Jeremiah

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 1

Title

1:1 The words of Jeremiah son of Hilkiah, of a priestly family living at Anathoth[*a] in the territory of Benjamin.

1:2 The word of Yahweh was addressed to him in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign;[*b]

1:3 then in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, until the deportation of Jerusalem which occurred in the fifth month.[*c]

I. ORACLES AGAINST JUDAH AND JERUSALEM

A. IN THE REIGN OF JOSIAH

The call of Jeremiah

1:4 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me, saying,

1:5 ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; before you came to birth I consecrated you; I have appointed you as prophet to the nations’.

1:6 I said, ‘Ah, Lord Yahweh; look, I do not know how to speak: I am a child!’

1:7 But Yahweh replied, ‘Do not say, “I am a child”. Go now to those to whom I send you and say whatever I command you.

1:8 Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to protect you – it is Yahweh who speaks!’

1:9 Then Yahweh put out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me: ‘There! I am putting my words into your mouth.

1:10 Look, today I am setting you over nations and over kingdoms, to tear up and to knock down, to destroy and to overthrow, to build and to plant.’

1:11 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me asking, ‘Jeremiah, what do you see?’ ‘I see a branch of the Watchful Tree'[*d] I answered.

1:12 Then Yahweh said, ‘Well seen! I too watch over my word to see it fulfilled.’

1:13 A second time the word of Yahweh was spoken to me, asking, ‘What do you see?’ ‘I see a cooking pot on the boil,’ I answered ‘with its contents tilting from the North.’

1:14 Then Yahweh said: ‘The North is where disaster is boiling over for all who live in this land;

1:15 since I am now going to summon all the kingdoms of the North – it is Yahweh who speaks. They are going to come, and each will set his throne in front of the gates of Jerusalem, all round outside its walls, and outside all the towns of Judah.

1:16 I am going to pronounce my judgements against them for all their wickedness; since they have abandoned me to offer incense to other gods and worship what their own hands have made.

1:17 ‘So now brace yourself for action. Stand up and tell them all I command you. Do not be dismayed at their presence, or in their presence I will make you dismayed.

1:18 I, for my part, today will make you into a fortified city, a pillar of iron, and a wall of bronze to confront all this land: the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests and the country people.

1:19 They will fight against you but shall not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you – it is Yahweh who speaks.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 2

The earliest preaching of Jeremiah: the apostasy of Israel

2:1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me, saying,

2:2 ‘Go and shout this in the hearing of Jerusalem: “Yahweh says this: I remember the affection of your youth, the love of your bridal days: you followed me through the wilderness, through a land unsown.

2:3 Israel was sacred to Yahweh, the first-fruits of his harvest; anyone who ate of this had to pay for it, misfortune came to them – it is Yahweh who speaks.”‘

2:4 Listen to the word of Yahweh, House of Jacob, and all you families of the House of Israel.

2:5 Thus says Yahweh, ‘What shortcoming did your fathers find in me that led them to desert me? Vanity they pursued, vanity they became.

2:6 They never said, “Where is Yahweh, who brought us out of the land of Egypt and led us through the wilderness, through land arid and scored, a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one passes, and no man lives?”

2:7 I brought you to a fertile country to enjoy its produce and good things; but no sooner had you entered than you defiled my land, and made my heritage detestable.

2:8 The priests have never asked, “Where is Yahweh?” Those who administer the Law have no knowledge of me. The shepherds[*a] have rebelled against me; the prophets have prophesied in the name of Baal, following things with no power in them.

2:9 So I must put you on trial once more – it is Yahweh who speaks – and your children’s children too.

2:10 Now take ship for the islands of Kittim[*b] or send to Kedar to enquire. Take careful notice and observe if anything like this has happened.

2:11 Does a nation change its gods? – and these are not gods at all! Yet my people have exchanged their Glory for what has no power in it.

2:12 You heavens, stand aghast at this, stand stupefied, stand utterly appalled – it is Yahweh who speaks.

2:13 Since my people have committed a double crime: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, only to dig cisterns for themselves, leaky cisterns that hold no water.

2:14 ‘Is Israel then a slave, or born to serfdom, for him to be preyed on like this?

2:15 Lions have roared at him, loudly they have roared. They have reduced his land to a desert; his towns lie burnt and desolate.

2:16 The people of Noph and Tahpanhes have even shaved your skull![*c]

2:17 Have you not brought this on yourself, by abandoning Yahweh your God?

2:18 What is the good of going to Egypt now to drink the water of the Nile? What is the good of going to Assyria to drink the water of the river?

2:19 Your own wickedness is punishing you, your own apostasies are rebuking you: consider carefully how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon Yahweh your God and not to stand in awe of me – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

2:20 ‘It is long ago now since you broke your yoke, burst your bonds and said, “I will not serve!” Yet on every high hill and under every spreading tree you have lain down like a harlot.

2:21 Yet I had planted you, a choice vine, a shoot of soundest stock. How is it you have become a degenerate plant, you bastard Vine?

2:22 Should you launder yourself with potash and put in quantities of lye, I should still detect the stain of your guilt – it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks.

2:23 How dare you say, “I am not defiled, I have not run after the Baals?” Look at your footprints in the Valley, and acknowledge what you have done. A frantic she-camel running in all directions

2:24 bolts for the desert, snuffing the breeze in desire; who can control her when she is on heat? Whoever looks for her will have no trouble, he will find her with her mate!

2:25 Beware! Your own foot may soon go unshod, your own throat may grow dry. But “Who cares?” you said “For I am in love with strangers and they are the ones I follow”.

2:26 ‘Like a thief in the disgrace of being caught, so will the House of Israel be: they, their kings, their princes, their priests and their prophets,

2:27 who say to a piece of wood, “You are my father”, to a stone, “You have begotten me”. They turn their backs to me, never their faces; but when trouble comes they shout, “Get up! Save us!”

2:28 Where are those gods of yours you made for yourself? Let them get up to save you when trouble comes! For you have as many gods as you have towns, Judah, as many altars for Baal as Jerusalem has streets.

2:29 What case can you make against me? You have all apostatised from me – it is Yahweh who speaks.

2:30 In vain I have struck down your sons, you did not accept correction: your sword devoured your prophets like a destructive lion.

2:31 What a brood you are! Listen, this is the word of Yahweh: Have I been a desert for Israel or a land of deepest gloom? Then why do my people say, “We will go our own way, we will no longer come to you?”

2:32 Does a girl forget her ornaments, a bride her sash? And yet my people have forgotten me, for days beyond number.

2:33 ‘How well you know the way in pursuit of love! Yes, you have even accustomed your steps to walk with crime,

2:34 to the point when your hands display the stains from the blood of innocent men. – You never caught them trying to break and enter! Yes, for all these you will have to answer.

2:35 You say, “I am blameless, his anger has turned away from me”. And here I am passing sentence on you because you say, “I have not sinned”.

2:36 ‘How frivolously you undertake a change of course! But you will be disappointed by Egypt just as you were by Assyria.

2:37 You will have to leave there too with your hands on your head, for Yahweh has rejected those that you rely on, you will come to no good with them.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 3

The conversion

3:1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me saying: ‘If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry someone else, may she still go back to him? Has not that piece of land been totally polluted? And you, who have prostituted yourself with so many lovers, you would come back to me? – it is Yahweh who speaks.

3:2 ‘Lift your eyes to the bare heights and look! Is there a single place where you have not offered your body? You waited by the roadside for clients like an Arab in the desert. You have polluted the country with your prostitution and your vices:

3:3 this is why the showers have been withheld, the late rains have not come. ‘And you maintained a prostitute’s bold front, never thinking to blush.

3:4 Even then did you not cry to me, “My father! You, the friend of my youth!

3:5 Will he keep his resentment for ever, will he maintain his wrath to the end?” That was what you said, and still you went on sinning, you were so obstinate.’

The Northern Kingdom urged to repent

3:6 In the days of King Josiah, Yahweh said to me, ‘Have you seen what disloyal Israel has done? How she has made her way up every high hill and to every spreading tree, and has prostituted herself there?

3:7 I thought: After doing all this she will come back to me. But she did not come back. Her faithless sister Judah saw this.

3:8 She also saw that I had repudiated disloyal Israel for all her adulteries and given her her divorce papers. Her faithless sister Judah, however, was not afraid: she too went and played the whore.

3:9 So shameless was her whoring that at last she polluted the country; she committed adultery with lumps of stone and pieces of wood.

3:10 Worse than all this: Judah, her faithless sister, has not come back to me in sincerity, but only in pretence – it is Yahweh who speaks.’

3:11 And Yahweh said to me, ‘Beside faithless Judah, disloyal Israel seems virtuous.

3:12 So go and shout these words towards the North: “Come back, disloyal Israel – it is Yahweh who speaks – I shall frown on you no more, since I am merciful – it is Yahweh who speaks. I shall not keep my resentment for ever.

3:13 Only acknowledge your guilt: how you have apostatised from Yahweh your God, how you have flirted with strangers and have not listened to my voice – it is Yahweh who speaks.

Zion in the messianic age

3:14 “Come back, disloyal children – it is Yahweh who speaks – for I alone am your Master. I will take one from a town, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion.

3:15 I will give you shepherds after my own heart, and these shall feed you on knowledge and discretion.

3:16 And when you have increased and become many in the land, then – it is Yahweh who speaks – no one will ever say again: Where is the ark of the covenant of Yahweh? There will be no thought of it, no memory of it, no regret for it, no making of another.[*a]

3:17 When that time comes, Jerusalem shall be called: The Throne of Yahweh; all the nations will gather there in the name of Yahweh and will no longer follow the dictates of their own stubborn hearts.

3:18 “In those days the House of Judah will unite with the House of Israel; together they will come from the land of the North to the land I gave your ancestors for a heritage.

Continuation of the poem on the conversion[*b]

3:19 “And I was thinking: How I wanted to rank you with my sons, and give you a country of delights, the fairest heritage of all the nations! I had thought you would call me: My father, and would never cease to follow me.

3:20 But like a woman betraying her lover, the House of Israel has betrayed me – it is Yahweh who speaks.”‘

3:21 A noise is heard on the bare heights: the weeping and entreaty of the sons of Israel, because they have gone so wildly astray, and forgotten Yahweh their God.

3:22 ‘Come back, disloyal sons, I want to heal your disloyalty.’ ‘We are here, we are coming to you, for you are Yahweh our God.

3:23 The heights are a delusion after all, so is the tumult of the mountains. ‘Yahweh our God is, after all, the saving of Israel.

3:24 The Thing of Shame[*c] has devoured what our ancestors worked for since our youth (their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters).

3:25 Let us lie down in our shame, let our dishonour be our covering, for we have sinned against Yahweh our God (‘we and our ancestors since our youth until today; and we have not listened to the voice of Yahweh our God).’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 4

4:1 ‘If you wish to come back, Israel – it is Yahweh who speaks – it is to me you must return. Do away with your abominations and you will have no need to avoid me.

4:2 If you swear, “As Yahweh lives!” truthfully, justly, honestly, the nations will bless themselves by you, and glory in you.

4:3 For thus speaks Yahweh to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Clean your ground thoroughly, sow nothing among thorns.

4:4 Circumcise yourselves for Yahweh; off with the foreskin of your hearts (men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem), lest my wrath should leap out like a fire, and burn with no one to quench it, in return for the wickedness of your deeds.’

Invasion from the North

4:5 Announce it in Judah, proclaim it in Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in the countryside, shout the message aloud: Mobilise! Take to the fortified towns!

4:6 Signpost the way to Zion; Run! Do not delay! I am bringing you disaster from the North, an immense calamity.

4:7 The lion is up from his thicket, the destroyer of nations is on his way, he has come from his home to reduce your land to a desert; your towns will be in ruins, deserted.

4:8 So wrap yourselves in sackcloth, lament and wail, since the burning anger of Yahweh has not turned away from us.

4:9 ‘That day – it is Yahweh who speaks – the king’s heart will fail him, the princes’ hearts will fail them too, the priests will stand aghast, the prophets stupefied.

4:10 People will say, “Ah, Lord Yahweh, how utterly you deceived us by saying: You will have peace,[*a] even when the sword is at our throats!”

4:11 When that time comes, this will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: From the bare heights a scorching wind blows from the desert on the daughter of my people – and not to winnow or to cleanse!

4:12 A wind, full of threats, comes at my command. Now I myself am going to pronounce sentence on them!

4:13 “Look, he is advancing like the clouds, his chariots like a hurricane, his horses swifter than eagles. Trouble is coming! We are lost!”

4:14 Wash your heart clean of wickedness, Jerusalem, and so be saved. How long will you harbour in your breast your pernicious thoughts?

4:15 For a voice from Dan shouts the news, proclaims disaster from the highlands of Ephraim.

4:16 Give warning of it, announce it in Judah, proclaim it to Jerusalem: “Enemies are coming from a distant country, shouting their war cry against the towns of Judah;

4:17 they surround Jerusalem like watchmen round a field because she has apostatised from me – it is Yahweh who speaks.

4:18 Your own behaviour and actions have brought this on you. This is your fate! How bitter! How it pierces your heart!”‘

4:19 I am in anguish! I writhe with pain! Walls of my heart! My heart is throbbing! I cannot keep quiet, for I have heard the trumpet call and the cry of war.

4:20 Ruin on ruin is the news: the whole land is laid waste, my tents are suddenly destroyed, in one moment all that sheltered me is gone.

4:21 How long must I see the standard and hear the trumpet call?

4:22 ‘This is because my people are stupid, they do not know me, they are slow-witted children, they have no understanding: they are clever enough at doing wrong, but do not know how to do right.’

4:23 I looked to the earth, to see a formless waste; to the heavens, and their light had gone.

