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Lament for Jerusalem

    9:1   If only my head was a stream of waters and my eyes fountains of weeping, so that I might go on weeping day and night for the dead of the daughter of my people ! 2 If only I had in the waste land a night's resting-place for travellers, so that I might go away, far from my people! for they are all untrue, a band of false men. 3 Their tongues are bent like a bow to send out false words : they have become strong in the land, but not for good faith : they go on from evil to evil, and they have no knowledge of me, says the Lord.
    9:4 Let everyone keep watch on his neighbour, and put no faith in any brother : for every brother will certainly be tricking his brother, and every neighbour will go about saying evil. 5 Everyone will make sport of his neighbour with deceit, not saying what is true : their tongues have been trained to say false words ; they are twisted, hating to come back. 6 There is wrong on wrong, deceit on deceit ; they have given up the knowledge of me, says the Lord.
    9:7 So the Lord of armies has said, See, I will make them soft in the fire and put them to the test; this I will do because of their evil-doing. 8 His tongue is an arrow causing death; the words of his mouth are deceit : he says words of peace to his neighbour, but in his heart he is waiting secretly for him. 9 Am I not to send punishment for these things? says the Lord : will not my soul take payment from such a nation as this?
    9:10 Give yourselves to weeping, crying out in sorrow for the mountains ; and for the fields of the waste land send up a song of grief, because they are burned up, so that no one goes through ; there is no sound of cattle ; the bird of the heavens and the beast are in flight and are gone. And I will make Jerusalem a mass of broken stones, the living-place of jackals ; and I will make the towns of Judah a waste, with no man living there.
    9:12 Who is the wise man able to see this ? who is he to whom the word of the Lord has come, so that he may make it clear ? why is the land given to destruction and burned up like a waste place, so that no one goes through? 13 And the Lord said, Because they have given up my law which I put before them, giving no attention to my voice and not being guided by it ; 14 But they have been walking in the pride of their hearts, going after the Baals, as their fathers gave them teaching. 15 So the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said, I will give them, even this people, bitter plants for food and bitter water for drink. 16 And I will send them wandering among the nations, among people strange to them and to their fathers : and I will send the sword after them till I have put an end to them.
    9:17 This is what the Lord of armies has said : Take thought and send for the weeping women, so that they may come ; and send for the wise women, so that they may come : 18 Let them quickly make cries of sorrow for us, so that drops may be flowing from our eyes till they are streaming with water. 19 For a sound of weeping goes up from Zion, a cry, How has destruction come on us ? we are overcome with shame because we have gone away from our land ; he has sent us out from our house.
    9:20 But even now, give ear to the word of the Lord, O you women ; let your ears be open to the word of his mouth, training your daughters to give cries of sorrow, everyone teaching her neighbour a song of grief. 21 For death has come up into our windows, forcing its way into our great houses ; cutting off the children in the streets and the young men in the wide places. 22 The bodies of men will be falling like waste on the open fields, and like grain dropped by the grain-cutter, and no one will take them up.
    9:23 This is the word of the Lord : Let not the wise man take pride in his wisdom, or the strong man in his strength, or the man of wealth in his wealth : 24 But if any man has pride, let it be in this, that he has the wisdom to have knowledge of me, that I am the Lord, working mercy, giving true decisions, and doing righteousness in the earth : for in these things I have delight, says the Lord.
    9:25 See, the day is coming, says the Lord, when I will send punishment on all those who have circumcision in the flesh ; 26 On Egypt and on Judah and on Edom and on the children of Ammon and on Moab and on all who have the ends of their hair cut, who are living in the waste land : for all these nations and all the people of Israel are without circumcision in their hearts.

