16 The Lord proclaims:
Stop at the crossroads and look around;
ask for the ancient paths.
Where is the good way?
Then walk in it
and find a resting place for yourselves.
But you[a] said, “We won’t go!”
17 Still, I have appointed watchmen to warn you.
But you[b] said, “We won’t listen!”
18 Therefore, pay attention, nations;
take notice, assembly,
what is ahead of them.[c]
19 Pay attention, earth:
I’m bringing disaster upon my people,
the fruit of their own devices,
because they have ignored my words
and they have rejected my teaching.
20 What use to me is incense from Sheba
or sweet cane from a faraway land?
Your entirely burned offerings won’t buy your pardon;
your sacrifices won’t appease me.
21 Therefore, the Lord proclaims:
I’m putting obstacles before this people,
and both parents and children will stumble over them;
neighbor and friend alike will perish.
22 The Lord proclaims:
An army is on the move
from the northern regions;
a great nation is roused
from the ends of the earth.
23 Equipped with bow and spear,
they are cruel;
they show no mercy.
Their horsemen sound
like the roaring sea,
arrayed in battle formation
against you, Daughter Zion.
24 We have heard reports of them
and are panic-stricken;
distress overwhelms us,
pain like that of a woman in labor.
25 Don’t go out into the field!
Don’t walk on the road!
The enemies’ sword
terrorizes at every turn.
26 My people,
put on funeral clothes and roll in ashes;
weep and wail as for an only child,
because the destroyer will suddenly descend upon us.
Prophet as tester
27 I have made you a tester of metals,
to examine my people[d]
to know and prove their ways.
28 They are tin[e] and iron;
they are headstrong and rebellious.
They live to slander.
They act corruptly—every last one!
29 The bellows roar;
the lead is consumed.[f]
Yet the refining fails;
the impurities[g] remain.
30 They are called “rejected silver,”
for the Lord has rejected them.
The Lord’s temple
7 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word: 2 Stand near the gate of the Lord’s temple and proclaim there this message: Listen to the Lord’s word, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the Lord. 3 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Improve your conduct and your actions, and I will dwell with you[h] in this place. 4 Don’t trust in lies: “This is the Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple! The Lord’s temple!” 5 No, if you truly reform your ways and your actions; if you treat each other justly; 6 if you stop taking advantage of the immigrant, orphan, or widow; if you don’t shed the blood of the innocent in this place, or go after other gods to your own ruin, 7 only then will I dwell with you[i] in this place, in the land that I gave long ago to your ancestors for all time.
8 And yet you trust in lies that will only hurt you. 9 Will you steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, sacrifice to Baal and go after other gods that you don’t know, 10 and then come and stand before me in this temple that bears my name, and say, “We are safe,” only to keep on doing all these detestable things? 11 Do you regard this temple, which bears my name, as a hiding place for criminals? I can see what’s going on here, declares the Lord. 12 Just go to my sanctuary[j] in Shiloh, where I let my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it because of the evil of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, declares the Lord, because you haven’t listened when I spoke to you again and again or responded when I called you, 14 I will do to this temple that bears my name and on which you rely, the place that I gave to you and your ancestors, just as I did to Shiloh. 15 I will cast you out of my sight, just as I cast out the rest of your family, all the people of Ephraim.
16 As for you, don’t pray for these people, don’t cry out or plead for them, and don’t intercede with me, for I won’t listen to you. 17 Can’t you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead dough to make sacrificial cakes for the queen of heaven. And to offend me all the more, they pour out drink offerings to foreign gods. 19 But am I the one they are really offending? declares the Lord. Aren’t they in fact humiliating themselves? 20 Therefore, this is what the Lord God says: I’m going to pour out my fierce anger on this place, on humans and beasts, on the trees of the field and the crops of the fertile land. It will burn and not go out.
21 This is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: Add your entirely burned offerings to your sacrifices and eat them yourselves! 22 On the day I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I didn’t say a thing—I gave no instructions—about entirely burned offerings or sacrifices. 23 Rather, this is what I required of them: Obey me so that I may become your God and you may become my people. Follow the path I mark out for you so that it may go well with you. 24 But they didn’t listen or pay attention. They followed their willful and evil hearts and went backward rather than forward. 25 From the moment your ancestors left the land of Egypt to this day, I have sent you all my servants the prophets—day after day. 26 But they didn’t listen to me or pay attention; they were stubborn and did more harm than their ancestors. 27 When you tell them all this, they won’t listen to you. When you call to them, they won’t respond. 28 Therefore, say to them: This nation neither obeys the Lord its God nor accepts correction; truth has disappeared; it has vanished from their lips.
29 Cut off your hair and cast it away;
grieve on the well-traveled paths.
The Lord has rejected you
and has cast off a generation that provokes his anger.
30 The people of Judah have done what displeases me, declares the Lord. They have corrupted the temple that bears my name by setting up their disgusting idols. 31 They have built shrines at Topheth in the Ben-hinnom Valley to burn their sons and daughters in the fire, although I never commanded such a thing, nor did it ever cross my mind. 32 So now the time is coming, declares the Lord, when people will no longer speak of Topheth or the Ben-hinnom Valley, but the Carnage Valley. They will bury in Topheth until no space is left. 33 The corpses of this people will be food for birds and wild animals, with no one to drive them off. 34 I will silence the sound of joy and delight as well as the voice of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, for the country will be reduced to a wasteland.
8 At that time, declares the Lord, the bones of the kings of Judah and its officers, the bones of the priests and the prophets, and the bones of the people of Jerusalem will be taken from their graves 2 and exposed to the sun, the moon, and the whole heavenly forces, which they have loved and served and which they have followed, consulted, and worshipped. Their bones won’t be gathered for reburial but will become like refuse lying on the ground. 3 The survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life, wherever I have scattered them, declares the Lord of heavenly forces.
