Drought and a Prayer for Mercy
14 That which came as the word of the Lord to Jeremiah in regard to the drought:
2 “Judah mourns And her gates languish; They sit on the ground in mourning, And the cry of Jerusalem has ascended. 3 “Their nobles have sent their servants for water; They have come to the cisterns and found no water. They have returned with their vessels empty; They have been put to shame and humiliated, And they cover their heads. 4 “Because the ground is cracked, For there has been no rain on the land; The farmers have been put to shame, They have covered their heads. 5 “For even the doe in the field has given birth only to abandon her young, Because there is no grass. 6 “The wild donkeys stand on the bare heights; They pant for air like jackals, Their eyes fail For there is no vegetation. 7 “Although our iniquities testify against us, O Lord, act for Your name’s sake! Truly our apostasies have been many, We have sinned against You. 8 “O Hope of Israel, Its Savior in time of distress, Why are You like a stranger in the land Or like a traveler who has pitched his tent for the night? 9 “Why are You like a man dismayed, Like a mighty man who cannot save? Yet You are in our midst, O Lord, And we are called by Your name; Do not forsake us!”
10 Thus says the Lord to this people, “Even so they have loved to wander; they have not kept their feet in check. Therefore the Lord does not accept them; now He will remember their iniquity and call their sins to account.” 11 So the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12 When they fast, I am not going to listen to their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I am not going to accept them. Rather I am going to make an end of them by the sword, famine and pestilence.”
13 But, “Ah, Lord God!” I said, “Look, the prophets are telling them, ‘You will not see the sword nor will you have famine, but I will give you lasting peace in this place.’” 14 Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds. 15 Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the prophets who are prophesying in My name, although it was not I who sent them—yet they keep saying, ‘There will be no sword or famine in this land’—by sword and famine those prophets shall meet their end! 16 The people also to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and there will be no one to bury them—neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters—for I will pour out their own wickedness on them.
17 “You will say this word to them, ‘Let my eyes flow down with tears night and day, And let them not cease; For the virgin daughter of my people has been crushed with a mighty blow, With a sorely infected wound. 18 ‘If I go out to the country, Behold, those slain with the sword! Or if I enter the city, Behold, diseases of famine! For both prophet and priest Have gone roving about in the land that they do not know.’”
19 Have You completely rejected Judah? Or have You loathed Zion? Why have You stricken us so that we are beyond healing? We waited for peace, but nothing good came; And for a time of healing, but behold, terror! 20 We know our wickedness, O Lord, The iniquity of our fathers, for we have sinned against You. 21 Do not despise us, for Your own name’s sake; Do not disgrace the throne of Your glory; Remember and do not annul Your covenant with us. 22 Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, For You are the one who has done all these things.
Judgment Must Come
15 Then the Lord said to me, “Even though Moses and Samuel were to stand before Me, My heart would not be with this people; send them away from My presence and let them go! 2 And it shall be that when they say to you, ‘Where should we go?’ then you are to tell them, ‘Thus says the Lord:
“Those destined for death, to death; And those destined for the sword, to the sword; And those destined for famine, to famine; And those destined for captivity, to captivity.”’
3 I will appoint over them four kinds of doom,” declares the Lord: “the sword to slay, the dogs to drag off, and the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy. 4 I will make them an object of horror among all the kingdoms of the earth because of Manasseh, the son of Hezekiah, the king of Judah, for what he did in Jerusalem.
5 “Indeed, who will have pity on you, O Jerusalem, Or who will mourn for you, Or who will turn aside to ask about your welfare? 6 “You who have forsaken Me,” declares the Lord, “You keep going backward. So I will stretch out My hand against you and destroy you; I am tired of relenting! 7 “I will winnow them with a winnowing fork At the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy My people; They did not repent of their ways. 8 “Their widows will be more numerous before Me Than the sand of the seas; I will bring against them, against the mother of a young man, A destroyer at noonday; I will suddenly bring down on her Anguish and dismay. 9 “She who bore seven sons pines away; Her breathing is labored. Her sun has set while it was yet day; She has been shamed and humiliated. So I will give over their survivors to the sword Before their enemies,” declares the Lord.
10 Woe to me, my mother, that you have borne me As a man of strife and a man of contention to all the land! I have not lent, nor have men lent money to me, Yet everyone curses me. 11 The Lord said, “Surely I will set you free for purposes of good; Surely I will cause the enemy to make supplication to you In a time of disaster and a time of distress.
12 “Can anyone smash iron, Iron from the north, or bronze? 13 “Your wealth and your treasures I will give for booty without cost, Even for all your sins And within all your borders. 14 “Then I will cause your enemies to bring it Into a land you do not know; For a fire has been kindled in My anger, It will burn upon you.”
Jeremiah’s Prayer and God’s Answer
15 You who know, O Lord, Remember me, take notice of me, And take vengeance for me on my persecutors. Do not, in view of Your patience, take me away; Know that for Your sake I endure reproach. 16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O Lord God of hosts. 17 I did not sit in the circle of merrymakers, Nor did I exult. Because of Your hand upon me I sat alone, For You filled me with indignation. 18 Why has my pain been perpetual And my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Will You indeed be to me like a deceptive stream With water that is unreliable?
19 Therefore, thus says the Lord, “If you return, then I will restore you— Before Me you will stand; And if you extract the precious from the worthless, You will become My spokesman. They for their part may turn to you, But as for you, you must not turn to them. 20 “Then I will make you to this people A fortified wall of bronze; And though they fight against you, They will not prevail over you; For I am with you to save you And deliver you,” declares the Lord. 21 “So I will deliver you from the hand of the wicked, And I will redeem you from the grasp of the violent.”
