Jeremiah 8:4-10:22

God will punish people who choose to do wrong things.

4 Tell the people that this is what I, the Lord, say to them:

‘When men fall down, they get up again.

When a man goes away, he comes back.

5 I ask why these people have turned away.

The people in Jerusalem always turn away.

They choose to believe things that are not true.

They refuse to return to me.

6 I have listened carefully.

But they do not say what is right.

Nobody is sorry for the bad things that they have done.

They think, “Nobody knows what we have done.”

Each person does the things that he wants.

He is like a horse that is running to the fight.

7 Even a big bird in the sky knows when it should go away.

Small birds know when it is time for them to fly away.

But my people do not know

what I want them to do.

8 You must not say, “We know what is right.

We know it because we have the law of the Lord.”

Your writers have written what is not true!

9 Some people think that they are clever.

Those people will be ashamed. Enemies will catch them like animals in a field.

They have refused to hear the Lord's message.

They are not very clever.

10 So I will give their wives to other men.

Other men will have their fields.

All people, rich and poor, want to have more and more things.

Both priests and prophets

tell people things that are not true.

11 They can see that my people have pain.

But they say that it is not important.

They say, “Peace, peace”, when there is no peace.

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

They are not sorry.

Their faces do not get red.

So they will fall when other men fall.

I will bring them down when I punish them,’ says the Lord.

13 ‘I will take away the fruit and seed from their fields,’ says the Lord.

‘No figs or grapes will grow on their trees.

8:13Figs and grapes are fruits. They are like good things that the people should be doing.

The leaves of the trees will dry up and die.

I will take away everything that I have given to them.’

14 The people say:

‘We should not be sitting here like this.

We must come together.

Let us run to the cities with strong walls.

We will die there!

The Lord our God has said that we must die.

He has given to us water to drink that has poison in it

because we have not obeyed him.

15 We wanted peace, but it has not happened.

We wanted God to make us well, but he made us afraid.

16 The people can hear the noise of the enemy's horses.

They can hear them, even from Dan.

All the country shakes when they hear their noise.

They have come to destroy the country and everything in it.

They will get power over the city and over all the people who live there.’

17 The Lord replies, ‘I will send enemy soldiers against you. They will be like dangerous snakes with poison.

Nobody can stop them! They will bite you.’

18 I said, ‘Lord, you should make me happy when I am sad.

But now I feel weak and afraid.

19 Listen to your people who are crying from a country far away.

They ask if the Lord is still in Jerusalem.

They think that their king has gone away.’

The Lord replies, ‘They have made me angry with their false gods.

Their idols do not have any value.’

20 The people say, ‘We have taken in all the food from the fields.

The summer is finished. And you have not yet saved us.’

21 I am very sad because my people are so sad.

I feel sad as if they were dead. And I am afraid for them.

22 God has hurt his people so that no doctor can help them.

He will not make them better.

Jeremiah 9

1 ‘My head should be like a river of water,

and my eyes like a pool of tears.

Then I would cry all day and night

for my people who have died.

9:1Jeremiah was very sad about the death of his own people.

2 I would like to have a place to stay in the desert.

Then I could leave my people.

I could go away from them.

They have all gone away from God like men who have left their wives for other women.

Not one person trusts him.

3 Their tongues are like bows.

They shoot words that are not true.

These people win their fights when they say false things.

They sin many times.

They do not give honour to me,’

says the Lord.

4 ‘Watch your friends.

Every brother says words that are not true.

So do not trust in your brothers.

And every friend speaks words that can hurt you.

5 One friend will say words that are not true to another friend.

Nobody speaks true words.

They have taught their tongues to say things that are false.

They have sinned so much that they are tired.

6 False words are all round you.

People say so many things that are not true.

So they refuse to know me,’

says the Lord.

7 So this is what the great, strong Lord says:

‘I will see how clean they are.

I want to make them more clean.

A man uses a very hot fire to remove other metals from gold.

It will be like that.

I must do that because my people have sinned.

8 Their tongue is like poison.

It does not say things that are true.

A man may speak kind words to his friend,

but he is really trying to hurt him.

9 I must punish men for that,’

says the Lord.

‘I must be angry

because the people in this country do not give honour to me.

10 There are no people on the mountains.

So I will cry and I will be sad.

No animals live on the hills where they ate the grass.

The hills and mountains are empty.

Nobody can hear the sound of cows and sheep.

No birds fly in the air,

and the animals are gone.

11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of stones.

Wild animals will live there.

I will destroy the towns in Judah

so that nobody can live there.’

12 Nobody can understand this. The Lord has not told anyone how it happened. No man can say why the Lord has made the country into a desert. Now nobody can walk across it.

13 ‘It is because they have not obeyed my law,’ the Lord said. ‘They have not obeyed the law that I gave to them. They have gone away from it and they have chosen to do bad things. 14 They have left me and they have gone to worship the Baals. They are doing as their ancestors taught them.’ 15 So the great, strong Lord, Israel's God says, ‘I will cause these people to eat food that is bad. I will put poison in the water that they drink. 16 I will send them to many foreign countries. Neither they nor their ancestors knew these countries. I will send enemies after them to kill and to destroy them.’