4:24 I looked to the mountains, to see them quaking and all the heights astir.

4:25 I looked, to see no man at all, the very birds of heaven had fled.

4:26 I looked, to see the wooded country a wilderness, all its towns in ruins, at the presence of Yahweh, at the presence of his burning anger.

4:27 Yes, thus speaks Yahweh, ‘The whole land shall be laid waste, I will make an end of it once for all;

4:28 at which the earth will go into mourning, and the heavens above grow dark. For I have spoken and will not change my mind, I have decided and will not go back on it.’

4:29 At the cry ‘Horsemen and bowmen!’ the whole country takes flight: some plunge into the thickets, others scale the rocks; every town is abandoned, no one is left there.

4:30 And you, what are you going to do? You may dress yourself in scarlet, put on ornaments of gold, enlarge your eyes with paint but you make yourself pretty in vain. Your lovers disdain you, your life is what they are seeking.

4:31 Yes, I hear screams like those of a woman in labour, anguish like that of a woman giving birth to her first child; they are the screams of the daughter of Zion, gasping, hands outstretched, ‘Ah, I despair! I am fainting away with murderers surrounding me.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 5

The invasion well deserved

5:1 ‘Rove to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, look, now, and learn, search her squares; if you can find a man, one man who does right and seeks the truth, then I will pardon her, says Yahweh.’

5:3a Yahweh, do not your eyes desire to look on truth?

5:2 But though they say, ‘As Yahweh lives’, they are, in fact, uttering a false oath.

5:3b You have struck them; they have not felt it. You have crushed them; they have ignored the lesson. They have set their faces harder than rock, they have refused to repent.

5:4 ‘Only the ordinary people’ I thought ‘behave stupidly, because they do not know what Yahweh requires, nor the ruling of their God.

5:5 I will approach the men in power and speak to them, for these will know what Yahweh requires, and the ruling of their God.’ But these, too, had broken the yoke, had burst the bonds.

5:6 And this is why a lion from the forest strikes them down, a desert wolf makes havoc of them, a leopard lurks round their towns: whoever goes out is torn to pieces – because of their countless crimes, their ever increasing apostasies.

5:7 ‘Why should I pardon you? Your sons have abandoned me, to swear by gods that are not gods at all. I fed them full, and they became adulterers, they haunted the brothel.

5:8 They were well-fed, lusty stallions, each neighing for his neighbour’s wife.

5:9 And am I not to punish them for such things – it is Yahweh who speaks – or from such a nation exact my vengeance?

5:10 Scale her terraces! Destroy! Make an end of her! Strip off her branches, Yahweh does not own them.

5:11 Treacherously indeed has she betrayed me, this House of Israel – it is Yahweh who speaks.

5:12 ‘They have disowned Yahweh: they have said, “He is nothing; no evil will overtake us, we shall not see sword or famine.

5:13a And the prophets? Nothing but wind; the word is not in them!”

5:14a Hence – so says Yahweh, the God of Sabaoth –

5:13b this is what is going to happen to them

5:14b for saying this: now I will make my words a fire in your mouth, and make this people wood, for the fire to devour.

5:15 Now I will bring on you all a nation from afar, House of Israel – it is Yahweh who speaks – an invincible nation, an ancient nation, a nation whose tongue you do not know, whose language you cannot understand.

5:16 Their quiver is an open tomb; heroes all of them.

5:17 They will devour your harvest and your food, devour your sons and daughters, devour your flocks and herds, devour your vines and fig trees, bring down your fortified towns in which you put your trust.

Two supplementary paragraphs

5:18 ‘Yet even in those days – it is Yahweh who speaks – I shall not completely destroy you.

5:19 ‘And when they ask, “Why has Yahweh our God done all this to us?” you are to give them this answer, “As you abandoned me to serve alien gods in your own land, so you must serve aliens in a land that is not your own”.

In a time of famine (?)

5:20 ‘Announce this in the House of Jacob, proclaim it in Judah, and say:

5:21 “Now listen to this, stupid and thoughtless people – they have eyes and do not see, they have ears and do not hear!

5:22 Have you no fear of me? – it is Yahweh who speaks – Will you not tremble at my presence, who set the sands as limit to the sea, as an everlasting barrier it can not pass: it storms but can do nothing, its waves may roar but do not pass beyond.

5:23 But this people has a rebellious, unruly heart; they have rebelled – being good at this!

5:24 They have not said in their hearts: Come, we must fear Yahweh our God who gives the rain, the early rain and the later, at the right time of year, who assures us of weeks appointed for harvest.

5:25 Your crimes have made all this go wrong, your sins have deprived you of these favours.

Resumption of the theme of the invasion

5:26 “Yes, there are wicked men among my people who spread their nets; like fowlers they set snares, but it is men they catch.

5:27 Like a cage full of birds so are their houses full of loot; they have grown rich and powerful because of it,

5:28 fat and sleek. Yes, in wickedness they go to any lengths, they have no respect for rights, for orphans’ rights, to support them; they do not uphold the cause of the poor.

5:29 And must I not punish them for such things – it is Yahweh who speaks – or from such a nation exact my vengeance?

5:30 Monstrous, horrible things are happening in the land:

5:31 the prophets prophesy falsely, the priests teach whatever they please. And my people love it! But when the end comes, what will you do?

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 6

More about the invasion

6:1 “Save yourselves, men of Benjamin, from the heart of Jerusalem! Sound the trumpet in Tekoa![*a] Set up a standard on Beth-hac-cherem! For disaster threatens from the North, an immense calamity.

6:2 Shall we compare the daughter of Zion to a tender pasture?

6:3 Shepherds advance on her with their flocks. They have pitched their tents all round her, each grazes the part he chooses.

6:4 Prepare for battle against her! To arms! We will launch the attack in broad daylight. Despair! The daylight is fading already, the evening shadows lengthen.

6:5 To arms! We will launch the attack under cover of dark and destroy her palaces.

6:6 For thus says Yahweh Sabaoth: Cut down the trees, throw up an earthwork outside Jerusalem: she is the City of Falsehood, with nothing but oppression in her.

6:7 As a well keeps its water fresh so she keeps her wickedness fresh. Violence and ruin are what you hear in her, diseases and wounds are always before me.

6:8 Be warned, Jerusalem, lest I should turn away from you, and reduce you to a desert, a land without people.

6:9 “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Glean, glean, as a vine is gleaned, what is left of Israel; like a grape-picker pass your hand again over the branches!”‘

6:10 To whom am I to speak, whom can I urge to hear? Plainly their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen. Plainly the word of Yahweh is for them something contemptible, they have no taste for it.

6:11 But I am full of the wrath of Yahweh, I am weary of holding it in. ‘Then pour it on the children in the streets, and where young men gather, too. All shall be taken: husband and wife, the greybeard and the man weighed down with years.

6:12 Their houses shall pass to other men, so also their fields and their wives. Yes, I will stretch my hand over those living in this land – it is Yahweh who speaks.

6:13 For all, least no less than greatest, all are out for dishonest gain; prophet no less than priest, all practise fraud.

6:14 They dress my people’s wound without concern: “Peace! Peace!” they say, but there is no peace.

6:15 They should be ashamed of their abominable deeds But not they! They feel no shame, they have forgotten how to blush. And so as others fall, they too shall fall; they shall be thrown down when I come to deal with them – says Yahweh.

6:16 ‘Yahweh says this: Put yourselves on the ways of long ago enquire about the ancient paths: which was the good way? Take it then, and you shall find rest. Instead they have said, “We will not take it”.

6:17 I posted look-outs on their behalf: Listen to the sound of the trumpet! But they answered, “We will not listen”.

6:18 Then hear, you nations, and know, assembly, what I will do to them.

6:19 Hear, earth! I am bringing a disaster on this people: it is the fruit of their apostasy, since they have not listened to my words and, as for my Law, they have rejected that.

6:20 What do I care about incense imported from Sheba, or fragrant cane from a distant country? Your holocausts are not acceptable, your sacrifices do not please me.

6:21 Therefore – thus says Yahweh: In front of this people I will now lay blocks for them to stumble over; father as well as son, neighbour and friend, all shall perish.

6:22 ‘Yahweh says this: Now a people is coming from the land of the North, from the far ends of the earth a mighty nation stirs:

6:23 they are armed with bow and spear, they are cruel and pitiless; their noise is like the roaring of the sea; they are riding horses, each man equipped for war on you, daughter of Zion!

6:24 We have heard the news, our hands fall limp, anguish has gripped us, pain like a woman’s labour.

6:25 Do not go out into the countryside, do not venture on the roads, for the enemy’s sword is there, there is terror on every side.

6:26 Wrap yourself in sackcloth, daughter of my people, roll in ashes; mourn as for an only son, a very bitter dirge. For on us suddenly the destroyer is coming.

6:27 ‘I have appointed you as assayer of my people, to learn and to assay how they behave.

6:28 They are apostates, all of them, promiscuous slanderers, all of them corrupt.

6:29 The bellows blast away to make the fire burn away the lead. In vain: the smelter does his work, but the dross is not purged out.

6:30 Silver-reject, men call them, and indeed Yahweh has rejected them!’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 7

B. ORACLES MAINLY IN THE REIGN OF JEHOIAKIM

True worship

a. Against the Temple

7:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh,

7:2 ‘Go and stand at the gate of the Temple of Yahweh and there proclaim this message. Say, “Listen to the word of Yahweh, all you men of Judah who come in by these gates to worship Yahweh.

7:3 Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Amend your behaviour and your actions and I will stay with you here in this place.

7:4 Put no trust in delusive words like these: This is the sanctuary of Yahweh, the sanctuary of Yahweh, the sanctuary of Yahweh!

7:5 But if you do amend your behaviour and your actions, if you treat each other fairly,

7:6 if you do not exploit the stranger, the orphan and the widow (if you do not shed innocent blood in this place), and if you do not follow alien gods, to your own ruin,

7:7 then here in this place I will stay with you, in the land that long ago I gave to your fathers for ever.

7:8 Yet here you are, trusting in delusive words, to no purpose!

7:9 Steal, would you, murder, commit adultery, perjure yourselves, burn incense to Baal, follow alien gods that you do not know? –

7:10 and then come presenting yourselves in this Temple that bears my name, saying: Now we are safe – safe to go on committing all these abominations!

7:11 Do you take this Temple that bears my name for a robbers’ den? I, at any rate, am not blind – it is Yahweh who speaks.

7:12 Now go to my place in Shiloh[*a] where at first I gave my name a home; see what I have done to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel!

7:13 And now, since you have committed all these sins – it is Yahweh who speaks – and have refused to listen when I spoke so urgently, so persistently, or to answer when I called you,

7:14 I will treat this Temple that bears my name, and in which you put your trust, and the place I have given to you and your ancestors, just as I treated Shiloh.

7:15 I will drive you out of my sight, as I drove all your kinsmen, the entire race of Ephraim.”

b. Alien gods

7:16 ‘You, for your part, must not intercede for this people, nor raise either plea or prayer on their behalf; do not plead with me, for I will not listen to you.

7:17 Cannot you see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

7:18 The children collect the wood, the fathers light the fire, the women knead the dough, to make cakes for the Queen of Heaven ;[*b] and, to spite me, they pour libations to alien gods.

7:19 Is it really me they spite – it is Yahweh who speaks – is it not in fact themselves, to their own confusion?

7:20 Therefore, the Lord Yahweh says this: My anger and my wrath shall be poured out on this place, over man and beast, trees of the countryside, fruits of the soil; it shall burn, and not be quenched.

c. Worship without sincerity

7:21 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Add your holocausts to your sacrifices and eat all the meat.

7:22 For when I brought.your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I said nothing to them, gave them no orders, about holocaust and sacrifice.

7:23 These were my orders: Listen to my voice, then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Follow right to the end the way that I mark out for you, and you will prosper.

7:24 But they did not listen, they did not pay attention; they followed the dictates of their own evil hearts, refused to face me, and turned their backs on me.

7:25 From the day your ancestors came out of the land of Egypt until today, day after day I have persistently sent you all my servants the prophets.

7:26 But they have not listened to me, have not paid attention; they have grown stubborn and behaved worse than their ancestors.

7:27 You may say all these words to them: they will not listen to you; you may call them: they will not answer.

7:28 So tell them this, “Here is the nation that will not listen to the voice of Yahweh its God nor take correction. Sincerity is no more, it has vanished from their mouths.

d. More about idolatrous worship: a threat of exile

7:29 “Cut off your tresses, throw them down. On the bare heights raise a dirge. For Yahweh has rejected, has abandoned, a brood that he detests.”

7:30 ‘Yes, the sons of Judah have done what displeases me – it is Yahweh who speaks. They have put their abominations in the Temple that bears my name, to defile it;

7:31 they have built the high place of Topheth in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, to burn their sons and daughters; a thing I never commanded, a thing that never entered my thoughts.

7:32 So now the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when people will no longer talk of Topheth or of the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but of the Valley of Slaughter. Topheth will become a burial ground, for lack of other space;

7:33 the corpses of this people will feed the birds of heaven and the beasts of the earth, and there shall be no one to drive them away.

7:34 I will silence the shouts of rejoicing and mirth, the voices of bridegroom and bride, in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, for the whole land will be reduced to desert.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 8

8:1 When that time comes – it is Yahweh who speaks – the bones of the kings of Judah, and of the princes, of the priests, of the prophets, of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, will be taken from their tombs.

8:2 They will be spread out before the sun, the moon, the whole array of heaven, whom they have loved and served, followed, consulted and worshipped.[*a] They will not be gathered or reburied but stay lying on the surface like dung.

8:3 And death will seem preferable to life to all the survivors of this wicked race, wherever I have driven them – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

Threats, lamentations, advice. The perversity of Israel

8:4 ‘You are to tell them, “Yahweh says this: If you fall, can you not stand up again, if you stray can you never find your way back?

