Jérémie (NAB) 9

9 1 Would that I had in the desert a travelers' lodge! That I might leave my people and depart from them. They are all adulterers, a faithless band.
They ready their tongues like a drawn bow; with lying, and not with truth, they hold forth in the land. They go from evil to evil, but me they know not, says the LORD.
Be on your guard, everyone against his neighbor; put no trust in any brother. Every brother apes Jacob, the supplanter, every friend is guilty of slander.
Each one deceives the other, no one speaks the truth. They have accustomed their tongues to lying, and are perverse, and cannot repent.
Violence upon violence, deceit upon deceit: They refuse to recognize me, says the LORD.
Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: I will smelt them and test them; how else should I deal with their wickedness?
A murderous arrow is his tongue, his mouth utters deceit; He speaks cordially with his friends, but in his heart he lays an ambush!
For these things, says the LORD, shall I not punish them? On a nation such as this shall I not take vengeance?
Over the mountains, break out in cries of lamentation, over the pasture lands, intone a dirge: They are scorched, and no man crosses them, unheard is the bleat of the flock; Birds of the air as well as beasts, all have fled, and are gone.
I will turn Jerusalem into a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals; The cities of Judah I will make into a waste, where no one dwells.
Who is so wise that he can understand this? Let him to whom the mouth of the LORD has spoken make it known: Why is the land ravaged, scorched like a wasteland untraversed?
The LORD answered: Because they have abandoned my law, which I set before them, and have not followed it or listened to my voice,
but followed rather the hardness of their hearts and the Baals, as their fathers had taught them;
therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: See now, I will give them wormwood to eat and poison to drink.
I will scatter them among nations whom neither they nor their fathers have known; I will send the sword to pursue them until I have completely destroyed them.
Thus says the LORD of hosts: Attention! tell the wailing women to come, summon the best of them;

The People Mourn in Judgment

17 Let them come quickly and intone a dirge for us, That our eyes may be wet with weeping, our cheeks run with tears.
The dirge is heard from Zion: Ruined we are, and greatly ashamed; We must leave the land, give up our homes!
Hear, you women, the word of the LORD, let your ears receive his message. Teach your daughters this dirge, and each other this lament.
Death has come up through our windows, has entered our palaces; It cuts down the children in the street, young people in the squares.
The corpses of the slain lie like dung on a field, Like sheaves behind the harvester, with no one to gather them.
Thus says the LORD: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, nor the strong man glory in his strength, nor the rich man glory in his riches;
But rather, let him who glories, glory in this, that in his prudence he knows me, Knows that I, the LORD, bring about kindness, justice and uprightness on the earth; For with such am I pleased, says the LORD.
See, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will demand an account of all those circumcised in their flesh:
Egypt and Judah, Edom and the Ammonites, Moab and the desert dwellers who shave their temples. For all these nations, like the whole house of Israel, are uncircumcised in heart.

Idolatry Has Brought Ruin on Israel

10 1 Hear the word which the LORD speaks to you, O house of Israel.2 Thus says the LORD: Learn not the customs of the nations, and have no fear of the signs of the heavens, though the nations fear them. 3 For the cult idols of the nations are nothing, wood cut from the forest, Wrought by craftsmen with the adze,4 adorned with silver and gold. With nails and hammers they are fastened, that they may not totter.5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field are they, they cannot speak; They must be carried about, for they cannot walk. Fear them not, they can do no harm, neither is it in their power to do good.6 No one is like you, O LORD, great are you, great and mighty is your name.7 Who would not fear you, King of the nations, for it is your due! Among all the wisest of the nations, and in all their domain, there is none like you.8 One and all they are dumb and senseless, these idols they teach about are wooden:9 Silver strips brought from Tarshish, and gold from Ophir, The work of the craftsman and the handiwork of the smelter, Clothed with violet and purple- all of them the work of artisans. 10 The LORD is true God, he is the living God, the eternal King, Before whose anger the earth quakes, whose wrath the nations cannot endure:11 Thus shall you say of them: Let the gods that did not make heaven and earth perish from the earth, and from beneath these heavens!12 He who made the earth by his power, established the world by his wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by his skill.13 When he thunders, the waters in the heavens roar, and he brings up clouds from the end of the earth; He makes the lightning flash in the rain, and releases stormwinds from their chambers.14 Every man is stupid, ignorant; every artisan is put to shame by his idol: He has molded a fraud, without breath of life.15 Nothingness are they, a ridiculous work; they will perish in their time of punishment.16 Not like these is the portion of Jacob: he is the creator of all things; Israel is his very own tribe, LORD of hosts is his name.

