Jeremiah 12:5-17

The Lord answers Jeremiah

5 ‘Jeremiah, you are running a race against people,

and you are already tired!

So you will never be able to run a race against horses.

You are walking in flat fields,

and you still fall over!

So it will be much worse when you try to run

through the trees and bushes near the Jordan River.

12:5The Lord is telling Jeremiah that his troubles will become worse than they are now.

6 Even your own brothers and family have turned against you.

They join with other people to attack you.

So do not trust them,

even when they say kind words to you.

7 I have decided to turn away from my nation.

I will leave the people that I chose to belong to me.

I will put the people that I love

under the power of their enemies.

8 The people that belong to me

have turned against me.

They are like a lion that hides in the forest.

It roars and is ready to attack me.

Because of that,

I have turned against my people.

9 They attack me like hyenas,

but vultures are ready to attack them.

Tell all the wild animals to come,

so that they can eat their dead bodies!

10 Many foreign leaders will come.

They will destroy the land where my people live.

It was a beautiful garden where I planted my people.

But enemies will make it become like a desert.

11 They will make it a dry and empty place,

where nobody lives and nothing grows.

The whole land will be like a desert.

There will be nobody to take care of it.

12 Soldiers will march over the hills in the wilderness.

They will come to destroy the whole land.

I, the Lord, will use them as my weapon.

I will punish everyone.

Nobody will be safe.

13 My people will plant seeds of wheat,

but they will only have weeds at harvest time.

They will work very hard,

but they will get nothing.

At harvest time,

they will have no crops to be proud of.

Because I am very angry,

they will not have any food.’

14 This is what the Lord says: ‘I will punish the wicked nations that came to attack the land of my people. It was the land that I gave to Israel's people to be their home. But those enemies destroyed it. So I will remove them from their own lands. I will rescue the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I have removed those nations, I will return to help them. I will be kind to them. I will bring them back to the countries where they belong. Each nation will return to live in its own land. 16 But they must learn to live in the way that my people live. At one time they taught my people to use Baal's name when they made promises. But now they must give honour to me as the true God. When they make a promise, they must say, “I promise to do this, as surely as the Lord lives.” If they do these things, they will belong among my people. 17 But if any nation refuses to obey me, I will destroy it completely.’ That is what the Lord says.