8:5 Why does this people persist in apostasy, in continuous apostasy? They cling to illusion, they refuse to come back.

8:6 I have listened attentively, they are not saying what they ought to: not one repents of his wickedness saying: What have I done? All go astray as they pursue their course like a horse charging into battle.

8:7 Even the stork in the sky knows the appropriate season; turtledove, swallow, crane, observe their time of migration. And my people do not know the ruling of Yahweh!

The Law as administered by the priests

8:8 “How dare you say: We are wise, and we possess the Law of Yahweh? But look how it has been falsified by the lying pen of the scribes!

8:9 The wise shall be shamed, caught out, confounded. Look how they have rejected the word of Yahweh! So what use is their wisdom to them?

Repetition of an earlier threat

8:10 “So I will give their wives to other men, their fields to new masters, for all, least no less than greatest, all are out for dishonest gain; prophet no less than priest, all practise fraud.

8:11 They dress my people’s wound without concern: Peace! Peace! they say, but there is no peace.

8:12 They should be ashamed of their abominable deeds. But not they! They feel no shame, they have forgotten how to blush. And so as others fall, they too shall fall; they shall be thrown down when I come to deal with them – says Yahweh.

Threats against Judah the Vine

8:13 “I would like to go harvesting there, says Yahweh. But there are no grapes on the vine, no figs on the fig tree: even the leaves are withered. This is because I have brought them ravagers to ravage them.”‘

8:14 ‘Why do we sit still? Mobilise! Let us take to the fortified towns and perish there, since Yahweh our God wants us to perish: giving us poisoned water to drink because we have sinned against him.

8:15 We were hoping for peace – no good came of it! For the time of healing – nothing but terror!

8:16 From Dan you can hear the snorting of their horses; at the sound of their stallions’ neighing the whole countryside quakes: they come to devour the land and all it holds, the town and those that live in it.’

8:17 ‘Yes, now I send you serpents, adders, against which no charm exists; they will bite you – it is Yahweh who speaks –

8:18 incurably.

A lamentation of the prophet during a famine

‘Sorrow overtakes me, my heart fails me.

8:19 Listen, the cry of the daughter of my people sounds throughout the land, “Yahweh no longer in Zion? Her King no longer in her?” (Why have they provoked me with their carved images, with these Nothings from foreign countries?)

8:20 “The harvest is over, summer at an end, and we have not been saved!”

8:21 The wound of the daughter of my people wounds me too, all looks dark to me, terror grips me.

8:22 Is there not balm in Gilead any more? Is there no doctor there? Then why does it make no progress, this cure of the daughter of my people?

8:23 Who will turn my head into a fountain, and my eyes into a spring for tears, so that I may weep all day, all night, for all the dead out of the daughter of my people?

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 9

The moral corruption of Judah

9:1 Who will find me a wayfarer’s shelter in the desert, for me to quit my people, and leave them far behind? For all of them are adulterers, a conspiracy of traitors.

9:2 They bend their tongue like a bow; not truth but falsehood predominates in the land; yes, they go from crime to crime. But Yahweh, they do not acknowledge him.

9:3 Let each be on his guard against his friend, be mistrustful of your brother, for every brother is a very Jacob, and every friend a diligent slanderer.

9:4 Each deceives the other, they do not speak the truth, they have accustomed their tongues to lying, they are corrupt, incapable of

9:5 repentance. Fraud after fraud! Deceit after deceit! They refuse to acknowledge Yahweh.

9:6 And so – Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Look, I will now test them in the crucible – but how am I to deal with their wickedness?

9:7 Their tongue is a deadly arrow, the words they utter are deceitful; “Peace!” each says to his neighbour,[*a] while in his heart plotting a trap for him.

9:8 And am I not to punish them for such things – it is Yahweh who speaks – or from such a nation exact my vengeance?

Lamentation in Zion

9:9 ‘Raise the wail and lamentation for the mountains, the dirge for the desert pastures, for they have been burnt: no one passes there, the sound of flocks is heard no more. Birds of the sky and animals, all have fled, all are gone.

9:10 I mean to make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a jackal’s lair, and the towns of Judah an uninhabited wasteland.’

9:11 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been charged by Yahweh’s own mouth to tell why the land lies in ruins, burnt like the desert where no one passes?

9:12 Yahweh has said, ‘This is because they have forsaken my Law which I put before them and have not listened to my voice or followed it,

9:13 but have followed the dictates of their own stubborn hearts, followed the Baals as their ancestors taught them.

9:14 And so this is what Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel says: Now I am going to give this people wormwood for their food and poisoned water to drink.

9:15 I am going to scatter them throughout nations unknown to their ancestors or to them; and I am going to pursue them with the sword until I have exterminated them.’

9:16 You, there! Call the mourning women! Let them come! Send for those who are best at it! Let them come!

9:17 Let them lose no time in raising the lament for us! Let our eyes rain tears, our eyelids run with weeping!

9:18 Yes, the wail is to be heard from Zion, ‘What ruin is ours, what utter shame! For we must leave the land, abandon our homes!’

9:19 And you, women, now hear the word of Yahweh, let your ears take in the word his own mouth speaks. Teach your daughters how to wail, teach one another what dirge to sing,

9:20 ‘Death has climbed in at our windows, and made its way into our palaces; it has cut down the children in the street, the youths in the square.

9:21 Men’s corpses lie like dung in the open field, like sheaves left by the reaper, with no one to gather them.’

True wisdom

9:22 Thus says Yahweh, ‘Let the sage boast no more of his wisdom, nor the valiant of his valour, nor the rich man of his riches!

9:23 But if anyone wants to boast, let him boast of this: of understanding and knowing me. For I am Yahweh, I rule with kindness, justice and integrity on earth; yes, these are what please me – it is Yahweh who speaks.

Circumcision, a false guarantee

9:24 ‘See, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I am going to punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh:

9:25 Egypt, Judah, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all the Crop-Heads[*b] who live in the desert. For all these nations, and the whole House of Israel too, are uncircumcised at heart.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 10

Idols and the true God

10:1 Listen, House of Israel, to the word that Yahweh addresses to you.

10:2 Thus says Yahweh: ‘Do not adopt the ways of the nations or take alarm at the heavenly signs, alarmed though the nations may be at them.

10:3 Yes, the Dread of the peoples is a nothing, wood, nothing more, cut out of a forest, worked with a blade by a carver’s hand,

10:4a then embellished with silver and gold

10:9 – silver leaf from Tarshish, and gold from Ophir – work of a carver and a goldsmith’s hand: all some craftsman’s work; they dress them up in violet and purple;

10:4b they fix them with nail and hammer to prevent them from falling.

10:5 Scarecrows in a melon patch, and dumb as these, they have to be carried, cannot walk themselves. Have no fear of them: they can do no harm – nor any good either!’

10:6 Yahweh, there is no one like you, so great are you, so great your mighty name.

10:7 Who would not revere you, King of nations? Yes, this is your due. Since of all the wise among the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is not a single one like you.

10:8 The whole lot of them are brutish and stupid: the teaching given by these Nothings is void of sense.

10:10 But Yahweh is the true God. He is the living God, the everlasting King. The earth quakes when he is wrathful, the nations cannot endure his fury.

10:11 (‘Tell them this, “The gods who did not make the heavens and the earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens”.’)

10:12 By his power he made the earth, by his wisdom set the world firm, by his discernment spread out the heavens.

10:13 When he thunders there is a tumult of water in the heavens; he raises clouds from the boundaries of earth, makes the lightning flash for the downpour, and brings the wind from his storehouse.

10:14 At this all men stand stupefied, uncomprehending, every goldsmith blushes for the idol he has made, since his images are nothing but delusion, with no breath in them.

10:15 They are a Nothing, a laughable production; when the time comes for them to be punished, they will vanish.

10:16 ‘The Portion of Jacob’ is not like these, for he is the maker of everything, and Israel is the tribe that is his heritage. His name is Yahweh Sabaoth.

Panic in the country

10:17 Pack up! Flee the country, you the besieged!

10:18 For Yahweh says this, ‘Now I will throw out the inhabitants of the land this time, and bring distress on them, to see if they will find me then!’

10:19 I despair for this wound of mine! My injury is incurable! I told myself this was an affliction that could be borne,

10:20 but now my tent is destroyed, all my ropes are snapped, my sons have left me and are no more; no one is left to put my tent up again, or to hang the side-cloths.

10:21 The shepherds are the ones who have been stupid: they have not searched for Yahweh. This is why they have not prospered and why their whole flock has been dispersed.

10:22 News! News has come! A mighty uproar coming from the land of the North to reduce the towns of Judah to desert, to a jackal’s lair.

A prayer of Jeremiah

10:23 Well you know, Yahweh, the course of man is not in his control, nor is it in man’s power as he goes his way to guide his steps.

10:24 Correct us, Yahweh, gently, not in your anger or you will reduce us to nothing.

10:25 Pour out your anger on the pagans, who do not acknowledge you, and on those races that do not call on your name, for they have devoured Jacob and made an end of him, and reduced his home to desolation.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 11

Jeremiah and observance of the covenant

11:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh,

11:2 ‘Speak to the men of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

11:3 Tell them, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: Cursed be the man who will not listen to the words of this covenant

11:4 which I ordained for your ancestors when I brought them out of the furnace of iron, out of the land of Egypt. Listen to my voice, I told them, carry out all my orders, then you shall be my people and I will be your God,

11:5 to confirm the oath I swore to your fathers, that I would give them a land where milk and honey flow – as it still does today.”‘ I replied, ‘Yahweh, I will’.

11:6 Then Yahweh said to me, ‘Proclaim all this in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: “Listen to the words of this covenant and obey them.

11:7 For when I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I solemnly warned them, and have persistently warned them until today: Listen to my voice.

11:8 But they did not listen, did not pay attention; everyone followed the dictates of his own evil heart. So, I fulfilled against them all the words of this covenant which I had ordained for them to obey and which they had not obeyed.”‘

11:9 Yahweh said to me, ‘Plainly there is conspiracy among the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem.

11:10 They have reverted to the crimes of their ancestors who refused to listen to my words: they too are following alien gods and serving them. The House of Israel and the House of Judah have broken my covenant which I made with their ancestors.

11:11 And so – Yahweh says this – I will now bring them a disaster which they cannot escape; if they invoke me I will not listen to them.

11:12 The towns of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem can go and invoke the gods to whom they burn incense, but these will be no help at all to them in the time of their distress.

11:13 ‘For you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah. You have built as many incense altars to Baal as Jerusalem has streets.

11:14 ‘You, for your part, must not intercede for this people, nor raise either plea or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their distress.

Rebuke to the frequenters of the Temple

11:15 ‘What is my beloved doing in my house? She is playing the hypocrite! Can vows and consecrated meat rid you of your guilt? Am I to make you clean because of this?

11:16 A spreading olive tree so fair, so sturdy, was Yahweh’s name for you. With the roar of a great wind he sets its foliage on fire; its branches burn.

11:17 ‘And Yahweh Sabaoth, who planted you, has decreed disaster for you because of the crime the House of Israel and the House of Judah have committed, provoking me by burning incense to Baal.’

Jeremiah persecuted in his own town

11:18 Yahweh revealed it to me; I was warned. Yahweh, that was when you opened my eyes to their scheming.

12:6 ‘Yes, even your own brothers and your own family play you false. Behind your back, they too criticise you openly. Put no reliance on them when they seem to be friendly.’

11:19 I for my part was like a trustful lamb being led to the slaughter-house, not knowing the schemes they were plotting against me, ‘Let us destroy the tree in its strength, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name may be quickly forgotten!’

11:20 But you, Yahweh Sabaoth, who pronounce a just sentence, who probe the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

11:21 This is how Yahweh has spoken against the men of Anathoth who are determined to kill me and have warned me, ‘Do not prophesy in the name of Yahweh or you will die at our hands!’

11:22 This is how I will punish them. Their young men shall die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine.

11:23 No one will be left when I bring disaster on the men of Anathoth, when the year comes for their punishment.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 12

The prosperity of the wicked

12:1 You have right on your side, Yahweh, when I complain about you. But I would like to debate a point of justice with you. Why is it that the wicked live so prosperously? Why do scoundrels enjoy peace?

12:2 You plant them, they take root, and flourish, and even bear fruit. You are always on their lips, yet so far from their hearts.

12:3 You know me, Yahweh, you see me, you probe my heart, it is in your hands. Drag them off like sheep for the slaughter-house, reserve them for the day of butchery.

12:4 (How long will the land be in mourning, and the grass wither all over the countryside? The animals and birds are dying as a result of the wickedness of the inhabitants.) For they say, ‘God does not see our behaviour’.

12:5 If you find it exhausting to race against men on foot, how will you compete against horses? If you are not secure in a peaceful country, how will you manage in the thickets along the Jordan?

Yahweh laments his ravaged inheritance

12:7 ‘I have abandoned my house, left my heritage, I have delivered what I dearly loved into the hands of its enemies.

12:8 For me my heritage has become a lion in the forest, it roars at me ferociously: so I now hate it.

12:9 Or is my heritage a speckled bird for the birds to flock on her thus from all directions? Come on, all you wild beasts, gather round, fall on the quarry!

12:10 Many shepherds have laid my vineyard waste, have trampled down my inheritance, reducing my pleasant inheritance to a deserted wilderness.

12:11 They have made it a mournful, desolate place, desolate before me. The whole land has been devastated and no one takes it to heart.

12:12 The devastators have arrived on all the bare heights of the desert (for Yahweh wields a sword that devours): from end to end of the land there is no peace for any living thing.

12:13 Wheat they have sown, thorns they reap: they have worn themselves out, to no profit. They are disappointed in their harvests, through the fury of Yahweh.

