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Failures of Judah

Oh, that my head were waters
    and my eyes a fountain of tears,
that I might weep day and night
    for the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh, that I had in the wilderness
    a lodging place of wayfaring men,
that I might leave my people
    and go from them!
For they all are adulterers,
    an assembly of treacherous men.

They bend their tongues like their bow;
    lies and not truth prevail upon the land;
for they proceed from evil to evil,
    and they do not know Me,
    says the Lord.
Let everyone be on guard against his neighbor,
    and do not trust in any brother;
for every brother supplants,
    and every neighbor walks about with slanders.
Everyone deceives his neighbor
    and does not speak the truth.
They have taught their tongue to speak lies;
    they weary themselves in committing iniquity.
Your habitation is in the midst of deceit;
    through deceit they refuse to know Me,
    says the Lord.

Therefore thus says the Lord of Hosts:

Now, I will refine them and assay them;
    for what else shall I do
    for the daughter of My people?
Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
    it speaks deceit.
One speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth,
    but in his heart he lies in wait.
Shall I not punish them for these things?
    says the Lord.
Shall not My soul be avenged
    on such a nation as this?

10 For the mountains I will take up a weeping and wailing,
    and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation,
because they are burned up so that no one can pass through them;
    nor can men hear the lowing of the cattle.
Both the fowl of the heavens and the beast have fled;
    they are gone.

11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins
    and a den of jackals;
and I will make the cities of Judah desolate,
    without an inhabitant.

12 Who is the wise man who may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined and burned up like a wilderness, so that no one passes through?

13 And the Lord said: Because they have forsaken My law which I set before them, and have not obeyed My voice, nor walked in it, 14 but have walked after the imagination of their own heart and after the Baals, which their fathers taught them. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood and give them water of gall to drink. 16 I will scatter them also among the nations, whom neither they nor their fathers have known. And I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.

17 Thus says the Lord of Hosts:

Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come;
    and send for wailing women, that they may come.
18 And let them make haste
    and take up a wailing for us,
that our eyes may run down with tears
    and our eyelids gush out with waters.
19 For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion,
    “How devastated we are!
    We are greatly humiliated,
because we have forsaken the land,
    because our dwellings have cast us out.”

20 Yet hear the word of the Lord, O you women,
    and let your ear receive the word of His mouth;
and teach your daughters wailing,
    and everyone her neighbor a lamentation.
21 “For death has come up into our windows;
    and has entered our palaces,
to cut off the children from the streets,
    and the young men from the squares.”

22 Speak, Thus says the Lord:

“The carcasses of men shall fall
    as dung upon the open field,
and as the sheaf after the harvester,
    and no one shall gather them.”

23 Thus says the Lord:

Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
    and let not the mighty man glory in his might,
    let not the rich man glory in his riches;
24 but let him who glories glory in this,
    that he understands and knows Me,
that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness,
    justice, and righteousness in the earth.
    For in these things I delight,
    says the Lord.

25 The days are surely coming, says the Lord, that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised— 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the children of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the wilderness who clip the hair on their temples; for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised of heart.

[a]Oh, that my head were a spring of water
    and my eyes a fountain of tears!(A)
I would weep(B) day and night
    for the slain of my people.(C)
Oh, that I had in the desert(D)
    a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
    and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,(E)
    a crowd of unfaithful(F) people.

“They make ready their tongue
    like a bow, to shoot lies;(G)
it is not by truth
    that they triumph[b] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
    they do not acknowledge(H) me,”
declares the Lord.
“Beware of your friends;(I)
    do not trust anyone in your clan.(J)
For every one of them is a deceiver,[c](K)
    and every friend a slanderer.(L)
Friend deceives friend,(M)
    and no one speaks the truth.(N)
They have taught their tongues to lie;(O)
    they weary themselves with sinning.
You[d] live in the midst of deception;(P)
    in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,”
declares the Lord.

Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

“See, I will refine(Q) and test(R) them,
    for what else can I do
    because of the sin of my people?
Their tongue(S) is a deadly arrow;
    it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,(T)
    but in their hearts they set traps(U) for them.(V)
Should I not punish them for this?”
    declares the Lord.
“Should I not avenge(W) myself
    on such a nation as this?”

10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
    and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.(X)
They are desolate and untraveled,
    and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds(Y) have all fled
    and the animals are gone.

11 “I will make Jerusalem a heap(Z) of ruins,
    a haunt of jackals;(AA)
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah(AB)
    so no one can live there.”(AC)

12 Who is wise(AD) enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

13 The Lord said, “It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.(AE) 14 Instead, they have followed(AF) the stubbornness of their hearts;(AG) they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them.” 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food(AH) and drink poisoned water.(AI) 16 I will scatter them among nations(AJ) that neither they nor their ancestors have known,(AK) and I will pursue them with the sword(AL) until I have made an end of them.”(AM)

17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

“Consider now! Call for the wailing women(AN) to come;
    send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
    and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
    and water streams from our eyelids.(AO)
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
    ‘How ruined(AP) we are!
    How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
    because our houses are in ruins.’”

20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord;
    open your ears to the words of his mouth.(AQ)
Teach your daughters how to wail;
    teach one another a lament.(AR)
21 Death has climbed in through our windows(AS)
    and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
    and the young men(AT) from the public squares.

22 Say, “This is what the Lord declares:

“‘Dead bodies will lie
    like dung(AU) on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
    with no one to gather them.’”

23 This is what the Lord says:

“Let not the wise boast of their wisdom(AV)
    or the strong boast of their strength(AW)
    or the rich boast of their riches,(AX)
24 but let the one who boasts boast(AY) about this:
    that they have the understanding to know(AZ) me,
that I am the Lord,(BA) who exercises kindness,(BB)
    justice and righteousness(BC) on earth,
    for in these I delight,”
declares the Lord.

25 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh(BD) 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.[e](BE) For all these nations are really uncircumcised,(BF) and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.(BG)

Footnotes

  1. Jeremiah 9:1 In Hebrew texts 9:1 is numbered 8:23, and 9:2-26 is numbered 9:1-25.
  2. Jeremiah 9:3 Or lies; / they are not valiant for truth
  3. Jeremiah 9:4 Or a deceiving Jacob
  4. Jeremiah 9:6 That is, Jeremiah (the Hebrew is singular)
  5. Jeremiah 9:26 Or wilderness and who clip the hair by their foreheads

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