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15
Judah’s Inevitable Doom
1Then the Lord said to me, “Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me pleading for these people, I wouldn’t help them. Away with them! Get them out of my sight! 2And if they say to you, ‘But where can we go?’ tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘Those who are destined for death, to death;
those who are destined for war, to war;
those who are destined for famine, to famine;
those who are destined for captivity, to captivity.’
3“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” says the Lord. “I will send the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the vultures to devour, and the wild animals to finish up what is left. 4Because of the wicked things Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem, I will make my people an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
5“Who will feel sorry for you, Jerusalem?
Who will weep for you?
Who will even bother to ask how you are?
6You have abandoned me
and turned your back on me,”
says the Lord.
“Therefore, I will raise my fist to destroy you.
I am tired of always giving you another chance.
7I will winnow you like grain at the gates of your cities
and take away the children you hold dear.
I will destroy my own people,
because they refuse to change their evil ways.
8There will be more widows
than the grains of sand on the seashore.
At noontime I will bring a destroyer
against the mothers of young men.
I will cause anguish and terror
to come upon them suddenly.
9The mother of seven grows faint and gasps for breath;
her sun has gone down while it is still day.
She sits childless now,
disgraced and humiliated.
And I will hand over those who are left
to be killed by the enemy.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Jeremiah’s Complaint
10Then I said,
“What sorrow is mine, my mother.
Oh, that I had died at birth!
I am hated everywhere I go.
I am neither a lender who threatens to foreclose
nor a borrower who refuses to pay—
yet they all curse me.”
11The Lord replied,
“I will take care of you, Jeremiah.
Your enemies will ask you to plead on their behalf
in times of trouble and distress.
12Can a man break a bar of iron from the north,
or a bar of bronze?
13At no cost to them,
I will hand over your wealth and treasures
as plunder to your enemies,
for sin runs rampant in your land.
14I will tell your enemies to take you
as captives to a foreign land.
For my anger blazes like a fire
that will burn forever.#15:14 As in some Hebrew manuscripts (see also 17:4); most Hebrew manuscripts read will burn against you.
15Then I said,
Lord, you know what’s happening to me.
Please step in and help me. Punish my persecutors!
Please give me time; don’t let me die young.
It’s for your sake that I am suffering.
16When I discovered your words, I devoured them.
They are my joy and my heart’s delight,
for I bear your name,
O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies.
17I never joined the people in their merry feasts.
I sat alone because your hand was on me.
I was filled with indignation at their sins.
18Why then does my suffering continue?
Why is my wound so incurable?
Your help seems as uncertain as a seasonal brook,
like a spring that has gone dry.”
19This is how the Lord responds:
“If you return to me, I will restore you
so you can continue to serve me.
If you speak good words rather than worthless ones,
you will be my spokesman.
You must influence them;
do not let them influence you!
20They will fight against you like an attacking army,
but I will make you as secure as a fortified wall of bronze.
They will not conquer you,
for I am with you to protect and rescue you.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
21Yes, I will certainly keep you safe from these wicked men.
I will rescue you from their cruel hands.”
15
1 And the Lord said to me: "Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my soul would not be toward this people. Cast them away from my face, and let them depart!
2 And if they say to you, 'Where shall we go?' you shall say to them: Thus says the Lord: Those who go to death, shall go to death. And those who go to the sword, shall go to the sword, and those go to famine, shall go to famine, and those who go to captivity, shall go to captivity.
3 And I will visit against them in four ways, says the Lord: by the sword, to kill; and by dogs, to tear apart; and by the birds of the air and by the beasts of the earth, to devour and to scatter.
4 And I will give them over to the fervor of all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, because of all that he did in Jerusalem.
5 For who will take pity on you, O Jerusalem? Or who will feel sorrow for you? Or who will go to prayer for the sake of your peace?
6 You have abandoned me, says the Lord. You have gone backwards. And so, I will extend my hand over you, and I will destroy you. I have labored to plead with you.
7 And I will scatter them with a winnowing fan at the gates of the land. I have killed and dispersed my people, and yet they have not turned back from their ways.
8 Their widows have been multiplied by me, more so than the sand of the sea. I have led them against the mother of a youth like an attacker at midday. I have sent a terror suddenly against the cities.
9 She who gave birth to seven has become weak. Her life has faded away. Her sun has set while it was still daytime. She has been confounded and shamed. And the remainder of them I will give over to the sword in the sight of their enemies, says the Lord."
10 "O my mother, woe to me! Why did you conceive me, a man of strife, a man of discord to all the earth? I have not lent money at interest, nor has anyone lent money at interest to me. Yet everyone is cursing me."
11 The Lord says: "Certainly, it will be well with your remnant. Certainly, I will run to meet you, in the time of affliction and in the time of tribulation, against the enemy.
12 But how can iron be joined with the iron from the north or with brass?
13 Your riches and your treasures I will give over to be freely despoiled, because of all your sins, even throughout all your borders.
14 And I will lead in your enemies from a land that you do not know. For a fire has been kindled in my fury; it will burn upon you."
15 "You know me, O Lord. Remember me, and visit me, and watch over me, because of those who persecute me. In your patience, do not choose to let me endure. You know I have suffered reproach because of you.
16 I discovered your words and I consumed them. And your word became to me as the gladness and joy of my heart. For your name has been invoked over me, O Lord, the God of hosts.
17 I did not sit in the company of mockers, nor did I glorify myself before the presence of your hand. I sat alone, because you filled me with threats.
18 Why has my sorrow become never-ending, and why has my wound become so dire that it refuses to be cured? It has become for me like the deception of untrustworthy waters."
19 Because of this, thus says the Lord: "If you will be converted, I will convert you. And you will stand before my face. And you will separate what is precious from what is vile. You will be my mouthpiece. They will be converted to you, but you will not be converted to them.
20 And I will present you to this people as a strong wall of brass. And they will fight against you, and they will not prevail. For I am with you, so as to save you and to rescue you, says the Lord.
21 And I will free you from hand of those who are most wicked, and I will redeem you from the hand of the powerful."