Idols shall perish

    10:1   Give ear to the word which the Lord says to you, O people of Israel : 2 This is what the Lord has said : Do not go in the way of the nations ; have no fear of the signs of heaven, for the nations go in fear of them. 3 For that which is feared by the people is foolish : it is the work of the hands of the workman ; for a tree is cut down by him out of the woods with his axe. 4 They make it beautiful with silver and gold ; they make it strong with nails and hammers, so that it may not be moved. 5 It is like a pillar in a garden of plants, and has no voice : it has to be lifted, for it has no power of walking. Have no fear of it ; for it has no power of doing evil and it is not able to do any good.
    10:6 There is no one like you, O Lord ; you are great and your name is great in power. 7 Who would not have fear of you, O King of the nations ? for it is your right : for among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is no one like you. 8 But they are together like beasts and foolish : the teaching of false gods is wood. 9 Silver hammered into plates is sent from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the expert workman and of the hands of the gold-worker ; blue and purple is their clothing, all the work of expert men. 10 But the Lord is the true God ; he is the living God and an eternal king : when he is angry, the earth is shaking with fear, and the nations give way before his wrath.
    10:11 This is what you are to say to them : The gods who have not made the heavens and the earth will be cut off from the earth and from under the heavens. 12 He has made the earth by his power, he has made the world strong in its place by his wisdom, and by his wise design the heavens have been stretched out. 13 At the sound of his voice there is a massing of waters in the heavens, and he makes the mists go up from the ends of the earth ; he makes the thunder-flames for the rain, and sends out the wind from his store-houses. 14 Then every man becomes like a beast without knowledge ; every gold-worker is put to shame by the image he has made : for his metal image is deceit, and there is no breath in them. 15 They are nothing, a work of error : in the time of their punishment, destruction will overtake them. 16 The heritage of Jacob is not like these ; for the maker of all things is his heritage : the Lord of armies is his name.
    10:17 Get your goods together and go out of the land, O you who are shut up in the walled town. For the Lord has said, I will send the people in flight like a stone from the land at this time, troubling them so that they will be conscious of it.
    10:19 Sorrow is mine for I am wounded ! my wound may not be made well ; and I said, Cruel is my disease, I may not be free from it. My tent is pulled down and all my cords are broken : my children have gone from me, and they are not : no longer is there anyone to give help in stretching out my tent and hanging up my curtains. 21 For the keepers of the sheep have become like beasts, not looking to the Lord for directions : so they have not done wisely and all their flocks have been put to flight.
    10:22 News is going about, see, it is coming, a great shaking is coming from the north country, so that the towns of Judah may be made waste and become the living-place of jackals. 23 O Lord, I am conscious that a man's way is not in himself : man has no power of guiding his steps. 24 O Lord, put me right, but with wise purpose ; not in your wrath, or you will make me small.
    10:25 Let your wrath be let loose on the nations which have no knowledge of you, and on the families who give no worship to your name : for they have made a meal of Jacob, truly they have made a meal of him and put an end to him and made his fields a waste.

