Jeremiah’s Temple Message
7 This is the word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah: 2 “Stand at the gate of the ·Temple [L house of God] and ·preach [proclaim] this ·message [L word] there:
“‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of the nation of Judah! All you who come through these gates to ·worship [bow down to] the Lord, listen to this message! 3 This is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says: ·Change your lives and do what is right [L Reform/Amend your ways/paths and your deeds]! Then I will ·let you live [or live with you] in this place. 4 Don’t ·trust [put confidence in] ·the lies of people who say [L false words], “This is the Temple of the Lord. This is the Temple of the Lord. This is the Temple of the Lord [C presumptuously thinking that God will not destroy the city as long as his house is there]!” 5 You must ·change your lives and do what is right [L reform/amend your ways/paths and your deeds]. Be fair to each other. 6 You must not ·be hard on [oppress] ·strangers [resident aliens], orphans, and widows [Deut. 10:18]. Don’t ·kill [L spill the blood of] innocent people in this place! Don’t ·follow [L go after] other gods, or they will ·ruin [harm; hurt] your lives. 7 If you do these things, I will ·let you live [or live with you] in this land that I gave to your ·ancestors [fathers] ·to keep forever [L forever and ever].
8 “‘But look, you ·are trusting [have confidence in] ·lies [L false words], which is useless. 9 Will you steal and murder and be guilty of adultery? Will you falsely ·accuse other people [take oaths; swear]? Will you ·burn incense [make offerings] to the god Baal and ·follow [L go after] other gods you have not known? 10 If you do that, do you think you can come before me and stand in this ·place [L house] ·where I have chosen to be worshiped [L which is called by my name]? Do you think you can say, “We are safe!” when you do all these ·hateful things [abominations]? 11 This ·place [L house] ·where I have chosen to be worshiped [L that is called by my name] is nothing more to you than a ·hideout [den] for robbers [Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46]. I have been watching you, says the Lord.
12 “‘You people of Judah, go now to the town of Shiloh, where I ·first [formerly] made ·a place to be worshiped [L my name dwell]. See what I did to it because of the evil things the people of Israel had done. 13 You [C the people of Judah] have done all these evil things too, says the Lord. I spoke to you again and again, but you did not listen to me. I called you, but you did not answer. 14 So I will destroy the ·place [L house] ·where I have chosen to be worshiped in Jerusalem [which is called by my name]. You ·trust [have confidence] in that place, which I gave to you and your ·ancestors [fathers], but I will destroy it just as I destroyed Shiloh [1 Sam. 4:1–22; Ps. 78:60–64]. 15 I will ·push you [throw you] away from me just as I ·pushed [threw] away your ·relatives [L brothers], the people of Israel [L all the seed of Ephraim; C the dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, exiled by the Assyrians in 722 bc]!’
16 “As for you [C Jeremiah], don’t pray for these people. Don’t cry out for them or ask anything for them or ·beg me to help them [intercede with me], because I will not listen to you. 17 Don’t you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, and the fathers use the wood to make a fire. The women ·make [knead] the dough for cakes of bread, and they offer them to the Queen ·Goddess [L of Heaven; C probably Ishtar or Asherah, important goddesses of the surrounding cultures; 44:17–18]. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to make me angry. 19 But ·I am not the one [L is it I whom…?] the people of Judah are really hurting, says the Lord. ·They are [L Are they not…?] only hurting themselves and bringing ·shame [humiliation] upon themselves.
20 “‘So this is what the Lord God says: I will pour out my anger and wrath on this place, on people and animals, on the trees in the field and the ·crops in the [L fruit of the] ground. My anger will not be ·put out [extinguished; C like a fire].
Obedience Is More than Sacrifice
21 “‘This is what the Lord ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], the God of Israel, says: ·Offer [L Add your] burnt offerings [Lev. 1:1–17] along with your other sacrifices, and eat the ·meat [L flesh] yourselves [C it was forbidden to eat the meat of the burnt offering]! 22 When I brought your ·ancestors [fathers] out of Egypt, I did not speak to them and give them commands only about burnt offerings [Lev. 1:1–17] and sacrifices. 23 I also ·gave them this command [L commanded this word]: ·Obey me [L Listen to my voice], and I will be your God and you will be my people. ·Do all that I command [L Walk in my way/path] so that ·good things will happen to you [things might be well with you]. 24 But your ·ancestors [fathers] did not listen or ·pay attention [L bend their ear] to me. They were stubborn in their evil hearts and ·did whatever they wanted [L walked in their own counsels]. They went backward, not forward. 25 Since the day your ·ancestors [fathers] left Egypt until today, I have sent my servants, the prophets, again and again to you. 26 But your ·ancestors [fathers] did not listen or ·pay attention [L bend the ear] to me. ·They were very stubborn [L Their necks were stiff] and they did more evil than their ·ancestors [fathers].’
27 “You [C Jeremiah] will tell all these ·things [words] to them [C the people of Judah], but they will not listen to you. You will ·call [preach; proclaim] to them, but they will not answer you. 28 So say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not ·obeyed [L listened to the voice of] the Lord its God. These people do ·nothing when I correct them [L not accept the discipline/instruction]. ·They do not tell the truth [L The truth perishes]; it ·has disappeared from their lips [L is cut off from their mouths].
The Valley of Killing
29 “‘Cut off your hair [C the Hebrew phrase suggests a Nazirite vow and thus consecrated hair; Num. 6:5] and throw it away. Go up to the bare hilltop [3:2] and ·cry out [lament], because the Lord has rejected these people. He has turned his back on ·them, and in his anger will punish them [L the generation that enrages him]. 30 The ·people [descendants; sons] of Judah have done ·what I said was evil [L evil in my eyes], says the Lord. They have set up their ·hateful [loathsome; abominable] idols in the ·place where I have chosen to be worshiped [L house that is called by my name] and have made it ·unclean [defiled; C in a ritual sense]. 31 The people of Judah have built ·places of worship [L high places; C sites associated with pagan worship or inappropriate worship of God; Deut. 12] at Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom [2 Kin. 23:10–11]. There they burned their own sons and daughters as sacrifices, something I never commanded. It never even entered my ·mind [L heart; Lev. 18:21; Deut. 12:31; 18:10]. 32 So, I warn you. The days are coming, says the Lord, when people will not call this place Topheth [C “Spit”] or the Valley of Ben Hinnom anymore. They will call it the Valley of ·Killing [Slaughter]. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no room to bury anyone else [19:1–15]. 33 Then the ·bodies of the dead [corpses] will become food for the birds of the ·sky [heavens] and for the ·wild animals [L animals of the earth]. There will be no one ·left alive to chase [L to frighten] them away. 34 I will end the happy sounds of the bride and bridegroom. There will be no happy sounds in the cities of Judah or in the streets of Jerusalem, because the land will become an empty desert!