Jeremiah 1-4 Deceived By Desires

Jeremiah 1-4 Deceived By Desires

Psalm 82:1-8 Are You A God?
Ps 82:1 “God presides in the assembly of the mighty*. He judges among the gods/judges**. 2 "How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?" Selah. 3 "Defend the weak, the poor, and the fatherless. Maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. 4 Rescue the weak and needy. Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked." 5 They don’t know, neither do they understand. They walk back and forth in darkness. All the foundations of the earth are shaken. 6 I said, "You are gods,** all of you are sons of the Most High. 7 Nevertheless you shall die like men, and fall like one of the rulers." 8 Arise, God, judge the earth, for you possess/inherit all of the nations.”

Observations: 82:1 Asaph presents God presiding as the judge of the judges. He warns them of coming judgment for failing to judge as God intended, since they stand in the place of God. *The Hebrew word for “mighty” is ‘el, most frequently translated as “God”. **The Hebrew word for “god” is ‘elohiym, the plural of 'el which is translated “judge” in the following examples. Ex 21:6 then his master shall bring him to the judges/gods... 22:9 For every matter of trespass...about which one says, ‘This is mine,’ the cause of both parties shall come before the judges/gods. He whom the judges/gods condemn shall pay double to his neighbor.
82:2-4 The judges should reflect the actions of God in their dealings with their fellow men.
82:5 Unfortunately, the judges of Asaph's day don't do what they should because they neither know or understand wisdom and stumble around in the dark, destabilizing the foundation of government, which is justice. The Book of Proverbs open with the solution: Pr 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel: 2 To know wisdom and instruction, To perceive the words of understanding
82:6-7 Even though God had installed them in a privileged position, they will die like any human and be cast down like any deposed leader. In John 10:31-39 Jesus quotes Ps 82:6 in defending His claim to be God against the charge of blasphemy. Since God calls human judges “gods” or “sons of God” then Jesus is not blaspheming by calling Himself the “Son of God.” They didn't quite buy His argument.
82:8 Asaph ends with asking God to execute correct judgment on all the earth, since He is the one who owns all the nations.
Application: Those who fail to judge righteously, according to God's principles, will themselves be judged, by the Judge who will eventually set all things right.
Prayer: God, may I use whatever privilege or position You've given me to reflect Your principles and values, knowing I'll have to give an account to You. Amen.
Proverbs 20:16-18 Results Matter
Pr 20:16 “Take the garment of one who puts up collateral/security for a stranger; and hold him in pledge for an outsider. 17 Fraudulent/deceitful food is sweet to a man, but afterward his mouth is filled with gravel. 18 Plans are established by seeking advice; by wise guidance you wage war!“

Observations: 20:16 The author gives advice about not taking unwarranted risks for a stranger, especially one who doesn't have the values of God's people. Recognizing everything we have is a trust from the Lord to whom we will have to give an account of our stewardship, should lead us to always ask: “What does God want us to do with His stuff?”
20:17 A reminder of the consequences of our actions should cause us to avoid deceptive gains/pleasures that appear sweet but afterward are like chewing on gravel. Yuck.
20:18 Humbly seeking wise advice and counsel is a good way to ensure a good outcome. The foolish just do what they want and suffer for it.
Application: Before pursuing a course of action, consider if the outcome is what you and God really want.
Prayer: Lord, please guide me in being wise about my interactions with others and my pursuits, so we're both happy with the results. Amen.


Jeremiah 1-4 The prophet Jeremiah warned God's people and leaders of God's promised judgment for forsaking Him, during the reigns of the last kings of Judah to the fall of Jerusalem (background in 2Kg 21-25, and in 2Chron 33-36 which reviews the same period after the exile). Zephaniah and Habakkuk wrote during Jeremiah's ministry before the exile; Ezekiel and Daniel wrote during it. In the opening chapters God graciously calls backsliding Judah to acknowledge her sin and repent, and offers to heal her. She chooses to be unfaithful, deceived by her desires into following unprofitable prostitution.


