1[1-3] The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, one of the preachers who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin to whom the word of Yahweh came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, ruler of Judah (southern Israel), in the 13th year of his reign. It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, ruler of Judah (southern Israel), to the end of the 11th year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, ruler of Judah (southern Israel), to the time when Jerusalem was carried away captive in the 5th month.
[4-8] Now the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, I knew you before I created you in the womb of your mother, and I set you apart before you were even born; I’ve made you a preacher to the nations. Then I said, Ah, Yahweh God! See, I don’t even know how to speak; for I am just a child. But Yahweh said to me, Don’t say, I am just a child; You’ll go to whoever I send you, and you’ll say whatever I tell you. Don’t be afraid because of them; for I am with you to save you, says Yahweh.
[9-12] Then Yahweh reached out, and touched my mouth; and said to me, See, I’ve put My words in your mouth. I’ve set you over the nations today and over the realms, to root up and to break down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant. Besides the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, Jeremiah, what do you see? I said, I see a branch of an almond tree. Then Yahweh said to me, You’ve seen well. I watch over my word to do it.
[13-15] The word of Yahweh came to me a second time, saying, What do you see? I said, I see a boiling pot; and its face is from the north. Then Yahweh said to me, Out of the north evil will be let loose on all the people of the land. See, I’ll call all the families of the nations of the north, says Yahweh; and they’ll come and give everyone a seat of power at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls all the way around, and against all the cities of Judah (southern Israel).
[16-19] I’ll speak My judgments against them touching all their evil, those that have left Me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands. So tighten up your waist, and get up, and speak to them all that I tell you. Don’t be troubled at them, or I’ll make you fall in front of them. See, I’ve made you like a strong city today, and an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the rulers of Judah (southern Israel), against its royalty, against its preachers, and against the people of the land. They’ll fight against you; but they won’t win, for I am with you, says Yahweh, to save you.
2[1-3] The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, Go, and tell the people of Jerusalem, saying, Yahweh says, I remember the kindness of your youth for you, the love of your engagement; how you followed Me in the deserted countryside, in a land that was not planted. Israel was holiness to Yahweh, the first fruits of My harvest and all who eat up My people will be held guilty; evil will come on them, says Yahweh.
[4-7] Hear the word of Yahweh, O people of Jacob, and all the families of the people of Israel. Yahweh says, What wrong have your ancestors found in Me, that they’ve gone so far from Me, and have walked after meaninglessness, and are empty? Nor did they say, Where is Yahweh who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the deserted countryside, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that none passed through, and where no one lived? I brought you into a plentiful land, to eat its fruit and its goodness; but when you went in it, you made my land unfit, and made my heritage a stinking waste.
[8-12] The preachers didn’t say, Where is Yahweh? and those who handle the law didn’t know Me. The rulers also sinned against me, and the preachers spoke by that false god Baal, and walked after things that don’t profit. So I’ll yet challenge you, and your grandchildren, says Yahweh. Go over to the islands of Kittim, and see; and send to Kedar, and consider carefully; and see if there has been any such thing. Has a nation changed its gods, which are not even gods? but My people have changed their glory for what does not profit. Be shocked, you heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be very unhappy, says Yahweh.
[13-17] For my people have done two evil things: they’ve left Me, the spring of living waters, and cut them out wells, broken wells, that can hold no water. Is Israel a servant? Or a native-born slave? Why has Israel become a prey then? The young lions have roared at Israel, and made noise; and destroyed the land. Its cities are burned up, with no one left. The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. Haven’t you brought this on yourself, in that you’ve left Yahweh your God, who led you by the way?
[18-20] Now what good will it do you to go the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor? or what good will it do you to go the way to Assyria, to drink the waters of the EuphratesRiver? Your own evil will correct you, and your unfaithfulness will accuse you. So know and see that it’s an evil and harsh thing that you’ve left Yahweh your God, and that you don’t show Me respect, says Yahweh, the God of All Creation. For long ago I’ve broken their control of you, and untied your ropes; and you said, I won’t sin; but on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed yourself down to them, being as unfaithful as a prostitute.
