Jeremiah 12:1–14:22

Jeremiah’s Complaint

12 You are always righteous,d Lord,

when I bring a casee before you.

Yet I would speak with you about your justice:f

Why does the way of the wicked prosper?g

Why do all the faithless live at ease?

You have plantedh them, and they have taken root;

they grow and bear fruit.i

You are always on their lips

but far from their hearts.j

Yet you know me, Lord;

you see me and testk my thoughts about you.

Drag them off like sheepl to be butchered!

Set them apart for the day of slaughter!m

How long will the land lie parchedn

and the grass in every field be withered?o

Because those who live in it are wicked,

the animals and birds have perished.p

Moreover, the people are saying,

“He will not see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer

“If you have raced with men on foot

and they have worn you out,

how can you compete with horses?

If you stumblea in safe country,

how will you manage in the thicketsq byb the Jordan?

Your relatives, members of your own family—

even they have betrayed you;

they have raised a loud cry against you.r

Do not trust them,

though they speak well of you.s

“I will forsaket my house,

abandonu my inheritance;

I will give the one I lovev

into the hands of her enemies.w

My inheritance has become to me

like a lionx in the forest.

She roars at me;

therefore I hate her.y

Has not my inheritance become to me

like a speckled bird of prey

that other birds of prey surround and attack?

Go and gather all the wild beasts;

bring them to devour.z

10 Many shepherdsa will ruin my vineyard

and trample down my field;

they will turn my pleasant field

into a desolate wasteland.b

11 It will be made a wasteland,c

parched and desolate before me;d

the whole land will be laid waste

because there is no one who cares.

12 Over all the barren heights in the desert

destroyers will swarm,

for the sworde of the Lordf will devourg

from one end of the land to the other;h

no one will be safe.i

13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;

they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.j

They will bear the shame of their harvest

because of the Lord’s fierce anger.”k

14 This is what the Lord says: “As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritancel I gave my people Israel, I will uprootm them from their lands and I will uprootn the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassiono and will bringp each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16 And if they learnq well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives’r—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baals—then they will be established among my people.t 17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroyu it,” declares the Lord.

A Linen Belt

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.

Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time:v “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Peratha w and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.x

Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

Then the word of the Lord came to me: “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pridey of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listenz to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their heartsa and go after other godsb to serve and worship them,c will be like this belt—completely useless!d 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renowne and praise and honor.f But they have not listened.’g


12 “Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ And if they say to you, ‘Don’t we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?’ 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkennessh all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David’s throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord. I will allow no pityi or mercy or compassionj to keep me from destroyingk them.’ ”

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,

do not be arrogant,

for the Lord has spoken.l

16 Give glorym to the Lord your God

before he brings the darkness,

before your feet stumblen

on the darkening hills.

You hope for light,

but he will turn it to utter darkness

and change it to deep gloom.o

17 If you do not listen,p

I will weep in secret

because of your pride;

my eyes will weep bitterly,

overflowing with tears,q

because the Lord’s flockr will be taken captive.s

18 Say to the kingt and to the queen mother,u

“Come down from your thrones,

for your glorious crownsv

will fall from your heads.”

19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,

and there will be no one to open them.

All Judahw will be carried into exile,

carried completely away.

20 Look up and see

those who are coming from the north.x

Where is the flocky that was entrusted to you,

the sheep of which you boasted?

21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you

those you cultivated as your special allies?z

Will not pain grip you

like that of a woman in labor?a

22 And if you ask yourself,

“Why has this happened to me?”b

it is because of your many sinsc

that your skirts have been torn offd

and your body mistreated.e

23 Can an Ethiopianb change his skin

or a leopard its spots?

Neither can you do good

who are accustomed to doing evil.f

24 “I will scatter you like chaffg

driven by the desert wind.h

25 This is your lot,

the portioni I have decreed for you,”

declares the Lord,

“because you have forgottenj me

and trusted in false gods.k

26 I will pull up your skirts over your face

that your shame may be seenl

27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,

your shameless prostitution!m

I have seen your detestable acts

on the hills and in the fields.n

Woe to you, Jerusalem!

How long will you be unclean?”o

Drought, Famine, Sword

14 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:p

“Judah mourns,q

her cities languish;

they wail for the land,

and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.

The nobles send their servants for water;

they go to the cisterns

but find no water.r

They return with their jars unfilled;

dismayed and despairing,

they cover their heads.s

The ground is cracked

because there is no rain in the land;t

the farmers are dismayed

and cover their heads.

Even the doe in the field

deserts her newborn fawn

because there is no grass.u

Wild donkeys stand on the barren heightsv

and pant like jackals;

their eyes fail

for lack of food.”w

Although our sins testifyx against us,

do something, Lord, for the sake of your name.y

For we have often rebelled;z

we have sinneda against you.

You who are the hopeb of Israel,

its Saviorc in times of distress,d

why are you like a stranger in the land,

like a traveler who stays only a night?

Why are you like a man taken by surprise,

like a warrior powerless to save?e

You are amongf us, Lord,

and we bear your name;g

do not forsakeh us!

10 This is what the Lord says about this people:

“They greatly love to wander;

they do not restrain their feet.i

So the Lord does not acceptj them;

he will now rememberk their wickedness

and punish them for their sins.”l

11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not praym for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry;n though they offer burnt offeringso and grain offerings,p I will not acceptq them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword,r famines and plague.”t

13 But I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! The prophetsu keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine.v Indeed, I will give you lasting peacew in this place.’ ”

14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying liesx in my name. I have not senty them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions,z divinations,a idolatriesa and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.’ Those same prophets will perishb by sword and famine.c 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to buryd them, their wives, their sons and their daughters.e I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.f

17 “Speak this word to them:

“ ‘Let my eyes overflow with tearsg

night and day without ceasing;

for the Virginh Daughter, my people,

has suffered a grievous wound,

a crushing blow.i

18 If I go into the country,

I see those slain by the sword;

if I go into the city,

I see the ravages of famine.j

Both prophet and priest

have gone to a land they know not.k’ ”

19 Have you rejected Judah completely?l

Do you despise Zion?

Why have you afflicted us

so that we cannot be healed?m

We hoped for peace

but no good has come,

for a time of healing

but there is only terror.n

20 We acknowledgeo our wickedness, Lord,

and the guilt of our ancestors;p

we have indeed sinnedq against you.

21 For the sake of your namer do not despise us;

do not dishonor your glorious throne.s

Remember your covenantt with us

and do not break it.

22 Do any of the worthless idolsu of the nations bring rain?v

Do the skies themselves send down showers?

No, it is you, Lord our God.

Therefore our hope is in you,

for you are the one who does all this.w

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