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Jeremiah 5-7 NET

5:1 The Lord said,

“Go up and down through the streets of Jerusalem.

Look around and see for yourselves.

Search through its public squares.

See if any of you can find a single person

who deals honestly and tries to be truthful.

If you can, then I will not punish this city.

2 These people make promises in the name of the Lord.

But the fact is, what they swear to is really a lie.”

3 Lord, I know you look for faithfulness.

But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse.

Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.

They have become as hardheaded as a rock.

They refuse to change their ways.

4 I thought, “Surely it is only the ignorant poor who act this way.

They act like fools because they do not know what the Lord demands.

They do not know what their God requires of them.

5 I will go to the leaders

and speak with them.

Surely they know what the Lord demands.

Surely they know what their God requires of them.”

Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority

and refuse to submit to him.

6 So like a lion from the thicket, their enemies will kill them.

Like a wolf from the rift valley, they will destroy them.

Like a leopard, they will lie in wait outside their cities

and totally destroy anyone who ventures out.

For they have rebelled so much

and done so many unfaithful things.

7 The Lord asked,

“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem?

Your people have rejected me

and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all.

Even though I supplied all their needs, they were like an unfaithful wife to me.

They went flocking to the houses of prostitutes.

8 They are like lusty, well-fed stallions.

Each of them lusts after his neighbor’s wife.

9 I will surely punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will surely bring retribution on such a nation as this!”

10 The Lord commanded the enemy,

“March through the vineyards of Israel and Judah and ruin them.

But do not destroy them completely.

Strip off their branches

for these people do not belong to the Lord.

11 For the nations of Israel and Judah

have been very unfaithful to me,”

says the Lord.

12 “These people have denied what the Lord says.

They have said, ‘That is not so!

No harm will come to us.

We will not experience war and famine.

13 The prophets will prove to be full of wind.

The Lord has not spoken through them.

So, let what they say happen to them.’”

14 Because of that, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies said to me:

“Because these people have spoken like this,

I will make the words that I put in your mouth like fire.

And I will make this people like wood,

which the fiery judgments you speak will burn up.”

15 The Lord says, “Listen, nation of Israel!

I am about to bring a nation from far away to attack you.

It will be a nation that was founded long ago

and has lasted for a long time.

It will be a nation whose language you will not know.

Its people will speak words that you will not be able to understand.

16 All its soldiers are strong and mighty.

Their arrows will send you to your grave.

17 They will eat up your crops and your food.

They will kill off your sons and your daughters.

They will eat up your sheep and your cattle.

They will destroy your vines and your fig trees.

Their weapons will batter down

the fortified cities you trust in.

18 “Yet even then I will not completely destroy you,” says the Lord. 19 “So then, Jeremiah, when your people ask, ‘Why has the Lord our God done all this to us?’ tell them, ‘It is because you rejected me and served foreign gods in your own land. So you must serve foreigners in a land that does not belong to you.’

20 “Proclaim this message among the descendants of Jacob.

Make it known throughout Judah.

21 Tell them: ‘Hear this,

you foolish people who have no understanding,

who have eyes but do not discern,

who have ears but do not perceive:

22 “You should fear me!” says the Lord.

“You should tremble in awe before me!

I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea,

a permanent barrier that it can never cross.

Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail.

They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.”

23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.

They have turned aside and gone their own way.

24 They do not say to themselves,

“Let us revere the Lord our God.

It is he who gives us the autumn rains and the spring rains at the proper time.

It is he who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.”

25 Your misdeeds have stopped these things from coming.

Your sins have deprived you of my bounty.’

26 Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people.

They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush.

They set deadly traps to catch people.

27 Like a cage filled with the birds that have been caught,

their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit.

That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful.

28 That is how they have grown fat and sleek.

There is no limit to the evil things they do.

They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it.

They do not defend the rights of the poor.

29 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the Lord.

“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this!

30 Something horrible and shocking

is going on in the land of Judah:

31 The prophets prophesy lies.

The priests exercise power by their own authority.

And my people love to have it this way.

But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes!

6:1 “Run for safety, people of Benjamin!

Get out of Jerusalem!

Sound the trumpet in Tekoa!

Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem!

