War and Hunger
1A message came to me from the Lord. He told me there wouldn't be any rain in the land. He said,
2"Judah is filled with sadness.
Its cities are wasting away.
The people sob over the land.
Crying is heard in Jerusalem.
3The nobles send their servants to get water.
They go to the wells.
But they do not find any water.
They return with empty jars.
They are terrified. They do not have any hope.
They cover their heads.
4The ground is dry and cracked.
There isn't any rain in the land.
The farmers are terrified.
They cover their heads.
5Even the does in the fields
desert their newborn fawns.
There isn't any grass to eat.
6Wild donkeys stand on the bare hilltops.
They long for water as wild dogs do.
Their eyesight fails
because they do not have any grass to eat."
7Our sins are a witness against us.
Lord, do something for the honor of your name.
We have completely turned away from you.
We've sinned against you.
8You are Israel's only hope.
You save us when we're in trouble.
Why are you like a stranger to us?
Why are you like a traveler who stays for only one night?
9Why are you like a man who is taken by surprise?
Why are you like a soldier who can't save anyone?
Lord, you are among us.
And we are your people.
Please don't desert us!
10The Lord has given me a message about these people. He says, "They really love to wander away from me.
Their feet go down the wrong path.
I do not accept these people.
I will remember the evil things they have done.
I will punish them for their sins."
11The Lord continued, "Do not pray that things will go well with them. 12Even if they go without food, I will not listen to their cry for help. They might sacrifice burnt offerings and grain offerings. But I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with war, hunger and plague."
13But I said, "Lord and King, the prophets keep telling them something else. They say, 'You won't have to suffer from war or hunger. Instead, the Lord will give you peace and rest in this place.' "
14Then the Lord said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them. I have not even spoken to them. Everything they tell you about their visions or secret knowledge is a lie. They pretend to bring you messages from other gods. They try to get you to believe their own mistaken ideas.
15"So here is what I am saying about the prophets who are prophesying in my name. I did not send them. But they are saying, 'No war or hunger will come to this land.' Those same prophets will die because of war and hunger. 16And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem. They will die because of hunger and war. No one will bury their bodies. No one will bury their wives or children. I will pour trouble out on them. That is exactly what they should get.
17"Jeremiah, give them this message. Tell them, " 'Let tears flow from my eyes.
Let them pour out night and day.
Never let them stop.
The people of my own nation
have suffered a terrible wound.
They have been crushed.
18Suppose I go into the country.
Then I see people who have been killed with swords.
Or suppose I go into the city.
Then I see people who have died of hunger.
Prophet and priest alike have gone to a land
they hadn't had anything to do with before.' "
19Lord, have you turned your back on Judah completely?
Do you hate the city of Zion?
Why have you made us suffer?
We can't be healed.
We hoped peace would come.
But nothing good has happened to us.
We hoped we would finally be healed.
But all we got was terror.
20Lord, we admit we've done evil things.
We also admit that our people of long ago were guilty.
It's true that we've sinned against you.
21For the honor of your name, don't turn your back on us.
Don't bring shame on your glorious throne in the temple.
Remember the covenant you made with us.
Please don't break it.
22Do any of the worthless gods of the nations bring rain?
Do the skies send down showers all by themselves?
No. Lord our God, you send the rain.
So we put our hope in you.
You are the one who does all of those things.