1I wish my head were like a spring of water
and my eyes like a fountain of tears!
Then I could cry day and night
for my people who have been killed.
2I wish I had a place in the desert—
a house where travelers spend the night—
so I could leave my people.
I could go away from them,
because they are all unfaithful to God;
they are all turning against him.
3“They use their tongues like a bow,
shooting lies from their mouths like arrows.
Lies, not truth,
have grown strong in the land.
They go from one evil thing to another.
They do not know who I am,” says the Lord.
4“Watch out for your friends,
and don’t trust your own relatives,
because every relative is a cheater,
and every friend tells lies about you.
5Everyone lies to his friend,
and no one speaks the truth.
The people of Judah have taught their tongues to lie.
They have become tired from sinning.
6Jeremiah, you live in the middle of lies.
With their lies the people refuse to know me,” says the Lord.
7So this is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“I will test the people of Judah as a person tests metal in a fire.
I have no other choice,
because my people have sinned.
8Their tongues are like sharp arrows.
Their mouths speak lies.
Everyone speaks nicely to his neighbor,
but he is secretly planning to attack him.
9Shouldn’t I punish the people for doing this?” says the Lord.
“Shouldn’t I give a nation like this the punishment it deserves?”
10I, Jeremiah, will cry loudly for the mountains
and sing a funeral song for the empty fields.
They are empty, and no one passes through.
The mooing of cattle cannot be heard.
The birds have flown away,
and the animals are gone.
11“I, the Lord, will make the city of Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
a home for wild dogs.
I will destroy the cities of Judah
so no one can live there.”
12What person is wise enough to understand these things? Is there someone who has been taught by the Lord who can explain them? Why was the land ruined? Why has it been made like an empty desert where no one goes?
13The Lord answered, “It is because Judah quit following my teachings that I gave them. They have not obeyed me or done what I told them to do. 14Instead, they were stubborn and followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them to do. 15So this is what the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says: “I will soon make the people of Judah eat bitter food and drink poisoned water. 16I will scatter them through other nations that they and their ancestors never knew about. I will chase the people of Judah with the sword until they are all killed.”
17This is what the Lord All-Powerful says:
“Now, think about these things!
Call for the women who cry at funerals to come.
Send for those women who are good at that job.
18Let them come quickly
and cry loudly for us.
Then our eyes will fill with tears,
and streams of water will flow from our eyelids.
19The sound of loud crying is heard from Jerusalem:
‘We are truly ruined!
We are truly ashamed!
We must leave our land,
because our houses are in ruins.’ ”
20Now, women of Judah, listen to the word of the Lord ;
open your ears to hear the words of his mouth.
Teach your daughters how to cry loudly.
Teach one another a funeral song.
21Death has climbed in through our windows
and has entered our strong cities.
Death has taken away our children who play in the streets
and the young men who meet in the city squares.
22Say, “This is what the Lord says:
‘The dead bodies of people will lie
in the open field like dung.
They will lie like grain a farmer has cut,
but there will be no one to gather them.’ ”
23This is what the Lord says:
“The wise must not brag about their wisdom.
The strong must not brag about their strength.
The rich must not brag about their money.
24But if people want to brag, let them brag
that they understand and know me.
Let them brag that I am the Lord,
and that I am kind and fair,
and that I do things that are right on earth.
This kind of bragging pleases me,” says the Lord.
25The Lord says, “The time is coming when I will punish all those who are circumcised only in the flesh: 26the people of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and the desert people who cut their hair short. The men in all those countries are not circumcised. And the whole family of Israel does not give itself to serving me.”