[21-24] Yet I had planted you a goodly vine, wholly a good seed, so how did you turned into the bad branches of a foreign vine to Me? Though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your sin is marked before Me, says the Yahweh God. How can you say, “I am not unfit, I haven’t gone after the Baals” (false gods)? See your way in the valley, and know what you’ve done. You are a swift camel going her own ways; a wild donkey used to the deserted countryside, that snuffs up the wind when she’s in heat; who can turn her away in her time? All those who look for her won’t tire themselves; in her month they’ll find her.
[25-27]Don’t let your feet be barefoot, or let your throat be thirsty, but you said, “There’s no hope, for I’ve loved strangers, and I’ll follow them.” As the thief is ashamed when caught, so the people of Israel are ashamed; they, their rulers, their royalty, their preachers, and teachers; Who would tell a piece of wood, “You are my god;” or a stone, “You’ve saved me.” They’ve turned their back to Me, and not their face; but in the time of trouble they’ll say, “Come and save us.”
[28-31] So where are your gods that you’ve made? Let them come, and save you if they can in your time of trouble! You’ve got as many false gods as the number of your cities, Judah (southern Israel). Why will you challenge me? You have all sinned against me, says Yahweh. I’ve struck your children for nothing; they received no correction. You’ve killed your own preachers, like a destroying lion. People, see the word of Yahweh. Have I been a deserted countryside to Israel? Or a land of thick darkness? Why do my people say, “We are broken loose; we won’t come to you anymore?”
[32-37] Can a young girl forget her jewelry, or a bride her wedding dress? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number. How you decorate your way to find love! So you’ve even taught the evil ones your ways. Also in your skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents. I didn’t find them by breaking in; but it’s clear because of all these things. Yet you said, “I am innocent, so surely God’s anger won’t touch me.” See, I’ll judge you, because you say, “I haven’t sinned.” Why do you try so hard to change your way? You’ll be ashamed of Egypt also, as you were ashamed of Assyria. You’ll go out from there with your hands on your head, because Yahweh has rejected those in whom you trust, and you won’t get any help from them.
3[1-3] They say, If someone puts out their spouse, and they go from them, and become another’s, will they take them back again later? Won’t they be unfit? You’ve been as unfaithful as a prostitute with many lovers; yet come back to Me again, says Yahweh. Look up to the bare heights, and see; where have you not been unfaithful? You’ve sat waiting for them by the ways, as an Arabian in the deserted countryside; and you’ve polluted the land with your prostitution and with your evil. So the rain showers have been withheld, and there’s been no latter rain; yet you have the face of a prostitute, and refuse to be ashamed.
[4-7] Won’t you from this time cry to me, “My God, aren’t you the guide of my youth? Will you stay angry forever? will you keep your anger to the end?” See, you’ve spoken and have done evil things, and have had your way. Besides Yahweh said to me in the days of Josiah the ruler, Have you seen how Israel has gone back to its old ways? They have gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there have been as unfaithful as a prostitute. I said after Israel had done all these things, They will come back to me; but they didn’t come back and her unfaithful sister Judah (southern Israel) saw it.
[8-10] I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had been unfaithful, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet unfaithful Judah (southern Israel), her sister, didn’t fear; but she also went and has been as unfaithful as a prostitute. Through her careless prostitution, the land was polluted, and she’s been unfaithful with false gods of stones and wood. Yet for all this her unfaithful sister Judah hasn’t come back to me with her whole heart, but are only faking it, says Yahweh.
[11-15] Yahweh said to me, Backsliding Israel has shown itself to be better than unfaithful Judah (southern Israel). Go, and tell these words to the north, and say, Return to Me, unfaithful Israel, says Yahweh; I won’t be angry at you; for I am merciful, says Yahweh, I won’t be angry forever. Only admit your sin, that you’ve sinned against Yahweh your God, and have scattered your charms to strangers under every green tree, and you’ve not obeyed my voice, says Yahweh. Return to Me, unfaithful children, says Yahweh; for I am like a husband to you, and I’ll take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I’ll bring you to Zion (Jerusalem) and I’ll give you overseers according to my heart, who will give you knowledge and understanding.
