16 The Lord said to me, 2 “Do not get married and do not have children here in this land. 3 For I, the Lord, tell you what will happen to 1 the children who are born here in this land and to the men and women who are their mothers and fathers. 2 4 They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals.
5 “Moreover I, the Lord, tell you: 3 ‘Do not go into a house where they are having a funeral meal. Do not go there to mourn and express your sorrow for them. For I have stopped showing them my good favor, 4 my love, and my compassion. I, the Lord, so affirm it! 5 6 Rich and poor alike will die in this land. They will not be buried or mourned. People will not cut their bodies or shave off their hair to show their grief for them. 6 7 No one will take any food to those who mourn for the dead to comfort them. No one will give them any wine to drink to console them for the loss of their father or mother.
8 “‘Do not go to a house where people are feasting and sit down to eat and drink with them either. 9 For I, the Lord God of Israel who rules over all, tell you what will happen. 7 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness, to the glad celebration of brides and grooms in this land. You and the rest of the people will live to see this happen.’” 8
10 “When you tell these people about all this, 9 they will undoubtedly ask you, ‘Why has the Lord threatened us with such great disaster? What wrong have we done? What sin have we done to offend the Lord our God?’ 11 Then tell them that the Lord says, 10 ‘It is because your ancestors 11 rejected me and paid allegiance to 12 other gods. They have served them and worshiped them. But they have rejected me and not obeyed my law. 13 12 And you have acted even more wickedly than your ancestors! Each one of you has followed the stubborn inclinations of your own wicked heart and not obeyed me. 14 13 So I will throw you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your ancestors have ever known. There you must worship other gods day and night, for I will show you no mercy.’”
14 Yet 15 I, the Lord, say: 16 “A new time will certainly come. 17 People now affirm their oaths with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel out of Egypt.’ 15 But in that time they will affirm them with ‘I swear as surely as the Lord lives who delivered the people of Israel from the land of the north and from all the other lands where he had banished them.’ At that time I will bring them back to the land I gave their ancestors.” 18
16 But for now I, the Lord, say: 19 “I will send many enemies who will catch these people like fishermen. After that I will send others who will hunt them out like hunters from all the mountains, all the hills, and the crevices in the rocks. 20 17 For I see everything they do. Their wicked ways are not hidden from me. Their sin is not hidden away where I cannot see it. 21 18 Before I restore them 22 I will punish them in full 23 for their sins and the wrongs they have done. For they have polluted my land with the lifeless statues of their disgusting idols. They have filled the land I have claimed as my own 24 with their detestable idols.” 25
19 Then I said, 26
“Lord, you give me strength and protect me.
You are the one I can run to for safety when I am in trouble. 27
Nations from all over the earth
will come to you and say,
‘Our ancestors had nothing but false gods –
worthless idols that could not help them at all. 28
20 Can people make their own gods?
No, what they make are not gods at all.” 29
21 The Lord said, 30
“So I will now let this wicked people know –
I will let them know my mighty power in judgment.
Then they will know that my name is the Lord.” 31
The sin of Judah is engraved with an iron chisel
on their stone-hard 2 hearts.
It is inscribed with a diamond 3 point
on the horns of their altars. 4
2 Their children are always thinking about 5 their 6 altars
and their sacred poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah, 7
set up beside the green trees on the high hills
3 and on the mountains and in the fields. 8
I will give your wealth and all your treasures away as plunder.
I will give it away as the price 9 for the sins you have committed throughout your land.
4 You will lose your hold on the land 10
which I gave to you as a permanent possession.
I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you know nothing about.
For you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.” 11
5 The Lord says,
“I will put a curse on people
who trust in mere human beings,
who depend on mere flesh and blood for their strength, 12
and whose hearts 13 have turned away from the Lord.
6 They will be like a shrub 14 in the desert.
They will not experience good things even when they happen.
It will be as though they were growing in the desert,
in a salt land where no one can live.
7 My blessing is on those people who trust in me,
who put their confidence in me. 15
8 They will be like a tree planted near a stream
whose roots spread out toward the water.
It has nothing to fear when the heat comes.
Its leaves are always green.
It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought.
It does not stop bearing fruit.
9 The human mind is more deceitful than anything else.
It is incurably bad. 16 Who can understand it?
10 I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds.
I examine people’s hearts. 17
I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.
I give them what they deserve based on what they have done.
11 The person who gathers wealth by unjust means
is like the partridge that broods over eggs but does not hatch them. 18
Before his life is half over he will lose his ill-gotten gains. 19
At the end of his life it will be clear he was a fool.” 20
12 Then I said, 21
“Lord, from the very beginning
you have been seated on your glorious throne on high.
You are the place where we can find refuge.
13 You are the one in whom Israel may find hope. 22
All who leave you will suffer shame.
Those who turn away from you 23 will be consigned to the nether world. 24
For they have rejected you, the Lord, the fountain of life. 25
14 Lord, grant me relief from my suffering
so that I may have some relief.
Rescue me from those who persecute me
so that I may be rescued. 26
15 Listen to what they are saying to me. 27
They are saying, “Where are the things the Lord threatens us with?
