Judah Trusts the Wrong Things
1 The Lord spoke his word to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Stand at the gate of the Lord’s house, and announce from there this message: ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, all you people of Judah who go through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Change the way you live and act, and I will let you live in this place. 4 Do not trust the words of this saying, “This is the Lord’s temple, the Lord’s temple, the Lord’s temple!” It’s a lie.
5 “‘Suppose you really change the way you live and act and you really treat each other fairly. 6 Suppose you do not oppress foreigners, orphans, and widows, or kill anyone in this place. And suppose you do not follow other gods that lead you to your own destruction. 7 Then I will let you live in this place, in the land that I gave permanently to your ancestors long ago.
8 “‘You are trusting the words of a saying. It’s a lie that cannot help you. 9 You steal, murder, commit adultery, lie when you take oaths, burn incense as an offering to Baal, and run after other gods that you do not know. 10 Then you stand in my presence in the house that is called by my name. You think that you’re safe to do all these disgusting things. 11 The house that is called by my name has become a gathering place for thieves. I have seen what you are doing,’” declares the Lord.
12 “‘But go to my place that was at Shiloh, where I first made a dwelling place for my name. See what I did to Shiloh because of the evil done by my people Israel. 13 You have done the same things the people did at Shiloh,’” declares the Lord. “‘Although I spoke to you again and again, you did not listen. When I called you, you did not answer. 14 So what I did to Shiloh I will now do to the house that is called by my name. This is the place I gave to you and to your ancestors, the place where you feel so safe. 15 I will force you out of my sight as I forced out all your relatives, all of Ephraim’s descendants.’
16 “Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people. Don’t cry or pray for them. Don’t plead with me, because I will not listen to you. 17 Don’t you see what they are doing in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 Children gather wood, fathers light fires, and women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven. They pour out wine offerings to other gods in order to make me furious. 19 They aren’t really provoking me,” declares the Lord. “But they are ⌊harming⌋ themselves to their own shame.
20 “This is what the Almighty Lord says: My anger and fury will be poured out on this place, on humans and animals, and on trees and crops. My anger and fury will burn and not be put out.
21 “This is what the Lord of Armies, the God of Israel, says: Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the meat. 22 When I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I did not tell them anything about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 But I did tell them this, ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people. Live the way I told you to live so that things will go well for you.’ 24 But they didn’t obey me or pay attention to me. They followed their own plans and their stubborn, evil ways. They went backward and not forward. 25 From the time that your ancestors left Egypt until now, I have sent all my servants the prophets to you again and again. 26 But you didn’t obey me or pay attention to me. You became impossible to deal with, and you were worse than your ancestors.
27 “Jeremiah, you will say all these things to them, but they will not obey you. You will call to them, but they will not respond to you. 28 You will say to them, ‘This is the nation that did not obey the Lord their God. They did not accept discipline. Truth has disappeared and vanished from their lips.’
29 “Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the bare hills, because in his anger the Lord has rejected and abandoned the people of this generation. 30 The people of Judah have done what I consider evil,” declares the Lord. “They set up their detestable idols in the house that is called by my name. They have made it unclean.#“Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.31 They have built worship sites at Topheth in the valley of Ben Hinnom in order to burn their sons and daughters as sacrifices. I did not ask for this. It never entered my mind.
32 “That is why the days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when that place will no longer be known as Topheth or the valley of Ben Hinnom. Instead, it will be known as Slaughter Valley. They will bury ⌊people⌋ at Topheth because no other place will be left. 33 The dead bodies of these people will become food for birds and animals, and no one will be there to frighten them away. 34 In the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, I will banish the sounds of joy and happiness and the sounds of brides and grooms, because the land will be a wasteland.”