[16-20] When you are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says Yahweh, they won’t say anymore, The box of the law of Yahweh; It won’t come to mind; nor will they remember it or miss it; nor will it even exist any more. At that time they’ll call Jerusalem the capital of Yahweh’s realm; and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the Name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem. And they won’t follow the stubbornness of their evil heart. In those days the people of Judah (southern Israel) will walk with the people of Israel, and they’ll come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance to your ancestors. But I said, I’ll put you among the children, and give you a beautiful land, the best portion of all the nations! and I said, You’ll call me My God, and won’t turn away from following Me. Surely as one spouse unfaithfully leaves the other, so you’ve been unfaithful to Me, people of Israel, says Yahweh.
[21-25] A voice is heard on the bare heights, the crying and the prayers of the children of Israel; because they’ve made themselves unfit, they’ve forgotten Yahweh their God. Return, you unfaithful children, and I’ll heal your unfaithfulness. See, we come to you; for you are Yahweh our God. Truly the help that we wanted from the hills isn’thing, the uproar on the mountains is useless. Truly, the saving grace of Israel is in Yahweh our God. But our shame has ruined the work of our ancestors from our youth, their flocks, herds, and children. Let’s lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us; for we have sinned against Yahweh our God, we and our ancestors, from our youth even to today; and we haven’t obeyed the voice of Yahweh our God.
4[1-4] If you’ll come back, Israel, says Yahweh, if you’ll come back to Me, and if you’ll put away your false gods out of my sight; then you won’t be removed; and you’ll promise, As Yahweh lives, in truth, in justice, and in goodness; and in God the nations will bless themselves, and will make God well known. For Yahweh says to the people of Judah (southern Israel) and to Jerusalem, Break up your unplanted ground, and don’t plant among thorns. Dedicate yourselves to Yahweh, and cut away the foreskins of your heart, you people of Judah and people of Jerusalem; lest My rage burn like fire, and burn so that no one can put it out, because of the evil things you do.
[5-9] Tell it in Judah (southern Israel), and publish it in Jerusalem; and say, Blow the trumpet in the land; cry out and say, Gather yourselves, and let’s go into the strong cities. Put up a flag in Zion (Jerusalem)! Run for safety, don’t stay; for I’ll bring evil from the north, and great destruction. A lion is gone up from its thicket, and a destroyer of nations; It’s on the way, and has left its homeland, to make your land deserted, that your cities be destroyed and without people. For this, put on your mourning clothes, mourn and cry; for the fierce anger of Yahweh hasn’t turned back from us. At that day, says Yahweh, the heart of the ruler and the royalty will die of fear; and the preachers will be shocked, and the teachers will be amazed.
[10-13 Then I said, “Ah, Yahweh God! surely you’ve greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, You’ll have peace; whereas war takes our very life. At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A hot wind from the bare heights in the deserted countryside toward the cities of my people, not to separate, nor to cleanse; but a full wind from these will come for Me. Now I’ll also speak judgments against them. See, the evil one will come up as clouds, whose war vehicles will be as the hurricane, whose horses are swifter than eagles. Sorrow will come to us and we are ruined!
[14-18] Jerusalem, cleanse your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long will you keep thinking your evil thoughts? For a voice speaks from Dan, and publishes evil from the hills of Ephraim. Tell the nations; see, publish it against Jerusalem that watchers come from a far country, and speak out against the cities of Judah (southern Israel). As keepers of a field they surrounded it, because it has been rebellious against Me, says Yahweh. What you’ve said and done has brought these things on you; this is your own evil; it’s bitter and reaches to your heart.
[19-22] My heart, my heart! My very heart aches; my heart pounds in me; I can’t hold my peace; because you’ve heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction on destruction is cried; for the whole land is destroyed. Suddenly my homes are destroyed, and my curtains in a moment. How long will I see the flag, and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people are stupid, they don’t know me; they’re stupid children, and they have no understanding; they know how to do evil things, but they don’t know how to do good things.
