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12
Jeremiah Complains to the Lord
1Whenever I complain
to you, Lord,
you are always fair.
But now I have questions
about your justice.
Why is life easy for sinners?
Why are they successful?
2You plant them like trees;
you let them prosper
and produce fruit.
Yet even when they praise you,
they don't mean it.
3But you know, Lord,
how faithful I've always been,
even in my thoughts.
So drag my enemies away
and butcher them like sheep!
4How long will the ground be dry
and the pasturelands parched?
The birds and animals
are dead and gone.
And all of this happened because
the people are so sinful.
They even brag, “God can't see
the sins we commit.”#12.4 God can't see the sins we commit: One ancient translation; Hebrew “He won't live to see what happens to us.”
The Lord Answers Jeremiah
5Jeremiah, if you get tired
in a race against people,
how can you possibly run
against horses?
If you fall in open fields,
what will happen in the forest
along the Jordan River?
6Even your own family
has turned against you.
They act friendly,
but don't trust them.
They're out to get you,
and so is everyone else.
The Lord Is Furious with His People
7I loved my people and chose them
as my very own.
But now I will reject them
and hand them over
to their enemies.
8My people have turned against me
and roar at me like lions.
That's why I hate them.
9My people are like a hawk
surrounded and attacked
by other hawks.#12.9 My people … other hawks: Or “My land has become a hyena's den with vultures circling above.”
Tell the wild animals
to come and eat their fill.
10My beautiful land is ruined
like a field or a vineyard
trampled by shepherds
and stripped bare
by their flocks.
11Every field I see lies barren,
and no one cares.
12A destroying army
marches along desert roads
and attacks everywhere.
They are my deadly sword;
no one is safe from them.
13My people, you planted wheat,
but because I was furious,
I let only weeds grow.
You wore yourselves out
and gained only shame!
The Lord Will Have Pity on Other Nations
14The Lord said:
I gave this land to my people Israel, but enemies around it have attacked and robbed it. So I will uproot them from their own countries just as I will uproot Judah from its land. 15But later, I will have pity on these nations and bring them back to their own lands. 16They once taught my people to worship Baal. But if they admit I am the only true God, and if they let my people teach them how to worship me, these nations will also become my people. 17However, if they don't listen to me, I will uproot them from their lands and completely destroy them. I, the Lord, have spoken.
12
Jeremiah’s First Complaint
1Lord, if I complain to you,
you are always right.
But I want to ask you about the justice you give.
Why are evil people successful?
Why do dishonest people have such easy lives?
2You have put the evil people here.
They are like plants with strong roots.
They grow and produce fruit.
With their mouths they speak well of you.
But their hearts are really far away from you.
3But you know my heart, Lord.
You see me and test my mind.
Drag the evil people away like sheep to be butchered.
Set them aside for the day of killing.
4How much longer will the land stay dried up?
How long will the grass in every field be dead?
The animals and birds in the land have died.
And it is because the people are evil.
Yet, they are saying,
“God does not see what happens to us!”
God’s Answer to Jeremiah
5“If you get tired racing against men,
how can you race against horses?
You stumble in a country that is safe.
What will you do in the thick thornbushes along the Jordan River?
6These men are your own brothers.
Members of your own family are making plans against you.
People from your own family are crying out against you.
Don’t trust them,
even when they speak to you like friends!
7“I have left Israel.
I have left my people.
I have given the people I love
to their enemies.
8My people have become
like a lion in the forest to me.
They roar at me.
So I hate them.
9My people have become to me
like a speckled bird attacked by hawks.
Go, gather the wild animals!
Bring them to get something to eat.
10Many shepherds will ruin my vineyards.
They will walk on the plants in my field.
They will turn my beautiful field
into an empty desert.
11They will turn my field into a desert.
It will be wilted and dead.
The whole country is an empty desert.
This is because no one who lives there cares.
12Many soldiers will march over those barren hills.
The Lord will use the armies to punish that land.
People from one end of the land to the other will be punished.
No one will be safe.
13The people will plant wheat.
But they will harvest only thorns.
They will work hard until they are very tired.
But they will get nothing for all their work.
You will be ashamed of your poor harvest.
The Lord’s terrible anger has caused this.”
14This is what the Lord said to me: “Here is what I will do to those wicked people who take the land I gave my people, the Israelites. I will pull them up and throw them out of their land. And I will pull up the people of Judah from among them. 15But after I pull them up, I will feel sorry for them. I will bring each person back to his own property. And I will bring him back to his own land. 16I want them to learn their lessons well. In the past they taught my people to use Baal’s name to make promises. Now I want them to learn to use my name! I want them to say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives . . .’ If they do, I will allow them to be successful. And I will let them live among my people. 17But a nation might not listen to my message. If it doesn’t, I will pull it up completely and destroy it,” says the Lord.