Come on! Let’s see them happen!” 28
16 But I have not pestered you to bring disaster. 29
I have not desired the time of irreparable devastation. 30
You know that.
You are fully aware of every word that I have spoken. 31
17 Do not cause me dismay! 32
You are my source of safety in times of trouble.
18 May those who persecute me be disgraced.
Do not let me be disgraced.
May they be dismayed.
Do not let me be dismayed.
Bring days of disaster on them.
Bring on them the destruction they deserve.” 33
19 The Lord told me, “Go and stand in the People’s Gate 34 through which the kings of Judah enter and leave the city. Then go and stand in all the other gates of the city of Jerusalem. 35 20 As you stand in those places 36 announce, ‘Listen, all you people who pass through these gates. Listen, all you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah and all you citizens of Jerusalem. Listen to what the Lord says. 37 21 The Lord says, ‘Be very careful if you value your lives! 38 Do not carry any loads 39 in through 40 the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. 22 Do not carry any loads out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath day. 41 But observe the Sabbath day as a day set apart to the Lord, 42 as I commanded your ancestors. 43 23 Your ancestors, 44 however, did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They stubbornly refused 45 to pay attention or to respond to any discipline.’ 24 The Lord says, 46 ‘You must make sure to obey me. You must not bring any loads through the gates of this city on the Sabbath day. You must set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not do any work on that day. 25 If you do this, 47 then the kings and princes who follow in David’s succession 48 and ride in chariots or on horses will continue to enter through these gates, as well as their officials and the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 49 This city will always be filled with people. 50 26 Then people will come here from the towns in Judah, from the villages surrounding Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin, from the western foothills, from the southern hill country, and from the southern part of Judah. They will come bringing offerings to the temple of the Lord: burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings, and incense along with their thank offerings. 51 27 But you must obey me and set the Sabbath day apart to me. You must not carry any loads in through 52 the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. If you disobey, I will set the gates of Jerusalem on fire. It will burn down all the fortified dwellings in Jerusalem and no one will be able to put it out.’”
18 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 1 2 “Go down at once 2 to the potter’s house. I will speak to you further there.” 3 3 So I went down to the potter’s house and found him working 4 at his wheel. 5 4 Now and then 6 there would be something wrong 7 with the pot he was molding from the clay 8 with his hands. So he would rework 9 the clay into another kind of pot as he saw fit. 10
5 Then the Lord said to me, 11 6 “I, the Lord, say: 12 ‘O nation of Israel, can I not deal with you as this potter deals with the clay? 13 In my hands, you, O nation of Israel, are just like the clay in this potter’s hand.’ 7 There are times, Jeremiah, 14 when I threaten to uproot, tear down, and destroy a nation or kingdom. 15 8 But if that nation I threatened stops doing wrong, 16 I will cancel the destruction 17 I intended to do to it. 9 And there are times when I promise to build up and establish 18 a nation or kingdom. 10 But if that nation does what displeases me and does not obey me, then I will cancel the good I promised to do to it. 11 So now, tell the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem 19 this: The Lord says, ‘I am preparing to bring disaster on you! I am making plans to punish you. 20 So, every one of you, stop the evil things you have been doing. 21 Correct the way you have been living and do what is right.’ 22 12 But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what you say! 23 We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’” 24
13 Therefore, the Lord says,
“Ask the people of other nations
whether they have heard of anything like this.
Israel should have been like a virgin.
But she has done something utterly revolting!
14 Does the snow ever completely vanish from the rocky slopes of Lebanon?
Do the cool waters from those distant mountains ever cease to flow? 25
15 Yet my people have forgotten me
and offered sacrifices to worthless idols!
This makes them stumble along in the way they live
and leave the old reliable path of their fathers. 26
They have left them to walk in bypaths,
in roads that are not smooth and level. 27
16 So their land will become an object of horror. 28
People will forever hiss out their scorn over it.
All who pass that way will be filled with horror
and will shake their heads in derision. 29
17 I will scatter them before their enemies
like dust blowing in front of a burning east wind.
I will turn my back on them and not look favorably on them 30
when disaster strikes them.”
18 Then some people 31 said, “Come on! Let us consider how to deal with Jeremiah! 32 There will still be priests to instruct us, wise men to give us advice, and prophets to declare God’s word. 33 Come on! Let’s bring charges against him and get rid of him! 34 Then we will not need to pay attention to anything he says.”
19 Then I said, 35
“Lord, pay attention to me.
Listen to what my enemies are saying. 36
20 Should good be paid back with evil?
Yet they are virtually digging a pit to kill me. 37
Just remember how I stood before you
pleading on their behalf 38
to keep you from venting your anger on them. 39
21 So let their children die of starvation.
Let them be cut down by the sword. 40
Let their wives lose their husbands and children.
Let the older men die of disease 41
and the younger men die by the sword in battle.
22 Let cries of terror be heard in their houses
when you send bands of raiders unexpectedly to plunder them. 42
For they have virtually dug a pit to capture me
and have hidden traps for me to step into.
23 But you, Lord, know
all their plots to kill me.
Do not pardon their crimes!
Do not ignore their sins as though you had erased them! 43
Let them be brought down in defeat before you!
Deal with them while you are still angry! 44