The words of Jeremiah, the son of Hilkiah, one of the priests living in Anathoth in the territory of Benjamin.
The word of the LORD came to him in the thirteenth year of the reign of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah.
It also came throughout the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the fifth month of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, when the people of Jerusalem went into exile.
The word of the LORD came to me:
I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
But I protested, "Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don't know how to speak since I am [only] a youth."
Then the LORD said to me: Do not say: I am [only] a youth, for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you.
Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to deliver you. [This is] the LORD's declaration.
Then the LORD reached out His hand, touched my mouth, and told me: Look, I have filled your mouth with My words.
See, today I have set you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.
Then the word of the LORD came to me, asking, "What do you see, Jeremiah?" I replied, "I see a branch of an almond tree."
The LORD said to me, "You have seen correctly, for I watch over My word to accomplish it."
Again the word of the LORD came to me inquiring, "What do you see?" And I replied, "I see a boiling pot, its mouth tilted from the north [to the south]."
Then the LORD said to me, "Disaster will be poured out from the north on all who live in the land.
Indeed, I am about to summon all the clans and kingdoms of the north." [This is] the LORD's declaration. They will come, and each [king] will set up his throne at the entrance to Jerusalem's gates. They will attack all her surrounding walls and all the other cities of Judah.
"I will pronounce My judgments against them for all the evil they did when they abandoned Me to burn incense to other gods and to worship the works of their own hands.
"Now, get ready. Stand up and tell them everything that I command you. Do not be intimidated by them or I will cause you to cower before them.
Today, I am the One who has made you a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls against the whole land-- against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests, and the population.
They will fight against you but never prevail over you, since I am with you to rescue you." [This is] the LORD's declaration.
The word of the LORD came to me:
"Go and announce directly to Jerusalem that this is what the LORD says: I remember the loyalty of your youth, your love as a bride-- how you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of His harvest. All who ate of it found themselves guilty; disaster came on them." [This is] the LORD's declaration.
Hear the word of the LORD, house of Jacob and all families of the house of Israel.
Here is what the LORD says: What fault did your fathers find in Me that they went so far from Me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves?
They stopped asking: Where is the LORD who brought us from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, through a land of drought and darkness, a land no one traveled through and where no one lived?
I brought you to a fertile land to eat its fruit and bounty, but after you entered, you defiled My land; you made My inheritance detestable.
The priests quit asking: Where is the LORD? The experts in the law no longer knew Me, and the rulers rebelled against Me. The prophets prophesied by Baal and followed useless idols.
Therefore, I will bring a case against you again. [This is] the LORD's declaration. I will bring a case against your children's children.
Cross over to Cyprusand take a look. Send [someone] to Kedar and consider carefully; see if there has ever been anything like this:
Has a nation [ever] exchanged its gods? (but they were not gods!) Yet My people have exchanged their Glory for useless idols.
Be horrified at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly appalled. [This is] the LORD's declaration.
For My people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned Me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves, cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.
Is Israel a slave? Was he born into slavery? Why else has he become a prey?
The young lions have roared at him; they have roared loudly. They have laid waste his land. His cities are in ruins, without inhabitants.
The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have also broken your skull.
Have you not brought this on yourself by abandoning the LORD your God while He was leading you along the way?
Now what will you gain by traveling along the way to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? What will you gain by traveling along the way to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Think it over and see how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the LORD your God and to have no fear of Me. [This is] the declaration of the Lord God of Hosts.
For long ago I broke your yoke; I tore off your fetters. You insisted: I will not serve! On every high hill and under every leafy tree you lie down [like] a prostitute.
I planted you, a choice vine from the very best seed. How then could you turn into a degenerate, foreign vine?
Even if you wash with lye and use a great amount of soap, the stain of your guilt is still in front of Me. [This is] the Lord GOD's declaration.
How can you protest: I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals? Look at your behavior in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. [You are] a swift young camel twisting and turning on her way,
a wild donkey at home in the wilderness. She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire. Who can control her passion? All who look for her will not become tired; they will find her in her mating season.
Keep your feet from going bare and your throat from thirst. But you say: It's hopeless; I love strangers, and I will continue to follow them.
Like the shame of a thief when he is caught, so the house of Israel has been put to shame. They, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets
say to a tree: You are my father, and to a stone: You gave birth to me. For they have turned their back to Me and not their face, but in their time of disaster they beg: Rise up and save us!
But where are your gods you made for yourself? Let them rise up and save you in your time of disaster if they can, for your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.
Why do you bring a case against Me? All of you have rebelled against Me. [This is] the LORD's declaration.
I have struck down your children in vain; they would not accept discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets like a ravaging lion.
[Evil] generation, pay attention to the word of the LORD! Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why do My people claim: We will go where we want; we will no longer come to You?
Can a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding sash? Yet My people have forgotten Me for countless days.
How skillfully you pursue love; you also teach evil women your ways.
Moreover, your skirts are stained with the blood of the innocent poor. You did not catch them breaking and entering. But in spite of all these things
you claim: I am innocent. His anger is sure to turn away from me. But I will certainly judge you because you have said: I have not sinned.
How unstable you are, constantly changing your way! You will be put to shame by Egypt just as you were put to shame by Assyria.
Moreover, you will be led out from here with your hands on your head since the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not succeed even with their help.
If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn't such a land become totally defiled? But you! You have played the prostitute with many partners-- can you return to Me? [This is] the LORD's declaration.
Look to the barren heights and see. Where have you not been immoral? You sat waiting for them beside the highways like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness.
This is why the showers haven't come-- why there has been no spring rain. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to be ashamed.
Have you not lately called Me: My Father, my youthful companion?
Will He bear a grudge forever? Will He be endlessly infuriated? This is what you have spoken and done, the evil you are capable of.
In the days of King Josiah the LORD asked me, "Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there.
I thought: After she has done all these things, she will return to Me. But she didn't return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself.
Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and tree.
Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn't return to Me with all her heart-- only in pretense." [This is] the LORD's declaration.
The LORD announced to me, "Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say: Return, unfaithful Israel. [This is] the LORD's declaration. I will not look on you with anger, for I am unfailing in My love. [This is] the LORD's declaration. I will not be angry forever.
Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God. You have scattered your favors to strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed My voice. [This is] the LORD's declaration.
"Return, you faithless children"-- [this is] the LORD's declaration-- "for I am your master, and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.
I will give you shepherds who are loyal to Me,and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill.
When you multiply and increase in the land, in those days"-- the LORD's declaration-- "no one will say any longer: The ark of the LORD's covenant. It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. It will never again be made.
At that time Jerusalem will be called, The LORD's Throne, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the name of the LORD in Jerusalem. They will cease to follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.
In those days the house of Judah will join with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit."
I thought: How I long to make you [My] sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of all the nations. I thought: You will call Me, my Father, and never turn away from Me.
However, as a woman may betray her lover, so you have betrayed Me, house of Israel. [This is] the LORD's declaration.
A sound is heard on the barren heights, the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy, for they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the LORD their God.
Return, you faithless children. I will heal your unfaithfulness. "Here we are, coming to You, for You are the LORD our God.
Surely, falsehood comes from the hills, commotion from the mountains, but the salvation of Israel is only in the LORD our God.
From the time of our youth the shameful one has consumed what our fathers have worked for-- their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
Let us lie down in our shame; let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our fathers, from the time of our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God."