The Coming Exile

17 Lift your bundle and leave the land, O city living in a state of siege!18 For thus says the LORD: Behold, this time I will sling away the inhabitants of the land; I will hem them in, that they may be taken.19 Woe is me! I am undone, my wound is incurable; Yet I had thought: if I make light of my wound, I can bear it.20 My tent is ruined, all its cords are severed. My sons have left me, they are no more: no one to pitch my tent, no one to raise its curtains.21 Yes, the shepherds were stupid as cattle, the LORD they sought not; Therefore they had no success, and all their flocks were scattered.22 Listen! a noise! it comes closer, a great uproar from the northern land: To turn the cities of Judah into a desert haunt of jackals.
You know, O LORD, that man is not master of his way; Man's course is not within his choice, nor is it for him to direct his step.24 Punish us, O LORD, but with equity, not in anger, lest you have us dwindle away.25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that know you not, on the tribes that call not upon your name; For they have devoured Jacob utterly, and laid waste his dwelling.

Israel and Judah Have Broken the Covenant

11 1 The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:2 Speak to the men of Judah and to the citizens of Jerusalem,3 saying to them: Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Cursed be the man who does not observe the terms of this covenant,4 which I enjoined upon your fathers the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt, that iron foundry, saying: Listen to my voice and do all that I command you. Then you shall be my people, and I will be your God.5 Thus I will fulfill the oath which I swore to your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey: the one you have today. "Amen, LORD," I answered.6 Then the LORD said to me: Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: Hear the words of this covenant and obey them.7 Urgently and constantly I warned your fathers to obey my voice, from the day I brought them up out of the land of Egypt even to this day.8 But they did not listen or give ear. Each one followed the hardness of his evil heart, till I brought upon them all the threats of this covenant which they had failed to observe as I commanded them.9 A conspiracy has been found, the LORD said to me, among the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem.10 They have returned to the crimes of their forefathers who refused to obey my words. They also have followed and served strange gods; the covenant which I had made with their fathers, the house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken.11 Therefore, thus says the LORD: See, I bring upon them misfortune which they cannot escape. Though they cry out to me, I will not listen to them.12 Then the cities of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to which they have been offering incense. But these gods will give them no help whatever when misfortune strikes.13 For as numerous as your cities are your gods, O Judah! And as many as the streets of Jerusalem are the altars for offering sacrifice to Baal.14 Do not intercede on behalf of this people, nor utter a plea for them. I will not listen when they call to me at the time of their misfortune.
What right has my beloved in my house, while she prepares her plots? Can vows and sacred meat turn away your misfortune from you? Will you still be jubilant16 when you hear the great invasion? A spreading olive tree, goodly to behold, the LORD has named you; Now he sets fire to it, its branches burn.17 The LORD of hosts who planted you has decreed misfortune for you because of the evil done by the house of Israel and by the house of Judah, who provoked me by sacrificing to Baal.

Jeremiah's Life Threatened

18 I knew it because the LORD informed me; at that time you, O LORD, showed me their doings. 19 Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: "Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more." 20 But, you, O LORD of hosts, O just Judge, searcher of mind and heart, Let me witness the vengeance you take on them, for to you I have entrusted my cause!21 Therefore, thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth who seek your life, saying, "Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD; else you shall die by our hand."22 Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts: I am going to punish them. The young men shall die by the sword; their sons and daughters shall die by famine.23 None shall be spared among them, for I will bring misfortune upon the men of Anathoth, the year of their punishment.

Jeremiah Complains to God

12 1 You would be in the right, O LORD, if I should dispute with you; even so, I must discuss the case with you. Why does the way of the godless prosper, why live all the treacherous in contentment?2 You planted them; they have taken root, they keep on growing and bearing fruit. You are upon their lips, but far from their inmost thoughts.3 You, O Lord, know me, you see me, you have found that at heart I am with you. Pick them out like sheep for the slaughter, set them apart for the day of carnage. 4 How long must the earth mourn, the green of the whole countryside wither? For the wickedness of those who dwell in it beasts and birds disappear, because they say, "God does not see our ways."