The neighbouring peoples: their judgement and salvation

12:14 ‘Thus says Yahweh: As for all my evil neighbours who have laid hands on the heritage I granted my people Israel I will now tear them from their countries. (But I will tear the House of Judah out of their hands.)

12:15 But, once torn out, I will take pity on them again and bring them back each to his heritage, each to his own country.

12:16 And if they take care to learn my people’s way and to swear by my name, “As Yahweh lives”, as my people learned from them to swear by Baal, then they shall have a place among my people.

12:17 But if any nation refuses to listen, I will tear it up by the roots and destroy it – it is Yahweh who speaks.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 13

The symbol of the loincloth

13:1 Yahweh said this to me, ‘Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it round your waist. But do not dip it in water.’

13:2 And so, as Yahweh had ordered, I bought a loincloth and put it round my waist.

13:3 A second time the word of Yahweh was spoken to me,

13:4 ‘Take the loincloth that you have bought and are wearing round your waist; up! Go to the Euphrates and hide it in a hole in the rock.’

13:5 So I went and hid it near the Euphrates as Yahweh had ordered me.

13:6 Many days afterwards Yahweh said to me, ‘Get up and go to the Euphrates and fetch the loincloth I ordered you to hide there’.

13:7 So I went to the Euphrates, and I searched, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. The loincloth was spoilt, good for nothing.

13:8 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me,

13:9 ‘Thus says Yahweh: In the same way I will spoil the arrogance of Judah and Jerusalem.

13:10 This evil people who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the dictates of their own hard hearts, who have followed alien gods, and served them and worshipped them, let them become like this loincloth, good for nothing.

13:11 For just as a loincloth clings to a man’s waist, so I had intended the whole House of Judah to cling to me – it is Yahweh who speaks – to be my people, my glory, my honour and my boast. But they have not listened.

The symbol of the shattered wine jugs

13:12 ‘Tell this people, “Any jug can be filled with wine”. And if they answer you, “Do you think we do not know that any jug can be filled with wine?”

13:13 you are to say, “Thus says Yahweh: I am now going to fill all the inhabitants of this land with drunkenness, the kings who occupy the throne of David, the priests and the prophets, and all the citizens of Jerusalem.

13:14 And I will smash them one against the other, father and son together – it is Yahweh who speaks. Mercilessly, relentlessly, pitilessly, I will destroy them.”‘

A vision of exile

13:15 Listen, pay attention, away with pride – Yahweh is speaking!

13:16 Give glory to Yahweh our God before he brings darkness down and your feet stumble on the darkened mountains. You hope for light, but he will turn it into deep shadow, change it into gloom.

13:17 If you do not listen to this warning, I will bewail your pride in secret, tears will flood my eyes, for Yahweh’s flock is led into captivity.

Jehoiachin threatened

13:18 Tell the king and the queen mother, ‘Sit in a lower place, since your glorious crown has fallen from your head’.

13:19 The towns of the Negeb are shut off[*a] with no one to give access to them. All Judah has been deported, deported wholesale.

An admonition to impenitent Jerusalem

13:20 ‘Raise your eyes, Jerusalem, and look at these now coming from the North. Where is the flock once entrusted to you, the flock that was your boast?

13:21 What will you say when they descend on you as conquerors, those you yourself taught to be your friends? Will not anguish grip you like a woman in labour?

13:22 You may ask yourself, “Why has all this happened to me?” Because of your great wickedness your skirts have been pulled up,[*b] and you have been manhandled.

13:23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? And you, can you do what is right, you so accustomed to wrong?

13:24 I will scatter you like chaff driven by the desert wind.

13:25 This is your share, the wage of your apostasy. This comes from me – it is Yahweh who speaks – because you have forgotten me and put your trust in a Delusion.

13:26 I will also pull your skirts up as high as your face and let your shame be seen.

13:27 Oh! Your adulteries, your shrieks of pleasure, your vile prostitution! On the hills, in the countryside, I have seen your Abominations. Woe to you, Jerusalem, unclean still! How much longer will you go on like this?’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 14

The great drought

14:1 The word of Yahweh that was addressed to Jeremiah on the occasion of the drought.

14:2 ‘Judah is in mourning, her towns are disconsolate, they sink to the ground; a cry goes up from Jerusalem.

14:3 The nobles send the lesser men for water, they come to the cisterns, and find no water, and return with their pitchers empty.

14:4 The ground refuses its yield, for the country has had no rain; in dismay the ploughmen cover their heads.[*a]

14:5 Even the doe abandons her new-born fawn in open country, for there is no grass;

14:6 the wild donkeys standing on the bare heights gasp for air like jackals: their eyes grow dim for lack of pasture.’

14:7 If our crimes are witness against us, then, Yahweh, for your name’s sake act! Yes, our apostasies have been many, we have sinned against you!

14:8 Yahweh, hope of Israel, its saviour in time of distress, why are you like a stranger in this land, like a traveller who stays only for a night?

14:9 Why are you like someone bemused, like a warrior who has no power to rescue? Yet, Yahweh, you are in our midst, we are called by your name. Do not desert us!

14:10 Yahweh says this regarding this people, ‘They take such pleasure in wandering, they cannot control their feet!’ But Yahweh accepts them no longer; now he recalls their crime and will punish their sins.

14:11 Yahweh said to me, ‘Do not intercede for this people or their welfare.

14:12 If they fast, I will not listen to their plea; if they offer holocaust and oblation, I will not accept them. Rather, I mean to exterminate them by sword, famine and pestilence.’

14:13 ‘Ah, Lord Yahweh,’ I answered ‘here are the prophets telling them, “You will not see the sword, famine will not touch you; I promise you unbroken peace in this place”.’

14:14 Then Yahweh said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I have not sent them, I gave them no orders, I never spoke to them. Delusive visions, hollow predictions, daydreams of their own, that is what they prophesy to you.

14:15 Therefore, Yahweh says this: The prophets who prophesy in my name when I have not sent them, and tell you there will be no sword or famine in this land, these same prophets are doomed to perish by sword and famine.

14:16 And as for the people to whom they prophesy, they will be tossed into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and the sword, with not a soul to bury them: neither them nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters. I will pour down on them their own wickedness.

14:17 ‘Say this word to them, “Tears flood my eyes night and day, unceasingly, since a crushing blow falls on the daughter of my people, a most grievous injury.

14:18 If I go into the countryside, there lie men killed by the sword; if I go into the city, I see people sick with hunger; even prophets and priests plough the land: they are at their wit’s end.”‘

14:19 ‘Have you rejected Judah altogether? Does your very soul revolt at Zion? Why have you struck us down without hope of cure? We were hoping for peace – no good came of it! For the moment of cure – nothing but terror!

14:20 Yahweh, we do confess our wickedness and our fathers’ guilt: we have indeed sinned against you.

14:21 For your name’s sake do not reject us, do not dishonour the throne of your glory. Remember us; do not break your covenant with us.

14:22 Can any of the pagan Nothings make it rain? Can the heavens produce showers? No, it is you, Yahweh. O our God, you are our hope, since it is you who do all this.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 15

15:1 Yahweh said to me, ‘Even if Moses and Samuel were standing in my presence I could not warm to this people! Drive them out of my sight; away with them!

15:2 And if they ask you, “Where shall we go?” tell them this, “Yahweh says this: Those for the plague, to the plague; those for the sword, to the sword; those for famine, to famine; those for captivity, into captivity!”

15:3 Four kinds of doom I consign them to: the sword to kill, the dogs to drag away, the birds of heaven and beasts of earth to devour and to destroy.

15:4 I will make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for his misdeeds in Jerusalem.

The horrors of war

15:5 ‘Who is there to pity you, Jerusalem, who to grieve for you, who to pause and ask how you are?

15:6 You yourself have rejected me – it is Yahweh who speaks – you have turned your back on me; so I have stretched my hand over you to destroy you. I am tired of relenting.

15:7 And so I have winnowed them with a fork in the towns of their land. I deprive my people of children, I exterminate them since they refuse to leave their ways.

15:8 Their widows have become more than the sand of the seas. On the mothers of young warriors I bring the destroyer in broad daylight. Suddenly I bring down anguish and terror on them.

15:9 The mother of seven sons grows faint, and breathes her last. It is still day, but already her sun has set, shame and disgrace are hers…And the remainder of them I shall hand over to their enemies to be cut to pieces – it is Yahweh who speaks.’

The call of Jeremiah renewed

15:10 Woe is me, my mother, for you have borne me to be a man of strife and of dissension for all the land. I neither lend nor borrow, yet all of them curse me.

15:11 Truthfully, Yahweh, have I not done my best to serve you, interceded with you for my enemy in the time of his disaster, his distress?

15:15a You know I have!

15:12 Can a man break iron, iron from the north, or bronze?

15:13 ‘Your wealth and your treasures I will hand over to plunder, as payment for all your sins throughout your territory.

15:14 I will enslave you to your enemies in a country which you do not know, for my anger has kindled a fire that will burn you up.’

15:15b Yahweh, remember me, take care of me, and avenge me on my persecutors. Your anger is very slow: do not let me be snatched away. Realise that I suffer insult for your sake.

15:16 When your words came, I devoured them: your word was my delight and the joy of my heart; for I was called by your name, Yahweh, God of Sabaoth.

15:17 I never took pleasure in sitting in scoffers’ company; with your hand on me I held myself aloof, since you had filled me with indignation.

15:18 Why is my suffering continual, my wound incurable, refusing to be healed? Do you mean to be for me a deceptive stream with inconstant waters?

15:19 To which Yahweh replied, ‘If you come back, I will take you back into my service; and if you utter noble, not despicable, thoughts, you shall be as my own mouth. They will come back to you, but you must not go back to them.

15:20 I will make you a bronze wall fortified against this people. They will fight against you but they will not overcome you, because I am with you to save you and to deliver you – it is Yahweh who speaks.

15:21 I mean to deliver you from the hands of the wicked and redeem you from the clutches of the violent.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 16

The prophet’s life is itself symbolic

16:1 The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows:

16:2 ‘You must not take a wife or have son or daughter in this place.

16:3 For Yahweh says this regarding the sons and daughters to be born in this place, about the mothers who give birth to them, and about the fathers who beget them in this land:

16:4 They will die of deadly diseases, unlamented and unburied; they will be like dung spread on the ground; they will meet their end by sword and famine, and their corpses will be food for the birds of heaven and the beasts of earth.

16:5 ‘Yes, Yahweh says this: Go into no house where there is mourning, do not go to lament or grieve with them; for I have withdrawn my peace from this people – it is Yahweh who speaks – have withdrawn love and pity.

16:6 High or low, they will die in this land, without burial or lament; there will be no gashing, no shaving of the head for them.

16:7 No bread will be broken for the mourner to comfort him for the dead; no cup of consolation will be offered him for father or for mother.

16:8 ‘And do not enter a house where there is feasting, to sit with them and eat and drink.

16:9 For Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Now before your eyes, in your own days, I will silence the shouts of rejoicing and mirth, and the voices of bridegroom and bride.

16:10 ‘When you tell this people all these words and they ask you, “Why has Yahweh decreed this appalling disaster for us? What is our crime? What sin have we committed against Yahweh our God?”

16:11 then you are to answer, “It is because your ancestors abandoned me – it is Yahweh who speaks – and followed alien gods, and served and worshipped them. They abandoned me and did not keep my Law.

16:12 And you for your part have behaved even worse than your ancestors. Look, each of you follows the dictates of his hardened, wicked heart and will not listen to me.

16:13 And so, I am going to eject you from this land into a country unknown to you and to your ancestors; there you will serve alien gods, day and night, for I shall show you no more favour.”

The return of the scattered Israelites

16:14 ‘See, then, that the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when people will no longer say, “As Yahweh lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!”

16:15 but, “As Yahweh lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of the North and back from all the countries to which he had dispersed them”. I will bring them back to the very soil I gave their ancestors.

The invasion foretold

16:16 ‘I will now send many fishermen – it is Yahweh who speaks – and these will fish them up; next, I will send many huntsmen, and these will hunt them out of every mountain, every hill, out of the holes in the rocks.

16:17 For my eyes watch all their ways, these are not hidden from me, and their guilt does not escape my gaze.

16:18 I will requite their guilt and their sin twice over, since they have polluted my land with the corpses of their Horrors, and filled my heritage with their Abominations.’

The conversion of the nations

16:19 Yahweh, my strength, my stronghold, my refuge in the day of distress! To you the nations will come from the confines of earth and say, ‘Our fathers inherited nothing but Delusion, Nothings void of all power.

16:20 Can man make his own gods? If so, these are not gods!’

16:21 ‘Now listen, I am going to make them acknowledge, this time I am going to make them acknowledge my hand and my might; and then they will know that Yahweh is my name.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 17

Judah’s contaminated worship

17:1 ‘The sin of Judah is written with an iron pen, engraved with a diamond point on the tablet of their heart and on the horns of their altars,

17:2 as evidence against them (their altars and their sacred poles, by every spreading tree, on the high hills,

17:3 on the mountains, in the open countryside). ‘Your wealth and your treasures I will hand over to plunder as payment for all your sins throughout your territory.

17:4 You will have to relinquish your heritage which I gave you; I will enslave you to your enemies in a country which you do not know, for my anger has kindled a fire that will burn for ever.

A group of wisdom sayings

17:5 ‘Yahweh says this: ‘A curse on the man who puts his trust in man, who relies on things of flesh, whose heart turns from Yahweh.

17:6 He is like dry scrub in the wastelands: if good comes, he has no eyes for it, he settles in the parched places of the wilderness, a salt land, uninhabited.

17:7 ‘A blessing on the man who puts his trust in Yahweh, with Yahweh for his hope.

