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Judah’s Complete Rejection of the Lord

Walk around the streets of Jerusalem.
Look around, and think about these things.
Search the city squares.
See if you can find anyone
    who does what is right and seeks the truth.
        Then I will forgive Jerusalem.
People say, “As the Lord lives . . .”
    Yet, they lie when they take this oath.
Lord, your eyes look for the truth.
    You strike these people, but they don’t feel it.
    You crush them, but they refuse to be corrected.
        They are more stubborn than rocks.
        They refuse to turn back.
I thought, “These are poor, foolish people.
    They don’t know the way of the Lord
        and the justice that God demands.
Let me go to important people and speak to them.
    They know the way of the Lord
        and the justice that God demands.”
            But they, too, had broken off their yokes[a]
                and torn off their chains.
That is why a lion from the forest will attack them.
    A wolf from the wilderness will destroy them.
    A leopard will lie in ambush outside their cities.
        All who leave the cities will be torn to pieces,
            because they rebel so often
                and they become more and more unfaithful.

“Why should I forgive you?
    Your children abandoned me.
        They took godless oaths.
        They committed adultery, even though I satisfied their needs.
        They traveled in crowds to the houses of prostitutes.
They are like well-fed stallions that are wild with desire.
They neigh for their neighbors’ wives.
    I will punish them for these things,” declares the Lord.
    “I will punish this nation.

10 “Go among Jerusalem’s rows of grapevines and destroy them,
    but don’t destroy all of them.
Cut off the branches because they don’t belong to the Lord.
11 The nations of Israel and Judah are unfaithful to me,”
    declares the Lord.
12 They lie about the Lord and say,
    “He doesn’t exist!
        Nothing bad will happen to us.
            We won’t experience war or famine.
13 The prophets are nothing but windbags.
The Lord hasn’t spoken through them,
    so let what they say happen to them.”

14 This is what the Lord God of Armies says:

Because you’ve talked like this,
    I’m going to put my words in your mouth like a fire.
        These people will be like wood.
            My words will burn them up.
15 Nation of Israel, I’m going to bring a nation from far away
    to attack you, declares the Lord.
        It is a nation that has lasted a long time.
        It is an ancient nation.
            You don’t know the language of this nation.
            You can’t understand what its people say.
16         Their arrow quivers are like open graves.
        They are all mighty warriors.
17             They will devour your harvest and your food.
            They will devour your sons and your daughters.
            They will devour your flocks and your cattle.
            They will devour your grapevines and your fig trees.
                With their swords they will destroy
                    the fortified cities you trust.
18 Yet, even in those days, declares the Lord,
    I won’t destroy all of you.

19 They will ask, “Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?” Answer them, “You have abandoned me and served foreign gods in your land. So you will serve foreigners in a land that isn’t yours.”

20 “Tell this to the descendants of Jacob, and make this heard in Judah:
21 Hear this, you stupid and senseless people!
    You have eyes, but you cannot see.
    You have ears, but you cannot hear.
22         Don’t you fear me?” asks the Lord.
        “Don’t you tremble in my presence?
            I made the sand a boundary for the sea,
                a permanent barrier that it cannot cross.
                    Although the waves toss continuously,
                        they can’t break through.
                    Although they roar, they can’t cross it.
23 But these people are stubborn and rebellious.
    They have turned aside and wandered away from me.
24     They don’t say to themselves,
        ‘We should fear the Lord our God.
            He sends rain at the right time,
                the autumn rain and the spring rain.
            He makes sure that we have harvest seasons.’
25 Your wickedness has turned these things away.
Your sins have kept good things away from you.

26 “Wicked people are found among my people.
    They lie in ambush like bird catchers.
    They set traps and catch people.
27 Like cages filled with birds, their houses are filled with deceit.
That is why they become powerful and rich.
28     They grow big and fat.
    Their evil deeds have no limits.
    They have no respect for the rights of others.
    They have no respect for the rights of orphans.
        But they still prosper.
    They don’t defend the rights of the poor.
29 I will punish them for these things,” declares the Lord.
“I will punish this nation.

30 “Something horrible and disgusting is happening in the land:
31     Prophets prophesy lies.
    Priests rule under the prophets’ directions,
        and my people love this.
    But what will you do in the end?”

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 5:5 A yoke is a wooden bar placed over the necks of work animals so that they can pull plows or carts.