God Replies to Jeremiah

5 If running against men has wearied you, how will you race against horses? And if in a land of peace you fall headlong, what will you do in the thickets of the Jordan?6 For even your own brothers, the members of your father's house, betray you; they have recruited a force against you. Do not believe them, even if they are friendly to you in their words.
I abandon my house, cast off my heritage; The beloved of my soul I deliver into the hand of her foes.8 My heritage has turned on me like a lion in the jungle; Because she has roared against me, I treat her as an enemy.9 My heritage is a prey for hyenas, is surrounded by vultures; Come, gather together, all you beasts of the field, come and eat!10 Many shepherds have ravaged my vineyard, have trodden my heritage underfoot; The portion that delighted me they have turned into a desert waste.11 They have made it a mournful waste, desolate it lies before me, Desolate, all the land, because no one takes it to heart.12 Upon every desert height brigands have come up. The LORD has a sword which consumes the land, from end to end: no peace for all mankind.13 They have sown wheat and reaped thorns, they have tired themselves out to no purpose; They recoil before their harvest, the flaming anger of the LORD.
Thus says the LORD against all my evil neighbors who plunder the heritage which I gave my people Israel as their own: See, I will pluck them up from their land; the house of Judah I will pluck up in their midst. 15 But after plucking them up, I will pity them again and bring them back, each to his heritage, each to his land.16 And if they carefully learn my people's custom of swearing by my name, "As the LORD lives," they who formerly taught my people to swear by Baal shall be built up in the midst of my people.17 But if they do not obey, I will uproot and destroy that nation entirely, says the LORD.

The Linen Loincloth

13 1 The LORD said to me: Go buy yourself a linen loincloth; wear it on your loins, but do not put it in water. 2 I bought the loincloth, as the LORD commanded, and put it on.3 A second time the word of the LORD came to me thus:4 Take the loincloth which you bought and are wearing, and go now to the Parath; there hide it in a cleft of the rock.5 Obedient to the LORD'S command, I went to the Parath and buried the loincloth.6 After a long interval, he said to me: Go now to the Parath and fetch the loincloth which I told you to hide there.7 Again I went to the Parath, sought out and took the loincloth from the place where I had hid it. But it was rotted, good for nothing!8 Then the message came to me from the LORD:9 Thus says the LORD: So also I will allow the pride of Judah to rot, the great pride of Jerusalem.10 This wicked people who refuse to obey my words, who walk in the stubbornness of their hearts, and follow strange gods to serve and adore them, shall be like this loincloth which is good for nothing.11 For, as close as the loincloth clings to a man's loins, so had I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, says the LORD; to be my people, my renown, my praise, my beauty. But they did not listen.

Symbol of the Wine-Jars

12 Now speak to them this word: Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: Every wineflask is meant to be filled with wine. If they reply, "Do we not know that every wineflask is meant to be filled with wine?"13 say to them: Thus says the LORD: Beware! I am filling with drunkenness all the inhabitants of this land, the kings who succeed to David's throne, the priests and prophets, and all the citizens of Jerusalem.14 I will dash them against each other, fathers and sons together, says the LORD; I will show no compassion, I will not spare or pity, but will destroy them.

Exile Threatened

15 Give ear, listen humbly, for the LORD speaks.16 Give glory to the LORD, your God, before it grows dark; Before your feet stumble on darkening mountains; Before the light you look for turns to darkness, changes into black clouds.17 If you do not listen to this in your pride, I will weep in secret many tears; My eyes will run with tears for the LORD'S flock, led away to exile.
Say to the king and to the queen mother: come down from your throne; From your heads fall your magnificent crowns.19 The cities of the Negeb are besieged, with no one to relieve them; All Judah is banished in universal exile.
Lift up your eyes and see men coming from the north. Where is the flock entrusted to you, the sheep that were your glory?21 What will you say when they place as rulers over you those whom you taught to be your lovers? Will not pangs seize you like those of a woman giving birth?22 If you ask in your heart why these things befall you: For your great guilt your skirts are stripped away and you are violated.23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin? the leopard his spots? As easily would you be able to do good, accustomed to evil as you are.24 I will scatter them like chaff that flies when the desert wind blows.25 This is your lot, the portion measured out to you from me, says the LORD. Because you have forgotten me, and trusted in the lying idol,26 I now will strip off your skirts from you, so that your shame will appear.27 Your adulteries, your neighings, your shameless prostitutions: On the hills in the highlands I see these horrible crimes of yours. Woe to you, Jerusalem, how long will it yet be before you become clean!

