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Then the bones of the dead kings of Judah and their officials will be dug up, along with the bones of the priests, the prophets, and everyone else in Jerusalem who loved and worshiped the sun, moon, and stars. These bones will be scattered and left lying on the ground like trash, where the sun and moon and stars can shine on them.

Some of you people of Judah will be left alive, but I will force you to go to foreign countries, and you will wish you were dead. I, the Lord God All-Powerful, have spoken.

The People Took the Wrong Road

The Lord said:

People of Jerusalem,
when you stumble and fall,
    you get back up,
and if you take a wrong road,
    you turn around and go back.[a]
So why do you refuse
    to come back to me?
Why do you hold so tightly
    to your false gods?

I listen carefully,
but none of you admit
    that you’ve done wrong.
Without a second thought,
you run down the wrong road[b]
    like cavalry troops
    charging into battle.

Storks, doves, swallows,
and thrushes
    all know when it’s time
to fly away for the winter
    and when to come back.
But you, my people,
    don’t know what I demand.
You say, “We are wise
because we have the teachings
    and laws of the Lord.”
But I say that your teachers
have turned my words
    into lies!
Your wise men
have rejected what I say,
    and so they have no wisdom.
Now they will be trapped
and put to shame;
    they won’t know what to do.
10 I’ll give their wives and fields
    to strangers.

Everyone is greedy and dishonest,
    whether poor or rich.
Even the prophets and priests
    cannot be trusted.
11 All they ever offer
to my deeply wounded people
    are empty hopes for peace.
12 They should be ashamed
of their disgusting sins,
    but they don’t even blush.
And so, when I punish Judah,
they will end up on the ground,
    dead like everyone else.
13 I will wipe them out.[c]
They are vines without grapes;
    fig trees without figs or leaves.
They have not done a thing
    that I told them![d]
I, the Lord, have spoken.

The People and Their Punishment

14 The people of Judah
    say to each other,
“What are we waiting for?
Let’s run to a town with walls
    and die there.
We rebelled against the Lord,
and we were sentenced to die
    by drinking poison.
15 We had hoped for peace
and a time of healing,
    but all we got was terror.
16 Our enemies have reached
    the town of Dan in the north,
and the snorting of their horses
    makes us tremble with fear.
The enemy will destroy Jerusalem
and our entire nation.
    No one will survive.”

17 “Watch out!” the Lord says.
“I’m sending poisonous snakes
    to attack you,
and no one can stop them.”

Jeremiah Mourns for His People

18 I’m burdened with sorrow
    and feel like giving up.
19 In a foreign land
    my people are crying.
Listen! You’ll hear them say,
“Has the Lord deserted Zion?
    Is he no longer its king?”

I hear the Lord reply,
“Why did you make me angry
    by worshiping useless idols?”

20 The people complain,
“Spring and summer
    have come and gone,
but still the Lord
    hasn’t rescued us.”

21 My people are crushed,
and so is my heart.
    I am horrified and mourn.
22 If medicine and doctors
may be found in Gilead,
    why aren’t my people healed?


  1. 8.4 if you take. . . go back: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 8.6 you run down the wrong road: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 8.13 I will wipe them out: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 8.13 They have not. . . them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

“‘At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones(A) of the people of Jerusalem will be removed(B) from their graves. They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served(C) and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped.(D) They will not be gathered up or buried,(E) but will be like dung lying on the ground.(F) Wherever I banish them,(G) all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life,(H) declares the Lord Almighty.’

Sin and Punishment

“Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

“‘When people fall down, do they not get up?(I)
    When someone turns away,(J) do they not return?
Why then have these people turned away?
    Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;(K)
    they refuse to return.(L)
I have listened(M) attentively,
    but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent(N) of their wickedness,
    saying, “What have I done?”
Each pursues their own course(O)
    like a horse charging into battle.
Even the stork in the sky
    knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
    observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know(P)
    the requirements of the Lord.

“‘How can you say, “We are wise,
    for we have the law(Q) of the Lord,”
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
    has handled it falsely?
The wise(R) will be put to shame;
    they will be dismayed(S) and trapped.(T)
Since they have rejected the word(U) of the Lord,
    what kind of wisdom(V) do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
    and their fields to new owners.(W)
From the least to the greatest,
    all are greedy for gain;(X)
prophets(Y) and priests alike,
    all practice deceit.(Z)
11 They dress the wound of my people
    as though it were not serious.
“Peace, peace,” they say,
    when there is no peace.(AA)
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
    No, they have no shame(AB) at all;
    they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
    they will be brought down when they are punished,(AC)
says the Lord.(AD)

13 “‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord.
    There will be no grapes on the vine.(AE)
There will be no figs(AF) on the tree,
    and their leaves will wither.(AG)
What I have given them
    will be taken(AH) from them.[a]’”

14 Why are we sitting here?
    Gather together!
Let us flee to the fortified cities(AI)
    and perish there!
For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
    and given us poisoned water(AJ) to drink,
    because we have sinned(AK) against him.
15 We hoped for peace(AL)
    but no good has come,
for a time of healing
    but there is only terror.(AM)
16 The snorting of the enemy’s horses(AN)
    is heard from Dan;(AO)
at the neighing of their stallions
    the whole land trembles.(AP)
They have come to devour(AQ)
    the land and everything in it,
    the city and all who live there.

17 “See, I will send venomous snakes(AR) among you,
    vipers that cannot be charmed,(AS)
    and they will bite you,”
declares the Lord.

18 You who are my Comforter[b] in sorrow,
    my heart is faint(AT) within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people
    from a land far away:(AU)
“Is the Lord not in Zion?
    Is her King(AV) no longer there?”

“Why have they aroused(AW) my anger with their images,
    with their worthless(AX) foreign idols?”(AY)

20 “The harvest is past,
    the summer has ended,
    and we are not saved.”

21 Since my people are crushed,(AZ) I am crushed;
    I mourn,(BA) and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?(BB)
    Is there no physician(BC) there?
Why then is there no healing(BD)
    for the wound of my people?


  1. Jeremiah 8:13 The meaning of the Hebrew for this sentence is uncertain.
  2. Jeremiah 8:18 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

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