Jeremiah 7

To worship false gods is wrong.

1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah. 2 ‘Stand at the gate of the Lord's house and speak to the people there. Say, “Hear the Lord's message, all you people in Judah. You come through this gate to worship the Lord.” ’ 3 The great, powerful God of Israel says, ‘Change the things that you do. Do the right things. If you do that, I will let you live in this place. 4 People may say, “We are safe. This is the temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord!” But do not believe words that are not true. 5 You must really change. You must be fair to each other. 6 You must not be cruel to foreigners, to children without living parents or to widows. You must not kill people. You must not worship other gods. If you do those things, I will destroy you. 7 If you obey me, then I will let you live in this country. This is the country that I gave to your ancestors. I gave it to them to live in for all time. 8 But you believe in words that are not true. They cannot help you.

9 You take things that are not yours. And you kill people. You tell judges things that are not true. You have sex with wives or husbands of other people. You offer gifts to the false god, Baal. You worship other gods. 10 And then you come to this, my house! You stand in front of this house that is mine. You say, “We are safe!” 11 My temple is not a place for people who hurt other people. It is not a place for people who kill other people. And it is not a place for people who speak lies! I have seen what you are doing,’ says the Lord.

12 ‘Go to Shiloh. It was the first place that I chose as a house for my name. See what I did to it. I destroyed it because you had done so many bad things. 13 I spoke to you while you were doing those bad things,’ the Lord said. ‘I spoke to you again and again, but you would not listen. I called you, but you did not answer. 14 I gave this temple to you and to your ancestors. But I will do to it what I did to the house at Shiloh. You think that the house for my name will save you. 15 But I will push you away from me, as I pushed away the other Israelites, Ephraim's tribe.’

16 ‘Jeremiah, you must not pray for this people. You must not ask me to help them. If you ask me, I will not listen to you. 17 You can see what they are doing in the towns in Judah. You see what they are doing in the streets in Jerusalem. 18 The children fetch wood and their fathers light a fire. The women prepare and cook cakes of bread. Then they offer them to the “Queen of Heaven”. And they offer gifts of drink to other false gods. That makes me very angry. 19 I am angry. But they are the people who will hurt themselves,’ says the Lord. ‘They will be ashamed.’

20 ‘So I will send out my anger,’ says the strong, powerful Lord. ‘I will send it, like fire, on this place. I will send it on men, animals, trees and fruits. It will burn them up, and nothing will stop it.’

21 ‘Continue to give your offerings to me. Give burnt offerings of meat and other things, and eat the meat yourselves! 22 I brought your ancestors out of Egypt. Then I did not only tell them how to give burnt offerings. 23 I also told them to obey me, and to keep all my laws. Then I would be their God, and they would be my people. I said that they should obey me. They would have good lives if they did that. 24 But they did not listen. They did not think that my words had any value. Instead, they did the bad things that they liked to do. They went away from me, and they did not want to come to me. 25 I sent my servants, the prophets to you again and again. I did that from the day that you left Egypt until today. 26 But they did not listen to me. They did not try to do as I asked them. They went on doing the same bad things. And they did even worse things than their ancestors had done.’

27 ‘Jeremiah, you will tell them all that I have said. But when you tell them, they will not listen to you. When you call them, they will not answer. 28 So you will have to speak to them. “The people in this country have not obeyed the Lord, their God. They have not turned away from the wrong things that they were doing”, you must say. “Nobody now says anything that is true. 29 Cut off your hair. Sing sad songs on the empty hills. The Lord has turned away from the people who are still alive. He has left them because he is so angry.” ’

The valley of death

30 ‘The people in Judah have done wrong things. I told them that those things were wrong,’ says the Lord. ‘They have put false gods in my house. I hate that. They have made it like a dirty thing. 31 They have made big fires in Topheth. There, in Ben-Hinnom Valley, they burn their sons and daughters. I did not tell them to do that. I never thought to ask them to do such a thing. 32 So you must be careful. The day will come when it will not be called Topheth or the Valley of Ben-Hinnom. No, it will be called Death Valley. They will put dead people in the earth there, until it is full up. 33 Birds and animals will eat the dead persons, and nobody will make them afraid. They will not go away. 34 I will make the place quiet. Nobody will sing or be happy there. Nobody in the towns in Judah or in Jerusalem will have marriage parties. Nobody will live in the country any more.’