The Great Drought

14 1 The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:2 Judah mourns, her gates are lifeless; Her people sink down in mourning: from Jerusalem ascends a cry of anguish.3 The nobles send their servants for water, but when they come to the cisterns They find no water and return with empty jars. Ashamed, despairing, they cover their heads4 because of the stricken soil; Because there is no rain in the land the farmers are ashamed, they cover their heads.5 Even the hind in the field deserts her offspring because there is no grass.6 The wild asses stand on the bare heights, gasping for breath like jackals; Their eyes grow dim, because there is no vegetation to be seen.7 Even though our crimes bear witness against us, take action, O LORD, for the honor of your name-- Even though our rebellions are many, though we have sinned against you.8 O Hope of Israel, O LORD, our savior in time of need! Why should you be a stranger in this land, like a traveler who has stopped but for a night?9 Why are you like a man dumbfounded, a champion who cannot save? You are in our midst, O LORD, your name we bear: do not forsake us!10 Thus says the LORD of this people: They so love to wander that they do not spare their feet. The LORD has no pleasure in them; now he remembers their guilt, and will punish their sins.11 Then the LORD said to me: Do not intercede for this people.12 If they fast, I will not listen to their supplication. If they offer holocausts or cereal offerings, I will not accept them. Rather, I will destroy them with the sword, famine, and pestilence.

Denunciation of Lying Prophets

13 Ah! Lord GOD, I replied, it is the prophets who say to them, "You shall not see the sword; famine shall not befall you. Indeed, I will give you lasting peace in this place."14 Lies these prophets utter in my name, the LORD said to me. I did not send them; I gave them no command nor did I speak to them. Lying visions, foolish divination, dreams of their own imagination, they prophesy to you.15 Therefore, thus says the LORD: Concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name, though I did not send them; who say, "Sword and famine shall not befall this land": by the sword and famine shall these prophets meet their end.16 The people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out into the streets of Jerusalem by famine and the sword. No one shall bury them, their wives, their sons, or their daughters, for I will pour out upon them their own wickedness.17 Speak to them this word: Let my eyes stream with tears day and night, without rest, Over the great destruction which overwhelms the virgin daughter of my people, over her incurable wound.18 If I walk out into the field, look! those slain by the sword; If I enter the city, look! those consumed by hunger. Even the prophet and the priest forage in a land they know not.

The People Plead for Mercy

19 Have you cast Judah off completely? Is Zion loathsome to you? Why have you struck us a blow that cannot be healed? We wait for peace, to no avail; for a time of healing, but terror comes instead.20 We recognize, O LORD, our wickedness, the guilt of our fathers; that we have sinned against you.21 For your name's sake spurn us not, disgrace not the throne of your glory; remember your covenant with us, and break it not.22 Among the nations' idols is there any that gives rain? Or can the mere heavens send showers? Is it not you alone, O LORD, our God, to whom we look? You alone have done all these things.

Punishment Is Inevitable

15 1 The LORD said to me: Even if Moses and Samuel stood before me, my heart would not turn toward this people. Send them away from me.2 If they ask you where they should go, tell them, Thus says the LORD: Whoever is marked for death, to death; whoever is marked for the sword, to the sword; whoever is marked for famine, to famine; whoever is marked for captivity, to captivity.3 Four kinds of scourge I have decreed against them, says the LORD: the sword to slay them; dogs to drag them about; the birds of the sky and the beasts of the earth to devour and destroy them.4 And I will make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, did in Jerusalem.
Who will pity you, Jerusalem, who will console you? Who will stop to ask about your welfare?6 You have disowned me, says the LORD, turned your back upon me; And so I stretched out my hand to destroy you, I was weary of sparing you.7 I winnowed them with the fan in every city gate. I destroyed my people through bereavement; they returned not from their evil ways.8 Their widows were more numerous before me than the sands of the sea. I brought against the mother of youths the spoiler at midday; Suddenly I struck her with anguish and terror.9 The mother of seven swoons away, gasping out her life; Her sun sets in full day, she is disgraced, despairing. Their survivors I will give to the sword before their enemies, says the LORD.

Jeremiah Complains Again and Is Reassured

10 Woe to me, mother, that you gave me birth! a man of strife and contention to all the land! I neither borrow nor lend, yet all curse me.11 Tell me, LORD, have I not served you for their good? Have I not interceded with you in the time of misfortune and anguish?12 13 14 15 You know I have. Remember me, LORD, visit me, and avenge me on my persecutors. Because of your long-suffering banish me not; know that for you I have borne insult.16 When I found your words, I devoured them; they became my joy and the happiness of my heart, Because I bore your name, O LORD, God of hosts.17 I did not sit celebrating in the circle of merrymakers; Under the weight of your hand I sat alone because you filled me with indignation.18 Why is my pain continuous, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? You have indeed become for me a treacherous brook, whose waters do not abide! 19 Thus the LORD answered me: If you repent, so that I restore you, in my presence you shall stand; If you bring forth the precious without the vile, you shall be my mouthpiece. Then it shall be they who turn to you, and you shall not turn to them;20 And I will make you toward this people a solid wall of brass. Though they fight against you, they shall not prevail, For I am with you, to deliver and rescue you, says the LORD.21 I will free you from the hand of the wicked, and rescue you from the grasp of the violent.