[23-27] I saw the earth and it was a waste and empty; and the heavens didn’t have any light. I saw the mountains and they trembled, and all the hills shook. I saw that there was no one left, and all the birds of the sky had gone. I saw that the fruitful field was a deserted countryside, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of Yahweh’s fierce anger. Yahweh says, The whole land will be a ruin; yet I won’t completely destroy it.
[28-31] For this will the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I’ve spoken it, I’ve planned it, and I haven’t changed my mind, nor will I turn back from it. Every city runs for the noise of the soldiers; they go into the thickets, and climb up on the rocks and every city is left, and no one lives in them. You, when you are ruined, what will you do? Though you put on your fine clothes, deck yourself with gold jewelry, and put on your makeup, you make yourself beautiful for nothing; your lovers hate you and want to kill you. I’ve heard a voice as of a woman in labor, the suffering as of one having her first child, the voices of the cities of Zion (Jerusalem), who gasps for breath, who spreads her hands, saying, I’m sorry now! My soul faints before the murderers.
5[1-3] Run back and forth through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and look in its wide open places , if you can find someone, if there is anyone who does justly, who looks for truth; and I’ll forgive them. Though they say, As Yahweh lives; surely they promise falsely. O Yahweh, don’t your eyes see the truth? You’ve punished them, but they weren’t grieved; you’ve destroyed them, but they’ve refused to be corrected; they’ve made their faces harder than a rock; they’ve refused to turn back to you.
[4-6] Then I said, Surely these are poor and stupid; for they don’t know the way of Yahweh, nor the law of their God. I’ll go to the leaders, and will speak to them; for they know the way of Yahweh, and the law of their God. But these have all broken free from Your control and untied their ropes. So a lion out of the forest will kill them, a wolf of the night will destroy them, a leopard will watch their cities; everyone who goes out will be torn to pieces; because their sins are many, and they’ve been very unfaithful.
[7-13] How can I forgive you? Your children have left Me, and made promises by false gods; when I had fed them full, they were unfaithful, and gathered themselves in groups at the prostitutes’ houses. They were as fed horses roaming around; everyone neighed after their neighbor’s spouse. Will I not punish you for these things? says Yahweh; and won’t my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? Go up on her walls, and destroy; but don’t completely destroy them, only take away the defenses that are not Yahweh’s. For the people of Israel and of Judah (southern Israel) have very been very unfaithful to me, says Yahweh. They’ve denied Yahweh, and said, It’s not God; nor will evil come on us; nor will we see war or hunger; and the preachers will become wind, and the word isn’t in them, so it will be done to them.
[14-17] So Yahweh, the God of All Creation says, Because you speak this word, see, I’ll make my words in your mouth like fire, and this people like wood, and it will burn them up. See, I’ll bring a nation on you from far away, people of Israel, says Yahweh. It’s a strong nation, an ancient nation, a nation whose language you don’t know, nor understand what they say. Their quiver is an open tomb, they’re all soldiers. They’ll eat up your harvest, and your bread, which your children should eat; they’ll eat up your flocks and herds; they’ll eat up your vines and fig trees; they’ll tear down your strong cities, in which you trust, with war.
[18-22] But even in those days, says Yahweh, I won’t completely destroy you. When you say, Why has Yahweh our God done all these things to us? then you’ll say to them, Like you’ve left me, and served foreign gods in your land, so you’ll serve strangers in a land that isn’t yours. Tell this to the people of Jacob, and publish it in Judah (southern Israel), saying, Hear this now, stupid people without understanding; who have eyes, and don’t see and ears, and don’t hear! Don’t you fear me? says Yahweh? Won’t you tremble at my presence, who has placed the sand for the bound of the sea, a permanent boundary, that it can’t pass? and though its waves toss themselves, yet they can’t overcome; though they roar, yet they can’t pass over it.
