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1I wish that my eyes
were fountains of tears,
so I could cry day and night
for my people
who were killed.
2I wish I could go into the desert
and find a hiding place
from all who are treacherous
and unfaithful to God.
The Lord Answers Jeremiah
3The Lord replied:
Lies come from the mouths
of my people,
like arrows from a bow.
With each dishonest deed
their power increases,
and not one of them will admit
that I am God.
4Jeremiah, all your friends
and relatives
tell lies about you,
so don't trust them.
5They wear themselves out,
always looking for a new way
to cheat their friends.
6Everyone takes advantage
of everyone else,
and no one will admit
that I am God.
7And so I will purify
the hearts of my people
just as gold is purified
in a furnace.
I have no other choice.
8They say they want peace,
but this lie is deadly,
like an arrow that strikes
when you least expect it.
9Give me one good reason
not to punish them
as they deserve.
I, the Lord All-Powerful,
have spoken.
Jeremiah Weeps for His People
10I weep for the pastureland
in the hill country.
It's so barren and scorched
that no one travels there.
No cattle can be found there,
and birds and wild animals
have all disappeared.
11I heard the Lord reply,
“When I am finished,
Jerusalem and the towns of Judah
will be piles of ruins
where only jackals#9.11 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller. live.”
Why the Land Was Destroyed
12I said to the Lord, “None of us can understand why the land has become like an uncrossable desert. Won't you explain why?”
13The Lord said:
I destroyed the land because the people disobeyed me and rejected my laws and teachings. 14They were stubborn and worshiped Baal,#9.14 Baal: See the note at 2.23. just as their ancestors did. 15So I, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, promise them poison to eat and drink.#9.15 poison to eat and drink: Or “bitter disappointment to eat, and tears to drink.” 16I'll scatter them in foreign countries that they and their ancestors have never even heard of. Finally, I will send enemy soldiers to kill every last one of them.
The Women Who Are Paid To Weep
17The Lord All-Powerful said,
“Make arrangements now
for the women who are paid
to weep at funerals,#9.17 women … weep at funerals: Or “the women who weep for Baal”; the god Baal was believed to have died and come back to life, and some women would go to places of worship and weep over the death of Baal.
especially the women
who can cry the loudest.”
18The people answered,
“Let them come quickly
and cry for us,
until our own eyes
are flooded with tears.
19Now those of us on Zion cry,
‘We are ruined!
We can't stand the shame.
Our homes have been destroyed,
and we must leave our land.’
20“We ask you women
to pay attention
to what the Lord says.
We will teach you a funeral song
that you can teach
your daughters and friends:
21‘We were in our fortress,
but death sneaked in
through our windows.
It even struck down
children at play
and our strongest young men.’
22“The Lord has told us
the ground will be covered
with dead bodies,
like ungathered stalks of grain
or manure in a field.”
What the Lord Likes Best
23The Lord says:
Don't brag about your wisdom
or strength or wealth.
24 # 1 Co 1.31; 2 Co 10.17. If you feel you must brag,
then have enough sense
to brag about worshiping me,
the Lord.
What I like best
is showing kindness,
justice, and mercy
to everyone on earth.
25-26Someday I will punish the nations of Egypt, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and the tribes of the desert.#9.25,26 the tribes of the desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. The men of these nations are circumcised, but they don't worship me. And it's the same with you people of Judah. Your bodies are circumcised, but your hearts are unchanged.
1 "Who will provide water for my head, and a fount of tears for my eyes? And then I will weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people.
2 Who will provide me, in the wilderness, with a lodging place along the road? And then I will forsake my people, and withdraw from them. For they are all adulterers, a union of transgressors.
3 And they have bent their tongue, like a bow, to send forth lies and not the truth. They have been strengthened upon the earth. And they have gone from one evil to another. But they have not known me, says the Lord.
4 Let each one guard himself against his neighbor, and let him have no trust in any brother of his. For every brother will utterly overthrow, and every friend will advance deceitfully.
5 And a man will deride his brother, and they will not speak the truth. For they have taught their tongue to speak lies; they have labored to commit iniquity.
6 Your habitation is in the midst of deceit. In their deceitfulness, they have refused to know me, says the Lord."
7 Because of this, thus says the Lord of hosts: "Behold, I will refine them, and I will test them. For what else can I do before the face of the daughter of my people?
8 Their tongue is a wounding arrow; it has spoken deceit. With his mouth, he speaks peace with his friend, and then he secretly lies in ambush for him.
9 Shall I not visit upon them concerning these things, says the Lord? Or shall my soul not take vengeance on a nation of this kind?
10 I will take up weeping and lamentation over the mountains, and mourning over the beautiful places in the desert. For they have been scorched because no man is passing through them. And they have not heard the voice of any occupant. From the birds of the air, even to the cattle, they have migrated and withdrawn.
11 And I will make Jerusalem into piles of sand and into a lair for serpents. And I will make the cities of Judah desolate, so much so that there will be no inhabitant.
12 Who is the wise man who understands this, and to whom a word from the mouth of the Lord may be given, so that he may announce this: why the land has perished, and has been scorched like a desert, so much so that no one passes through it?"
13 And the Lord said: "It is because they have abandoned my law, which I gave to them, and they have not listened to my voice, and they have not walked by it.
14 And they have gone after the depravity of their own heart, and after Baal, which they learned from their fathers."
15 For this reason, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will feed this people with absinthe, and I will give them the water of gall to drink.
16 And I will disperse them among nations, which they and their fathers have not known. And I will send the sword after them, until they are consumed."
17 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Consider and call upon the women mourners, and let them approach. And send to those women who are wise, and let them hurry.
18 'Let them hasten to take up a lamentation over us. Let our eyes shed tears, and our eyelids run with water.'
19 For a voice of lamentation has been heard from Zion: 'How is it that we have been devastated and greatly confounded? Our tabernacles have been thrown down because we have forsaken the land.' "
20 "Therefore, listen, O women, to the word of the Lord! And let your ears take up the word of his mouth. And teach your daughters to lament. And let each one teach her neighbor to mourn:
21 'For death has climbed through our windows. It has entered our houses to perish the little children from the outdoors, the youths from the streets.' "
22 "Speak: Thus says the Lord: And the corpses of men will fall like manure over the face of the countryside, and like hay behind the back of the reaper, and there will be no one to gather it."
23 Thus says the Lord: "The wise man should not glory in his wisdom, and the strong man should not glory in his strength, and the rich man should not glory in his riches.
24 But he who glories should glory in this: to know me and to know me well. For I am the Lord, who accomplishes mercy and judgment and justice upon the earth. For these things are pleasing to me, says the Lord.
25 Behold, the days are approaching, says the Lord, when I will visit upon all who are uncircumcised:
26 upon Egypt, and upon Judah, and upon Edom, and upon the sons of Ammon, and upon Moab, and upon all who have shaved off their hair, living in the desert. For all the nations are uncircumcised in body, but all the house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart."