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The Lord Will Punish Judah
The Lord said:
1People of Judah,
your sins cannot be erased.
They are written on your hearts
like words chiseled in stone
or carved on the corners
of your altars.#17.1 carved on the corners of your altars: When sacrifices were offered to the Lord to ask him to forgive sins, some of the blood was smeared on the corners of the altar (see Leviticus 4.7,18-20,25, 26,30, 31,34, 35; 16.18). But now the Lord refuses to accept these sacrifices.
* 2One generation after another
has set up pagan altars
and worshiped the goddess Asherah
everywhere in your country—
on hills and mountains,
and under large trees.
3So I'll take everything you own,
including your altars,
and give it all
to your enemies.#17.3 enemies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 2,3.
4You will lose#17.4 You will lose: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. the land
that I gave you,
and I will make you slaves
in a foreign country,
because you have made my anger
blaze up like a fire
that won't stop burning.
Trust the Lord
5I, the Lord, have put a curse
on those who turn from me
and trust in human strength.
6They will dry up like a bush
in salty desert soil,
where nothing can grow.
7But I will bless those
who trust me, the Lord.
8 # Ps 1.3. They will be like trees
growing beside a stream—
trees with roots that reach
down to the water,
and with leaves
that are always green.
They bear fruit every year
and are never worried
by a lack of rain.
9You people of Judah
are so deceitful
that you even fool yourselves,
and you can't change.
10 # Rev 2.23; Ps 62.12. But I know your deeds
and your thoughts,
and I will make sure
you get what you deserve.
11You cheated others,
but everything you gained
will fly away, like birds
hatched from stolen eggs.
Then you will discover
what fools you are.
Jeremiah Prays to the Lord
12Our Lord, your temple
is a glorious throne
that has stood on a mountain
from the beginning.
13You are a spring of water
giving Israel life and hope.
But if the people reject
what you have told me,
they will be swept away
like words written in dust.#17.13 reject … dust: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
14You, Lord, are the one I praise.
So heal me and rescue me!
Then I will be completely well
and perfectly safe.
15The people of Judah say to me,
“Jeremiah, you claimed to tell us
what the Lord has said.
So why hasn't it come true?”
16Our Lord, you chose me
to care for your people,
and that's what I have done.
You know everything I have said,
and I have never once
asked you to punish them.#17.16 you chose … punish them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
17I trust you for protection
in times of trouble,
so don't frighten me.
18Keep me from failure
and disgrace,
but make my enemies fail
and be disgraced.
Send destruction to make
their worst fears come true.
Resting on the Sabbath
19-20The Lord said:
Jeremiah, stand at each city gate in Jerusalem, including the one the king uses, and speak to him and everyone else. Tell them I have said:
I am the Lord, so pay attention. 21-24#Ex 20.8-10; Dt 5.12-14; Ne 13.15-22. If you value your lives, don't do any work on the Sabbath. Don't carry anything through the city gates or through the door of your house, or anywhere else. Keep the Sabbath day sacred!
I gave this command to your ancestors, but they were stubborn and refused to obey or to be corrected. But if you obey, 25then Judah and Jerusalem will always be ruled by kings from David's family. The king and his officials will ride through these gates on horses or in chariots, and the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be with them. There will always be people living in Jerusalem, 26and others will come here from the nearby villages, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin,#17.26 Judah and Benjamin: These two tribes made up the southern kingdom of Judah. from the hill country and the foothills to the west, and from the Southern Desert. They will bring sacrifices to please me and to give me thanks,#17.26 sacrifices to please me and to give me thanks: See the notes at 14.12. as well as offerings of grain and incense.
27But if you keep on carrying things through the city gates on the Sabbath and keep treating it as any other day, I will set fire to these gates and burn down the whole city, including the fortresses.
1 "The sin of Judah has been written with a pen of iron and a point of diamond. It has been engraved upon the breadth of their heart and upon the horns of their shrines.
2 And their sons make a remembrance of their shrines, and their sacred groves, and their leafy trees on high mountains,
3 by sacrificing in the field. And so, I will give over your strength and all your treasures to be despoiled, along with your exalted places of sin, within all your borders.
4 And you will be left behind without your inheritance, which I gave to you. And I will cause you to serve your enemies in a land that you do not know. For you have kindled a fire in my fury; it shall burn, even unto eternity."
5 Thus says the Lord: "Cursed is a man who trusts in man, and who establishes what is flesh as his right arm, and whose heart withdraws from the Lord.
6 For he will be like a saltcedar tree in the desert. And he will not perceive it, when what is good has arrived. Instead, he will live in dryness, in a desert, in a land of salt, which is uninhabitable.
7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, for the Lord will be his confidence.
8 And he will be like a tree planted beside waters, which sends out its roots to moist soil. And it will not fear when the heat arrives. And its leaves will be green. And in the time of drought, it will not be anxious, nor will it cease at any time to bear fruit.
9 The heart is depraved above all things, and it is unsearchable, who can know it?
10 I am the Lord, who examines the heart and tests the temperament, who gives to each one according to his way and according to the fruit of his own decisions.
11 A partridge has hatched eggs that she did not lay; a man has gathered riches, but without judgment. In the midst of his days, he will leave it all behind, and he will be foolish concerning his very end."
12 "A high and glorious throne is the place of our sanctification from the beginning.
13 O Lord, Hope of Israel: all who forsake you will be confounded. Those who withdraw from you will be written into the earth. For they have abandoned the Lord, the Source of living waters.
14 Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed. Save me, and I will be saved. For you are my praise.
15 Behold, they themselves are saying to me: 'Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come.'
16 But I am not troubled; I am following you as my shepherd. And I have not desired the day of man, as you know. That which has gone forth from my lips has been right in your sight.
17 May you not be a dread to me. You are my hope in the day of affliction.
18 May those who persecute me be confounded, but may I not be confounded. May they be fearful, and may I not be fearful. Lead over them the day of affliction, and crush them with a double destruction."
19 Thus says the Lord to me: "Go, and stand at the gate of the sons of the people, through which the kings of Judah enter and depart, and at all the gates of Jerusalem.
20 And you shall say to them: Listen to the word of the Lord, O kings of Judah, and all of Judah, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, who enter through these gates."
21 Thus says the Lord: "Guard your souls, and do not choose to carry heavy things on the day of the Sabbath, nor should you carry these things through the gates of Jerusalem.
22 And do not be willing to cast burdens out of your houses on the day of the Sabbath, nor should you do any work. Sanctify the day of the Sabbath, just as I instructed your fathers.
23 But they did not listen, nor did they incline their ear. Instead, they hardened their neck, lest they listen to me and receive discipline.
24 And this shall be: If you listen to me, says the Lord, so that you do not carry in burdens through the gates of this city on the day of the Sabbath, and if you sanctify the day of the Sabbath, so that you do not do work in it,
25 then there will enter through the gates of this city: kings and princes, sitting on the throne of David, and riding on chariots and horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And this city will be inhabited forever.
26 And they will arrive from the cities of Judah and from all around Jerusalem, and from the land of Benjamin, and from the plains, and from the mountainous regions, and from the south, carrying holocausts, and victims, and sacrifices, and frankincense. And they will carry an oblation into the house of the Lord.
27 But if you will not listen to me, to sanctify the day of the Sabbath, and not to carry burdens, and not to bring these things through the gates of Jerusalem on the day of the Sabbath, then I will kindle a fire at its gates, and it will devour the houses of Jerusalem, and it will not be extinguished."