For disaster lurks out of the north;

it will bring great destruction.

2 I will destroy Daughter Zion,

who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden.

3 Kings will attack her with their armies.

They will encamp in siege all around her.

Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him.

4 They will say, ‘Prepare to do battle against it!

Come on! Let’s attack it at noon!’

But later they will say, ‘Woe to us!

For the day is almost over,

and the shadows of evening are getting long.

5 So come on, let’s go ahead and attack it by night

and destroy all its fortified buildings.’

6 All this is because the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said:

‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem

and build up a siege ramp against its walls.

This is the city that is to be punished.

Nothing but oppression happens in it.

7 As a well continually pours out fresh water,

so it continually pours out wicked deeds.

Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it.

All I see are sick and wounded people.’

8 So take warning, Jerusalem,

or I will abandon you in disgust

and make you desolate,

a place where no one can live.”

9 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies said to me:

“Those who remain in Israel will be

like the grapes thoroughly gleaned from a vine.

So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester

passing your hand over the branches one last time.”

10 I answered,

“Who would listen

if I spoke to them and warned them?

Their ears are so closed

that they cannot hear!

Indeed, the Lord’s message is offensive to them.

They do not like it at all.

11 I am as full of anger as you are, Lord.

I am tired of trying to hold it in.”

The Lord answered,

“Vent it, then, on the children who play in the street

and on the young men who are gathered together.

Husbands and wives are to be included,

as well as the old and those who are advanced in years.

12 Their houses will be turned over to others

as will their fields and their wives.

For I will unleash my power

against those who live in this land,”

says the Lord.

13 “That is because, from the least important to the most important of them,

all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.

Prophets and priests alike,

all of them practice deceit.

14 They offer only superficial help

for the harm my people have suffered.

They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’

But everything is not all right!

15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things?

No, they are not at all ashamed.

They do not even know how to blush!

So they will die, just like others have died.

They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,”

says the Lord.

16 The Lord said to his people:

“You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path.

Ask where the old, reliable paths are.

Ask where the path is that leads to blessing and follow it.

If you do, you will find rest for your souls.”

But they said, “We will not follow it!”

17 The Lord said,

“I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, saying,

‘Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!’”

But they said, “We will not pay attention!”

18 So the Lord said,

“Hear, you nations!

Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people.

19 Hear this, you peoples of the earth:

‘Take note! I am about to bring disaster on these people.

It will come as punishment for their scheming.

For they have paid no attention to what I have said,

and they have rejected my law.

20 I take no delight when they offer up to me

frankincense that comes from Sheba

or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land.

I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring me.

I get no pleasure from the sacrifices they offer to me.’”

21 So, this is what the Lord says:

“I will assuredly make these people stumble to their doom.

Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction.

Friends and neighbors will die.”

22 This is what the Lord says:

“Beware! An army is coming from a land in the north.

A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.

23 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.

They are cruel and show no mercy.

They sound like the roaring sea

as they ride forth on their horses.

Lined up in formation like men going into battle

to attack you, Daughter Zion.”

24 The people cry out, “We have heard reports about them.

We have become helpless with fear!

Anguish grips us,

agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!

25 Do not go out into the countryside.

Do not travel on the roads.

For the enemy is there with sword in hand.

They are spreading terror everywhere.”

26 So I said, “Oh, my dear people, put on sackcloth

and roll in ashes.

Mourn with painful sobs

as though you had lost your only child.

For any moment now that destructive army

will come against us.”

27 The Lord said to me,

“I have made you like a metal assayer

to test my people like ore.

You are to observe them

and evaluate how they behave.”

28 I reported,

“All of them are the most stubborn of rebels!

They are as hard as bronze or iron.

They go about telling lies.

They all deal corruptly.

29 The fiery bellows of judgment burn fiercely.

But there is too much dross to be removed.

The process of refining them has proved useless.

The wicked have not been purged.

30 They are regarded as ‘rejected silver’

because the Lord rejects them.”

