your arrogant pride.
I will weep bitterly and my eyes will overflow with tears 43
because you, the Lord’s flock, 44 will be carried 45 into exile.”
18 The Lord told me, 46
“Tell the king and the queen mother,
‘Surrender your thrones, 47
for your glorious crowns
will be removed 48 from your heads. 49
19 The gates of the towns in southern Judah will be shut tight. 50
No one will be able to go in or out of them. 51
All Judah will be carried off into exile.
They will be completely carried off into exile.’” 52
20 Then I said, 53
“Look up, Jerusalem, 54 and see
the enemy 55 that is coming from the north.
Where now is the flock of people that were entrusted to your care? 56
Where now are the ‘sheep’ that you take such pride in? 57
21 What will you say 58 when the Lord 59 appoints as rulers over you those allies
that you, yourself, had actually prepared as such? 60
Then anguish and agony will grip you
like that of a woman giving birth to a baby. 61
22 You will probably ask yourself, 62
‘Why have these things happened to me?
Why have I been treated like a disgraced adulteress
whose skirt has been torn off and her limbs exposed?’ 63
It is because you have sinned so much. 64
23 But there is little hope for you ever doing good,
you who are so accustomed to doing evil.
Can an Ethiopian 65 change the color of his skin?
Can a leopard remove its spots? 66
24 “The Lord says, 67
‘That is why I will scatter your people 68 like chaff
that is blown away by a desert wind. 69
25 This is your fate,
the destiny to which I have appointed you,
because you have forgotten me
and have trusted in false gods.
26 So I will pull your skirt up over your face
and expose you to shame like a disgraced adulteress! 70
27 People of Jerusalem, 71 I have seen your adulterous worship,
your shameless prostitution to, and your lustful pursuit of, other gods. 72
I have seen your disgusting acts of worship 73
on the hills throughout the countryside.
You are doomed to destruction! 74
How long will you continue to be unclean?’”
14 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah 1 about the drought. 2
2 “The people of Judah are in mourning.
The people in her cities are pining away.
They lie on the ground expressing their sorrow. 3
Cries of distress come up to me 4 from Jerusalem. 5
3 The leading men of the cities send their servants for water.
They go to the cisterns, 6 but they do not find any water there.
They return with their containers 7 empty.
Disappointed and dismayed, they bury their faces in their hands. 8
4 They are dismayed because the ground is cracked 9
because there has been no rain in the land.
The farmers, too, are dismayed
and bury their faces in their hands.
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn 10 in the field
because there is no grass.
6 Wild donkeys stand on the hilltops
and pant for breath like jackals.
Their eyes are strained looking for food,
because there is none to be found.” 11
7 Then I said, 12
“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name 13
even though our sins speak out against us. 14
Indeed, 15 we have turned away from you many times.
We have sinned against you.
8 You have been the object of Israel’s hopes.
You have saved them when they were in trouble.
Why have you become like a resident foreigner 16 in the land?
Why have you become like a traveler who only stops in to spend the night?
9 Why should you be like someone who is helpless, 17
like a champion 18 who cannot save anyone?
You are indeed with us, 19
and we belong to you. 20
Do not abandon us!”
10 Then the Lord spoke about these people. 21
“They truly 22 love to go astray.
They cannot keep from running away from me. 23
So I am not pleased with them.
I will now call to mind 24 the wrongs they have done 25
and punish them for their sins.”
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good to come to these people! 26 12 Even if they fast, I will not hear their cries for help. Even if they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. 27 Instead, I will kill them through wars, famines, and plagues.” 28
13 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God, 29 look! 30 The prophets are telling them that you said, 31 ‘You will not experience war or suffer famine. 32 I will give you lasting peace and prosperity in this land.’” 33
14 Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! 34 I did not send them. I did not commission them. 35 I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, 36 and the delusions of their own mind. 15 I did not send those prophets, though they claim to be prophesying in my name. They may be saying, ‘No war or famine will happen in this land.’ But I, the Lord, say this about 37 them: ‘War and starvation will kill those prophets.’ 38 16 The people to whom they are prophesying will die through war and famine. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem 39 and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to the men and their wives, their sons, and their daughters. 40 For I will pour out on them the destruction they deserve.” 41
17 “Tell these people this, Jeremiah: 42
‘My eyes overflow with tears
day and night without ceasing. 43
For my people, my dear children, 44 have suffered a crushing blow.
They have suffered a serious wound. 45
18 If I go out into the countryside,
I see those who have been killed in battle.
If I go into the city,
I see those who are sick because of starvation. 46
For both prophet and priest go about their own business
in the land without having any real understanding.’” 47
19 Then I said,
“Lord, 48 have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you despise 49 the city of Zion?
Why have you struck us with such force
that we are beyond recovery? 50
We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.
We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror. 51
20 Lord, we confess that we have been wicked.
We confess that our ancestors have done wrong. 52
We have indeed 53 sinned against you.
21 For the honor of your name, 54 do not treat Jerusalem 55 with contempt.
Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits. 56
Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it! 57
22 Do any of the worthless idols 58 of the nations cause rain to fall?
Do the skies themselves send showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this? 59
So we put our hopes in you 60
because you alone do all this.”