Jeremiah 1 Fortified Prophet
1:1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: 2 to whom the word of Yahweh came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
4 Now the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you. Before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "Ah, Lord Yahweh! Behold, I don’t know how to speak; for I am a child." 7 But Yahweh said to me, "Don’t say, ‘I am a child’; for to whoever I shall send you, you shall go, and whatever I shall command you, you shall speak. 8 Don’t be afraid because of them; for I am with you to deliver you," says Yahweh. 9 Then Yahweh put forth his hand, and touched my mouth; and Yahweh said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 Behold, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
11 Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree." 12 Then Yahweh said to me, "You have seen well; for I watch over my word to perform it." 13 The word of Yahweh came to me the second time, saying, "What do you see?" I said, "I see a boiling caldron; and it is tipping away from the north." 14 Then Yahweh said to me, "Out of the north evil will break out on all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, behold, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north," says Yahweh"; and they shall come, and they shall each set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, in that they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.
17 "You therefore put your belt on your waist, arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Don’t be dismayed at them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 For, behold, I have made you this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you; but they will not prevail against you; for I am with you," says Yahweh, "to deliver you."

Observations: 1:1-10 God set apart Jeremiah from the womb to be His spokesman, and put His words in his mouth, which would cause the rise and fall of kingdoms. He was from the priestly line, and lived about three miles outside of Jerusalem.
1:11-16 Jeremiah sees a branch of an almond, and a boiling caldron. The Hebrew word for “almond” also means “awake”, and sounds like the word for “watching”. An almond tree was the first to bloom indicating a change of season. God announced His word and “watched” over it to make sure it happened. The caldron was a symbol of the judgment God would bring upon Judah, probably the Babylons (even though they were to the east, the normal attack route was from the north). Jeremiah 39 records the fulfillment of this prophecy.
1:17-19 God gives the same “encouragement” to all the major prophets when He calls them: “They won't listen to you; they'll fight against you, but I'll make you tougher than they are.” So what's the point of sending a prophet to a people that won't listen? God isn't always concerned about “success” but about faithfulness. God is vindicating the justice of His future judgment, by giving them fair warning. No one could complain that He didn't warn them. Jeremiah needed to do his job of obeying God in speaking to the people to be faithful. The results and higher purposes were up to God. In the process, God would be with him and deliver him.
Application: God doesn't call us to be successful, but faithful, and successful in His sight.
Prayer: God, You are so much better at protecting and prospering me than I could ever do on my own, so help me focus on the work You want me to do, and trust You for bringing about Your desired outcome. Amen.

