1 THE WORD of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:
2 Judah mourns and her gates languish; [her people] sit in black [mourning garb] upon the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
3 And their nobles send their little ones and their inferiors for water; they come to the cisterns and find no water. They return with empty vessels; they are put to shame and confounded and cover their heads.
4 Because the ground is cracked and the tillers are dismayed, since there has been no rain on the land, the plowmen are put to shame, and they cover their heads.
5 Yes, even the hind gives birth to her calf in the field and forsakes it, because there is no grass or herbage.
6 And the wild donkeys stand on the bare heights; they pant for air like jackals or crocodiles; their eyesight fails because there is no grass.
7 O Lord, though our iniquities testify against us [prays Jeremiah], deal and work with us for Your own name's sake [that the heathen may witness Your might and faithfulness]! For our backslidings are many; we have sinned against You.
8 O Hope of Israel, her Savior in time of trouble, why should You be like a sojourner in the land and like a wayfaring man who turns aside and spreads his tent to tarry [only] for a night?
9 Why should You be [hesitant and inactive] like a man stunned and confused, like a mighty man who cannot save? Yet You, O Lord, are in the midst of us, and we are called by Your name; do not leave us!
10 [And the Lord replied to Jeremiah] Thus says the Lord to this people [Judah]: In the manner and to the degree already pointed out have they loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; He will now [seriously] remember their iniquity and punish them for their sins.
11 The Lord said to me, Do not pray for this people for their good.
12 Though they fast, I will not hear their cry; and though they offer burnt offering and cereal offering [without heartfelt surrender to Me, or by offering it too late], I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.
13 Then said I, Alas, Lord God! Behold, the [false] prophets say to them, You will not see the sword, nor will you have famine; but I [the Lord] will give you assured peace (peace that lasts, the peace of truth) in this place.
14 Then the Lord said to me, The [false] prophets prophesy lies in My name. I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, nor have I spoken to them. They prophesy to you a false or pretended vision, a worthless divination [conjuring or practicing magic, trying to call forth the responses supposed to be given by idols], and the deceit of their own minds.
15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the [false] prophets who prophesy in My name–although I did not send them–and who say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land: By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.
16 And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword; and they shall have none to bury them–them, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them [and not on their false teachers only, for the people could not have been deceived except by their own consent].
17 Therefore [Jeremiah] you shall say to them, Let my eyes run down with tears night and day, and let them not cease; for the virgin daughter of my people has been smitten with a great wound, with a very grievous blow.
18 If I go out into the field, then behold, those slain with the sword! And if I enter the city, then behold, those tormented with the diseases of famine! For both prophet and priest go about not knowing what to do or as beggars [exiled] in a land that they know not, and they have no knowledge.
19 [O Lord] have You utterly rejected Judah? Do You loathe Zion? Why have You smitten us so that there is no healing for us? We looked for peace and completeness, but no good came, and for a time of healing, but behold, dismay, disaster, and terror!
20 We know and acknowledge, O Lord, our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers; for we have sinned against You.
21 Do not abhor, condemn, and spurn us, for Your name's sake; do not dishonor, debase, and lightly esteem Your glorious throne; [earnestly] remember, break not Your covenant or solemn pledge with us.
22 Are there any among the false gods of the nations who can cause rain? Or can the heavens [of their own will] give showers? Are You [alone] not He, O Lord our God? Therefore we will wait [expectantly] for You, for You have made all these things [the heavens and the rain].