1 UNCOMPROMISINGLY RIGHTEOUS and rigidly just are You, O Lord, when I complain against and contend with You. Yet let me plead and reason the case with You: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are all they at ease and thriving who deal very treacherously and deceitfully?
2 You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bring forth fruit. You are near in their mouths but far from their hearts.
3 But You, O Lord, know and understand me and my devotion to You; You see me and try my heart toward You. [O Lord] pull [these rebellious ones] out like sheep for the slaughter and devote and prepare them for the day of slaughter.
4 How long must the land mourn and the grass and herbs of the whole country wither? Through the wickedness of those who dwell in it, the beasts and the birds are consumed and are swept away [by the drought], because men [mocked] me, saying, He shall not [live to] see our final end.
5 [But the Lord rebukes Jeremiah's impatience, saying] If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out, then how can you compete with horses? And if [you take to flight] in a land of peace where you feel secure, then what will you do [when you tread the tangled maze of jungle haunted by lions] in the swelling and flooding of the Jordan?
6 For even your brethren and the house of your father–even they have dealt treacherously with you; yes, even they are [like a pack of hounds] in full cry after you. Believe them not, though they speak fair words and promise good things to you.
7 I have forsaken My house, I have cast off My heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of My life into the hands of her enemies.
8 My heritage has become to Me like a lion in the forest; she has uttered her voice against Me; therefore I have [treated her as if I] hated her.
9 Is My heritage to Me like a speckled bird of prey? Are the birds of prey against her round about? Go, assemble all the wild beasts of the field; bring them to devour.
10 Many shepherds [of an invading host] have destroyed My vineyard, they have trampled My portion underfoot; they have made My pleasant portion a desolate wilderness.
11 They have made it a desolation, and desolate it mourns before Me; the whole land has been made desolate, but no man lays it to heart.
12 Destroyers have come upon all the bare heights in the desert, for the sword of the Lord devours from one end of the land even to the other; no flesh has peace or can find the means to escape.
13 They have sown wheat but have reaped thorns; they have worn themselves out but without profit. And they shall be ashamed of your [lack of] harvests and revenues because of the fierce and glowing anger of the Lord.
14 Thus says the Lord against all My evil neighbor [nations] who touch the inheritance which I have caused My people Israel to inherit: Behold, I will pluck them up from their land and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them.
15 And after I have plucked them up, I will return and have compassion on them and will bring them back again, every man to his heritage and every man to his land.
16 And if these [neighbor nations] will diligently learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, saying, As the Lord lives–even as they taught My people to swear by Baal–then will they be built up in the midst of My people.
17 But if any nation will not hear and obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, says the Lord.