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Jeremiah Speaks in the Temple

1-3 The Lord told me to stand by the gate of the temple[a] and to tell the people who were going in that the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said:

Pay attention, people of Judah! Change your ways and start living right, then I will let you keep on living in your own country.[b] Don’t fool yourselves! My temple is here in Jerusalem, but that doesn’t mean I will protect you. I will keep you safe only if you change your ways. Be fair and honest with each other. Stop taking advantage of foreigners, orphans, and widows. Don’t kill innocent people. And stop worshiping other gods. Then I will let you enjoy a long life in this land I gave your ancestors.

But just look at what is happening! You put your trust in worthless lies. You steal and murder; you lie in court and are unfaithful in marriage. You worship idols and offer incense to Baal, when these gods have never done anything for you. 10 And then you come into my temple and worship me! Do you think I will protect you so that you can go on sinning? 11 You are thieves, and you have made my temple your hideout. But I’ve seen everything you have done.

12 Go to Shiloh, where my sacred tent once stood. Take a look at what I did there. My people Israel sinned, and so I destroyed Shiloh!

13 While you have been sinning, I have been trying to talk to you, but you refuse to listen. 14 Don’t think this temple will protect you. Long ago I told your ancestors to build it and worship me here, but now I have decided to tear it down, just as I destroyed Shiloh. 15 And as for you, people of Judah, I’m going to send you away from my land, just as I sent away the people of Ephraim and the other northern tribes.

Punishment for Worshiping Other Gods

16 Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people! I, the Lord, would refuse to listen. 17 Do you see what the people of Judah are doing in their towns and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 Children gather firewood, their fathers build fires, and their mothers mix dough to bake bread for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven.[c] They even offer wine sacrifices to other gods, just to insult me. 19 But they are not only insulting me; they are also insulting themselves by doing these shameful things.

20 And now, I, the Lord All-Powerful, will flood Judah with my fiery anger until nothing is left—no people or animals, no trees or crops.

It Is Useless To Offer Sacrifices

21 The Lord told me to say to the people of Judah:

I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, but I won’t accept sacrifices from you. So don’t even bother bringing them to me. You might as well just cook the meat for yourselves.

22 At the time I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I didn’t command them to offer sacrifices to me. 23 Instead, I told them, “If you listen to me and do what I tell you, I will be your God, you will be my people, and all will go well for you.” 24 But your ancestors refused to listen. They were stubborn, and whenever I wanted them to go one way, they always went the other. 25 Ever since your ancestors left Egypt, I have been sending my servants the prophets to speak for me. 26 But you have ignored me and become even more stubborn and sinful than your ancestors ever were!

Slaughter Valley

The Lord said:

27 Jeremiah, no matter what you do, the people won’t listen. 28 So you must say to them:

People of Judah, I am the Lord your God, but you have refused to obey me, and you didn’t change when I punished you. And now, you no longer even pretend to be faithful to me.

29 Shave your head bald
    and throw away the hair.
Sing a funeral song
    on top of a barren hill.
You people have made me angry,
    and I have abandoned you.

30 You have disobeyed me by putting your disgusting idols in my temple, and now the temple itself is disgusting to me. 31 At Topheth in Hinnom Valley you have built altars where you kill your children and burn them as sacrifices to other gods. I would never think of telling you to do this. 32 So watch out! Someday that place will no longer be called Topheth or Hinnom Valley. It will be called Slaughter Valley, because you will bury your dead there until you run out of room, 33 and then bodies will lie scattered on the ground. Birds and wild animals will come and eat, and no one will be around to scare them off. 34 When I am finished with your land, there will be deathly silence in the empty ruins of Jerusalem and the towns of Judah—no happy voices, no sounds of parties or wedding celebrations.

Footnotes

  1. 7.1-3 temple: The Hebrew text has “house of the Lord,” another name for the temple.
  2. 7.1-3 let you. . . own country: Or “live here with you.”
  3. 7.18 Queen of Heaven: Probably another name for the goddess Astarte.

False Religion Worthless

This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: “Stand(A) at the gate of the Lord’s house and there proclaim this message:

“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways(B) and your actions, and I will let you live(C) in this place. Do not trust(D) in deceptive(E) words and say, “This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” If you really change(F) your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,(G) if you do not oppress(H) the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood(I) in this place, and if you do not follow other gods(J) to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land(K) I gave your ancestors(L) for ever and ever. But look, you are trusting(M) in deceptive(N) words that are worthless.

“‘Will you steal(O) and murder,(P) commit adultery(Q) and perjury,[a](R) burn incense to Baal(S) and follow other gods(T) you have not known, 10 and then come and stand(U) before me in this house,(V) which bears my Name, and say, “We are safe”—safe to do all these detestable things?(W) 11 Has this house,(X) which bears my Name, become a den of robbers(Y) to you? But I have been watching!(Z) declares the Lord.

12 “‘Go now to the place in Shiloh(AA) where I first made a dwelling(AB) for my Name,(AC) and see what I did(AD) to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord, I spoke(AE) to you again and again,(AF) but you did not listen;(AG) I called(AH) you, but you did not answer.(AI) 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh(AJ) I will now do to the house that bears my Name,(AK) the temple(AL) you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence,(AM) just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.’(AN)

16 “So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea(AO) or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen(AP) to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.(AQ) They pour out drink offerings(AR) to other gods to arouse(AS) my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking?(AT) declares the Lord. Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?(AU)

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign(AV) Lord says: My anger(AW) and my wrath will be poured(AX) out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.(AY)

21 “‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices(AZ) and eat(BA) the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands(BB) about burnt offerings and sacrifices,(BC) 23 but I gave them this command:(BD) Obey(BE) me, and I will be your God and you will be my people.(BF) Walk in obedience to all(BG) I command you, that it may go well(BH) with you. 24 But they did not listen(BI) or pay attention;(BJ) instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.(BK) They went backward(BL) and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again(BM) I sent you my servants(BN) the prophets.(BO) 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention.(BP) They were stiff-necked(BQ) and did more evil than their ancestors.’(BR)

27 “When you tell(BS) them all this, they will not listen(BT) to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.(BU) 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction.(BV) Truth(BW) has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29 “‘Cut off(BX) your hair and throw it away; take up a lament(BY) on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned(BZ) this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter

30 “‘The people of Judah have done evil(CA) in my eyes, declares the Lord. They have set up their detestable idols(CB) in the house that bears my Name and have defiled(CC) it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth(CD) in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(CE) to burn their sons and daughters(CF) in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.(CG) 32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter,(CH) for they will bury(CI) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses(CJ) of this people will become food(CK) for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.(CL) 34 I will bring an end to the sounds(CM) of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom(CN) in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem,(CO) for the land will become desolate.(CP)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 7:9 Or and swear by false gods

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