Jeremiah's Celibacy and Message

16 1 This message came to me from the LORD:2 Do not marry any woman; you shall not have sons or daughters in this place,3 for thus says the LORD concerning the sons and daughters who will be born in this place, the mothers who will give them birth, the fathers who will beget them in this land:4 Of deadly disease they shall die. Unlamented and unburied they will lie like dung on the ground. Sword and famine will make an end of them, and their corpses will become food for the birds of the sky and the beasts of the field.5 Go not into a house of mourning, the LORD continued: go not there to lament or offer sympathy. For I have withdrawn my friendship from this people, says the LORD, my kindness and my pity.6 They shall die, the great and the lowly, in this land, and shall go unburied and unlamented. No one will gash himself or shave his head for them. 7 They will not break bread with the bereaved to console them in their bereavement; they will not give them the cup of consolation to drink over the death of father or mother.8 Enter not a house where people are celebrating, to sit with them eating and drinking.9 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Before your very eyes and during your lifetime I will silence from this place the cry of joy and the cry of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.10 When you proclaim all these words to this people and they ask you: "Why has the LORD pronounced all these great evils against us? What is our crime? What sin have we committed against the LORD, our God?"-- 11 you shall answer them: It is because your fathers have forsaken me, says the LORD, and followed strange gods, which they served and worshiped; but me they have forsaken, and my law they have not observed.12 And you have done worse than your fathers. Here you are, every one of you, walking in the hardness of his evil heart instead of listening to me.13 I will cast you out of this land into a land that neither you nor your fathers have known; there you can serve strange gods day and night, because I will not grant you my mercy.

God Will Restore Israel

14 However, days will surely come, says the LORD, when it will no longer be said, "As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of Egypt";15 but rather, "As the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of the north and out of all the countries to which he had banished them." I will bring them back to the land which I gave their fathers.
Look! I will send many fishermen, says the LORD, to catch them. After that, I will send many hunters to hunt them out from every mountain and hill and from the clefts of the rocks.17 For my eyes are upon all their ways; they are not hidden from me, nor does their guilt escape my view.18 I will at once repay them double for their crime and their sin of profaning my land with their detestable corpses of idols, and filling my heritage with their abominations.
O LORD, my strength, my fortress, my refuge in the day of distress! To you will the nations come from the ends of the earth, and say, "Mere frauds are the heritage of our fathers, empty idols of no use."20 Can man make for himself gods? These are not gods.21 Look, then: I will give them knowledge; this time I will leave them in no doubt Of my strength and my power: they shall know that my name is LORD.

Judah's Sin and Punishment

17 1 The sin of Judah is written with an iron stylus, Engraved with a diamond point upon the tablets of their hearts.(And the horns of their altars,2 when their sons remember their altars and their sacred poles, beside the green trees, on the high hills,3 the peaks in the highland.) Your wealth and all your treasures I will give as spoil. In recompense for all your sins throughout your borders,4 You will relinquish your hold on your heritage which I have given you. I will enslave you to your enemies in a land that you know not: For a fire has been kindled by my wrath that will burn forever.
Thus says the LORD: Cursed is the man who trusts in human beings, who seeks his strength in flesh, whose heart turns away from the LORD.6 He is like a barren bush in the desert that enjoys no change of season, But stands in a lava waste, a salt and empty earth.7 Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose hope is the LORD.8 He is like a tree planted beside the waters that stretches out its roots to the stream: It fears not the heat when it comes, its leaves stay green; In the year of drought it shows no distress, but still bears fruit.9 More tortuous than all else is the human heart, beyond remedy; who can understand it?10 I, the LORD, alone probe the mind and test the heart, To reward everyone according to his ways, according to the merit of his deeds.11 A partridge that mothers a brood not her own is the man who acquires wealth unjustly: In midlife it will desert him; in the end he is only a fool.
A throne of glory, exalted from the beginning, such is our holy place.13 O hope of Israel, O LORD! all who forsake you shall be in disgrace; The rebels in the land shall be put to shame; they have forsaken the source of living waters (the LORD).