The broken covenant

    11:1   The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 Give ear to the words of this agreement, and say to the men of Judah and to the people of Jerusalem, 3 The Lord, the God of Israel, has said, Let that man be cursed who does not give ear to the words of this agreement, 4 To the order which I gave your fathers on the day when I took them out of the land of Egypt, out of the oven of iron, saying, Give ear to my voice, and do all the orders I have given you : so you will be my people, and I will be your God : 5 So that I may give effect to the oath which I made to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey as at this day. And I said in answer, So be it, O Lord.
    11:6 And the Lord said to me, Give out these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Give ear to the words of this agreement and do them. 7 For I gave certain witness to your fathers on the day when I took them up out of the land of Egypt, and even to this day, getting up early and witnessing and saying, Give ear to my voice. 8 But they gave no attention and did not give ear, but they went on, every man in the pride of his evil heart: so I sent on them all the curses in this agreement, which I gave them orders to keep, but they did not.
    11:9 And the Lord said to me, There is an evil design at work among the men of Judah and the people of Jerusalem. 10 They are turned back to the sins of their fathers, who would not give ear to my words ; they have gone after other gods and become their servants : the people of Israel and the people of Judah have not kept the agreement which I made with their fathers. 11 So the Lord has said, I will send evil on them, which they will not be able to get away from ; and they will send up a cry for help to me, but I will not give ear to them. 12 Then the towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go crying for help to the gods to whom they have been burning perfumes : but they will give them no salvation in the time of their trouble. 13 For the number of your gods is as the number of your towns, O Judah ; and for every street in Jerusalem you have put up altars to the Baal for burning perfumes to the Baal.
    11:14 And as for you, make no prayers for this people, send up no cry or prayer for them : for I will not give ear to their cry in the time of their trouble. 15 About Judah. What have you to do in my house ? is it your thought that oaths and holy flesh will get you out of your trouble ? will you make yourself safe in this way? 16 You had been named by the Lord, A branching olive-tree, fair with beautiful fruit : with the noise of a great rushing he has put it on fire and its branches are broken. 17 For the Lord of armies, by whom you were planted, has given his decision for evil against you, because of the evil which the people of Israel and the people of Judah have done, In moving me to wrath by offering perfumes to the Baal.
    11:18 And the Lord gave me knowledge of it and I saw it: then you made clear to me their doings. 19 But I was like a gentle lamb taken to be put to death; I had no thought that they were designing evil against me, saying, Come and let us make trouble his food, cutting him off from the land of the living, so that there may be no more memory of his name. 20 But, O Lord of armies, judging in righteousness, testing the thoughts and the heart, let me see your punishment come on them : for I have put my cause before you.
    11:21 So this is what the Lord of armies has said about the men of Anathoth who have made designs against your life, saying, You are not to be a prophet in the name of the Lord, or death will overtake you by our hands : 22 So the Lord of armies has said, See, I will send punishment on them : the young men will be put to the sword ; their sons and their daughters will come to death through need of food : 23 Not one of them will keep his life, for I will send evil on the men of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.


    12:1   You are in the right, O Lord, when I put my cause before you : still let me take up with you the question of your decisions : why does the evil-doer do well ? why are the workers of deceit living in comfort ? 2 They have been planted by you, they have taken root ; they go on and give fruit : you are near in their mouths but far from their thoughts. 3 But you, O Lord, have knowledge of me ; you see me, searching and testing how my heart is with you : let them be pulled out like sheep to be put to death, make them ready for the day of death. 4 How long will the land have grief, and the plants of all the land be dry ? because of the sins of the people living in it, destruction has overtaken the beasts and the birds ; because they said, God does not see our ways.
5   If running with the fighting-men has made you tired, how will you be able to keep up with horses ? and if in a land of peace you go in flight, what will become of you in the thick growth of Jordan ? 6 For even your brothers, your father's family, even they have been untrue to you, crying loudly after you : have no faith in them, though they say fair words to you.
7   I have given up my house, I have let my heritage go ; I have given the loved one of my soul into the hands of her haters. 8 My heritage has become like a lion in the woodland to me ; her voice has been loud against me; so I have hate for her. 9 My heritage is like a brightly coloured bird to me ; the cruel birds are attacking her on every side : go, get together all the beasts of the field, make them come for destruction. 10 The keepers of sheep have been the destruction of my vine-garden, crushing my heritage under their feet ; they have made my fair heritage an unplanted waste ; 11 They have made it waste ; it is weeping to me, being wasted ; all the land is made waste, because no man takes it to heart. 12 Those who make waste have come on all the open hilltops in the waste land ; for the sword of the Lord sends destruction from one end of the land to the other end of the land : no flesh has peace. 13 Though good grain was planted, they have got in thorns : they have given themselves pain without profit : they will be shamed on account of their produce, because of the burning wrath of the Lord.
    12:14 This is what the Lord has said against all my evil neighbours, who put their hands on the heritage which I gave my people Israel : See, I will have them uprooted from their land, uprooting the people of Judah from among them. 15 And it will come about that, after they have been uprooted, I will again have pity on them ; and I will take them back, every man to his heritage and every man to his land. 16 And it will be that, if they give their minds to learning the ways of my people, using my name in their oaths, By the living Lord ; as they have been teaching my people to take oaths by the Baal ; then their place will be made certain among my people. 17 But if they will not give ear, then I will have that nation uprooted, and given to destruction, says the Lord.