Jeremiah 2 Deceived by Desire
2:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 2 "Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh, "I remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your weddings; how you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. 3 Israel was holiness to Yahweh, the first fruits of his increase. All who devour him shall be held guilty. Evil shall come on them,"’ says Yahweh."
4 Hear the word of Yahweh, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel! 5 Thus says Yahweh, "What unrighteousness have your fathers found in me, that they have gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? 6 Neither did they say, ‘Where is Yahweh who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that none passed through, and where no man lived?’ 7 I brought you into a plentiful land, to eat its fruit and its goodness; but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests didn’t say, ‘Where is Yahweh?’ and those who handle the law didn’t know me. The rulers also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
9 "Therefore I will yet contend with you," says Yahweh, "and I will contend with your children’s children. 10 For pass over to the islands of Kittim, and see; and send to Kedar, and consider diligently; and see if there has been such a thing. 11 Has a nation changed its gods, which really are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. 12 "Be astonished, you heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid. Be very desolate," says Yahweh. 13 "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters, and cut them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
14 Is Israel a servant? Is he a native-born slave? Why has he become a prey? 15 The young lions have roared at him, and yelled. They have made his land waste. His cities are burned up, without inhabitant. 16 The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. 17 "Haven’t you procured this to yourself, in that you have forsaken Yahweh your God, when he led you by the way? 18 Now what have you to do in the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of the Shihor? Or what have you to do in the way to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River? 19 "Your own wickedness shall correct you, and your backsliding shall reprove you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter, that you have forsaken Yahweh your God, and that my fear is not in you," says the Lord, Yahweh of Hosts.
20 "For of old time I have broken your yoke, and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not serve’; for on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed yourself, playing the prostitute. 21 Yet I had planted you a noble vine, wholly a right seed. How then have you turned into the degenerate branches of a foreign vine to me? 22 For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me," says the Lord Yahweh. 23 "How can you say, ‘I am not defiled. I have not gone after the Baals’? See your way in the valley. Know what you have done. You are a swift dromedary traversing her ways; 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, that snuffs up the wind in her desire. When she is in heat, who can turn her away? All those who seek her will not weary themselves. In her month, they will find her. 25 "Withhold your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is in vain. No, for I have loved strangers, and I will go after them.’ 26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets; 27 who tell wood, ‘You are my father’; and a stone, ‘You have brought me out’: for they have turned their back to me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us.’ 28 "But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble: for according to the number of your cities are your gods, Judah.
29 "Why will you contend with me? You all have transgressed against me," says Yahweh. 30 "I have struck your children in vain. They received no correction. Your own sword has devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. 31 Generation, consider the word of Yahweh. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? Or a land of thick darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We have broken loose. We will come to you no more?’ 32 "Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me for days without number. 33 How well you prepare your way to seek love! Therefore you have taught even the wicked women your ways. 34 Also the blood of the souls of the innocent poor is found in your skirts. You did not find them breaking in; but it is because of all these things. 35 "Yet you said, ‘I am innocent. Surely his anger has turned away from me.’ "Behold, I will judge you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ 36 Why do you go about so much to change your way? You will be ashamed of Egypt also, as you were ashamed of Assyria. 37 From there also you shall go forth, with your hands on your head; for Yahweh has rejected those in whom you trust, and you shall not prosper with them.

Observations: 2:1-13 God recalls Israel's initial faithfulness, and subsequent forsaking of Him, even though there was no fault found in His care of them. They left Him for gods that didn't profit nor protect them. The pagans have a greater loyalty to their false gods than Israel does to the true Creator God. The leadership, religious and civil didn't know God nor what he had said (His law). Verse 13 sums it up: they forsook the source of living water for broken cisterns that didn't have anything that sustained life.
2:14-19 God will correct them by the consequences of their choices; they will become enslaved. The causes of their choices are their lack of fear of God, and their lust. Their desire for temporal pleasure has caused them to engage in the sensual pagan worship of the land, rather than the pure worship of Yahweh. See comments on Biblical vs Pagan worship under Digging Deeper in Leviticus 1-7. If we want to be faithful to the Lord, we must find our fulfillment in Him and sanctify our desires, by contemplating their consequences.
2:20-37 Israel adds to her sin with denial and self-righteousness. She refuses to acknowledge her sin and moves further from the truth by engaging in idolatry and injustice. God had struck them with judgment, killing some of their children, but they refused to repent.
Application: Insensitivity to God results in insensitivity to man and insensitivity to our sin and its consequences.
Prayer: God, You are the source of life; may I keep sensitive to You and not deceive myself into accepting cheap substitutes. Amen.

Jeremiah 3 Healing Backsliders
3:1 "They say, ‘If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him, and become another man’s, will he return to her again?’ Wouldn’t that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the prostitute with many lovers; yet return again to me," says Yahweh. 2 "Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been lain with? You have sat for them by the ways, as an Arabian in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and with your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain; yet you have a prostitute’s forehead, you refused to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to me, ‘My Father, you are the guide of my youth?’ 5 "’Will he retain his anger forever? Will he keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and have done evil things, and have had your way."
6 Moreover, Yahweh said to me in the days of Josiah the king, "Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the prostitute. 7 I said after she had done all these things, ‘She will return to me’; but she didn’t return; and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, didn’t fear; but she also went and played the prostitute. 9 It happened through the lightness of her prostitution, that the land was polluted, and she committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister, Judah, has not returned to me with her whole heart, but only in pretense," says Yahweh. 11 Yahweh said to me, "Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, you backsliding Israel,’ says Yahweh; ‘I will not look in anger on you; for I am merciful,’ says Yahweh. ‘I will not keep anger forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against Yahweh your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice,’ says Yahweh." 14 "Return, backsliding children," says Yahweh; "for I am a husband to you. I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 It shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days," says Yahweh, "they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of Yahweh!’ neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem ‘The throne of Yahweh’; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem. Neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance to your fathers. 19 "But I said, ‘How I would put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the armies of the nations!’ and I said, ‘You shall call me "My Father," and shall not turn away from following me.’
20 "Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so you have dealt treacherously with me, house of Israel," says Yahweh. 21 A voice is heard on the bare heights, the weeping and the petitions of the children of Israel; because they have perverted their way, they have forgotten Yahweh their God. 22 Return, you backsliding children, I will heal your backsliding. "Behold, we have come to you; for you are Yahweh our God. 23 Truly in vain is help from the hills, the tumult on the mountains. Truly the salvation of Israel is in Yahweh our God. 24 But the shameful thing has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us; for we have sinned against Yahweh our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh our God."

