Jeremiah 8:4-9:2

Sin brings punishment

4 ‘Jeremiah, tell the people that this is what I, the Lord, say to them:

When people fall down, they get up again.

When people realize that they are on the wrong road,

they turn around.

5 So why have the people of Jerusalem not turned back to me?

They turn away from me all the time.

They believe the lies of false gods,

and they refuse to return to me.

6 I have listened carefully to them,

but they do not say what is right.

They are not sorry for the wicked things that they have done.

None of them say, “I have done something wrong.”

They all continue to do what they want to do.

They are like horses that are running into a battle.

7 Even birds know when it is time for them to move to a different place.

That is true for storks, doves, swallows and cranes.

8:7‘storks, doves, swallows and cranes’ are kinds of birds.

Birds know when it is time to return,

but my people do not know my laws.

8 You say, “We are wise

because we have the law of the Lord.”

But I tell you, your teachers have changed my laws.

They teach you lies instead.

9 Those wise teachers will be ashamed and upset.

Enemies will catch them as their prisoners.

They have refused to accept the Lord's message.

So they are not really wise.

10 I will give their wives to other men.

Their fields will belong to other men.

They all cheat other people to get what they want.

Important people and ordinary people do that.

Prophets and priests do that.

They love to deceive people.

11 They tell my dear people that their wounds are not bad.

They say to them,

“No problem! You will have peace.”

But there will be no peace for my people.

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

They do not even know what shame is.

They have forgotten how to be ashamed.

So they will fall to the ground,

as other people have fallen.

When I punish them,

that will be the end of them.’

That is what the Lord says.

13 The Lord says,

‘I will take away the crops from their fields.’

‘No figs or grapes will grow on their trees.

8:13Figs and grapes are valuable fruits that people eat.

The leaves on their trees will dry up and die.

All the good things that I gave to them will disappear.’

14 The people say:

‘We should not sit here and do nothing.

We must all go together into our strong cities.

If we have to die, we will die there!

The Lord our God has said that we must die.

We have done bad things against him.

He has decided to punish us with death.

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

15 We wanted to have peace,

but nothing good has happened to us.

We wanted to rest without trouble,

but instead we are afraid.

16 In the city of Dan, people can already hear

the noise of the enemy's horses.

8:16Dan was a city in the north of Israel.

They are coming to attack our land,

so everyone shakes with fear.

They will destroy the whole land

and everything in it.

They will destroy the cities

and all the people who live in them.’

17 The Lord says,

‘Yes! I am sending an enemy's army to attack you.

They will be like dangerous snakes that have poison.

Nobody can stop them!

They will bite you and kill you.’

18 I said,

‘I am very sad and upset.

I will never get better again.

19 Listen to my dear people!

They are calling out for help everywhere in the land.

They are saying, “Is the Lord still with us in Zion?

Is he still there to rule us as our King?” ’

The Lord replies,

‘They worship images of false gods.

and useless foreign idols.

That has made me very angry.’

20 The people say,

‘We have taken in all our crops from the fields.

The summer has finished.

And still nobody has rescued us.’

21 I am very upset

because my dear people have so much pain.

I weep and I cry, as if a friend had died.

22 Surely there is a medicine in Gilead.

There is a doctor there who can make my dear people better.

But my people are still ill.

Why are they not better?

Jeremiah 9

1 ‘My head should be like a pool of water.

My eyes should be like a river of tears.

Then I would never stop crying

for my dear people who have died in war.

2 I would like to live in a hut in the desert.

Then I could leave my people.

I could forget about them.

They have all turned away from God.

They have not been faithful to him.

They are a crowd of people that nobody can trust.’