Jeremiah Prays for Vindication

14 Heal me, LORD, that I may be healed; save me, that I may be saved, for it is you whom I praise.15 See how they say to me, "Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come to pass!"16 Yet I did not press you to send calamity; the day without remedy I have not desired. You know what passed my lips; it is present before you.17 Do not be my ruin, you, my refuge in the day of misfortune.18 Let my persecutors, not me, be confounded; let them, not me, be broken. Bring upon them the day of misfortune, crush them with repeated destruction.

Hallow the Sabbath Day

19 Thus said the LORD to me: Go, stand at the Gate of Benjamin, where the kings of Judah enter and leave, and at the other gates of Jerusalem. 20 There say to them: Hear the word of the LORD, you kings of Judah, and all Judah, and all you citizens of Jerusalem who enter these gates!21 Thus says the LORD: As you love your lives, take care not to carry burdens on the sabbath day, to bring them in through the gates of Jerusalem.22 Bring no burden from your homes on the sabbath. Do no work whatever, but keep holy the sabbath, as I commanded your fathers,23 though they did not listen or give ear, but stiffened their necks so as not to hear or take correction.24 If you obey me wholeheartedly, says the LORD, and carry no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath, keeping the sabbath holy and abstaining from all work on it,25 then, through the gates of this city, kings who sit upon the throne of David will continue to enter, riding in their chariots or upon their horses, along with their princes, and the men of Judah, and the citizens of Jerusalem. This city will remain inhabited forever.26 To it people will come from the cities of Judah and the neighborhood of Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin and from the foothills, from the hill country and the Negeb, to bring holocausts and sacrifices, cereal offerings and incense and thank offerings to the house of the LORD.27 But if you do not obey me and keep holy the sabbath, if you carry burdens and come through the gates of Jerusalem on the sabbath, I will set unquenchable fire to its gates, which will consume the palaces of Jerusalem.

The Potter and the Clay

18 1 This word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 Rise up, be off to the potter's house; there I will give you my message.3 I went down to the potter's house and there he was, working at the wheel.4 Whenever the object of clay which he was making turned out badly in his hand, he tried again, making of the clay another object of whatever sort he pleased.5 Then the word of the Lord came to me:6 Can I not do to you, house of Israel, as this potter has done? says the LORD. Indeed, like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, house of Israel.7 Sometimes I threaten to uproot and tear down and destroy a nation or a kingdom.8 But if that nation which I have threatened turns from its evil, I also repent of the evil which I threatened to do.9 Sometimes, again, I promise to build up and plant a nation or a kingdom.10 But if that nation does what is evil in my eyes, refusing to obey my voice, I repent of the good with which I promised to bless it.11 And now, tell this to the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem: Thus says the LORD: Take care! I am fashioning evil against you and making a plan. Return, each of you, from his evil way; reform your ways and your deeds.

Israel's Stubborn Idolatry

12 But they will say, "No use! We will follow our own devices; each one of us will behave according to the stubbornness of his evil heart!"
Therefore thus says the LORD: Ask among the nations- who has ever heard the like? Truly horrible things has virgin Israel done!14 Does the snow of Lebanon desert the rocky heights? Do the gushing waters dry up that flow fresh down the mountains? 15 Yet my people have forgotten me: they burn incense to a thing that does not exist. They stumble out of their ways, the paths of old, To travel on bypaths, not the beaten track.16 Their land shall be turned into a desert, an object of lasting ridicule: All passers-by will be amazed, will shake their heads.17 Like the east wind, I will scatter them before their enemies; I will show them my back, not my face, in their day of disaster.

A Plot against Jeremiah

18 "Come," they said, "let us contrive a plot against Jeremiah. It will not mean the loss of instruction from the priests, nor of counsel from the wise, nor of messages from the prophets. And so, let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word."19 Heed me, O LORD, and listen to what my adversaries say.20 Must good be repaid with evil that they should dig a pit to take my life? Remember that I stood before you to speak in their behalf, to turn away your wrath from them.21 So now, deliver their children to famine, do away with them by the sword. Let their wives be made childless and widows; let their men die of pestilence, their young men be slain by the sword in battle. 22 May cries be heard from their homes, when suddenly you send plunderers against them. For they have dug a pit to capture me, they have hid snares for my feet;23 But you, O LORD, know all their plans to slay me. Forgive not their crime, blot not out their sin in your sight! Let them go down before you, proceed against them in the time of your anger.

Jérémie (NAB) 9