Depth of Judah’s wrongdoing
4 Say to them, The Lord proclaims:
When people fall down, don’t they get up?
When they turn aside, don’t they turn back?
5 Why then does this people, rebellious Jerusalem,
persistently turn away from me?
They cling to deceit
and refuse to return.
6 I have listened carefully
but haven’t heard a word of truth from them.
No one regrets their wrongdoing;
no one says, “What have I done?”
Everyone turns to their own course,
like a stallion dashing into the thick of battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky knows the seasons,
and the dove, swallow,[k] and crane[l]
return in due time.
But my people don’t know the Lord’s ways.
- Jeremiah 6:16 Or they
- Jeremiah 6:17 Or they
- Jeremiah 6:18 Heb uncertain
- Jeremiah 6:27 Heb uncertain
- Jeremiah 6:28 Or bronze
- Jeremiah 6:29 Heb uncertain
- Jeremiah 6:29 Or wicked
- Jeremiah 7:3 Or I will let you dwell
- Jeremiah 7:7 Or I will let you dwell
- Jeremiah 7:12 Or place
- Jeremiah 8:7 Heb uncertain
- Jeremiah 8:7 Heb uncertain
8 See to it that nobody enslaves you with philosophy and foolish deception, which conform to human traditions and the way the world thinks and acts rather than Christ. 9 All the fullness of deity lives in Christ’s body. 10 And you have been filled by him, who is the head of every ruler and authority. 11 You were also circumcised by him. This wasn’t performed by human hands—the whole body was removed through this circumcision by Christ. 12 You were buried with him through baptism and raised with him through faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 When you were dead because of the things you had done wrong and because your body wasn’t circumcised, God made you alive with Christ and forgave all the things you had done wrong. 14 He destroyed the record of the debt we owed, with its requirements that worked against us. He canceled it by nailing it to the cross. 15 When he disarmed the rulers and authorities, he exposed them to public disgrace by leading them in a triumphal parade.
16 So don’t let anyone judge you about eating or drinking or about a festival, a new moon observance, or sabbaths. 17 These religious practices are only a shadow of what was coming—the body that cast the shadow is Christ. 18 Don’t let anyone who wants to practice harsh self-denial and worship angels rob you of the prize. They go into detail about what they have seen in visions and have become unjustifiably arrogant by their selfish way of thinking. 19 They don’t stay connected to the head. The head nourishes and supports the whole body through the joints and ligaments, so the body grows with a growth that is from God.
20 If you died with Christ to the way the world thinks and acts, why do you submit to rules and regulations as though you were living in the world? 21 “Don’t handle!” “Don’t taste!” “Don’t touch!” 22 All these things cease to exist when they are used. Such rules are human commandments and teachings. 23 They look like they are wise with this self-made religion and their self-denial by the harsh treatment of the body, but they are no help against indulging in selfish immoral behavior.
A maskil[a] of Asaph.
78 Listen, my people, to my teaching;
tilt your ears toward the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth with a proverb.
I’ll declare riddles from days long gone—
3 ones that we’ve heard and learned about,
ones that our ancestors told us.
4 We won’t hide them from their descendants;
we’ll tell the next generation
all about the praise due the Lord and his strength—
the wondrous works God has done.
5 He established a law for Jacob
and set up Instruction for Israel,
ordering our ancestors
to teach them to their children.
6 This is so that the next generation
and children not yet born will know these things,
and so they can rise up and tell their children
7 to put their hope in God—
never forgetting God’s deeds,
but keeping God’s commandments—
8 and so that they won’t become like their ancestors:
a rebellious, stubborn generation,
a generation whose heart wasn’t set firm
and whose spirit wasn’t faithful to God.
9 The children of Ephraim, armed with bows,
retreated on the day of battle.
10 They didn’t keep God’s covenant;
they refused to walk in his Instruction.
11 They forgot God’s deeds
as well as the wondrous works he showed them.
12 But God performed wonders in their ancestors’ presence—
in the land of Egypt, in the field of Zoan.
13 God split the sea and led them through,
making the waters stand up like a wall.
14 God led them with the cloud by day;
by the lightning all through the night.
15 God split rocks open in the wilderness,
gave them plenty to drink—
as if from the deep itself!
16 God made streams flow from the rock,
made water run like rivers.
17 But they continued to sin against God,
rebelling against the Most High in the desert.
18 They tested God in their hearts,
demanded food for their stomachs.
19 They spoke against God!
“Can God set a dinner table in the wilderness?” they asked.
20 “True, God struck the rock
and water gushed and streams flowed,
but can he give bread too?
Can he provide meat for his people?”
21 When the Lord heard this, he became furious.
A fire was ignited against Jacob;
wrath also burned against Israel
22 because they had no faith in God,
because they didn’t trust his saving power.
23 God gave orders to the skies above,
opened heaven’s doors,
24 and rained manna on them so they could eat.
He gave them the very grain of heaven!
25 Each person ate the bread of the powerful ones;[b]
God sent provisions to satisfy them.
26 God set the east wind moving across the skies
and drove the south wind by his strength.
27 He rained meat on them as if it were dust in the air;
he rained as many birds as the sand on the seashore!
28 God brought the birds down in the center of their camp,
all around their dwellings.
29 So they ate and were completely satisfied;
God gave them exactly what they had craved.
30 But they didn’t stop craving—
even with the food still in their mouths!
31 So God’s anger came up against them:
he killed the most hearty of them;
he cut down Israel’s youth in their prime.
26 Those who speak honestly
are like those who kiss on the lips.