Chapter 4

  1. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Stand in the gate of the Lord’s house and proclaim there this word, and say, Hear the word of the Lord, all you of Judah that enter in at these gates to worship the Lord. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Amend your ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. Trust not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord are these. For if you thoroughly amend your ways and your doings, if you thoroughly execute judgment between a man and his neighbor, if you oppress not the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, and shed not innocent blood in this place, neither walk after other gods to your hurt, then will I cause you to dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers, for ever and ever.
  2. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot profit. Will you steal, murder, and commit adultery, and swear falsely, and burn incense unto Baal, and walk after other gods whom you know not, and come and stand before me in this house which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered to do all these abominations? Has this house which is called by my name become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, says the Lord. But go now unto my place which was in Shiloh, where I set my name at the first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. And now because you have done all these works, says the Lord, and I spoke unto you, rising up early and speaking but you heard not, and I called you but you answered not, therefore will I do unto this house which is called by my name, wherein you trust, and unto the place which I gave to you and to your fathers, as I have done to Shiloh. And I will cast you out of my sight as I have cast out all your brethren, even the whole seed of Ephraim. Therefore, pray not for this people, neither lift up cry nor prayer for them, neither make intercession to me, for I will not hear you. Do you not see what they do in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of Heaven and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger. Do they provoke me to anger? — says the Lord. Do they not provoke themselves to the confusion of their own faces? Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, my anger and my fury shall be poured out upon this place — upon man and upon beast, and upon the trees of the field, and upon the fruit of the ground; and it shall burn and shall not be quenched.
  3. Thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Put your burnt offerings unto your sacrifices and eat flesh. For I spoke not unto your fathers nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices, but this thing I commanded them, saying, Obey my voice and I will be your God, and you shall be my people, and walk in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you. But they listened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward. Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day, I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them. Yet they listened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck; they did worse than their fathers. Therefore, you shall speak all these words unto them, but they will not listen to you; you shall also call unto them, but they will not answer you. But you shall say unto them, This is a nation that obeys not the voice of the Lord their God, nor receives correction; truth is perished and is cut off from their mouth.
  4. Cut off your hair, O Jerusalem, and cast it away, and take up a lamentation on high places; for the Lord has rejected and forsaken the generation of his wrath. For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight, says the Lord, they have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it. And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart. Therefore, behold, the days come, says the Lord, that it shall no more be called Topheth, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter; for they shall bury in Topheth until there is no place. And the carcasses of this people shall be food for the fowls of the heaven and for the beasts of the earth, and none shall frighten them away. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, for the land shall be desolate.
  5. At that time, says the Lord, they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem out of their graves. And they shall spread them before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved and whom they have served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped. They shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung upon the face of the earth. And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the residue of them that remain of this evil family, who remain in all the places where I have driven them, says the Lord of Hosts.
  6. Moreover, you shall say unto them, Thus says the Lord: Shall they fall, and not arise? Shall he turn away and not return? Why then is this people of Jerusalem slid back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold fast to deceit, they refuse to return. I listened and heard, but they spoke not aright; no man repents him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Everyone turned to his own course, as the horse rushes into the battle. Yea, the stork in the heavens knows her appointed times, and the turtledove, and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming, but my people know not the judgment of the Lord.
  7. How do you say, We are wise and the law of the Lord is with us? Behold, certainly in vain he made it, the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the Lord, and what wisdom is in them? Therefore will I give their wives unto others, and their fields to them that shall inherit them; for everyone from the least even unto the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even unto the priest, everyone deals falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace — when there is no peace. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? Nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Therefore shall they fall among them that fall, in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, says the Lord. I will surely consume them, says the Lord. There shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade, and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them.
  8. Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves and let us enter into the fortified cities, and let us be silent there; for the Lord our God has put us to silence and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord. We looked for peace, but no good came, and for a time of health, and behold — trouble. The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan, the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones, for they have come and have devoured the land and all that is in it, the city and those that dwell therein. For behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you, says the Lord.
  9. When I would comfort myself against sorrow, my heart is faint in me. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of them that dwell in a far country: Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their engraved images and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved. For the hurt of the daughter of my people am I hurt; I am black, astonishment has taken hold on me. Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?
