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The Land Dries Up

14 When there had been no rain for a long time, the Lord told me to say to the people:

Judah and Jerusalem weep
    as the land dries up.
Rulers send their servants
    to the storage pits for water.[a]
But there’s none to be found;
they return in despair
    with their jars still empty.

There has been no rain,
    and farmers feel sick
as they watch cracks appear
    in the dry ground.[b]

A deer gives birth in a field,
then abandons her newborn fawn
    and leaves in search of grass.
Wild donkeys go blind
    from starvation.
So they stand on barren hilltops
and sniff the air,[c]
    hoping to smell green grass.

The Lord’s People Pray

Our terrible sins may demand
    that we be punished.
But if you rescue us, Lord,
everyone will see
    how great you are.
You’re our only hope;
    you alone can save us now.
You help us one day,
    but you’re gone the next.
Did this disaster
    take you by surprise?
Are you a warrior
    with your hands tied?
You have chosen us,
and your temple is here.
    Don’t abandon us!

The Lord’s Answer

10 My people,
    you love to wander away;
you don’t even try
    to stay close to me.
So now I will reject you
and punish you for your sins.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

Lying Prophets

11 The Lord said, “Jeremiah, don’t ask me to help these people. 12 They may even go without eating[d] and offer sacrifices to please me[e] and to give thanks.[f] But when they cry out for my help, I won’t listen, and I won’t accept their sacrifices. Instead, I’ll send war, starvation, and disease to wipe them out.”

13 I replied, “The other prophets keep telling everyone that you won’t send starvation or war, and that you’re going to give us peace.”

14 The Lord answered:

They claim to speak for me, but they’re lying! I didn’t even speak to them, much less choose them to be my prophets. Their messages come from worthless dreams, useless fortunetelling, and their own imaginations.

15 Those lying prophets say there will be peace and plenty of food. But I say that those same prophets will die from war and hunger. 16 And everyone who listens to them will be killed, just as they deserve. Their dead bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, because their families will also be dead, and no one will be left to bury them.[g]

17 Jeremiah, go and tell the people how you feel about all this.

So I told them:

“Tears will flood my eyes
    both day and night,
because my nation suffers
    from a deadly wound.
18 In the fields I see the bodies
    of those killed in battle.
And in the towns I see crowds
    dying of hunger.
But the prophets and priests
    go about their business,
without understanding
    what has happened.”[h]

Jeremiah Prays to the Lord

19 Have you rejected Judah, Lord?
    Do you hate Jerusalem?
Why did you strike down Judah
    with a fatal wound?
We had hoped for peace
and a time of healing,
    but all we got was terror.
20 We and our ancestors are guilty
    of rebelling against you.
21 If you save us, it will show
    how great you are.
Don’t let our enemies
disgrace your temple,
    your beautiful throne.
Don’t forget that you promised
    to rescue us.
22 Idols can’t send rain,
and showers don’t fall
    by themselves.
Only you control the rain,
so we put our trust in you,
    the Lord our God.

Footnotes

  1. 14.3 storage pits for water: Since water was scarce, pits were dug into solid rock for collecting and storing rainwater. These pits were called “cisterns.”
  2. 14.4 cracks. . . ground: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 14.6 sniff the air: The Hebrew text has “sniff the air, like jackals” (see the note at 9.11).
  4. 14.12 go without eating: The people of Israel sometimes went without eating to show sorrow for their sins.
  5. 14.12 sacrifices to please me: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “whole burnt offerings” because the whole animal was burned on the altar. A main purpose of such sacrifices was to please the Lord with the smell of the sacrifice, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called “sacrifices to please the Lord.”
  6. 14.12 sacrifices. . . to give thanks: These sacrifices have traditionally been called “grain offerings.” A main purpose of such sacrifices was to thank the Lord with a gift of grain, and so in the CEV they are sometimes called “sacrifices to give thanks to the Lord.”
  7. 14.16 dead bodies. . . bury them: A proper burial was considered very important.
  8. 14.18 go about. . . has happened: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Drought, Famine, Sword

14 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:(A)

“Judah mourns,(B)
    her cities languish;
they wail for the land,
    and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.
The nobles send their servants for water;
    they go to the cisterns
    but find no water.(C)
They return with their jars unfilled;
    dismayed and despairing,
    they cover their heads.(D)
The ground is cracked
    because there is no rain in the land;(E)
the farmers are dismayed
    and cover their heads.
Even the doe in the field
    deserts her newborn fawn
    because there is no grass.(F)
Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights(G)
    and pant like jackals;
their eyes fail
    for lack of food.”(H)

Although our sins testify(I) against us,
    do something, Lord, for the sake of your name.(J)
For we have often rebelled;(K)
    we have sinned(L) against you.
You who are the hope(M) of Israel,
    its Savior(N) in times of distress,(O)
why are you like a stranger in the land,
    like a traveler who stays only a night?
Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
    like a warrior powerless to save?(P)
You are among(Q) us, Lord,
    and we bear your name;(R)
    do not forsake(S) us!

10 This is what the Lord says about this people:

“They greatly love to wander;
    they do not restrain their feet.(T)
So the Lord does not accept(U) them;
    he will now remember(V) their wickedness
    and punish them for their sins.”(W)

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray(X) for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry;(Y) though they offer burnt offerings(Z) and grain offerings,(AA) I will not accept(AB) them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword,(AC) famine(AD) and plague.”(AE)

13 But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophets(AF) keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine.(AG) Indeed, I will give you lasting peace(AH) in this place.’”

14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies(AI) in my name. I have not sent(AJ) them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions,(AK) divinations,(AL) idolatries[a] and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perish(AM) by sword and famine.(AN) 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury(AO) them, their wives, their sons and their daughters.(AP) I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.(AQ)

17 “Speak this word to them:

“‘Let my eyes overflow with tears(AR)
    night and day without ceasing;
for the Virgin(AS) Daughter, my people,
    has suffered a grievous wound,
    a crushing blow.(AT)
18 If I go into the country,
    I see those slain by the sword;
if I go into the city,
    I see the ravages of famine.(AU)
Both prophet and priest
    have gone to a land they know not.(AV)’”

19 Have you rejected Judah completely?(AW)
    Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
    so that we cannot be healed?(AX)
We hoped for peace
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.(AY)
20 We acknowledge(AZ) our wickedness, Lord,
    and the guilt of our ancestors;(BA)
    we have indeed sinned(BB) against you.
21 For the sake of your name(BC) do not despise us;
    do not dishonor your glorious throne.(BD)
Remember your covenant(BE) with us
    and do not break it.
22 Do any of the worthless idols(BF) of the nations bring rain?(BG)
    Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
    Therefore our hope is in you,
    for you are the one who does all this.(BH)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 14:14 Or visions, worthless divinations

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