Sign of the waistcloth

    13:1   This is what the Lord said to me : Go and get yourself a linen band and put it round you and do not put it in water. 2 So, as the Lord said, I got a band for a price and put it round my body. 3 And the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 Take the band which you got for a price, which is round your body, and go to Parah and put it in a secret place there in a hole of the rock. 5 So I went and put it in a secret place by Parah, as the Lord had said to me. 6 Then after a long time, the Lord said to me, Up! go to Parah and get the band which I gave you orders to put there. 7 So I went to Parah and, uncovering the hole, took the band from the place where I had put it away : and the band was damaged and of no use for anything.
    13:8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 The Lord has said, In this way I will do damage to the pride of Judah and to the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These evil people who say they will not give ear to my words, who go on in the pride of their hearts and have become servants and worshippers of other gods, will become like this band which is of no use for anything. 11 For as a band goes tightly round a man's body, so I made all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah tightly united to me ; so that they might be a people for me and a name and a praise and a glory : but they would not give ear.
    13:12 So you are to say this word to them : This is the word of the Lord, the God of Israel : Every skin bottle will be full of wine ; and they will say to you, Is it not quite clear to us that every skin bottle will be full of wine ? 13 Then you are to say to them, The Lord has said, I will make all the people of this land, even the kings seated on David's seat, and the priests and the prophets and all the people of Jerusalem, overcome with strong drink. 14 I will have them smashed against one another, fathers and sons together, says the Lord : I will have no pity or mercy, I will have no feeling for them to keep me from giving them to destruction.
    15 Give ear and let your ears be open ; be not lifted up : for these are the words of the Lord. 16 Give glory to the Lord your God, before he makes it dark, and before your feet are slipping on the dark mountains, and, while you are looking for a light, he makes it into deep dark, into black night. 17 But if you do not give ear to it, my soul will be weeping in secret for your pride ; my eye will be weeping bitterly, streaming with water, because the Lord's flock has been taken away as prisoners.
13:18     Say to the king and to the queen-mother, Make yourselves low, be seated on the earth : for the crown of your glory has come down from your heads. The towns of the south are shut up, and there is no one to make them open : Judah is taken away as prisoners ; all Judah is taken away as prisoners. 13:20     Let your eyes be lifted up (O Jerusalem), and see those who are coming from the north. Where is the flock which was given to you, your beautiful flock ? 21 What will you say when he puts over you those whom you yourself have made your friends ? will not pains take you like a woman in childbirth ? 22 And if you say in your heart, Why have these things come on me ? because of the number of your sins, your skirts have been uncovered and violent punishment overtakes you. 23 Is it possible for the skin of the Ethiopian to be changed, or the markings on the leopard ? Then it might be possible for you to do good, who have been trained to do evil. 24 So I will send them in all directions, as dry grass is taken away by the wind of the waste land. 25 This is your fate, the part measured out to you by me, says the Lord, because you have put me out of your memory and put your faith in what is false. 26 So I will have your skirts uncovered before your face, in order that your shame may be seen. 27 I have seen your disgusting acts, even your false behaviour and your cries of desire and your loose ways on the hills in the field. Unhappy are you, O Jerusalem, you have no desire to be made clean ; how long will you be in turning back to me?