17:8 He is like a tree by the waterside that thrusts its roots to the stream: when the heat comes it feels no alarm, its foliage stays green; it has no worries in a year of drought, and never ceases to bear fruit.

17:9 ‘The heart is more devious than any other thing, perverse too: who can pierce its secrets?

17:10 I, Yahweh, search to the heart, I probe the loins, to give each man what his conduct and his actions deserve.

17:11 ‘The partridge will hatch eggs it has not laid. Similarly, the man who wins his wealth unjustly: his days half done, he must leave it, proving a fool after all.’

Confidence in the Temple and in Yahweh

17:12 A glorious throne, set high from the beginning, such is our Holy Place.

17:13 Hope of Israel, Yahweh! All who abandon you will be put to shame, those who turn from you will be uprooted from the land, since they have abandoned the fountain of living water.

A prayer for vengeance

17:14 Heal me, Yahweh, and I shall be really healed, save me, and I shall be saved, for you alone are my hope.

17:15 Look, they keep saying to me, ‘Where is the word of Yahweh? Let it come true then!’

17:16 But I, I have never urged you to do evil, the day of disaster was no desire of mine, this you know; what came from my lips was not concealed from you.

17:17 Do not be a terror to me, you, my refuge in the day of disaster.

17:18 Let my persecutors be confounded, not I, let them, not me, be terrified. On them bring the day of disaster, destroy them, destroy them twice over!

Observance of the sabbath

17:19 Yahweh said this to me, ‘Go and stand at the Gate of the Sons of the People by which the kings of Judah go in and out – and at all the gates of Jerusalem.

17:20 Say to them, “Listen to the word of Yahweh, you kings of Judah, all you people of Judah too, and all you citizens of Jerusalem who pass through these gates.

17:21 Yahweh says this: As you value your lives, on no account carry a burden on the sabbath day or bring it in through the gates of Jerusalem.

17:22 Bring no burden out of your houses on the sabbath day, and do no work. Keep the sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.

17:23 They would not hear, would not pay attention, grew so stubborn they would not listen, and would not accept instruction.

17:24 But if you listen carefully to me – it is Yahweh who speaks – and bring no burden in through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, if you keep the sabbath holy and do no work on that day,

17:25 then, through the gates of this city, kings occupying the throne of David will continue to make their entry, mounted on chariots and horses, they and their ministers, with the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. And this city will be inhabited for ever.

17:26 They will come from the towns of Judah, from the districts round Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Lowlands, from the highlands, from the Negeb, to offer holocaust and sacrifice, oblation, incense and thanksgiving sacrifice in the Temple of Yahweh.

17:27 But if you do not listen to my command to keep the sabbath day holy, and not to enter the gates of Jerusalem with burdens on the sabbath day, then I will set fire to its gates; it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem and not be quenched.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 18

Jeremiah visits the potter

18:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh,

18:2 ‘Get up and make your way down to the potter’s house; there I shall let you hear what I have to say’.

18:3 So I went down to the potter’s house; and there he was, working at the wheel.

18:4 And whenever the vessel he was making came out wrong, as happens with the clay handled by potters, he would start afresh and work it into another vessel, as potters do.

18:5 Then this word of Yahweh was addressed to me,

18:6 ‘House of Israel, can not I do to you what this potter does? – it is Yahweh who speaks. Yes, as the clay is in the potter’s hand, so you are in mine, House of Israel.

18:7 On occasion, I decree for some nation, for some kingdom, that I will tear up, knock down, destroy;

18:8 but if this nation, against which I have pronounced sentence, abandons its wickedness, I then change my mind about the evil which I had intended to inflict on it.

18:9 On another occasion, I decree for some nation, for some kingdom, that I will build up and plant;

18:10 but if that nation does what displeases me, refusing to listen to my voice, I then change my mind about the good which I had intended to confer on it.

18:11 So now, say this to the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem, “Yahweh says this: Listen, I have been preparing a disaster for you, I have been working out a plan against you. So now, each one of you, turn back from your evil ways, amend your conduct and actions.”

18:12 They, however, will say, “What is the use of talking? We prefer to do as we please; we mean to behave, each of us, as his wicked heart dictates.”

Israel repudiates Yahweh

18:13 ‘Therefore – Yahweh says this: Ask, if you will, among the nations if anyone has heard anything like this. She has done a deed of horror, the Virgin of Israel.

18:14 Does the snow of Lebanon vanish from the lofty crag? Do the proud waters run dry, so coolly flowing?

18:15 And yet my people have forgotten me! They burn their incense to a Nothing! They have lost their footing in their ways, on the roads of former times, to walk in tortuous paths, a way unmarked.

18:16 They will make their country desolate, everlastingly derided: every passer-by will be appalled at it and shake his head.

18:17 Like the east wind, I will scatter them before the enemy. I will turn my back to them and not my face on the day of their disaster.’

A plot against Jeremiah

18:18 ‘Come on,’ they said ‘let us concoct a plot against Jeremiah; the priest will not run short of instruction without him, nor the sage of advice, nor the prophet of the word. Come on, let us hit at him with his own tongue; let us listen carefully to every word he says.’

18:19 Listen to me, Yahweh, hear what my adversaries are saying.

18:20 Should evil be returned for good? (For they are digging a pit for me.) Remember how I stood in your presence to plead on their behalf, to turn your wrath away from them.

18:21 Then hand their sons over to famine, abandon them to the edge of the sword. May their wives become childless and widowed. May their husbands die of plague, their young men be cut down by the sword in battle.

18:22 Let cries re-echo from their houses as you bring raiders suddenly on them. For they have dug a pit to catch me, they have laid snares to trap my feet.

18:23 But you, Yahweh, know all their murderous plots against me. Do not forgive their crime, do not efface their sin from your sight. Keep their destruction always in mind, when the time for your anger comes deal with them.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 19

The broken jug and the altercation with Pashhur

19:1 Then Yahweh said to Jeremiah, ‘Go and buy an earthenware jug. Take some of the elders of the people and some priests with you.

19:2 Go out towards the Valley of Ben-hinnom, as far as the entry of the Gate of the Potsherds. There proclaim the words I shall speak to you.

19:3 You are to say, “Kings of Judah, citizens of Jerusalem! Listen to the word of Yahweh! Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: I am bringing down such a disaster on this place that the ears of every one who hears of it will ring.

19:4 This is because they have abandoned me, have profaned this place, have offered incense here to alien gods which neither they, nor their ancestors, nor the kings of Judah, ever knew before. They have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.

19:5 They have built high places for Baal to burn their sons there, which I had never ordered or decreed, which had never entered my thoughts.

19:6 So now the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when people will no longer call this place Topheth, or the Valley of Ben-hinnom, but Valley of Slaughter.

19:7 Because of this place, I mean to drain[*a] Judah and Jerusalem of sound advice; I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies, fall by the hand of people determined to kill them; I will give their corpses as food to the birds of heaven and the beasts of earth.

19:8 And I will make this city a desolation, a derision; every passer-by will be appalled at it, and whistle in amazement at such calamity.

19:9 I will make them eat the flesh of their own sons and daughters: they shall eat each other during the siege, in the shortage to which their enemies, in their determination to kill them, will reduce them.”

19:10 ‘You are to break this jug in front of the men who are with you,

19:11 and say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I am going to break this people and this city just as one breaks a potter’s pot, irreparably. Topheth will become a burial ground, for lack of other space.

19:12 That is how I will treat this place – it is Yahweh who speaks. And I mean to make this city like Topheth;

19:13 the houses of Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be unclean,[*b] like this place Topheth: all these houses on the roofs of which they offered incense to the whole array of heaven and poured their libations to alien gods.”‘

19:14 When Jeremiah came back from Topheth where Yahweh had sent him to prophesy, he went and stood in the court of the Temple of Yahweh and addressed all the people.

19:15 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, “Yes, I am going to bring down every disaster I have threatened on this city and on all its outlying towns, since they have grown so stubborn and refused to listen to my words”.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 20

20:1 Now the priest Pashhur son of Immer, who was in charge of the police in the Temple of Yahweh, heard Jeremiah making this prophecy.

20:2 Pashhur had Jeremiah the prophet beaten and then put in the stocks at the Gate of Benjamin, the upper gate leading into the Temple of Yahweh.

20:3 Next day, Pashhur had Jeremiah taken out of the stocks; Jeremiah said to him, ‘Not Pashhur but Terror is Yahweh’s name for you.

20:4 For Yahweh says this, “I am going to hand you over to terror, you and all your friends; they shall fall by the sword of their enemies; your own eyes shall see it. The whole of Judah, too, I will hand over to the king of Babylon; he will carry them off captives to Babylon and put them to the sword.

20:5 And all the wealth of this city, all its stores, all its valuables, all the treasures of the kings of Judah, I will hand over to their enemies who will plunder them, round them up and carry them off to Babylon.

20:6 As for you, Pashhur, and your whole household, you shall go into captivity; you shall go to Babylon; there you will die, and there be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied lies.”‘

Selections from the ‘Confessions’ of Jeremiah

20:7 You have seduced me, Yahweh, and I have let myself be seduced; you have overpowered me: you were the stronger. I am a daily laughing-stock, everybody’s butt.

20:8 Each time I speak the word, I have to howl and proclaim: ‘Violence and ruin!’ The word of Yahweh has meant for me insult, derision, all day long.

20:9 I used to say, ‘I will not think about him, I will not speak in his name any more. Then there seemed to be a fire burning in my heart, imprisoned in my bones. The effort to restrain it wearied me, I could not bear it.

20:10 I hear so many disparaging me, ‘”Terror from every side!” Denounce him! Let us denounce him!’ All those who used to be my friends watched for my downfall, ‘Perhaps he will be seduced into error. Then we will master him and take our revenge!’

20:11 But Yahweh is at my side, a mighty hero; my opponents will stumble, mastered, confounded by their failure; everlasting, unforgettable disgrace will be theirs.

20:12 But you, Yahweh Sabaoth, you who probe with justice, who scrutinise the loins and heart, let me see the vengeance you will take on them, for I have committed my cause to you.

20:13 Sing to Yahweh, praise Yahweh, for he has delivered the soul of the needy from the hands of evil men.

20:14 A curse on the day when I was born, no blessing on the day my mother bore me!

20:15 A curse on the man who brought my father the news, ‘A son, a boy has been born to you!’ making him overjoyed.

20:16 May this man be like the towns that Yahweh overthrew without mercy; may he hear alarms in the morning, the war cry in broad daylight,

20:17 since he did not kill me in the womb; my mother would have been my tomb while her womb was swollen with me.

20:18 Why ever did I come out of the womb To live in toil and sorrow and to end my days in shame!

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 21

C. ORACLES MAINLY LATER THAN THE REIGN OF JEHOIAKIM

Jeremiah answers the envoys of Zedekiah[*a]

21:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh when King Zedekiah sent Pashhur son of Malchiah to him, with the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah, to say this,

21:2 ‘Please consult Yahweh for us, since Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war on us: perhaps Yahweh will work all his wonders on our behalf, so that the enemy will have to withdraw’.

21:3 Jeremiah said to them, ‘Take this answer to Zedekiah,

21:4 “Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: I am going to bring back the weapons of war which you are now carrying, and with which you are fighting the king of Babylon and the Chaldaeans now besieging your walls; I am going to stack them in the centre of this city.

21:5 And I am going to fight against you myself with outstretched hand and mighty arm, in anger, fury and great wrath.

21:6 I am going to strike the inhabitants of this city, man and beast, with a frightful plague: they will die.

21:7 After which – it is Yahweh who speaks – I am going to deliver Zedekiah king of Judah with his servants and the people of this city who escape the plague, the sword, or the famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, into the hands of their enemies and of those determined to kill them; mercilessly, relentlessly, pitilessly, he will put them to the sword.”

21:8 ‘And you are to say to this people, “Yahweh says this: Look, I now set in front of you the way of life and the way of death.

21:9 Those who stay in this city will die by sword, by famine, or by plague; but anyone who leaves it and surrenders to the Chaldaeans now besieging it will live; he shall escape with his life.

21:10 For I have turned my face against this city for its ruin, not for its prosperity – it is Yahweh who speaks. It is to be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.”‘

Address to the royal family of Judah

21:11 To the royal House of Judah. Listen to the word of Yahweh,

21:12 House of David! Yahweh says this: ‘Each morning give sound judgement, rescue the man who has been wronged from the hands of his oppressor, or else my wrath will leap out like a fire, it will burn and no one will be able to quench it.

21:13 My quarrel is with you, you that have gone to live at Rock-in-the-Plain[*b] – it is Yahweh who speaks – with you that say, “Who would dare attack us and penetrate our fastness?”

21:14 (I will punish you as your actions deserve – it is Yahweh who speaks.) I will set fire to its forest; it will devour the whole district.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 22

22:1 Yahweh said this, ‘Go down to the palace of the king of Judah and there deliver this message,

22:2 “Listen to the word of Yahweh, king of Judah sitting on the throne of David, you, your servants too, and your people who go through these gates.

22:3 Yahweh says this: Practise honesty and integrity; rescue the man who has been wronged from the hands of his oppressor; do not exploit the stranger, the orphan, the widow; do no violence; shed no innocent blood in this place.

22:4 For if you are scrupulous in obeying this command, then kings occupying the throne of David will continue to make their entry through the gates of this palace mounted on chariots and horses, they, their servants and their people.

22:5 But if you do not listen to these words, then I swear by myself – it is Yahweh who speaks – this palace shall become a ruin!

22:6 Yes, this is what Yahweh says about the royal palace of Judah: You were like a Gilead to me, like a peak of Lebanon. All the same, I will reduce you to a desert, to an uninhabited town.

22:7 I have dedicated men to destroy you, each man with his axe; they will cut down your finest cedars and throw them on the fire.