Observations: 3:1-12 God graciously offers to forgive and accept back His backsliding people if they repent and return to Him wholeheartedly. Judah saw the northern kingdom of Israel taken away into captivity for unfaithfulness to God, but didn't fear God and refused to repent.
3:13-15 God again graciously offers forgiveness for repentance. Anyone who fails to see the merciful God of grace in the OT, just hasn't read it. They are like Israel's false teachers and prophets and shepherds who didn't know God, nor His word. If they confessed their sin, God would not only forgive them, but heal them, and give them shepherds that would feed them with knowledge and understanding (wisdom of Proverbs) so they could multiply and be increased (blessed).
3:16-19 God looks forward to a time yet future, when Judah and Israel would be regathered and dwell in the land, and would not turn back from following Him (clearly still future). The ark of the covenant which was lost when Judah went into captivity in Babylon, would still be gone, but no one would miss it, because God's throne would be in Jerusalem. The ark was the place where God's glory dwelt in the form of a cloud. But the throne is where He sat in person.
3:20-25 The consequences of their backsliding (going back or away from the relationship they had with God) is judgment and shame, and a failure to get any help from the gods they've chosen. Yet God still graciously offers salvation and healing to those who hear and obey.
Application: God doesn't heal until we confess and repent.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, You are so gracious to forgive and re-establish the relationship with Your rebellious and unfaithful people; may I never slide away from You into such stupid sin, but if I do, help me see the solution You offer. Thanks. Amen.


Jeremiah 4 Wicked Hearts Reap Ruin
4:1 "If you will return, Israel," says Yahweh, "if you will return to me, and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight; then you shall not be removed; 2 and you shall swear, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness. The nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory."
3 For thus says Yahweh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, and don’t sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
5 Declare in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, ‘Blow the trumpet in the land!’ Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble yourselves! Let us go into the fortified cities!’ 6 Set up a standard toward Zion. Flee for safety! Don’t wait; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction." 7 A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place, to make your land desolate, that your cities be laid waste, without inhabitant. 8 For this clothe yourself with sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of Yahweh hasn’t turned back from us. 9 "It shall happen at that day," says Yahweh, "that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder." 10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord Yahweh! Surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You shall have peace’; whereas the sword reaches to the heart." 11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A hot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow, nor to cleanse; 12 a full wind from these shall come for me. Now I will also utter judgments against them." 13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! For we are ruined. 14 Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, and publishes evil from the hills of Ephraim: 16 "Tell the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, ‘Watchers come from a far country, and raise their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field, they are against her all around, because she has been rebellious against me,’" says Yahweh. 18 "Your way and your doings have brought these things to you. This is your wickedness; for it is bitter, for it reaches to your heart."
19 My anguish, my anguish! I am pained at my very heart; my heart is disquieted in me; I can’t hold my peace; because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction on destruction is cried; for the whole land is laid waste: suddenly are my tents destroyed, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 "For my people are foolish, they don’t know me. They are foolish children, and they have no understanding. They are skilful in doing evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." 23 I saw the earth, and, behold, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I saw the mountains, and behold, they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I saw, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I saw, and behold, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of Yahweh, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says Yahweh, "The whole land shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this the earth will mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it." 29 Every city flees for the noise of the horsemen and archers; they go into the thickets, and climb up on the rocks: every city is forsaken, and not a man dwells therein. 30 You, when you are made desolate, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with scarlet, though you deck you with ornaments of gold, though you enlarge your eyes with paint, in vain do you make yourself beautiful; your lovers despise you, they seek your life. 31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of her who brings forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, who gasps for breath, who spreads her hands, saying, "Woe is me now! For my soul faints before the murderers."

