The Lord Will Punish Judah
The Lord said:
1People of Judah,
your sins cannot be erased.
They are written on your hearts
like words chiseled in stone
or carved on the corners
of your altars.#17.1 carved on the corners of your altars: When sacrifices were offered to the Lord to ask him to forgive sins, some of the blood was smeared on the corners of the altar (see Leviticus 4.7,18-20,25, 26,30, 31,34, 35; 16.18). But now the Lord refuses to accept these sacrifices.
* 2One generation after another
has set up pagan altars
and worshiped the goddess Asherah
everywhere in your country—
on hills and mountains,
and under large trees.
3So I'll take everything you own,
including your altars,
and give it all
to your enemies.#17.3 enemies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 2,3.
4You will lose#17.4 You will lose: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. the land
that I gave you,
and I will make you slaves
in a foreign country,
because you have made my anger
blaze up like a fire
that won't stop burning.
Trust the Lord
5I, the Lord, have put a curse
on those who turn from me
and trust in human strength.
6They will dry up like a bush
in salty desert soil,
where nothing can grow.
7But I will bless those
who trust me, the Lord.
8 # Ps 1.3 They will be like trees
growing beside a stream—
trees with roots that reach
down to the water,
and with leaves
that are always green.
They bear fruit every year
and are never worried
by a lack of rain.
9You people of Judah
are so deceitful
that you even fool yourselves,
and you can't change.
10 # Rev 2.23 Ps 62.12 But I know your deeds
and your thoughts,
and I will make sure
you get what you deserve.
11You cheated others,
but everything you gained
will fly away, like birds
hatched from stolen eggs.
Then you will discover
what fools you are.
Jeremiah Prays to the Lord
12Our Lord, your temple
is a glorious throne
that has stood on a mountain
from the beginning.
13You are a spring of water
giving Israel life and hope.
But if the people reject
what you have told me,
they will be swept away
like words written in dust.#17.13 reject … dust: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
14You, Lord, are the one I praise.
So heal me and rescue me!
Then I will be completely well
and perfectly safe.
15The people of Judah say to me,
“Jeremiah, you claimed to tell us
what the Lord has said.
So why hasn't it come true?”
16Our Lord, you chose me
to care for your people,
and that's what I have done.
You know everything I have said,
and I have never once
asked you to punish them.#17.16 you chose … punish them: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
17I trust you for protection
in times of trouble,
so don't frighten me.
18Keep me from failure
and disgrace,
but make my enemies fail
and be disgraced.
Send destruction to make
their worst fears come true.
Resting on the Sabbath
19-20The Lord said:
Jeremiah, stand at each city gate in Jerusalem, including the one the king uses, and speak to him and everyone else. Tell them I have said:
I am the Lord, so pay attention. 21-24#Ex 20.8-10Dt 5.12-14Ne 13.15-22 If you value your lives, don't do any work on the Sabbath. Don't carry anything through the city gates or through the door of your house, or anywhere else. Keep the Sabbath day sacred!
I gave this command to your ancestors, but they were stubborn and refused to obey or to be corrected. But if you obey, 25then Judah and Jerusalem will always be ruled by kings from David's family. The king and his officials will ride through these gates on horses or in chariots, and the people of Judah and Jerusalem will be with them. There will always be people living in Jerusalem, 26and others will come here from the nearby villages, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin,#17.26 Judah and Benjamin: These two tribes made up the southern kingdom of Judah. from the hill country and the foothills to the west, and from the Southern Desert. They will bring sacrifices to please me and to give me thanks,#17.26 sacrifices to please me and to give me thanks: See the notes at 14.12. as well as offerings of grain and incense.
27But if you keep on carrying things through the city gates on the Sabbath and keep treating it as any other day, I will set fire to these gates and burn down the whole city, including the fortresses.
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