22:8 When the hordes of the nations pass this city, they will say to each other: Why has Yahweh treated such a great city like this?

22:9 And the answer will be: Because they abandoned the covenant of Yahweh their God to worship alien gods and serve them.”‘

Oracles against various kings: against Jehoahaz

22:10 Do not weep for the man who is dead,[*a] do not raise the dirge for him. Weep bitterly for the man who has gone away, since he will never come back, never see his native land again.

22:11 For this is what Yahweh has said about Shallum son of Josiah, king of Judah, who succeeded Josiah his father and was forced to leave this place, ‘He will never come back to it

22:12 but will die in the place to which he has been taken captive; and he will never see this country again.

Against Jehoiakim

22:13 ‘Doom for the man who founds his palace on anything but integrity, his upstairs rooms on anything but honesty, who makes his fellow man work for nothing, without paying him his wages,

22:14 who says, “I will build myself an imposing palace with spacious rooms upstairs”, who pierces lights in it, panels it with cedar, and paints it vermilion.

22:15 Are you more of a king for outrivalling others with cedar? Your father ate and drank, like you, but he practised honesty and integrity, so all went well for him.

22:16 He used to examine the cases of poor and needy, then all went well. Is not that what it means to know me? – it is Yahweh who speaks.

22:17 You on the other hand have eyes and heart for nothing but your own interests, for shedding innocent blood and perpetrating violence and oppression.’

22:18 So Yahweh has said this about Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah: ‘Doom for that man! Raise no dirge for him, “Mourn for my brother! Mourn for my sister!” Raise no dirge for him, “Mourn for his highness. Mourn for his majesty”

22:19 He will receive the funeral honours of a donkey, – dragged away and thrown out of the gates of Jerusalem.

Against Jehoiachin

22:20 ‘Go up to Lebanon and shriek, let your voice be heard on Bashan, shriek from Abarim,[*b] for all your lovers[*c] have been ruined!

22:21 I spoke to you in your prosperity, but you said, “I will not listen!” from your youth this has been how you behaved, refusing to listen to my voice.

22:22 The wind will blow all your shepherds away to other pastures, your lovers will go into captivity. Yes, now you may well be ashamed and confounded at the thought of all your wickedness.

22:23 You who made Lebanon your home, who made your nest among the cedars, how you will groan when anguish overtakes you, and pain like that of a woman in labour!

22:24 ‘As I live – it is Yahweh who speaks – even if Coniah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, were the signet ring on my right hand, I would still wrench him off.

22:25 I will deliver you into the hands of those determined to kill you, into the hands of those you dread, the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the hands of the Chaldaeans.

22:26 You and the mother who bore you, I will thrust you both out into another country; you were not born there but you will both die there.

22:27 They will not return to the country to which they so long to return.’

22:28 Is he a shoddy broken pot, this man Coniah, a crock that no one wants? Why are they ejected, he and his descendants, thrown into a country they know nothing of?

22:29 O land, land, land, listen to the word of Yahweh!

22:30 Yahweh says this, ‘List this man as: Childless; a man who made a failure of his life, since none of his descendants will have the fortune to sit on the throne of David, or to rule in Judah again.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 23

Messianic oracles. The future king

23:1 ‘Doom for the shepherds who allow the flock of my pasture to be destroyed and scattered – it is Yahweh who speaks!

23:2 This, therefore, is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says about the shepherds in charge of my people: You have let my flock be scattered and go wandering and have not taken care of them. Right, I will take care of you for your misdeeds – it is Yahweh who speaks!

23:3 But the remnant of my flock I myself will gather from all the countries where I have dispersed them, and will bring them back to their pastures: they shall be fruitful and increase in numbers.

23:4 I will raise up shepherds to look after them and pasture them; no fear, no terror for them any more; not one shall be lost – it is Yahweh who speaks!

23:5 ‘See, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I will raise a virtuous Branch for David, who will reign as true king and be wise, practising honesty and integrity in the land.

23:6 In his days Judah will be saved and Israel dwell in confidence. And this is the name he will be called:

Yahweh-our-integrity.

23:7 ‘So, then, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when people will no longer say, “As Yahweh lives who brought the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt!”

23:8 but, “As Yahweh lives who led back and brought home the descendants of the House of Israel out of the land of the North and from all the countries to which he had dispersed them, to live on their own soil”.’

A tract against the false prophets

23:9 On the prophets. My heart is broken within me, I tremble in all my bones I am like a drunken man, a man overcome with wine – because of Yahweh and his holy words,

23:10 ‘The land is full of adulterers (yes, because of these men the land is in mourning and the desert pastures have dried up); ‘they are quick only at doing wrong and powerful only in crime.

23:11 Yes, even prophet and priest are godless, I have found their wickedness even in my House – it is Yahweh who speaks.

23:12 Because of this their way will prove treacherous going for them; in the darkness they are driven, there they will fall. For I will bring disaster down on them when the year comes for me to deal with them – it is Yahweh who speaks.

23:13 ‘In the prophets of Samaria I have seen nauseating things: they prophesised in the name of Baal and led my people Israel astray.

23:14 But in the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen horrors: adultery, persistent lying, such abetting of evil men, that no one renounces his evil-doing; to me they are all like Sodom, its inhabitants all like Gomorrah.

23:15 So this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says about the prophets: Now I will give them wormwood for their food, and poisoned water to drink, since from the prophets of Jerusalem godlessness has spread throughout the land.

23:16 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this: Do not listen to what those prophets say: they are deluding you, they retail visions of their own, and not what comes from the mouth of Yahweh;

23:17 to those who reject the word of Yahweh they say, “Peace will be yours”, and to those who follow the dictates of a hardened heart, “No misfortune will touch you”.’

23:18 (But who has been present at the council of Yahweh? Who has seen it and heard his word? Who has paid attention to his word in order to proclaim it?)

23:19 Now a storm of Yahweh breaks, a tempest whirls, it bursts over the head of the wicked;

23:20 the anger of Yahweh will not turn aside until he has performed, and has carried out, the decision of his heart. You will understand this clearly in the days to come.

23:21 ‘I have not sent those prophets, yet they are running; I have not spoken to them, yet they are prophesying.

23:22 Have they been present at my council? If so, let them proclaim my words to my people and turn them from their evil way and from the wickedness of their deeds!

23:23 ‘Am I a God when near – it is Yahweh who speaks – and not one when far away?

23:24 Can anyone hide in a dark corner without my seeing him? – it is Yahweh who speaks. Do I not fill heaven and earth? – it is Yahweh who speaks.

23:25 ‘I have heard what the prophets say who make their lying prophecies in my name. “I have had a dream,” they say “I have had a dream!”

23:26 How long will they retain this notion in their hearts, these prophets prophesying lies, who announce their private delusions as prophetic?

23:27 They hope, by means of the dreams that they keep telling each other, to make my people forget my name, just as their fathers forgot my name in favour of Baal.

23:28 Let the prophet who has had a dream tell his dream as his own! And let him who receives a word from me, deliver it accurately! ‘What have straw and wheat in common? – it is Yahweh who speaks.

23:29 Does not my word burn like fire – it is Yahweh who speaks – is it not like a hammer shattering a rock?

23:30 ‘So, then, I have a quarrel with the prophets – it is Yahweh who speaks – that steal my words from one another.

23:31 I have a quarrel with the prophets – it is Yahweh who speaks – who have only to move their tongues to utter oracles.

23:32 I have a quarrel with the prophets who make prophecies out of lying dreams – it is Yahweh who speaks – who recount them, and lead my people astray with their lies and their pretensions. I certainly never sent them or commissioned them, and they serve no good purpose for this people – it is Yahweh who speaks.

23:33 ‘And when these people, either a prophet or a priest, ask you, “What is the Burden of Yahweh?”[*a] you are to answer, “You, you are the burden of Yahweh; yes, you, and I mean to be rid of you! It is Yahweh who speaks.”

23:34 ‘And the prophet, priest, or anyone else, who says, “Burden of Yahweh”, I will punish that man, and his household too.

23:35 This is the way you ought to talk, neighbour to neighbour, brother to brother, “What answer has Yahweh given?” or “What has Yahweh said?”

23:36 But do not go on using the expression burden of Yahweh or, for the man who uses it, burdensome it will certainly prove, since you twist the words of the living God, of Yahweh Sabaoth, our God.

23:37 This is the way to speak to a prophet, “What answer has Yahweh given?” or “What has Yahweh said?”

23:38 But if you say, “Burden of Yahweh”, then thus speaks Yahweh: Since you use these words, “Burden of Yahweh”, when I have warned you to stop saying, “Burden of Yahweh”,

23:39 I myself will pick you up and fling you out of my sight, both you and the city I gave to you and to your ancestors.

23:40 I will bring down everlasting shame on you, everlasting and unforgettable disgrace.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 24

The two baskets of figs

24:1 Yahweh gave me a vision: placed in front of the Temple of Yahweh stood two baskets of figs.[*a] This was after Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had led away Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into exile from Jerusalem, with all the nobles of Judah, and the blacksmiths and metalworkers, and had taken them to Babylon.

24:2 One basket contained excellent figs, like those that ripen first; the other contained very bad figs, so bad they were uneatable.

24:3 Yahweh said to me, ‘What do you see, Jeremiah?’ ‘Figs,’ I answered ‘the good ones excellent, the bad ones very bad, so bad as to be uneatable.’

24:4 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to me,

24:5 ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: As these figs are good, so I mean to concern myself with the welfare of the exiles of Judah whom I have sent from this place to the land of the Chaldaeans.

24:6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, to bring them back to this land, to build them up and not to break them down, to plant them and not to tear them up.

24:7 I will give them a heart to acknowledge that I am Yahweh. They shall be my people and I will be their God, for they will return to me with all their heart.

24:8 As for the bad figs, the figs so bad as to be uneatable – yes, Yahweh says this – that is how I will treat Zedekiah king of Judah, his nobles and the remnant of Jerusalem: those who have stayed in this land, as also those living in the land of Egypt.

24:9 I will make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, a thing of shame, a byword, a laughing-stock, a curse in every place where I shall disperse them.

24:10 Sword, famine and plague I will send against them until they have vanished from the soil I gave to them and to their ancestors.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 25

D. BABYLON THE SCOURGE OF YAHWEH[*a]

25:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah about all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah (that is to say the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon).

25:2 The prophet Jeremiah proclaimed it before all the people of Judah and all the citizens of Jerusalem:

25:3 ‘For twenty-three years, from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah, until today, the word of Yahweh has been addressed to me and I have persistently spoken to you (but you have not listened.

25:4 Furthermore, Yahweh has persistently sent you all his servants the prophets, but you have not listened, or paid attention.)

25:5 The message was this, “Turn back, each of you, from your evil behaviour and your evil actions, and you will stay on the soil Yahweh long ago gave to you and to your ancestors for ever.

25:6 (And do not follow alien gods to serve and worship them, do not provoke me by what your own hands have made; then I will not harm you.)

25:7 But you have not listened to me (it is Yahweh who speaks – so that you have now provoked me by what your own hands have made, and thus harmed yourselves).

25:8 “So – this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says: Since you have not listened to my words,

25:9 I will now send for all the clans of the North (it is Yahweh who speaks – referring to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant) and bring them down on this land and its inhabitants (and on all these surrounding nations): I will lay the ban on them and make them an object of horror, of scorn, of lasting shame.

25:10 I will put an end for them to the shouts of rejoicing and mirth, to the voices of bridegroom and bride, to the sound of the millstone and to the light of the lamp.

25:11 The whole land shall be devastated and reduced to a desert, while they will stay in slavery among the nations for seventy years.

25:12 (But when the seventy years are over, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation – it is Yahweh who speaks – for the wrong they have done; and punish the land of the Chaldaeans too, and make it a desert for ever.)

25:13 I will bring down on that country all the words I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book.”‘

II. ORACLES AGAINST THE NATIONS

A. INTRODUCTION

The vision of the cup

What Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations.

25:14 (‘For these in their turn are to be enslaved to powerful nations and great kings, and I will pay them back as their deeds and their handiwork deserve.’)

25:15 Yahweh the God of Israel said this to me, ‘Take this cup of wine from my hand and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it,

25:16 let them drink and reel and lose their wits at the sword I am sending among them’.

25:17 I took the cup from the hand of Yahweh and made all the nations to whom Yahweh sent me drink it

25:18 (Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, its kings and its nobles, to make them into a desolation and a waste, a thing of scorn, a curse, as is so today):

25:19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, with his servants, his nobles, and all his people,

25:20 the whole crowd of foreigners besides (all the kings of the land of Uz); all the kings of the country of the Philistines, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron and what still remains of Ashdod;

25:21 Edom, Moab and the sons of Ammon;

25:22 (all) the kings of Tyre, (all) the kings of Sidon, the kings of the islands across the sea;

25:23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, all the Crop-Heads,

25:24 all the kings of Arabia who live in the desert;

25:25 (all the kings of Zimri) and all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of Media;

25:26 all the kings of the north, near and far, one after another; and all the kingdoms that are on the face of the earth. (As for the king of Sheshak, he shall drink last of all.)

25:27 ‘You are to say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Drink! Get drunk! Vomit! Fall, never to rise, at the sword that I am sending among you!”

25:28 If they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink, you are to say to them, “Yahweh Sabaoth says this: You must drink!

25:29 Since I am now making a beginning of disaster with the city that bears my name, do you think you are likely to go unpunished? You certainly shall not, for I will next summon a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.”

25:30 ‘Let your prophecy to them contain all these words, and tell them: “Yahweh roars from on high, he makes his voice heard from his holy dwelling place, he roars loud against his sheepfold, he shouts aloud like those who tread the grape. The sound reaches all the inhabitants of the earth,

25:31 to the far ends of the world. For Yahweh is indicting the nations, arraigning all flesh for judgement; the wicked he abandons to the sword – it is Yahweh who speaks.

