Chapter 5

  1. The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying, Hear the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and say unto them, Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Cursed be the man that obeys not the words of this covenant which I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice and do them, according to all which I command you. So shall you be my people and I will be your God, that I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers — to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as it is this day. Then I answered and said, So be it, O Lord. Then the Lord said unto 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. For I earnestly protested unto your fathers in the day that I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, even unto this day, rising early and protesting, saying, Obey my voice. Yet they obeyed not, nor inclined their ear, but walked everyone in the imagination of their evil heart. Therefore, I will bring upon them all the words of this covenant which I commanded them to do but they did them not. And the Lord said unto me, A conspiracy is found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They are turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers, who refused to hear my words, and they went 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. Therefore, thus says the Lord: Behold, I will bring evil upon them which they shall not be able to escape, and though they shall cry unto me, I will not listen unto them. Then shall the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem go and cry unto the gods unto whom they offer incense, but they shall not save them at all in the time of their trouble. For according to the number of your cities were your gods, O Judah, and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem have you set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense unto Baal. Therefore, pray not for this people, neither lift up a cry or prayer for them, for I will not hear them in the time that they cry unto me for their trouble.
  2. What has my beloved to do in my house, seeing she has wrought lewdness with many and the holy flesh is passed from you? When you do evil, then you rejoice. The Lord called your name a green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit; with the noise of a great tumult he has kindled fire upon it, and the branches of it are broken. For the Lord of Hosts that planted you has pronounced evil against you, for the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke me to anger in offering incense unto Baal. And the Lord has given me knowledge of it and I know it; then you showed me their doings. But I was like a lamb or an ox that is brought to the slaughter, and I knew not that they had devised devices against me, saying, Let us destroy the tree with the fruit thereof, and let us cut him off from the land of the living, that his name may be no more remembered. But, O Lord of Hosts who judges righteously, who tries the reins and the heart, let me see your vengeance on them, for unto you have I revealed my cause.
  3. Therefore, thus says the Lord of the men of Anathoth — who seek your life, saying, Prophesy not in the name of the Lord, that you die not by our hand — therefore, thus says the Lord of Hosts: Behold, I will punish them; the young men shall die by the sword, their sons and their daughters shall die by famine. And there shall be no remnant of them, for I will bring evil upon the men of Anathoth, even the year of their visitation.
  4. Righteous are you, O Lord, when I plead with you; yet let me talk with you of your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are they all happy that deal very treacherously? You have planted them, yea, they have taken root; they grow, yea, they bring forth fruit. You are near in their mouth and far from their reins. But you, O Lord, know me, you have seen me and tried my heart toward you. Pull them out like sheep for the slaughter and prepare them for the day of slaughter. How long shall the land mourn and the herbs of every field wither for the wickedness of them that dwell therein? The beasts are consumed, and the birds, because they said, He shall not see our latter end.
  5. If you have run with the foot soldiers and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? And if in the land of peace, wherein you trusted, they wearied you, then how will you do in the swelling of Jordan? For even your brethren and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you, yea, they have called a multitude after you. Believe them not, though they speak fair words unto you.
  6. I have forsaken my house, I have left my heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. My heritage is unto me as a lion in the forest: it cries out against me; therefore have I hated it. My heritage is unto me as a speckled bird, the birds round about are against her. Come, assemble all the beasts of the field, come to devour. Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard, they have trodden my portion underfoot, they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. They have made it desolate, and being desolate, it mourns unto me. The whole land is made desolate because no man lays it to heart. The spoilers have come upon all high places through the wilderness. For the sword of the Lord shall devour from the one end of the land even to the other end of the land; no flesh shall have peace. They have sown wheat, but shall reap thorns; they have put themselves to pain, but shall not profit. And they shall be ashamed of your revenues because of the fierce anger of the Lord.
  7. Thus says the Lord: Concerning all my evil neighbors that touch the inheritance which I have caused my people Israel to inherit, behold, I will pluck them out of their land, and pluck out the house of Judah from among them. And it shall come to pass, after I have plucked them out, I will return and have compassion on them, and will bring them again, every man to his heritage and every man to his land. And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear, by my name, The lord lives — as they taught my people to swear by Baal — then shall they be built in the midst of my people. But if they will not obey, I will utterly pluck up and destroy that nation, says the Lord.
  8. Thus says the Lord unto me: Go and get yourself a linen girdle and put it upon your loins, and put it not in water. So I got a girdle according to the word of the Lord and put it on my loins. And the word of the Lord came unto me the second time, saying, Take the girdle that you have gotten, which is upon your loins, and arise; go to Euphrates and hide it there in a hole of the rock. So I went and hid it by Euphrates, as the Lord commanded me. And it came to pass after many days that the Lord said unto me, Arise, go to Euphrates and take the girdle from there, which I commanded you to hide there. Then I went to Euphrates and dug and took the girdle from the place where I had hidden it; and behold, the girdle was marred, it was profitable for nothing. Then the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Thus says the Lord: After this manner will I mar the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. This evil people who refuse to hear my words, who walk in the imagination of their heart and walk after other gods, to serve them and to worship them, shall even be as this girdle which is good for nothing. For as the girdle cleaves to the loins of a man, so have I caused to cleave unto me the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah, says the Lord, that they might be unto me for a people, and for a name, and for a praise, and for a glory; but they would not hear.
  9. Therefore, you shall speak unto them this word: Thus says the Lord God of Israel: Every bottle shall be filled with wine, and they shall say unto you, Do we not certainly know that every bottle shall be filled with wine? Then shall you say unto them, Thus says the Lord: Behold, I will fill all the inhabitants of this land — even the kings that sit upon David’s throne, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem — with drunkenness. And I will dash them one against another, even the fathers and the sons together, says the Lord. I will not pity, nor spare, nor have mercy, but destroy them. Hear and give ear. Be not proud, for the Lord has spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before he cause darkness and before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while you look for light he turn it into the shadow of death and make it gross darkness.
  10. But if you will not hear it, my soul shall weep in secret places for your pride, and my eyes shall weep bitterly and run down with tears because the Lord’s flock is carried away captive. Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down, for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory. The cities of the south shall be shut up and none shall open them; Judah shall be carried away captive, all of it; it shall be wholly carried away captive. Lift up your eyes and behold them that come from the north. Where is the flock that was given you — your beautiful flock? What will you say when he shall punish you? For you have taught them to be captains and as chief over you. Shall not sorrows take you as a woman in travail? And if you say in your heart, Why come these things upon me? — for the greatness of your iniquity are your skirts uncovered and your heels made bare. Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may you also do good that are accustomed to do evil. Therefore will I scatter them as the stubble that passes away by the wind of the wilderness. This is your lot, the portion of your measures from me, says the Lord, because you have forgotten me and trusted in falsehood. Therefore will I strip bare your skirts upon your face, that your shame may appear. I have seen your adulteries and your neighings, the lewdness of your whoredom and your abominations on the hills in the fields. Woe unto you, O Jerusalem. Will you not be made clean? When shall it once be?