Not One Is Upright

“Go up and down(A) the streets of Jerusalem,
    look around and consider,(B)
    search through her squares.
If you can find but one person(C)
    who deals honestly(D) and seeks the truth,
    I will forgive(E) this city.
Although they say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(F)
    still they are swearing falsely.(G)

Lord, do not your eyes(H) look for truth?
    You struck(I) them, but they felt no pain;
    you crushed them, but they refused correction.(J)
They made their faces harder than stone(K)
    and refused to repent.(L)
I thought, “These are only the poor;
    they are foolish,(M)
for they do not know(N) the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.
So I will go to the leaders(O)
    and speak to them;
surely they know the way of the Lord,
    the requirements of their God.”
But with one accord they too had broken off the yoke
    and torn off the bonds.(P)
Therefore a lion from the forest(Q) will attack them,
    a wolf from the desert will ravage(R) them,
a leopard(S) will lie in wait near their towns
    to tear to pieces any who venture out,
for their rebellion is great
    and their backslidings many.(T)

“Why should I forgive you?
    Your children have forsaken me
    and sworn(U) by gods that are not gods.(V)
I supplied all their needs,
    yet they committed adultery(W)
    and thronged to the houses of prostitutes.(X)
They are well-fed, lusty stallions,
    each neighing for another man’s wife.(Y)
Should I not punish them for this?”(Z)
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(AA) myself
    on such a nation as this?

10 “Go through her vineyards and ravage them,
    but do not destroy them completely.(AB)
Strip off her branches,
    for these people do not belong to the Lord.
11 The people of Israel and the people of Judah
    have been utterly unfaithful(AC) to me,”
declares the Lord.

12 They have lied(AD) about the Lord;
    they said, “He will do nothing!
No harm will come to us;(AE)
    we will never see sword or famine.(AF)
13 The prophets(AG) are but wind(AH)
    and the word is not in them;
    so let what they say be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty says:

“Because the people have spoken these words,
    I will make my words in your mouth(AI) a fire(AJ)
    and these people the wood it consumes.(AK)
15 People of Israel,” declares the Lord,
    “I am bringing a distant nation(AL) against you—
an ancient and enduring nation,
    a people whose language(AM) you do not know,
    whose speech you do not understand.
16 Their quivers(AN) are like an open grave;
    all of them are mighty warriors.
17 They will devour(AO) your harvests and food,
    devour(AP) your sons and daughters;
they will devour(AQ) your flocks and herds,
    devour your vines and fig trees.(AR)
With the sword(AS) they will destroy
    the fortified cities(AT) in which you trust.(AU)

18 “Yet even in those days,” declares the Lord, “I will not destroy(AV) you completely. 19 And when the people ask,(AW) ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ you will tell them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods(AX) in your own land, so now you will serve foreigners(AY) in a land not your own.’

20 “Announce this to the descendants of Jacob
    and proclaim(AZ) it in Judah:
21 Hear this, you foolish and senseless people,(BA)
    who have eyes(BB) but do not see,
    who have ears but do not hear:(BC)
22 Should you not fear(BD) me?” declares the Lord.
    “Should you not tremble(BE) in my presence?
I made the sand a boundary for the sea,(BF)
    an everlasting barrier it cannot cross.
The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail;
    they may roar,(BG) but they cannot cross it.
23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious(BH) hearts;
    they have turned aside(BI) and gone away.
24 They do not say to themselves,
    ‘Let us fear(BJ) the Lord our God,
who gives autumn and spring rains(BK) in season,
    who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.’(BL)
25 Your wrongdoings have kept these away;
    your sins have deprived you of good.(BM)

26 “Among my people are the wicked(BN)
    who lie in wait(BO) like men who snare birds
    and like those who set traps(BP) to catch people.
27 Like cages full of birds,
    their houses are full of deceit;(BQ)
they have become rich(BR) and powerful
28     and have grown fat(BS) and sleek.
Their evil deeds have no limit;
    they do not seek justice.
They do not promote the case of the fatherless;(BT)
    they do not defend the just cause of the poor.(BU)
29 Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(BV) myself
    on such a nation as this?

30 “A horrible(BW) and shocking thing
    has happened in the land:
31 The prophets prophesy lies,(BX)
    the priests(BY) rule by their own authority,
and my people love it this way.
    But what will you do in the end?(BZ)

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