The people have not obeyed the rules of the covenant that they had with God.
1 God said to Jeremiah, the prophet, 2 ‘Listen to the rules of the covenant that I made with my people. Tell them to the people in Judah and the people who live in Jerusalem. 3 Tell them that the Lord, Israel's God, says, “I will curse anyone who does not obey the rules of this covenant. 4 I gave those rules to your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt. Egypt was a place of punishment for them, but I brought them out from there. At that time, I said to them, ‘Listen to me. Obey everything that I say to you. Then you will be my people and I will be your God. 5 Then I will do what I promised to your ancestors. I promised to give to them a land where there was plenty of food and drink, enough for everyone.’ This is the country that you live in today.” ’
I answered, ‘Amen, Lord, let it happen.’
6 The Lord said to me, ‘Speak out all these words in the towns in Judah and the streets in Jerusalem. Say, “Listen to these rules of the covenant, and obey them. 7 I have said that all the time since I brought your ancestors out of Egypt. Again and again, until now, I have said, ‘You must obey me.’ 8 But they did not listen. They did not think that my rules were important. Instead, they did all the bad things that they wanted to do. All their thoughts were evil. So I had to punish them. I sent to them all the curses that I promised. I promised those curses if they did not obey me. I punished them because they did not obey the rules of the covenant.”
9 The people in Judah and those who live in Jerusalem have agreed to do wrong things. 10 They are doing the same sins that their ancestors did. Their ancestors refused to listen to my words. They left me and now they work for other gods. I made a covenant with their ancestors. None of the people from Judah or Israel has obeyed the rules of the covenant.’ 11 Because of that, the Lord says, ‘I will bring great trouble to you. You will not get away from it. Even if you call out to me, I will not listen to you. 12 The people in the towns in Judah and in Jerusalem will shout to the gods that they worship. But those gods will not help them when trouble happens to them. 13 Judah, you have different gods in every town. You have made altars for the god that you should be ashamed of. You have made altars to burn oils that make nice smells for Baal. You have built as many altars as there are streets in Jerusalem.
14 Jeremiah, do not pray for these people and do not ask me to do anything for them. I will not listen to them when they ask me for help.
15 The people that I love are doing evil things in my temple.
They cannot stop me from punishing them.
If you give gifts of meat to me, I will still punish you.
You enjoy doing these wrong things.’
16 The Lord said that you were like an olive tree.
It was beautiful and it gave much fruit.
But now he will burn the tree with a loud noise,
and he will break all its branches.
17 The Lord, who has all power, planted you like a tree. Now he will cause great trouble to Israel and to Judah. That is because you have burnt oils with nice smells to worship the god Baal. You have caused the Lord to be very angry.