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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?

Footnotes

  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.

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