A Satire on Idolatry
10 Hear the word which the Lord speaks to you, O house of Israel. 2 Thus says the Lord,
“Do not learn the way of the nations, And do not be terrified by the signs of the heavens Although the nations are terrified by them; 3 For the customs of the peoples are delusion; Because it is wood cut from the forest, The work of the hands of a craftsman with a cutting tool. 4 “They decorate it with silver and with gold; They fasten it with nails and with hammers So that it will not totter. 5 “Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, And they cannot speak; They must be carried, Because they cannot walk! Do not fear them, For they can do no harm, Nor can they do any good.”
6 There is none like You, O Lord; You are great, and great is Your name in might. 7 Who would not fear You, O King of the nations? Indeed it is Your due! For among all the wise men of the nations And in all their kingdoms, There is none like You. 8 But they are altogether stupid and foolish In their discipline of delusion—their idol is wood! 9 Beaten silver is brought from Tarshish, And gold from Uphaz, The work of a craftsman and of the hands of a goldsmith; Violet and purple are their clothing; They are all the work of skilled men. 10 But the Lord is the true God; He is the living God and the everlasting King. At His wrath the earth quakes, And the nations cannot endure His indignation.
11 Thus you shall say to them, “The gods that did not make the heavens and the earth will perish from the earth and from under the heavens.”
12 It is He who made the earth by His power, Who established the world by His wisdom; And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens. 13 When He utters His voice, there is a tumult of waters in the heavens, And He causes the clouds to ascend from the end of the earth; He makes lightning for the rain, And brings out the wind from His storehouses. 14 Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; For his molten images are deceitful, And there is no breath in them. 15 They are worthless, a work of mockery; In the time of their punishment they will perish. 16 The portion of Jacob is not like these; For the Maker of all is He, And Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; The Lord of hosts is His name.
17 Pick up your bundle from the ground, You who dwell under siege!
18 For thus says the Lord,
“Behold, I am slinging out the inhabitants of the land At this time, And will cause them distress, That they may be found.”
19 Woe is me, because of my injury! My wound is incurable. But I said, “Truly this is a sickness, And I must bear it.” 20 My tent is destroyed, And all my ropes are broken; My sons have gone from me and are no more. There is no one to stretch out my tent again Or to set up my curtains. 21 For the shepherds have become stupid And have not sought the Lord; Therefore they have not prospered, And all their flock is scattered. 22 The sound of a report! Behold, it comes— A great commotion out of the land of the north— To make the cities of Judah A desolation, a haunt of jackals.
23 I know, O Lord, that a man’s way is not in himself, Nor is it in a man who walks to direct his steps. 24 Correct me, O Lord, but with justice; Not with Your anger, or You will bring me to nothing. 25 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that do not know You And on the families that do not call Your name; For they have devoured Jacob; They have devoured him and consumed him And have laid waste his habitation.
The Broken Covenant
11 The word which came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, 2 “Hear the words of this covenant, and speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; 3 and say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Cursed is the man who does not heed the words of this covenant 4 which I commanded your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, ‘Listen to My voice, and do according to all which I command you; so you shall be My people, and I will be your God,’ 5 in order to confirm the oath which I swore to your forefathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day.”’” Then I said, “Amen, O Lord.”
6 And the Lord said to me, “Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Hear the words of this covenant and do them. 7 For I solemnly warned your fathers in the day that I brought them up from the land of Egypt, even to this day, warning persistently, saying, “Listen to My voice.” 8 Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked, each one, in the stubbornness of his evil heart; therefore I brought on them all the words of this covenant, which I commanded them to do, but they did not.’”
9 Then the Lord said to me, “A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. 10 They have turned back to the iniquities of their ancestors who refused to hear My words, and they have gone after other gods to serve them; the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers.” 11 Therefore thus says the Lord, “Behold I am bringing disaster on them which they will not be able to escape; though they will cry to Me, yet I will not listen to them. 12 Then the cities of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they burn incense, but they surely will not save them in the time of their disaster. 13 For your gods are as many as your cities, O Judah; and as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars you have set up to the shameful thing, altars to burn incense to Baal.
14 “Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them; for I will not listen when they call to Me because of their disaster.
15 “What right has My beloved in My house When she has done many vile deeds? Can the sacrificial flesh take away from you your disaster, So that you can rejoice?” 16 The Lord called your name, “A green olive tree, beautiful in fruit and form”; With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire on it, And its branches are worthless.
17 The Lord of hosts, who planted you, has pronounced evil against you because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done to provoke Me by offering up sacrifices to Baal.
Plots against Jeremiah
18 Moreover, the Lord made it known to me and I knew it; Then You showed me their deeds. 19 But I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter; And I did not know that they had devised plots against me, saying, “Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, And let us cut him off from the land of the living, That his name be remembered no more.” 20 But, O Lord of hosts, who judges righteously, Who tries the feelings and the heart, Let me see Your vengeance on them, For to You have I committed my cause.