Observations: 4:1-9 God graciously calls His sinful people to repent, and make their hearts receptive to His word, and sensitive to His truth. They have the responsibility to do this; if they don't the fierce anger of God will unleash the lions of Babylon to destroy them.
4:10-18 Jeremiah laments that God allows the prophets to deceive the people with false promises of peace, when in reality, ruinous judgment awaits the unrepentant who have wicked hearts.
4:19-31 Jeremiah's heart is in anguish when he “sees” the future devastation of God's unrepentant wrath on His unrepentant people, who are skillful in doing evil and clueless about doing good.
Application: If we fail to repent and make ourselves receptive to God, He will ruin us without relenting.
Prayer: Awesome God, You are both fearsome and forgiving; may I always be sensitive and receptive to You, living in truth, justice, and righteousness. Amen.


Digging Deeper:

God in a nutshell: God graciously calls His people to repent from their unfaithfulness to Him, so He can save them from the judgment toward which they're headed. He uses prophets whom He strengthens to protect them from the opposition of the unrepentant. He graciously offers to heal the wholeheartedly repentant, and justly ruins those who refuse.

Us in a nutshell: We sometimes stray from the enduring blessings of a relationship with the eternal God, for a temporary fling with temporal, unsatisfying and unprofitable desires, ignoring His calls to repentance. We have the responsibility to repent and make ourselves sensitive and receptive to God if we wish to be healed of our backsliding by Him.

Where to Go for More:
Truthbase.net
Jeremiah complete text


Jeremiah 1
1:1 The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests who were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: 2 to whom the word of Yahweh came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. 3 It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah, the son of Josiah, king of Judah, to the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
4 Now the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 5 "Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you. Before you came forth out of the womb, I sanctified you. I have appointed you a prophet to the nations." 6 Then I said, "Ah, Lord Yahweh! Behold, I don’t know how to speak; for I am a child." 7 But Yahweh said to me, "Don’t say, ‘I am a child’; for to whoever I shall send you, you shall go, and whatever I shall command you, you shall speak. 8 Don’t be afraid because of them; for I am with you to deliver you," says Yahweh. 9 Then Yahweh put forth his hand, and touched my mouth; and Yahweh said to me, "Behold, I have put my words in your mouth. 10 Behold, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down and to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant."
11 Moreover the word of Yahweh came to me, saying, "Jeremiah, what do you see?" I said, "I see a branch of an almond tree." 12 Then Yahweh said to me, "You have seen well; for I watch over my word to perform it." 13 The word of Yahweh came to me the second time, saying, "What do you see?" I said, "I see a boiling caldron; and it is tipping away from the north." 14 Then Yahweh said to me, "Out of the north evil will break out on all the inhabitants of the land. 15 For, behold, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north," says Yahweh"; and they shall come, and they shall each set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls all around, and against all the cities of Judah. 16 I will utter my judgments against them touching all their wickedness, in that they have forsaken me, and have burned incense to other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands. 17 "You therefore put your belt on your waist, arise, and speak to them all that I command you. Don’t be dismayed at them, lest I dismay you before them. 18 For, behold, I have made you this day a fortified city, and an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against its princes, against its priests, and against the people of the land. 19 They will fight against you; but they will not prevail against you; for I am with you," says Yahweh, "to deliver you."