25:32 Yahweh Sabaoth says this: See! The disaster spreads from nation to nation, a mighty tempest rises from the far ends of the world.

25:33 “Those slaughtered by Yahweh that day will be scattered across the world from end to end. No dirge will be raised for them; no one will gather them or bury them; they will stay lying on the surface like dung.

25:34 “Howl, shepherds, shriek, roll on the ground, you lords of the flock, for the days have arrived for your slaughter, like the finest rams you will fall.

25:35 No refuge now for the shepherds, no escape for the lords of the flock!

25:36 Listen! A shout from the shepherds, a howl from the lords of the flock! For Yahweh has laid their pastures waste,

25:37 their quiet sheepfolds are in ruins.

25:38 The lion has left his lair, their land is a wasteland now, thanks to the destroying sword, and the fierce anger of Yahweh.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 26

III. PROPHECIES OF HAPPINESS

A. INTRODUCTION: JEREMIAH THE TRUE PROPHET

Jeremiah’s discourse against the Temple: his arrest and condemnation

26:1 At the beginning of the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh,

26:2 ‘Yahweh says this: Stand in the court of the Temple of Yahweh. To all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the Temple of Yahweh you must speak all the words I have commanded you to tell them; do not omit one syllable.

26:3 Perhaps they will listen and each turn from his evil way: if so, I shall relent and not bring the disaster on them which I intended for their misdeeds.

26:4 Say to them, “Yahweh says this: If you will not listen to me by following my Law which I put before you,

26:5 by paying attention to the words of my servants the prophets whom I send so persistently to you, without your ever listening to them,

26:6 I will treat this Temple as I treated Shiloh, and make this city a curse for all the nations of the earth”.’

26:7 The priests and prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah say these words in the Temple of Yahweh.

26:8 When Jeremiah had finished saying everything that Yahweh had ordered him to say to all the people, the priests and prophets seized hold of him and said, ‘You shall die!

26:9 Why have you made this prophecy in the name of Yahweh, “This Temple will be like Shiloh, and this city will be desolate, and uninhabited”?’ And the people were all crowding round Jeremiah in the Temple of Yahweh.

26:10 Hearing of this, the officials of Judah went up from the royal palace to the Temple of Yahweh and took their seats at the entry of the New Gate of the Temple of Yahweh.

26:11 The priests and prophets then addressed the officials and all the people, ‘This man deserves to die, since he has prophesied against this city, as you have heard with your own ears’.

26:12 Jeremiah, however, replied to the people as follows, ‘Yahweh himself sent me to say all the things you have heard against this Temple and this city.

26:13 So now amend your behaviour and actions, listen to the voice of Yahweh your God: if you do, he will relent and not bring down on you the disaster he has pronounced against you.

26:14 For myself, I am as you see in your hands. Do whatever you please or think right with me.

26:15 But be sure of this, that if you put me to death, you will be bringing innocent blood on yourselves, on this city and on its citizens, since Yahweh has truly sent me to you to say all these words in your hearing.’

26:16 The officials and all the people then said to the priests and prophets, ‘This man does not deserve to die: he has spoken to us in the name of Yahweh our God’.

26:17 Some of the elders of the land had risen to address all the assembled people.

26:18 ‘Micah of Moresheth,’ they said ‘who prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, had this to say to all the people of Judah, “Yahweh says this: Zion will become ploughland, Jerusalem a heap of rubble, and the mountain of the Temple a wooded height”.[*a]

26:19 ‘Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all of Judah put him to death for this? Did they not rather, fearing Yahweh, entreat his favour, to make him relent and not bring the disaster on them which he had pronounced against them? Are we now to burden our souls with such a crime?’

26:20 There was another man, too, who used to prophesy in the name of Yahweh, Uriah son of Shemaiah, from Kiriath-jearim. He prophesied exactly the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah.

26:21 When King Jehoiakim with all his ministers and officials heard what he said, he wished to put him to death. Learning this, Uriah took fright and escaped to Egypt.

26:22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan son of Achbor to Egypt with others,

26:23 who brought Uriah back from Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him put to the sword and his body thrown into the common burying ground.

26:24 But Jeremiah had a protector in Ahikam son of Shaphan,[*b] so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 27

B. THE PAMPHLET FOR THE EXILES

The symbolic yoke and the message to the kings of the west

27:1 (At the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh:)

27:2 Yahweh said this to me, ‘Make yourself ropes and a yoke and put them on your neck.

27:3 Then send word to the king of Edom, the king of Moab, the king of the Ammonites, the king of Tyre, and the king of Sidon, through their envoys accredited to Zedekiah king of Judah in Jerusalem.

27:4 Give them the following message for their masters, “Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: You must tell your masters this:

27:5 I by my great power and outstretched arm made the earth, man and the animals that are on earth. And I can give it to whom I please.

27:6 For the present, I have handed all these countries over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, my servant; I have even put the wild animals at his service.

27:7 (All the nations will be subject to him, to his son and to his grandson, until the time for his own country comes in its turn, when mighty nations and great kings will enslave him.)

27:8 Any nation or kingdom that will not submit to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and will not bow its neck to the yoke of the king of Babylon, I shall punish with sword, famine and plague – it is Yahweh who speaks – until I have delivered it into his power.

27:9 For your own part, do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, dreamers, soothsayers, or sorcerers, who tell you: You will not be subjects of the king of Babylon.

27:10 They prophesy lies to you, the result of which will be that you will be banished from your soil, that I shall expel you, and you will perish.

27:11 The nation, however, that bends its neck to the yoke of the king of Babylon and submits to him, I shall leave in peace on its own soil – it is Yahweh who speaks – to farm it and stay in it.”‘

27:12 To Zedekiah king of Judah I had the same to say. ‘Bend your necks,’ I told him ‘to the yoke of the king of Babylon; submit to him and to his people and you will live.

27:13 (Why so anxious to die, you and your people, by sword, famine and plague, with which Yahweh has threatened the nation that will not submit to the king of Babylon?)

27:14 Do not listen to the words the prophets say to you, “You will not be subjects of the king of Babylon”. They prophesy lies to you.

27:15 Since I have not sent them – it is Yahweh who speaks – they prophesy untruths in my name. The result will be that I shall expel you, you will perish, and so will the prophets who prophesy to you.’

27:16 Next I spoke to the priests and all the people as follows, ‘Yahweh says this, “Do not listen to the words of your prophets who prophesy to you as follows: Look, the vessels of the Temple of Yahweh will (soon) be brought back from Babylon: they prophesy lies to you.

27:17 (Do not listen to them; submit to the king of Babylon and you will live; why should this city become a waste?)

27:18 If they were prophets, if they had the word of Yahweh, they would now be praying to Yahweh Sabaoth that the remaining vessels in the Temple of Yahweh, in the royal palace of Judah and in Jerusalem should not go to Babylon.

27:19 For this is what Yahweh Sabaoth says about (the pillars, the sea, the stands and) the other vessels still remaining in this city,

27:20 those not carried off by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon when he led away Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon (with all the leading men of Judah and Jerusalem).

27:21 Yes, this is what Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says about the vessels still remaining in the Temple of Yahweh, in the royal palace of Judah, and in Jerusalem:

27:22 They will be carried off to Babylon (and stay there until the day I fetch them) – it is Yahweh who speaks. (Then I shall bring them back and restore them to this place).”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 28

The dispute with Hananiah

28:1 That same year, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah in the fifth month of the fourth year, the prophet Hananiah son of Azzur, a Gibeonite, spoke as follows to Jeremiah in the Temple of Yahweh in the presence of the priests and of all the people.

28:2 ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this, “I have broken the yoke of the king of Babylon.

28:3 In two years’ time I will bring back all the vessels of the Temple of Yahweh which Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon carried off from this place and took to Babylon.

28:4 And I will also bring back Jeconiah son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and all the exiles of Judah who have gone to Babylon – it is Yahweh who speaks. Yes, I am going to break the yoke of the king of Babylon.”‘

28:5 The prophet Jeremiah then replied to the prophet Hananiah in front of the priests and all the people there in the Temple of Yahweh.

28:6 ‘I hope so’ the prophet Jeremiah said. ‘May Yahweh do so. May he fulfil the words that you have prophesied and bring the vessels of the Temple of Yahweh and all the exiles back to this place from Babylon.

28:7 Listen carefully, however, to this word that I am now going to say for you and all the people to hear:

28:8 From remote times, the prophets who preceded you and me prophesied war, famine and plague for many countries and for great kingdoms;

28:9 but the prophet who prophesies peace can only be recognised as one truly sent by Yahweh when his word comes true.’

28:10 The prophet Hananiah then took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it.

28:11 In front of all the people Hananiah then said, ‘Yahweh says this, “This is how, two years hence, I will break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and take it off the necks of all the nations”‘. At this, the prophet Jeremiah went away.

28:12 After the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke which he had taken off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah the word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah,

28:13 ‘Go to Hananiah and tell him this, “Yahweh says this: You can break wooden yokes? Right, I will make them iron yokes instead!

28:14 For Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: An iron yoke is what I now lay on the necks of all these nations to subject them to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. (They will be subject to him; I have even given him the wild animals.)”‘

28:15 The prophet Jeremiah said to the prophet Hananiah, ‘Listen carefully, Hananiah: Yahweh has not sent you; and thanks to you this people are now relying on what is false.

28:16 Hence – Yahweh says this, “I am going to throw you off the face of the earth: you are going to die this year (since you have preached apostasy from Yahweh)”.’

28:17 The prophet Hananiah died the same year, in the seventh month.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 29

The letter to the exiles

29:1 This is the text of the letter that the prophet Jeremiah sent from Jerusalem to those elders carried off into exile, to the priests, the prophets and all the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had led away into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.

29:2 This was after King Jeconiah had left Jerusalem with the queen mother, the eunuchs, the nobility of Judah and Jerusalem, and the blacksmiths and metalworkers.

29:3 The letter was entrusted to Elasah son of Shaphan and to Gemariah son of Hilkiah, whom Zedekiah king of Judah had sent to Babylon, to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. The letter said:

29:4 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this to all the exiles deported from Jerusalem to Babylon,

29:5 “Build houses, settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce;

29:6 take wives and have sons and daughters; choose wives for your sons, find husbands for your daughters so that these can bear sons and daughters in their turn; you must increase there and not decrease.

29:7 Work for the good of the country to which I have exiled you; pray to Yahweh on its behalf, since on its welfare yours depends.

29:10 For Yahweh says this: Only when the seventy years granted to Babylon are over, will I visit you and fulfil my promise in your favour by bringing you back to this place.

29:11 I know the plans I have in mind for you – it is Yahweh who speaks – plans for peace, not disaster, reserving a future full of hope for you.

29:12 Then when you call to me, and come to plead with me, I will listen to you.

29:13 When you seek me you shall find me, when you seek me with all your heart;

29:14 I will let you find me ( – it is Yahweh who speaks. I will restore your fortunes and gather you from all the nations and all the places where I have dispersed you – it is Yahweh who speaks. I will bring you back to the place from which I exiled you.)

29:15 “You may say: Yahweh has raised up prophets for us in Babylon,

29:8 but thus says Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel: Do not be deceived by the prophets among you or by your diviners; do not listen to the dreams they dream,

29:9 since they prophesy lies to you in my name. I have not sent them – it is Yahweh who speaks.

29:16 “For this is what Yahweh says about the king now seated on the throne of David and all the people who live in this city, your brothers who did not go with you into exile:

29:17 Thus says Yahweh Sabaoth: I am now going to send them sword, famine and plague; I will make them like rotten figs, so bad as to be uneatable.

29:18 I will pursue them with sword, famine and plague, and make them an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, a curse, a thing of wonder, scorn, derision, for all the nations where I have dispersed them;

29:19 because they have refused to listen to my words – it is Yahweh who speaks – although I have persistently sent them all my servants the prophets. However, they would not listen – it is Yahweh who speaks.

29:20 But all you exiles, whom I have sent from Jerusalem to Babylon, listen to the word of Yahweh.

29:21 “This is what Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says about Ahab son of Kolaiah, and Zedekiah son of Maaseiah, who prophesy lies to you in my name: I shall hand them over now to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon who will strike them before your eyes.

29:22 This curse, based on their fate, will be used by all the exiles of Judah in Babylon: May Yahweh treat you like Zedekiah and Ahab, roasted alive by the king of Babylon!

29:23 Such is the fate of those who perpetrate infamies in Israel, committing adultery with other men’s wives, speaking words in my name without orders from me. I know all the same; I see – it is Yahweh who speaks.”‘

An exile objects to Jeremiah’s letter

29:24 Shemaiah of Nehelam sent a letter of his own (to all the people in Jerusalem)

29:25 to the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah (and to all the priests), which said:

29:26 ‘Yahweh has appointed you priest in succession to Jehoiada to keep order in the Temple of Yahweh; in the case of a madman who acts the prophet, your duty is to put him in the stocks and iron collar.

29:27 This being the case, why have you not disciplined Jeremiah of Anathoth, who poses as a prophet to you?

29:28 – since on the strength of this pretension he has sent a message to us in Babylon to say, “It will be a long time. Build houses, settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce.”‘

29:29 The priest Zephaniah read this letter aloud to the prophet Jeremiah.

