Destruction on the horizon
1The LORD’s word to Jeremiah concerning the droughts:
her gates wither away.
The people fall to the ground in sorrow,
as sobs of Jerusalem ascend.
3The rich send their servants for water,
but the wells run dry.
They return with empty jars,
ashamed, bewildered, and in despair.
4Because the ground is cracked due to lack of rain,
the farmers too are ashamed;
they cover their heads.
5Even the doe in the field
abandons her newborn,
for there’s no grass.
6The wild donkeys stand on the well-traveled paths,
panting like thirsty dogs;
they go blind
since there’s nothing to eat.
7Even though our sins testify against us,
help us, LORD, for your name’s sake.
We have turned away from you
and sinned against you time and again.
8You are the hope of Israel,
its savior in times of trouble.
Why are you like a stranger in the land,
like a tourist spending only the night?
9Why are you like one taken by surprise,
like a warrior unable to act?
Yet you are in our midst, LORD;
we are called by your name.
Don’t give up on us.
10This is what the LORD proclaims about this people:
Since they have loved to wander off
and haven’t restrained themselves,
I#Or the Lord won’t accept them.
Now I will recall their wrongdoing
and punish their sin.
11The LORD said to me: Don’t pray for the safety of these people. 12When they fast, I won’t pay attention to their pleas, and when they offer entirely burned offerings and grain offerings, I won’t accept them. Instead, I will devour them with war, famine, and disease.
13I replied, "LORD God, the prophets are telling them: ‘You won’t see war or famine, for I will give you lasting peace in this place.’"
14Then the LORD said to me: The prophets are telling lies in my name. I haven’t sent them. I haven’t commanded them. I haven’t spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, worthless predictions, and deceit they have made up on their own. 15Therefore, this is what the LORD proclaims concerning the prophets who are speaking in my name when I didn’t send them, and who are telling you that war or famine will never come to this land: Those very prophets will die in war and by famine! 16And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and war. There will be no one to bury them or their wives and children. I will pour out on them their own wickedness.
17So deliver this word to them:
My eyes well up with tears;
I can’t stop weeping—day and night,
because my virgin daughter, my people,
has suffered a crushing blow
and is mortally wounded.
18If I go into the fields,
I see only the slain in battle.
If I enter the city,
I see only those suffering from famine.
Even both prophet and priest
wander about aimlessly in ignorance.
19Have you completely rejected Judah?
Do you hate Zion?
Why then have you mortally wounded us?
We look for peace,
but nothing good comes of it;
for a time of healing,
only to be terrorized.
20We acknowledge our sin, LORD,
the wrongdoing of our ancestors,
because we have sinned against you.
21For your name’s sake, don’t reject us,
don’t scorn your glorious throne.
Remember your covenant with us;
don’t break it.
22Can any of the false gods of the nations make it rain?
Can the sky by itself bring showers?
Aren’t you the LORD, our God?
You are our hope,
since only you can do such things.