17 ‘Call the women who cry for people in trouble. Call them now!’

the great powerful Lord says.

‘Send for those who cry the loudest.

18 Tell them to come quickly to make their sad noise.

Then our eyes will make water.

And it will be like rivers that fall from them.

19 We can hear the sound of people who are crying in Zion.

“People have taken all our good things! We are very ashamed!

We have to leave our country

because our enemies have destroyed all our houses.” ’

20 Now hear the Lord's message, you women.

Listen to the words of his mouth.

Teach your daughters how to cry about their troubles.

Teach each other sad songs.

21 We are all dying. Dead bodies fill our strong cities.

No children play in the streets.

The open places of the city are empty.

The young men have all gone.

22 ‘Men's dead bodies will lie on the open fields.

Nobody will take them away,’ says the Lord.

‘They will lie like plants that people have cut for food.

But nobody will pick them up.’

23 ‘The wise man must not say that he is wise.

And the strong man must not say that he is strong,’

says the Lord.

24 ‘But they can say that they know me. And they can say that they understand me.

Then they would be able to say that they were clever.

They would know that I am the Lord.

They would know that I am kind.

And I do only good things.

I am fair when I judge the earth.

They would know that too.

Those are the things that give pleasure to me,’ says the Lord.

25 ‘Very soon,’ says the Lord, ‘I will punish many people. Those people have bodies that their parents have not circumcised. Other people have bodies that their parents have circumcised. But I will punish those people at the same time. 26 I will punish the people in Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon and Moab. And I will punish the people who remove the hair from the front of their heads. And I will punish the people who live in the desert. Their parents have not circumcised the people who live in other countries. And all the descendants of Israel live like people that their parents have not circumcised. That is because they have never really wanted to obey me.’

Jeremiah 10

1 People in Israel, listen to what the Lord says to you.

2 ‘Do not do the things that people in other countries do,’ he says.

‘You should not be afraid of things that happen in the sky.

10:2Some nations worshipped the sun, the moon and the stars.

You must not be like people in other countries.

3 These people's ideas have no value.

They take a tree from the forest,

and they cut it with a knife to make an idol.

4 They make it pretty with silver and gold.

They fix it to the floor so that it will not fall.

5 We put things like them in the fields.

Our things save the fruit from the birds.

And they cannot speak.

Men carry idols, because they cannot walk.

Do not be afraid of them.

They cannot hurt you

and they cannot help you.’

6 There is nobody like you, Lord.

You are great and your name is powerful.

7 Everyone should honour you,

King of the countries.

That is their duty.

There is nobody like you in all the countries.

No men are as wise as you are.

There is no king like you.

8 All men are fools, and they learn from fools.

Things that people have made from wood cannot teach them anything.

9 They cover the wood with silver from Spain.

They make it pretty with gold from Uphaz.

Then they take expensive clothes that men have made with their hands.

They put them on this idol that other men have made.

10 But the Lord is the only true God.

He is the God who lives for ever. He is the King who will always rule.

When he is angry, the earth moves like a leaf in the wind.

When he is angry, the people in a country cannot stand.

11 Speak to them. Say, ‘Your gods did not make the earth or the sky. The Lord will destroy them. He will push them out of the earth and from all places under the sky.’

12 But God made the earth by his power.

Only he could do that.

It was he who put the sky over the earth.

13 When he shouts, there are loud noises in the sky.

He causes clouds to rise from the ends of the earth.

He causes the lightning with the rain.

And he brings the winds from the place where he hides them.

14 Nobody knows God or understands him.

Men who work to make things from metal are ashamed.

Idols that they make have no life in them.

15 They are silly because they do not have any value.

God will destroy them when he judges them.

16 The God of Jacob is not like those idols.

He made everything.

He made Israel to be the people that he chose.

He is the great and powerful Lord.

17 Get all your things together, ready to leave the country.

Your enemies are all round you.

18 This is what the Lord says,

‘I will now throw out those people who live in this country.

I will make their lives difficult,

then their enemies will take them as their prisoners.’

19 I am hurt and in great pain.

Nobody can make me well.

I said to myself, ‘This is my pain, and I must live with it!’

20 They have destroyed my tent.

They have broken all its ropes.

My sons have gone away, and they are dead.

10:20This means that the people in Judah, like Jeremiah, had no children.

Now nobody will put up my tent.

21 The shepherds are fools.

They do not ask the Lord to help them,

so their work does not make them rich.

And all their sheep have run away.

22 Listen to the noise!

People are coming from the country in the north.

They will take the people out from the towns in Judah.

10:22Jeremiah is saying that Judah is like a broken tent. Its leaders (shepherds) are fools because they will not listen to God. So enemies will come to take them all away.

Only wild animals will live there.