Message at the Temple Gate
1The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2“Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah who enter by these gates to worship the Lord.’ ” 3Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Change your ways and your behavior, and I will let you live in this place. 4Do not trust in the deceptive and lying words [of the false prophets who claim that Jerusalem will be protected by God because of the temple], saying, ‘This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord.’ 5For if you thoroughly change your ways and your behavior, if you thoroughly and honestly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, 6if you do not oppress the transient and the foreigner, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood [by oppression and by unjust judicial murders] in Jerusalem, nor follow after other gods to your own ruin, 7then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers [to live in] forever and ever.
8“Behold, you are trusting in deceptive and useless words that bring no benefit. 9Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear [oaths] falsely, offer sacrifices or burn incense to Baal, and follow after other gods that you have not known, 10and [then dare to] come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My #The “Name” of God is equivalent to His gracious presence in passages such as this one. The place where God puts His Name is the place where He chooses to dwell.Name, and say, ‘We are protected and set free [by this act of religious ritual]!’—only to go on with this wickedness and these disgusting and loathsome things? 11Has this house, which is called by My Name, become a den of robbers in your eyes [a place of retreat for you between acts of violence]? Behold, I Myself have seen it,” says the Lord.
12“But go now to My place which was in Shiloh [in Ephraim], where I first set My Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel. 13And now, because you have done all these things,” says the Lord, “and I spoke [persistently] to you, even rising up early and speaking, but you did not listen, and I called you but you did not answer, 14therefore, I will do to this house (the temple) which is called by My Name, in which you trust, and to the place which I gave you and your fathers, just as I did to Shiloh. 15I will cast you out of My sight, as I have cast out all your brothers (relatives through Jacob), all the descendants of Ephraim.
16“Therefore, do not pray for this people [of Judah] or lift up a cry or entreaty for them or make intercession to Me, for I do not hear you. 17Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18The children gather wood, the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead the dough to make cakes for the #A goddess of fertility, probably the Babylonian title for Ishtar. She is identified with the planet Venus. Offerings to this goddess included cakes made in the shape of a star (44:19).queen of heaven; and they pour out drink offerings to other gods that they may offend and provoke Me to anger. 19Do they offend and provoke Me to anger?” says the Lord. “Is it not themselves [they offend], to their own shame?” 20Therefore thus says the Lord God, “Behold, My anger and My wrath will be poured out on this place, on man and beast, on the trees of the field and the fruit of the ground; and it will burn and [the fire will] not be quenched.”
21Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices and eat the meat. 22For in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to your fathers or command them concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices. 23But this thing I did command them: ‘Listen to and obey My voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, so that it may be well with you.’ 24But they did not obey Me or bend their ear [to hear Me], but followed the counsels and the stubbornness of their [own] evil heart (mind), and [they turned and] went backward instead of forward. 25Since the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have [persistently] sent you all My servants the prophets, sending them daily, early [and late]. 26Yet they did not listen to Me and obey Me or bend their ear [to hear Me], but stiffened their neck; they did more evil and behaved worse than their fathers.
27“You shall speak all these words to them, but they will not listen to you; and you shall [also] call to them, but they will not answer you. 28You shall say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the voice of the Lord their God or accept correction and warning; truth and faithfulness have perished and have completely vanished from their mouths.
29Cut off your hair [your crown, O Jerusalem] and throw it away,
And take up a mournful cry on the barren heights,
For the Lord has rejected and abandoned
The generation of His wrath.’
30For the children of Judah have done evil in My sight,” says the Lord; “they have set their disgusting and shamefully vile things in the house which is called by My Name, to defile it. 31They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of Ben-hinnom (son of Hinnom), to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire [to honor Molech, the fire god]—which I did not command, nor did it come into My heart (mind).
32“Therefore, behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but the Valley of the Slaughter, for [in bloody warfare] they will bury [the dead] in Topheth until there is no more room. 33And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth and no one will frighten them away. 34Then I will cause the voices of joy and gladness, and the voices of the bridegroom and the bride to vanish from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem; for the land will become a ruin—a wasteland.