21 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, saying, “Do not prophesy in the name of the Lord, so that you will not die at our hand”; 22 therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, I am about to punish them! The young men will die by the sword, their sons and daughters will die by famine; 23 and a remnant will not be left to them, for I will bring disaster on the men of Anathoth—the year of their punishment.”
12 Righteous are You, O Lord, that I would plead my case with You; Indeed I would discuss matters of justice with You: Why has the way of the wicked prospered? Why are all those who deal in treachery at ease? 2 You have planted them, they have also taken root; They grow, they have even produced fruit. You are near to their lips But far from their mind. 3 But You know me, O Lord; You see me; And You examine my heart’s attitude toward You. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter And set them apart for a day of carnage! 4 How long is the land to mourn And the vegetation of the countryside to wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it, Animals and birds have been snatched away, Because men have said, “He will not see our latter ending.”
5 “If you have run with footmen and they have tired you out, Then how can you compete with horses? If you fall down in a land of peace, How will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? 6 “For even your brothers and the household of your father, Even they have dealt treacherously with you, Even they have cried aloud after you. Do not believe them, although they may say nice things to you.”
7 “I have forsaken My house, I have abandoned My inheritance; I have given the beloved of My soul Into the hand of her enemies. 8 “My inheritance has become to Me Like a lion in the forest; She has roared against Me; Therefore I have come to hate her. 9 “Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me? Are the birds of prey against her on every side? Go, gather all the beasts of the field, Bring them to devour! 10 “Many shepherds have ruined My vineyard, They have trampled down My field; They have made My pleasant field A desolate wilderness. 11 “It has been made a desolation, Desolate, it mourns before Me; The whole land has been made desolate, Because no man lays it to heart. 12 “On all the bare heights in the wilderness Destroyers have come, For a sword of the Lord is devouring From one end of the land even to the other; There is no peace for anyone. 13 “They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns, They have strained themselves to no profit. But be ashamed of your harvest Because of the fierce anger of the Lord.”
14 Thus says the Lord concerning all My wicked neighbors who strike at the inheritance with which I have endowed My people Israel, “Behold I am about to uproot them from their land and will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15 And it will come about that after I have uprooted them, I will again have compassion on them; and I will bring them back, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. 16 Then if they will really learn the ways of My people, to swear by My name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, they will be built up in the midst of My people.17 But if they will not listen, then I will uproot that nation, uproot and destroy it,” declares the Lord.
The Ruined Waistband
13 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and buy yourself a linen waistband and put it around your waist, but do not put it in water.” 2 So I bought the waistband in accordance with the word of the Lord and put it around my waist. 3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, 4 “Take the waistband that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a crevice of the rock.” 5 So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as the Lord had commanded me. 6 After many days the Lord said to me, “Arise, go to the Euphrates and take from there the waistband which I commanded you to hide there.” 7 Then I went to the Euphrates and dug, and I took the waistband from the place where I had hidden it; and lo, the waistband was ruined, it was totally worthless.
8 Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Thus says the Lord, ‘Just so will I destroy the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 This wicked people, who refuse to listen to My words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts and have gone after other gods to serve them and to bow down to them, let them be just like this waistband which is totally worthless. 11 For as the waistband clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole household of Israel and the whole household of Judah cling to Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘that they might be for Me a people, for renown, for praise and for glory; but they did not listen.’
12 “Therefore you are to speak this word to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Every jug is to be filled with wine.”’ And when they say to you, ‘Do we not very well know that every jug is to be filled with wine?’ 13 then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Behold I am about to fill all the inhabitants of this land—the kings that sit for David on his throne, the priests, the prophets and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem—with drunkenness! 14 I will dash them against each other, both the fathers and the sons together,” declares the Lord. “I will not show pity nor be sorry nor have compassion so as not to destroy them.”’”
15 Listen and give heed, do not be haughty, For the Lord has spoken. 16 Give glory to the Lord your God, Before He brings darkness And before your feet stumble On the dusky mountains, And while you are hoping for light He makes it into deep darkness, And turns it into gloom. 17 But if you will not listen to it, My soul will sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the Lord has been taken captive. 18 Say to the king and the queen mother, “Take a lowly seat, For your beautiful crown Has come down from your head.” 19 The cities of the Negev have been locked up, And there is no one to open them; All Judah has been carried into exile, Wholly carried into exile.
20 “Lift up your eyes and see Those coming from the north. Where is the flock that was given you, Your beautiful sheep? 21 “What will you say when He appoints over you— And you yourself had taught them— Former companions to be head over you? Will not pangs take hold of you Like a woman in childbirth? 22 “If you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things happened to me?’ Because of the magnitude of your iniquity Your skirts have been removed And your heels have been exposed. 23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil. 24 “Therefore I will scatter them like drifting straw To the desert wind. 25 “This is your lot, the portion measured to you From Me,” declares the Lord, “Because you have forgotten Me And trusted in falsehood. 26 “So I Myself have also stripped your skirts off over your face, That your shame may be seen. 27 “As for your adulteries and your lustful neighings, The lewdness of your prostitution On the hills in the field, I have seen your abominations. Woe to you, O Jerusalem! How long will you remain unclean?”
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)