Rejection of Judah

    14:1   The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah when there was no water. 2 Judah is weeping and its doors are dark with sorrow, and people are seated on the earth clothed in black ; and the cry of Jerusalem has gone up. 3 Their great men have sent their servants for water : they come to the holes and there is no water to be seen ; they come back with nothing in their vessels ; they are overcome with shame and fear, covering their heads. 4 Those who do work on the land are in fear, for there has been no rain on the land, and the farmers are shamed, covering their heads. 5 And the roe, giving birth in the field, lets her young one be uncared for, because there is no grass. 6 And the asses of the field on the open hilltops are opening their mouths wide like jackals14:7     Though our sins give witness against us, do something, O Lord, for the honour of your name : for again and again we have been turned away from you, we have done evil against you. 8 O you hope of Israel, its saviour in time of trouble, why are you like one who is strange in the land, and like a traveller putting up his tent for a night ? 9 Why are you like a man surprised, like a man of war who is not able to give help ? but you, O Lord, are with us, and we are named by your name ; do not go away from us.
14:10     This is what the Lord has said about this people : Even so they have been glad to go from the right way ; they have not kept their feet from wandering, so the Lord has no pleasure in them ; now he will keep their wrongdoing in mind and send punishment for their sins.
    14:11 And the Lord said to me, Make no prayer for this people for their good. 12 When they go without food, I will not give ear to their cry ; when they give burned offerings and meal offerings, I will not take pleasure in them : but I will put an end to them by the sword and by need of food and by disease.
    14:13 Then I said, Ah, Lord God ! see, the prophets say to them, You will not see the sword or be short of food ; but I will give you certain peace in this place. 14 Then the Lord said to me, The prophets say false words in my name, and I gave them no orders, and I said nothing to them: what they say to you is a false vision and wonder-working words without substance, the deceit of their hearts. 15 So this is what the Lord has said about the prophets who make use of my name, though I sent them not, and say, The sword and need of food will not be in this land : the sword and need of food will put an end to those prophets. 16 And the people to whom they are prophets will be pushed out dead into the streets of Jerusalem, because there is no food, and because of the sword ; and they will have no one to put their bodies into the earth, them or their wives or their sons or their daughters : for I will let loose their evil-doing on them.
17     And you are to say this word to them, Let my eyes be streaming with water night and day, and let it not be stopped ; for the virgin daughter of my people is wounded with a great wound, with a very bitter blow. 18 If I go out into the open country, there are those put to death by the sword ! and if I go into the town, there are those who are diseased from need of food ! for the prophet and the priest go about in the land and have no knowledge.
19     Have you completely given up Judah ? is your soul turned in disgust from Zion? why have you given us blows from which there is no one to make us well ? we were looking for peace, but no good came ; and for a time of well-being, but there was only a great fear. 20 We are conscious, O Lord, of our sin and of the wrongdoing of our fathers : we have done evil against you. 21 Do not be turned from us in disgust, because of your name ; do not put shame on the seat of your glory : keep us in mind, let not your agreement with us be broken. 22 Are any of the false gods of the nations able to make rain come ? are the heavens able to give showers? are you not he, O Lord our God ? so we will go on waiting for you, for you have done all these things.

Grievous distress foretold

    15:1   Then the Lord said to me, Even if Moses and Samuel came before me, I would have no desire for this people : send them away from before me, and let them go. 2 And it will be, when they say to you, Where are we to go ? then you are to say to them, The Lord has said,
    Such as are for death, to death ; and such as are for the sword, to the sword ; and such as are to be in need of food, to need of food ; and such as are to be taken away prisoners, to be taken away. 3 And I will put over them four divisions, says the Lord : the sword causing death, dogs pulling the dead bodies about, and the birds of heaven, and the beasts of the earth to take their bodies for food and put an end to them. 4 And I will make them a cause of fear to all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, and what he did in Jerusalem.
5   For who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem ? and who will have sorrow for you ? or who will go out of his way to see how you are ? 6 You have given me up, says the Lord, you have gone back: so my hand is stretched out against you for your destruction ; I am tired of changing my purpose. 7 And I have sent a cleaning wind on them in the public places of the land ; I have taken their children from them ; I have given my people to destruction; they have not been turned from their ways. 8 I have let their widows be increased in number more than the sand of the seas : I have sent against them, against the mother and the young men, one who makes waste in the heat of the day, causing pain and fears to come on her suddenly. 9 The mother of seven is without strength ; her spirit is gone from her, her sun has gone down while it is still day : she has been shamed and overcome : and the rest of them I will give up to the sword before their haters, says the Lord.
    15:10 Sorrow is mine, my mother, because you have given birth to me, a cause of fighting and argument in all the earth ! I have not made men my creditors and I am not in debt to any, but every one of them is cursing me. 11 So let it be, O Lord, . . . 12 Is it possible for iron to be broken ; even iron from the north, and brass?
    15:13 I will give your wealth and your stores to your attackers, without a price, because of all your sins, even in every part of your land. 14 They will go away with your haters into a land which is strange to you : for my wrath is on fire with a flame which will be burning on you.
15     O Lord, you have knowledge : keep me in mind and come to my help, and give their right reward to those who are attacking me ; take me not away, for you are slow to be angry : see how I have undergone shame because of you from all those who make little of your word ; 16 But to me your word is a joy, making my heart glad ; for I am named by your name, O Lord God of armies. 17 I did not take my seat among the band of those who are glad, and I had no joy ; I kept by myself because of your hand ; for you have made me full of wrath. 18 Why is my pain unending and my wound without hope of being made well ? Sorrow is mine, for you are to me as a stream offering false hope and as waters which are not certain.
19     For this cause the Lord has said, If you will come back, then I will again let you take your place before me ; and if you give out what is of value and not that which has no value, you will be as my mouth: let them come back to you, but do not go back to them. 20 And I will make you a strong wall of brass to this people ; they will be fighting against you, but they will not overcome you : for I am with you to keep you safe, says the Lord. 21 I will keep you safe from the hands of the evil-doers, and I will give you salvation from the hands of the cruel ones.