Jeremiah 2
2:1 The word of Yahweh came to me, saying, 2 "Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus says Yahweh, "I remember for you the kindness of your youth, the love of your weddings; how you went after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown. 3 Israel was holiness to Yahweh, the first fruits of his increase. All who devour him shall be held guilty. Evil shall come on them,"’ says Yahweh." 4 Hear the word of Yahweh, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel! 5 Thus says Yahweh, "What unrighteousness have your fathers found in me, that they have gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain? 6 Neither did they say, ‘Where is Yahweh who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that none passed through, and where no man lived?’ 7 I brought you into a plentiful land, to eat its fruit and its goodness; but when you entered, you defiled my land, and made my heritage an abomination. 8 The priests didn’t say, ‘Where is Yahweh?’ and those who handle the law didn’t know me. The rulers also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
9 "Therefore I will yet contend with you," says Yahweh, "and I will contend with your children’s children. 10 For pass over to the islands of Kittim, and see; and send to Kedar, and consider diligently; and see if there has been such a thing. 11 Has a nation changed its gods, which really are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit. 12 "Be astonished, you heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid. Be very desolate," says Yahweh. 13 "For my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters, and cut them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
14 Is Israel a servant? Is he a native-born slave? Why has he become a prey? 15 The young lions have roared at him, and yelled. They have made his land waste. His cities are burned up, without inhabitant. 16 The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head. 17 "Haven’t you procured this to yourself, in that you have forsaken Yahweh your God, when he led you by the way? 18 Now what have you to do in the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of the Shihor? Or what have you to do in the way to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River? 19 "Your own wickedness shall correct you, and your backsliding shall reprove you. Know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and a bitter, that you have forsaken Yahweh your God, and that my fear is not in you," says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies.
20 "For of old time I have broken your yoke, and burst your bonds; and you said, ‘I will not serve’; for on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed yourself, playing the prostitute. 21 Yet I had planted you a noble vine, wholly a right seed. How then have you turned into the degenerate branches of a foreign vine to me? 22 For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me," says the Lord Yahweh. 23 "How can you say, ‘I am not defiled. I have not gone after the Baals’? See your way in the valley. Know what you have done. You are a swift dromedary traversing her ways; 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, that snuffs up the wind in her desire. When she is in heat, who can turn her away? All those who seek her will not weary themselves. In her month, they will find her. 25 "Withhold your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is in vain. No, for I have loved strangers, and I will go after them.’ 26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets; 27 who tell wood, ‘You are my father’; and a stone, ‘You have brought me out’: for they have turned their back to me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us.’ 28 "But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves? Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble: for according to the number of your cities are your gods, Judah.
29 "Why will you contend with me? You all have transgressed against me," says Yahweh. 30 "I have struck your children in vain. They received no correction. Your own sword has devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion. 31 Generation, consider the word of Yahweh. Have I been a wilderness to Israel? Or a land of thick darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We have broken loose. We will come to you no more?’ 32 "Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me for days without number. 33 How well you prepare your way to seek love! Therefore you have taught even the wicked women your ways. 34 Also the blood of the souls of the innocent poor is found in your skirts. You did not find them breaking in; but it is because of all these things. 35 "Yet you said, ‘I am innocent. Surely his anger has turned away from me.’ "Behold, I will judge you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ 36 Why do you go about so much to change your way? You will be ashamed of Egypt also, as you were ashamed of Assyria. 37 From there also you shall go forth, with your hands on your head; for Yahweh has rejected those in whom you trust, and you shall not prosper with them.

