Jeremiah’s Temple Message
1This is the word that the Lord spoke to Jeremiah: 2“Stand at the gate of the Temple and preach this message there:
“ ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you people of the nation of Judah! All you who come through these gates to worship the Lord, listen to this message! 3This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Change your lives and do what is right! Then I will let you live in this place. 4Don’t trust the lies of people who say, “This is the Temple of the Lord. This is the Temple of the Lord. This is the Temple of the Lord!” 5You must change your lives and do what is right. Be fair to each other. 6You must not be hard on strangers, orphans, and widows. Don’t kill innocent people in this place! Don’t follow other gods, or they will ruin your lives. 7If you do these things, I will let you live in this land that I gave to your ancestors to keep forever.
8“ ‘But look, you are trusting lies, which is useless. 9Will you steal and murder and be guilty of adultery? Will you falsely accuse other people? Will you burn incense to the god Baal and follow other gods you have not known? 10If you do that, do you think you can come before me and stand in this place where I have chosen to be worshiped? Do you think you can say, “We are safe!” when you do all these hateful things? 11This place where I have chosen to be worshiped is nothing more to you than a hideout for robbers. I have been watching you, says the Lord.
12“ ‘You people of Judah, go now to the town of Shiloh, where I first made a place to be worshiped. See what I did to it because of the evil things the people of Israel had done. 13You 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. 14So I will destroy the place where I have chosen to be worshiped in Jerusalem. You trust in that place, which I gave to you and your ancestors, but I will destroy it just as I destroyed Shiloh. 15I will push you away from me just as I pushed away your relatives, the people of Israel!’
16“As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people. Don’t cry out for them or ask anything for them or beg me to help them, because I will not listen to you. 17Don’t you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18The children gather wood, and the fathers use the wood to make a fire. The women make the dough for cakes of bread, and they offer them to the Queen Goddess. They pour out drink offerings to other gods to make me angry. 19But I am not the one the people of Judah are really hurting, says the Lord. They are only hurting themselves and bringing shame upon themselves.
20“ ‘So this is what the Lord God says: I will pour out my anger on this place, on people and animals, on the trees in the field and the crops in the ground. My anger will be like a hot fire that no one can put out.
Obedience Is More than Sacrifice
21“ ‘This is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: Offer burnt offerings along with your other sacrifices, and eat the meat yourselves! 22When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I did not speak to them and give them commands only about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23I also gave them this command: Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Do all that I command so that good things will happen to you. 24But your ancestors did not listen or pay attention to me. They were stubborn and did whatever their evil hearts wanted. They went backward, not forward. 25Since the day your ancestors left Egypt, I have sent my servants, the prophets, again and again to you. 26But your ancestors did not listen or pay attention to me. They were very stubborn and did more evil than their ancestors.’
27“Jeremiah, you will tell all these things to the people of Judah, but they will not listen to you. You will call to them, but they will not answer you. 28So say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God. These people do nothing when I correct them. They do not tell the truth; it has disappeared from their lips.
The Valley of Killing
29“ ‘Cut off your hair and throw it away. Go up to the bare hilltop and cry out, because the Lord has rejected these people. He has turned his back on them, and in his anger will punish them. 30The people of Judah have done what I said was evil, says the Lord. They have set up their hateful idols in the place where I have chosen to be worshiped and have made it unclean. 31The people of Judah have built places of worship at Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom. There they burned their own sons and daughters as sacrifices, something I never commanded. It never even entered my mind. 32So, I warn you. The days are coming, says the Lord, when people will not call this place Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom anymore. They will call it the Valley of Killing. They will bury the dead in Topheth until there is no room to bury anyone else. 33Then the bodies of the dead will become food for the birds of the sky and for the wild animals. There will be no one left alive to chase them away. 34I 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!