Complete ruin of Judah

    16:1   Then again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 2 You are not to take a wife for yourself or have sons or daughters in this place. 3 For this is what the Lord has said about the sons and daughters who come to birth in this place, and about their mothers who have given them birth, and about their fathers who have given life to them in this land: 4 Death from evil diseases will overtake them ; there will be no weeping for them and their bodies will not be put to rest ; they will be like waste on the face of the earth : the sword and need of food will put an end to them ; their dead bodies will be meat for the birds of heaven and for the beasts of the earth.
    16:5 For this is what the Lord has said : Do not go into the house of sorrow, do not go to make weeping or songs of grief for them : for I have taken away my peace from this people, says the Lord, even mercy and pity. 6 Death will overtake great as well as small in the land : their bodies will not be put in a resting-place, and no one will be weeping for them or wounding themselves or cutting off their hair for them : 7 No one will make a feast for them in sorrow, to give them comfort for the dead, or put to their lips the cup of comfort on account of their father or their mother. 8 And you are not to go into the house of feasting, or be seated with them to take food or drink. 9 For the Lord of armies, the God of Israel, has said, See, before your eyes and in your days I will put an end in this place to the laughing voices and the voice of joy ; to the voice of the newly-married man and the voice of the bride.
    16:10 And it will be, that when you say all these words to the people, then they will say to you, Why has the Lord done all this evil against us ? what is our wrongdoing and what is our sin which we have done against the Lord our God? 11 Then you will say to them, Because your fathers have given me up, says the Lord, and have gone after other gods and become their servants and their worshippers, and have given me up and have not kept my law ; 12 And you have done worse evil than your fathers ; for see, every one of you is guided by the pride of his evil heart, so as not to give ear to me : 13 For this reason I will send you away out of this land into a land which is strange to you, to you and to your fathers ; there you will be the servants of other gods day and night, and you will have no mercy from me.
    16:14 For this cause, see, the days are coming, says the Lord, when it will no longer be said, By the living Lord, who took the children of Israel up out of the land of Egypt. 15 But, By the living Lord, who took the children of Israel up out of the land of the north, and from all the countries where he had sent them : and I will take them back again to their land which I gave to their fathers.
    16:16 See, I will send for great numbers of fishermen, says the Lord, and they will take them like fish in a net ; and after that, I will send for numbers of bowmen, and they will go after them, driving them from every mountain and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks. 17 For my eyes are on all their ways : there is no cover for them from my face, and their evil-doing is not kept secret from my eyes. 18 And I will give them the reward of their evil-doing and their sin twice over ; because they have made my land unclean, and have made my heritage full of the bodies of their unholy and disgusting things.
    19 O Lord, my strength and my strong tower, my safe place in the day of trouble, the nations will come to you from the ends of the earth, and say, The heritage of our fathers is nothing but deceit, even false things in which there is no profit. 20 Will a man make for himself gods which are no gods ?
    16:21 For this reason, truly, I will make them see, this once I will give them knowledge of my hand and my power ; and they will be certain that my name is the Lord.

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