7:1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 2 “Stand in the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim this message: ‘Listen to the Lord’s message, all you people of Judah who have passed through these gates to worship the Lord. 3 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Change the way you have been living and do what is right. If you do, I will allow you to continue to live in this land. 4 Stop putting your confidence in the false belief that says, “We are safe! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here! The temple of the Lord is here!” 5 You must change the way you have been living and do what is right. You must treat one another fairly. 6 Stop oppressing resident foreigners who live in your land, children who have lost their fathers, and women who have lost their husbands. Stop killing innocent people in this land. Stop paying allegiance to other gods. That will only bring about your ruin. 7 If you stop doing these things, I will allow you to continue to live in this land that I gave to your ancestors as a lasting possession.

8 “‘But just look at you! You are putting your confidence in a false belief that will not deliver you. 9 You steal. You murder. You commit adultery. You lie when you swear on oath. You sacrifice to the god Baal. You pay allegiance to other gods whom you have not previously known. 10 Then you come and stand in my presence in this temple I have claimed as my own and say, “We are safe!” You think you are so safe that you go on doing all those hateful sins! 11 Do you think this temple I have claimed as my own is to be a hideout for robbers? You had better take note! I have seen for myself what you have done! says the Lord. 12 So, go to the place in Shiloh where I allowed myself to be worshiped in the early days. See what I did to it because of the wicked things my people Israel did. 13 You also have done all these things, says the Lord, and I have spoken to you over and over again. But you have not listened! You have refused to respond when I called you to repent! 14 So I will destroy this temple that I have claimed as my own, this temple that you are trusting to protect you. I will destroy this place that I gave to you and your ancestors, just like I destroyed Shiloh. 15 And I will drive you out of my sight just like I drove out your relatives, the people of Israel.’

16 “But as for you, Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not raise a cry of prayer for them! Do not plead with me to save them, because I will not listen to you. 17 Do you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 Children are gathering firewood, fathers are building fires with it, and women are mixing dough to bake cakes to offer to the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They are also pouring out drink offerings to other gods. They seem to do all this just to trouble me. 19 But I am not really the one being troubled! says the Lord. Rather they are bringing trouble on themselves to their own shame! 20 So, the Sovereign Lord says, my raging fury will be poured out on this land. It will be poured out on human beings and animals, on trees and crops. And it will burn like a fire that cannot be extinguished.

21 “The Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to the people of Judah: ‘You might as well go ahead and add the meat of your burnt offerings to that of the other sacrifices and eat it, too! 22 Consider this: When I spoke to your ancestors after I brought them out of Egypt, I did not merely give them commands about burnt offerings and sacrifices. 23 I also explicitly commanded them: “Obey me. If you do, I will be your God and you will be my people. Live exactly the way I tell you and things will go well with you.” 24 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me. They followed the stubborn inclinations of their own wicked hearts. They acted worse and worse instead of better. 25 From the time your ancestors departed the land of Egypt until now, I sent my servants the prophets to you again and again, day after day. 26 But your ancestors did not listen to me nor pay attention to me. They became obstinate and were more wicked than even their own forefathers.’”

27 Then the Lord said to me, “When you tell them all this, they will not listen to you. When you call out to them, they will not respond to you. 28 So tell them: ‘This is a nation that has not obeyed the Lord their God and has not accepted correction. Faithfulness is nowhere to be found in it. These people do not even profess it anymore. 29 So mourn, you people of this nation. Cut off your hair and throw it away. Sing a song of mourning on the hilltops. For the Lord has decided to reject and forsake this generation that has provoked his wrath!’”

30 The Lord says, “I have rejected them because the people of Judah have done what I consider evil. They have set up their disgusting idols in the temple that I have claimed for my own and have defiled it. 31 They have also built places of worship in a place called Topheth in the Valley of Ben Hinnom so that they can sacrifice their sons and daughters by fire. That is something I never commanded them to do! Indeed, it never even entered my mind to command such a thing! 32 So, watch out!” says the Lord. “The time will soon come when people will no longer call those places Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom. But they will call that valley the Valley of Slaughter, and they will bury so many people in Topheth that they will run out of room. 33 Then the dead bodies of these people will be left on the ground for the birds and wild animals to eat. There will not be any survivors to scare them away. 34 I will put an end to the sounds of joy and gladness or the glad celebration of brides and grooms throughout the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem. For the whole land will become a desolate wasteland.”

The Scriptures quoted are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996, 2019 used with permission from Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. All rights reserved