16 The word of the Lord also came to me saying, 2 “You shall not take a wife for yourself nor have sons or daughters in this place.” 3 For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters born in this place, and concerning their mothers who bear them, and their fathers who beget them in this land: 4 “They will die of deadly diseases, they will not be lamented or buried; they will be as dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their carcasses will become food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the earth.”
5 For thus says the Lord, “Do not enter a house of mourning, or go to lament or to console them; for I have withdrawn My peace from this people,” declares the Lord, “My lovingkindness and compassion.6 Both great men and small will die in this land; they will not be buried, they will not be lamented, nor will anyone gash himself or shave his head for them. 7 Men will not break bread in mourning for them, to comfort anyone for the dead, nor give them a cup of consolation to drink for anyone’s father or mother. 8 Moreover you shall not go into a house of feasting to sit with them to eat and drink.” 9 For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: “Behold, I am going to eliminate from this place, before your eyes and in your time, the voice of rejoicing and the voice of gladness, the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride.
10 “Now when you tell this people all these words, they will say to you, ‘For what reason has the Lord declared all this great calamity against us? And what is our iniquity, or what is our sin which we have committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your forefathers have forsaken Me,’ declares the Lord, ‘and have followed other gods and served them and bowed down to them; but Me they have forsaken and have not kept My law. 12 You too have done evil, even more than your forefathers; for behold, you are each one walking according to the stubbornness of his own evil heart, without listening to Me. 13 So I will hurl you out of this land into the land which you have not known, neither you nor your fathers; and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will grant you no favor.’
God Will Restore Them
14 “Therefore behold, days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries where He had banished them.’ For I will restore them to their own land which I gave to their fathers.
16 “Behold, I am going to send for many fishermen,” declares the Lord, “and they will fish for them; and afterwards I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and every hill and from the clefts of the rocks. 17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes. 18 I will first doubly repay their iniquity and their sin, because they have polluted My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.”
19 O Lord, my strength and my stronghold, And my refuge in the day of distress, To You the nations will come From the ends of the earth and say, “Our fathers have inherited nothing but falsehood, Futility and things of no profit.” 20 Can man make gods for himself? Yet they are not gods!
21 “Therefore behold, I am going to make them know— This time I will make them know My power and My might; And they shall know that My name is the Lord.”
The Deceitful Heart
17 The sin of Judah is written down with an iron stylus; With a diamond point it is engraved upon the tablet of their heart And on the horns of their altars, 2 As they remember their children, So they remember their altars and their Asherim By green trees on the high hills. 3 O mountain of Mine in the countryside, I will give over your wealth and all your treasures for booty, Your high places for sin throughout your borders. 4 And you will, even of yourself, let go of your inheritance That I gave you; And I will make you serve your enemies In the land which you do not know; For you have kindled a fire in My anger Which will burn forever.
5 Thus says the Lord, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind And makes flesh his strength, And whose heart turns away from the Lord. 6 “For he will be like a bush in the desert And will not see when prosperity comes, But will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, A land of salt without inhabitant. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord And whose trust is the Lord. 8 “For he will be like a tree planted by the water, That extends its roots by a stream And will not fear when the heat comes; But its leaves will be green, And it will not be anxious in a year of drought Nor cease to yield fruit.
9 “The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it? 10 “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give to each man according to his ways, According to the results of his deeds. 11 “As a partridge that hatches eggs which it has not laid, So is he who makes a fortune, but unjustly; In the midst of his days it will forsake him, And in the end he will be a fool.”
12 A glorious throne on high from the beginning Is the place of our sanctuary. 13 O Lord, the hope of Israel, All who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away on earth will be written down, Because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the Lord. 14 Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise. 15 Look, they keep saying to me, “Where is the word of the Lord? Let it come now!” 16 But as for me, I have not hurried away from being a shepherd after You, Nor have I longed for the woeful day; You Yourself know that the utterance of my lips Was in Your presence. 17 Do not be a terror to me; You are my refuge in the day of disaster. 18 Let those who persecute me be put to shame, but as for me, let me not be put to shame; Let them be dismayed, but let me not be dismayed. Bring on them a day of disaster, And crush them with twofold destruction!
The Sabbath Must Be Kept
19 Thus the Lord said to me, “Go and stand in the public gate, through which the kings of Judah come in and go out, as well as in all the gates of Jerusalem; 20 and say to them, ‘Listen to the word of the Lord, kings of Judah, and all Judah and all inhabitants of Jerusalem who come in through these gates: 21 Thus says the Lord, “Take heed for yourselves, and do not carry any load on the sabbath day or bring anything in through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 You shall not bring a load out of your houses on the sabbath day nor do any work, but keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your forefathers. 23 Yet they did not listen or incline their ears, but stiffened their necks in order not to listen or take correction.
24 “But it will come about, if you listen attentively to Me,” declares the Lord, “to bring no load in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but to keep the sabbath day holy by doing no work on it, 25 then there will come in through the gates of this city kings and princes sitting on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever. 26 They will come in from the cities of Judah and from the environs of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the lowland, from the hill country and from the Negev, bringing burnt offerings, sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing sacrifices of thanksgiving to the house of the Lord. 27 But if you do not listen to Me to keep the sabbath day holy by not carrying a load and coming in through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath day, then I will kindle a fire in its gates and it will devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.”’”
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)