[23-28] But this people has a horrible and rebellious heart; they’ve rebelled and left. Nor do they say in their heart, Let’s now fear Yahweh our God, who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season; who gives us the set weeks of the harvest. Your sins have turned away these things and withheld good from you. Evil people are among my people; they watch, as a hunter waits, setting a trap to catch others. As a cage is full of birds, their houses are full of lies, so they’ve become great, and grew rich. They’ve grown fat, and think; yes, they out do their evil works; they don’t plead the case of those without a parent, that they may do well; and they don’t judge the right of the needy.
[29-31] Will I not punish them for these things? says Yahweh; won’t my soul be avenged on such a nation as this? An amazing and horrible thing has happened in the land; the preachers preach falsely, and the teachers rule by their riches; and my people love to have it so, and what will you do in the end?
6[1-5] Run for safety, you children of Benjamin, out of Jerusalem, and blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise up a signal on Beth Haccherem; for evil comes out of the north, and great destruction. The city of Zion (Jerusalem) is like a beautiful and delicate one that I’ll cut off. Shepherds with their flocks will come there; they’ll pitch their tents all around it; they’ll feed everyone in their place. Get ready for war against it; get up, and let’s go up at noon. Sorrow is coming to us! The day is gone, and the shadows of night are stretched out. Get up, and let’s go up by night, and let’s destroy all its great houses.
[6-9] Yahweh, the God of All Creation has said this, Cut down trees, and throw up a mound against Jerusalem; this is the city to be punished; It’s full of abuse. As a well gives out its waters, so it gives out its evil, and violence and destruction is heard in it; before me continually is sickness and wounds. Listen and learn, Jerusalem, or my soul will be separated from you and I’ll make you a ruin, a land without people. Yahweh, the God of All Creation says, They’ll thoroughly take what’s left of Israel as one picks a vine, so turn again your hand as a grape gatherer into the baskets.
[10-15] To whom will I speak and testify that they may hear? See, their ear is stopped up, and they can’t listen; see, they blame the word of Yahweh and don’t enjoy it. So I am full of the rage of Yahweh; I am tired of holding it all in, so I’ll pour it out on the children in the street, and on the gathering of youth who stand together; for even the parents will be taken, and the elderly who is full of days. Their houses will be given to others, their fields and their spouses together; for I’ll stretch out my hand on the people of the land, says Yahweh. From the least of them even to the greatest of them everyone is given to greed; and from the preacher even to the teacher everyone acts falsely. They’ve also healed the hurt of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had done evil things? No, they weren’t at all ashamed, nor could they even blush, so they’ll fall among those who fall; at the time that I punish them they’ll be thrown down, says Yahweh.
[16-20] Yahweh says, Stand in the streets and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and you’ll find rest for your souls; but they said, We won’t go that way! I set guards over you, saying, Listen to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We won’t listen. So hear, you nations, and know, people, what is among them. Hear, earth, and see; I’ll bring evil on this people, even the way they think, because they’ve not listened to My words; and as for My law, they’ve rejected it. Why does incense from Sheba come to Me, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.
[21-25] So Yahweh says, See, I’ll lay stumbling blocks before this people; and the parents and the children together will fall over them; the neighbor and friend will die. Yahweh says, See, a people comes from the north country; and a great nation will be stirred up from the farthest parts of the earth. They lay hold on their weapons; they’re cruel, and have no mercy; their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, everyone in their armor, as someone going to war against you, city of Zion (Jerusalem). We’ve heard its reports; our hands are weak; suffering has taken hold of us, and pangs as of a woman in labor. Don’t go out into the field, nor walk in the street; for the enemy brings war and terror on every side.
[26-30] Daughter of my people, put on your mourning clothes, and wallow in ashes! Mourn as for an only child, a most bitter mourning; for the destroyer will suddenly come on us. I’ve made you a metal tester to test my people; that you may know and test their way. They’re all grievous rebels, going about lying; they’re brass and iron and all of them act horribly. The blowers blow strongly; the lead is already melted by the fire, yet they go on heating it; for the evil ones are not punished and taken away. So people will call them the waste of silver, because Yahweh has rejected them.