  10. Oh that my head were waters and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people. Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of wayfaring men, that I might leave my people and go from them. For they are all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men. And they bend their tongue like their bow for lies, but they are not valiant for the truth upon the earth; for they proceed from evil to evil and they know not me, says the Lord. Take heed everyone of his neighbor and trust not in any brother, for every brother will utterly supplant and every neighbor will walk with slanders. And they will deceive everyone his neighbor and will not speak the truth, they have taught their tongue to speak lies and weary themselves to commit iniquity. Your habitation is in the midst of deceit, through deceit they refuse to know me, says the Lord. Therefore, thus says the Lord of Hosts: Behold, I will melt them and try them, for how shall I do for the daughter of my people? Their tongue is as an arrow shot out, it speaks deceit; one speaks peaceably to his neighbor with his mouth, but in heart he lays his wait. Shall I not visit them for these things? — says the Lord. Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
  11. For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the habitations of the wilderness a lamentation, because they are burned up so that none can pass through them, neither can men hear the voice of the cattle. Both the fowl of the heavens and the beast are fled, they have gone. And I will make Jerusalem heaps and a den of dragons, and I will make the cities of Judah desolate without an inhabitant. Who is the wise man that may understand this? And who is he to whom the mouth of the Lord has spoken, that he may declare it? For the land perishes and is burned up like a wilderness, that none passes through. And the Lord says, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein, but have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after the Baalim, which their fathers taught them, therefore, thus says the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. I will scatter them also among the heathen whom neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send a sword after them until I have consumed them.
  12. Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Consider and call for the mourning women, that they may come, and send for skilled women, that they may come; and let them make haste and take up a wailing for us, that our eyes may run down with tears and our eyelids gush out with waters. For a voice of wailing is heard out of Zion, How are we spoiled! We are greatly confounded because we have forsaken the land, because our dwellings have cast us out. Yet hear the word of the Lord, O you women, and let your ear receive the word of his mouth, and teach your daughters wailing and everyone her neighbor lamentation. For death has come up into our windows and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from outside and the young men from the streets. Speak, Thus says the Lord: Even the carcasses of men shall fall as dung upon the open field, and as the handful after the harvestman, and none shall gather them.
  13. Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches. But let him that glories glory in this: that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who exercises loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord. Behold, the days come, says the Lord, that I will punish all them who are circumcised with the uncircumcised — Egypt, and Judah, and Edom, and the children of Ammon, and Moab, and all that are in the utmost corners that dwell in the wilderness, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in the heart.
  14. Hear the word which the Lord speaks unto you, O house of Israel; thus says the Lord: Learn not the way of the heathen and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for the heathen are dismayed at them, for the customs of the people are vain. For one cuts a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman with the axe. They adorn it with silver and with gold, they fasten it with nails and with hammers that it move not. They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not; they must be borne because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them, for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.
  15. Forasmuch as there is none like unto you, O Lord, you are great and your name is great in might. Who would not fear you, O king of nations? For to you does it appertain, forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto you. But they are altogether brutish and foolish, the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman and of the hands of the founder; blue and purple is their clothing, they are all the work of skilled men. But the Lord is the true God, he is the living God and an everlasting king. At his wrath the earth shall tremble and the nations shall not be able to endure his indignation.
  16. Thus shall you say unto them: The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens. He has made the earth by his power, he has established the world by his wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens by his discretion. When he utters his voice, there is a multitude of waters in the heavens, and he causes the vapors to ascend from the ends of the earth. He makes lightnings with rain and brings forth the wind out of his treasuries. Every man is brutish in his knowledge, every founder is confounded by the engraved image; for his molten image is falsehood and there is no breath in them. They are vanity and the work of errors. In the time of their visitation, they shall perish. The portion of Jacob is not like them, for he is the former of all things, and Israel is the rod of his inheritance. The Lord of Hosts is his name.
  17. Gather up your wares out of the land, O inhabitant of the fortress, for thus says the Lord: Behold, I will sling out the inhabitants of the land at this once and will distress them, that they may find it so. Woe is me for my hurt, my wound is grievous. But I said, Truly this is a grief, and I must bear it. My tabernacle is spoiled and all my cords are broken, my children have gone forth of me and they are not, there is none to stretch forth my tent anymore and to set up my curtains. For the shepherds have become brutish and have not sought the Lord; therefore, they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered. Behold, the noise of the report has come and a great commotion out of the north country, to make the cities of Judah desolate and a den of dragons.
  18. O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself, it is not in man that walks to direct his steps. O Lord, correct me — but with judgment, not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing. Pour out your fury upon the heathen that know you not, and upon the families that call not on your name; for they have eaten up Jacob, and devoured him, and consumed him, and have made his habitation desolate.