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
19 The Lord told Jeremiah, 1 “Go and buy a clay jar from a potter. 2 Take with you 3 some of the leaders of the people and some of the leaders 4 of the priests. 2 Go out to the part of the Hinnom Valley which is near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. 5 Announce there what I tell you. 6 3 Say, ‘Listen to what the Lord says, you kings of Judah and citizens of Jerusalem! 7 The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 8 says, “I will bring a disaster on this place 9 that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it ring! 10 4 I will do so because these people 11 have rejected me and have defiled 12 this place. They have offered sacrifices in it to other gods which neither they nor their ancestors 13 nor the kings of Judah knew anything about. They have filled it with the blood of innocent children. 14 5 They have built places here 15 for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices 16 are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind! 6 So I, the Lord, say: 17 “The time will soon come that people will no longer call this place Topheth or the Hinnom Valley. But they will call this valley 18 the Valley of Slaughter! 7 In this place I will thwart 19 the plans of the people of Judah and Jerusalem. I will deliver them over to the power of their enemies who are seeking to kill them. They will die by the sword 20 at the hands of their enemies. 21 I will make their dead bodies food for the birds and wild beasts to eat. 8 I will make this city an object of horror, a thing to be hissed at. All who pass by it will be filled with horror and will hiss out their scorn 22 because of all the disasters that have happened to it. 23 9 I will reduce the people of this city to desperate straits during the siege imposed on it by their enemies who are seeking to kill them. I will make them so desperate that they will eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters and the flesh of one another.”’” 24
10 The Lord continued, 25 “Now break the jar in front of those who have come here with you. 11 Tell them the Lord who rules over all says, 26 ‘I will do just as Jeremiah has done. 27 I will smash this nation and this city as though it were a potter’s vessel which is broken beyond repair. 28 The dead will be buried here in Topheth until there is no more room to bury them.’ 29 12 I, the Lord, say: 30 ‘That is how I will deal with this city and its citizens. I will make it like Topheth. 13 The houses in Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled by dead bodies 31 just like this place, Topheth. For they offered sacrifice to the stars 32 and poured out drink offerings to other gods on the roofs of those houses.’”
14 Then Jeremiah left Topheth where the Lord had sent him to give that prophecy. He went to the Lord’s temple and stood 33 in its courtyard and called out to all the people. 15 “The Lord God of Israel who rules over all 34 says, ‘I will soon bring on this city and all the towns surrounding it 35 all the disaster I threatened to do to it. I will do so because they have stubbornly refused 36 to pay any attention to what I have said!’”