Jeremiah 6

Enemies are all round Jerusalem.

1 ‘You descendants of Benjamin, you must run away to be safe!

Run away from Jerusalem!

Make a noise with the trumpet in Tekoa!

Shout over to Beth-Hakkerem!

Big trouble is coming from the north.

2 I will send enemies to destroy Jerusalem and its people.

It is such a lovely city.

3 Men will come with the sheep that they keep.

They will put their tents all round it.

Each man will have a small part of the land.

4 Get ready to fight against it!

Let us get up and attack at noon!

But the day is getting dark.

It is already evening.

5 Rise up. Let us attack in the night.

Let us destroy their strong cities!’

6 The strong and powerful Lord spoke.

‘Cut down the trees,’ he said.

‘Build high hills up to the walls of the city.

I must punish Jerusalem.

It is full of men who hurt other people.

7 It contains so many people who do bad things.

Bad things pour out from it, like water from a well.

It is full of fights and of men who destroy.

All the time I can see how sick and weak it is.’

8 ‘Listen to my words,’ says the Lord, to the people in Jerusalem.

‘If you do not listen, I will turn away from you.

I will destroy your country.

Then nobody will be able to live in it.’

6:8Jeremiah warns the people to escape from Jerusalem.

9 The strong, powerful Lord spoke again.

‘I will let the enemy take everything from Israel.

They will take things like a farmer who is picking his fruit,’ he said.

10 ‘I want to speak to people. And I want to tell them what may happen.

But nobody will listen to me.

They close their ears so that they cannot hear.

They hate the Lord's message.

It does not give any pleasure to them.

11 But the Lord is full of anger.

He is so angry that he cannot contain it.

His anger will be like water that pours out on the children in the street.

It will pour out on the groups of young men.

It will cover both husbands and wives.

It will pour over the very old people.

12 I will give their houses to other people.

Other people will take their fields and their wives.

This will happen when I decide to punish the people in this country,’

says the Lord.

13 ‘All the people, important and not important, want to get more and more things.

Priests and prophets are all the same.

They all say things that are not true.

14 They tell my people that there is no great trouble.

They say that there is nothing to be afraid of.

Peace, peace”, they say.

But they do not have any peace to give.

15 They are not ashamed of the wrong things that they do.

They seem to think that there is nothing wrong about those things.

They have forgotten how to be sorry.

So they will fall when other people fall.

I will bring them down when I decide to punish them,’

says the Lord.

16 The Lord spoke to the people.

‘Stand at the place where the roads cross, and look,’ he said.

‘Ask where the old ways lead.

6:16The ‘old ways’ were the laws that Moses had given to God's people.

Find the good way, and walk along that way.

Then I will give proper peace to you.

But you said, “We will not walk that way.” ’

17 ‘I gave you men to help you and to lead you. I said,

“Listen for the noise of the trumpet!”

But you said, “We will not listen.”

18 So listen to me, all you countries.

Look. And you will see

the things that I will do to them.

19 Hear me, people on the earth.

I am causing great trouble for these people.

They will have trouble because they have done many wrong things.

And they have not listened to my words.

They have not obeyed my law.

20 I do not want nice smells from Sheba.

I do not want oils from countries far away.

The food and drink that you give to me

do not give pleasure to me.’

21 So this is the message from the Lord.

‘I will make things very difficult for you people.

Both sons and their fathers will have difficulties.

Friends and people who live near to each other will die.’

22 The Lord spoke again.

‘Look, an army is coming from the country in the north.

I am calling up a great people from the ends of the earth.

23 They are carrying bows and spears.

They are never kind and they never forgive.

They ride on their horses and

it is like the noise of the sea.

They are ready to fight,

and they are coming to attack you, Jerusalem.’

24 We have heard about them,

and we are afraid.

Pain is all over our bodies.

It is like the pain of a woman who is having a baby.

25 Do not go out into the fields.

Do not walk along the roads.

Our enemies have long, sharp knives.

We are afraid that they are all round us.

26 My people must become very sorry.

They wear special clothes when someone dies.

They must wear clothes like those.

They cry with loud voices.

They cry like a man whose only son has died.

They do that because the enemy will quickly come to destroy us.

27 ‘My people are like metals.

And you must test them to see if they are good.

I want you to watch them.

Then you can see what they do.’

28 They never obeyed God.

They tell stories that are not true. And they enjoy it.

Their minds are as hard as iron.

They all do very bad things.

29 A very hot fire makes metals clean.

I send punishment like a fire.

But it does not cause bad men to do what is good.

30 God will throw them out like dirty metal.

The Lord will not receive them.