Jeremiah 3
3:1 "They say, ‘If a man puts away his wife, and she goes from him, and become another man’s, will he return to her again?’ Wouldn’t that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the prostitute with many lovers; yet return again to me," says Yahweh. 2 "Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been lain with? You have sat for them by the ways, as an Arabian in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your prostitution and with your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and there has been no latter rain; yet you have a prostitute’s forehead, you refused to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to me, ‘My Father, you are the guide of my youth?’ 5 "’Will he retain his anger forever? Will he keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and have done evil things, and have had your way."
6 Moreover, Yahweh said to me in the days of Josiah the king, "Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has played the prostitute. 7 I said after she had done all these things, ‘She will return to me’; but she didn’t return; and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I saw, when, for this very cause that backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, didn’t fear; but she also went and played the prostitute. 9 It happened through the lightness of her prostitution, that the land was polluted, and she committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister, Judah, has not returned to me with her whole heart, but only in pretense," says Yahweh. 11 Yahweh said to me, "Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, you backsliding Israel,’ says Yahweh; ‘I will not look in anger on you; for I am merciful,’ says Yahweh. ‘I will not keep anger forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, that you have transgressed against Yahweh your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice,’ says Yahweh." 14 "Return, backsliding children," says Yahweh; "for I am a husband to you. I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 It shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land, in those days," says Yahweh, "they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of Yahweh!’ neither shall it come to mind; neither shall they remember it; neither shall they miss it; neither shall it be made any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem ‘The throne of Yahweh’; and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of Yahweh, to Jerusalem. Neither shall they walk any more after the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I gave for an inheritance to your fathers. 19 "But I said, ‘How I would put you among the children, and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the armies of the nations!’ and I said, ‘You shall call me "My Father," and shall not turn away from following me.’
20 "Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so you have dealt treacherously with me, house of Israel," says Yahweh. 21 A voice is heard on the bare heights, the weeping and the petitions of the children of Israel; because they have perverted their way, they have forgotten Yahweh their God. 22 Return, you backsliding children, I will heal your backsliding. "Behold, we have come to you; for you are Yahweh our God. 23 Truly in vain is help from the hills, the tumult on the mountains. Truly the salvation of Israel is in Yahweh our God. 24 But the shameful thing has devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our confusion cover us; for we have sinned against Yahweh our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh our God."

Jeremiah 4
4:1 "If you will return, Israel," says Yahweh, "if you will return to me, and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight; then you shall not be removed; 2 and you shall swear, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness. The nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory."
3 For thus says Yahweh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, and don’t sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh, and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
5 Declare in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, ‘Blow the trumpet in the land!’ Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble yourselves! Let us go into the fortified cities!’ 6 Set up a standard toward Zion. Flee for safety! Don’t wait; for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction." 7 A lion is gone up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations; he is on his way, he is gone forth from his place, to make your land desolate, that your cities be laid waste, without inhabitant. 8 For this clothe yourself with sackcloth, lament and wail; for the fierce anger of Yahweh hasn’t turned back from us. 9 "It shall happen at that day," says Yahweh, "that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder." 10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord Yahweh! Surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You shall have peace’; whereas the sword reaches to the heart." 11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A hot wind from the bare heights in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow, nor to cleanse; 12 a full wind from these shall come for me. Now I will also utter judgments against them." 13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as the whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! For we are ruined. 14 Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, and publishes evil from the hills of Ephraim: 16 "Tell the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, ‘Watchers come from a far country, and raise their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field, they are against her all around, because she has been rebellious against me,’" says Yahweh. 18 "Your way and your doings have brought these things to you. This is your wickedness; for it is bitter, for it reaches to your heart."
19 My anguish, my anguish! I am pained at my very heart; my heart is disquieted in me; I can’t hold my peace; because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction on destruction is cried; for the whole land is laid waste: suddenly are my tents destroyed, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 "For my people are foolish, they don’t know me. They are foolish children, and they have no understanding. They are skilful in doing evil, but to do good they have no knowledge." 23 I saw the earth, and, behold, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I saw the mountains, and behold, they trembled, and all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I saw, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I saw, and behold, the fruitful field was a wilderness, and all its cities were broken down at the presence of Yahweh, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says Yahweh, "The whole land shall be a desolation; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this the earth will mourn, and the heavens above be black; because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and I have not repented, neither will I turn back from it." 29 Every city flees for the noise of the horsemen and archers; they go into the thickets, and climb up on the rocks: every city is forsaken, and not a man dwells therein. 30 You, when you are made desolate, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with scarlet, though you deck you with ornaments of gold, though you enlarge your eyes with paint, in vain do you make yourself beautiful; your lovers despise you, they seek your life. 31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of her who brings forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, who gasps for breath, who spreads her hands, saying, "Woe is me now! For my soul faints before the murderers."