29:30 The word of Yahweh, however, was addressed to Jeremiah,

29:31 ‘Send this message to all the exiles, “This is what Yahweh says about Shemaiah of Nehelam: Since Shemaiah has prophesied to you without my sending him, and since it is due to him that you are now relying on what is false,

29:32 now therefore – thus says Yahweh – I will punish Shemaiah of Nehelam and his descendants; no male member of his family shall survive among this people to see the happiness that I will bestow on my people ( – it is Yahweh who speaks – since he has preached apostasy from Yahweh).”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 30

C. THE BOOK OF CONSOLATION

Promise of recovery for the northern kingdom of Israel

30:1 The word addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh:

30:2 Yahweh, the God of Israel says this: Write all the words I have spoken to you in a book.

30:3 For see, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I will restore the fortunes of my people Israel (and Judah), Yahweh says, and bring them back to possess the land I gave to their ancestors.

30:4 These are the words Yahweh spoke about Israel (and Judah):

30:5 Yahweh says this: I have heard a cry of panic, of terror, not of peace.

30:6 Now ask, consider: can men bear children? Then why do I see each man with his hands on his loins like a woman in labour? Why has every face changed, turned pale?

30:7 This is indeed a great day, no other like it: a time of distress for Jacob; but he will be freed from it.

30:8 On that day – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks – I will break the yoke on their necks, and snap their chains. They will be no longer the servants of aliens,

30:9 but will serve Yahweh their God, and David their king whom I will raise up for them.

30:10 So do not be afraid, my servant Jacob – it is Yahweh who speaks – Israel, do not be alarmed: look, I will rescue you from distant countries and your descendants from the country where they are captive. Jacob will have quiet again and live at ease, with no one to trouble him.

30:11 For I am with you to save you: I will make an end of all the nations where I have scattered you; I will not make an end of you, only discipline you in moderation, so as not to let you go entirely unpunished.

30:12 Yes, Yahweh says this: Your wound is incurable, your injury past healing.

30:13 There is no one to care for your sore, no medicine to make you well again.

30:14 All your lovers have forgotten you, they look for you no more. Yes, I have struck you as an enemy strikes, with harsh punishment (so great is your guilt, so many your sins).

30:15 Why bother to complain about your wound? Your pain is incurable. So great is your guilt, so many your sins, that I have done all this to you.

30:16 But all those who devoured you shall themselves be devoured, all your oppressors go into captivity, those who despoiled you shall be despoiled, and all who preyed on you I will make into prey.

30:17b For they used to call you ‘The Outcast’, ‘Our booty whom no one cares about!’

30:17a But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds – it is Yahweh who speaks.

30:18 Yahweh says this: Now I will restore the tents of Jacob, and take pity on his dwellings: the city shall be rebuilt on its ruins, the citadel restored on its site.

30:19 From them will come thanksgiving and shouts of joy. I will make them increase, and not diminish them, make them honoured, and not disdained.

30:20 Their sons shall be as once they were, their community fixed firm in my presence, and I will punish all their oppressors.

30:21 Their prince will be one of their own, their ruler come from their own people. I will let him come freely into my presence and he can come close to me; who else, indeed, would risk his life by coming close to me? – it is Yahweh who speaks.

30:22 And you shall be my people and I will be your God.

30:23 Now a storm of Yahweh breaks, a tempest whirls, it bursts over the head of the wicked;

30:24 the anger of Yahweh will not turn aside until he has performed and carried out, the decision of his heart. You will understand this in the days to come.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 31

31:1 When that time comes – it is Yahweh who speaks – I will be the God of all the clans of Israel: they shall be my people.

31:2 Yahweh says this: They have found pardon in the wilderness, those who have survived the sword. Israel is marching to his rest.

31:3 Yahweh has appeared to him from afar: I have loved you with an everlasting love, so I am constant in my affection for you.

31:4 I build you once more; you shall be rebuilt, virgin of Israel. Adorned once more, and with your tambourines, you will go out dancing gaily.

31:5 You will plant vineyards once more on the mountains of Samaria (the planters have done their planting: they will gather the fruit).

31:6 Yes, a day will come when the watchmen shout on the mountains of Ephraim, ‘Up! Let us go up to Zion, to Yahweh our God!’

31:7 For Yahweh says this: Shout with joy for Jacob! Hail the chief of nations! Proclaim! Praise! Shout: ‘Yahweh has saved his people, the remnant of Israel!’

31:8 See, I will bring them back from the land of the North and gather them from the far ends of earth; all of them: the blind and the lame, women with child, women in labour: a great company returning here.

31:9 They had left in tears, I will comfort them as I lead them back; I will guide them to streams of water, by a smooth path where they will not stumble. For I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is my first-born son.

31:10 Listen, nations, to the word of Yahweh. Tell this to the distant islands, ‘He who scattered Israel gathers him, he guards him as a shepherd guards his flock’.

31:11 For Yahweh has ransomed Jacob, rescued him from a hand stronger than his own.

31:12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion, they will throng towards the good things of Yahweh: corn and oil and wine, sheep and oxen; their soul will be like a watered garden, they will sorrow no more.

31:13 The virgin will then take pleasure in the dance, young men and old will be happy; I will change their mourning into gladness, comfort them, give them joy after their troubles,

31:14 refresh my priests with rich food, and see my people have their fill of my good things – it is Yahweh who speaks.

31:15 Thus speaks Yahweh: A voice is heard in Ramah, lamenting and weeping bitterly: it is Rachel [*a] weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.

31:16 Yahweh says this: Stop your weeping, dry your eyes, your hardships will be redressed: they shall come back from the enemy country.

31:17 There is hope for your descendants: your sons will come home to their own lands.

31:18 I plainly hear the grieving of Ephraim, ‘You have disciplined me, I accepted the discipline like a young bull untamed. Bring me back, let me come back, for you are Yahweh my God!

31:19 Yes, I turned away, but have since repented; I understood, I beat my breast. I was deeply ashamed, covered with confusion; yes, I still bore the disgrace of my youth’.

31:20 Is Ephraim, then, so dear a son to me, a child so favoured, that after each threat of mine I must still remember him, still be deeply moved for him, and let my tenderness yearn over him? It is Yahweh who speaks.

31:21 Set up signposts, raise landmarks; mark the road well, the way by which you went. Come home, virgin of Israel, come home to these towns of yours.

31:22 How long will you hesitate, disloyal daughter? For Yahweh is creating something new on earth: the Woman sets out to find her Husband again.

Promise of restoration to Judah

31:23 Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: In the land of Judah and in its towns, they will use these words again, once I have restored their fortunes: ‘Yahweh grant you his blessing, you pasture of justice, you holy mountain!’

31:24 Judah and all his towns, the farmers and those who tend the flock will live in this land.

31:25 For I refresh the wearied soul and satisfy every sorrowing soul.

31:26 And hence:[*b] I awoke and was refreshed, and my sleep was peaceful.

Israel and Judah

31:27 See, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I am going to sow the seed of men and cattle on the House of Israel and on the House of Judah.

31:28 And as I once watched them to tear up, to knock down, to overthrow, destroy and bring disaster, so now I shall watch over them to build and to plant. It is Yahweh who speaks.

Individual retribution

31:29 In those days people will no longer say: ‘The fathers have eaten unripe grapes; the children’s teeth are set on edge’.

31:30 But each is to die for his own sin. Every man who eats unripe grapes is to have his own teeth set on edge.

The new covenant

31:31 See, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel (and the House of Judah),

31:32 but not a covenant like the one I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke that covenant of mine, so I had to show them who was master. It is Yahweh who speaks.

31:33 No, this is the covenant I will make with the House of Israel when those days arrive – it is Yahweh who speaks. Deep within them I will plant my Law, writing it on their hearts. Then I will be their God and they shall be my people.

31:34 There will be no further need for neighbour to try to teach neighbour, or brother to say to brother, ‘Learn to know Yahweh!’ No, they will all know me, the least no less than the greatest – it is Yahweh who speaks – since I will forgive their iniquity and never call their sin to mind.

Israel will endure

31:35 Yahweh who provides the sun for light by day, the moon and stars for light by night, who stirs the sea, making its waves roar, he whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth, says this:

31:36 Were this established order ever to pass away from my presence – it is Yahweh who speaks – only then would the race of Israel also cease to be a nation in my presence for ever.

31:37 Were the heavens above ever to be measured, the foundations of the earth below ever to be fathomed, only then would I reject the race of Israel for all that they have done. It is Yahweh who speaks.

Jerusalem magnificently rebuilt

31:38 See, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when the city of Yahweh will be rebuilt from the Tower of Hananel to the Gate of the Corner.

31:39 Then once again the measuring line will stretch straight to the Hill of Gareb, turning then to Goah.[*c]

31:40 And the whole valley, with its dead and its ashes, and all the fields beside the wadi Kidron as far as the corner of the Horse Gate, eastwards, will be consecrated to Yahweh. It shall never again be destroyed, or laid under the ban.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 32

D. ADDITIONS TO THE BOOK OF CONSOLATION

Jeremiah buys a field in token of his confidence in the future of Judah

32:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar.

32:2 The army of the king of Babylon was at that time besieging Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined to the Court of the Guard in the royal palace of Judah,

32:3 where Zedekiah king of Judah had imprisoned him. ‘Why’ he had asked ‘do you make a prophecy like this, “Yahweh says this: I am now going to deliver this city into the hands of the king of Babylon, for him to capture it;

32:4 and Zedekiah king of Judah will not escape the power of the Chaldaeans, but will inevitably be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon, speak to him personally and see him face to face.

32:5 He will take Zedekiah to Babylon and he will stay there (until I visit him – it is Yahweh who speaks. If you fight the Chaldaeans you will not succeed!)”?’

32:6 Jeremiah said, ‘The word of Yahweh has been addressed to me as follows,

32:7 “Look, Hanamel the son of your uncle Shallum will come to you and say: Buy my field at Anathoth, for you have the right of redemption[*a] “to purchase it”.

32:8 And, as Yahweh had said, my cousin Hanamel came to me, in the Court of the Guard. He said to me, “Buy my field at Anathoth, for you have the right of inheritance and redemption; buy it”. I knew then that this was Yahweh’s order.

32:9 Accordingly, I bought the field from my cousin Hanamel of Anathoth and paid him the price: seventeen silver shekels.

32:10 I drew up the deed and sealed it, called in witnesses and weighed out the money on the scales.

32:11 I then took both the sealed deed of purchase and its open copy, in accordance with the requirements of the law,

32:12 and handed over the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, son of Mahseiah, in the presence of my cousin Hanamel, of the witnesses who had signed the deed of purchase, and of all the Jews who then happened to be in the Court of the Guard.

32:13 In their presence I gave Baruch these instructions:

32:14 Take these deeds, the sealed deed of purchase and its open copy, and put them in an earthenware pot, so that they may be preserved for a long time.

32:15 For Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, “People will buy fields and vineyards in this land again”.

32:16 ‘After I had entrusted the deed of purchase to Baruch son of Neriah, I prayed thus to Yahweh:

32:17 Ah, Lord Yahweh, you have made the heavens and the earth with your great power and outstretched arm. To you nothing is impossible.

32:18 You show kindness to thousands but repay the fathers’ guilt in full to their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth!

32:19 Great in purpose, mighty in execution, whose eyes are open on all the ways of men, rewarding each man as his ways and the results of his actions deserve!

32:20 You performed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt and do the same today, in Israel and among mankind. You have won the name that is yours today.

32:21 You brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt with signs and wonders, with mighty hand and outstretched arm and fearsome terror;

32:22 then you gave them this land which you promised on oath to their ancestors, a land where milk and honey flow;

32:23 and in due course they entered it and took possession. But they would not listen to your voice or follow your Law: they would do nothing you ordered them to do; and so you made all these disasters happen to them.

32:24 See how the earthworks grow nearer to the city for the assault! Sword, famine, and plague will deliver the city into the hands of the attacking Chaldaeans. What you have said is now fulfilled, as you see.

32:25 Yet you yourself, Lord Yahweh, told me, “Buy the field with money in front of witnesses” – and even now the city is falling into the hands of the Chaldaeans!

32:26 ‘The word of Yahweh was addressed to me as follows,

32:27 “See, I am Yahweh, the God of all mankind: is anything impossible to me?

32:28 “Therefore – Yahweh says this: I am now putting this city into the power of the Chaldaeans, into the power of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will capture it;

32:29 the Chaldaeans attacking this city will come and set fire to it; they will burn the houses on the roofs of which incense was offered to Baal and libations were poured to alien gods, to provoke me.

32:30 For the sons of Israel and of Judah have done nothing but displease me from their youth up (the sons of Israel in fact have done nothing but provoke me by their actions – it is Yahweh who speaks).

32:31 Yes, from the day when it was built until today, this city has been such cause of anger and of wrath to me that I mean to remove it from my sight,

32:32 because of all the wickedness the sons of Israel and the sons of Judah have committed to provoke me: they, their kings, their nobles, their priests and their prophets, the men of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem.

32:33 They turned their backs to me, never their faces; and though I taught them so urgently, so persistently, they would not listen and learn the lesson.

32:34 They have put their abominations in the Temple that bears my name to defile it.

32:35 They have built the high places of Baal in the Valley of Ben-hinnom, there to make their sons and daughters pass through fire in honour of Molech – something I never ordered, for it never entered my thoughts that they would do such detestable things – and so they have led Judah into sin.

32:36 “But now, and for the same reason, this is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says about this city of which you say: Sword, famine and plague will deliver it into the hands of the king of Babylon:

32:37 I mean to gather them from all the countries where I have driven them in my anger, my fury and great wrath. I will bring them back to this place and make them live in safety.

32:38 Then they shall be my people, and I will be their God.

32:39 I will give them a different heart and different behaviour so that they will always fear me, for the good of themselves and their children after them.

32:40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them; I will not cease in my efforts for their good, and I will put respect for me into their hearts, so that they turn from me no more.

32:41 lt will be my pleasure to bring about their good, and I will plant them firmly in this land, with all my heart and soul.

32:42 For Yahweh says this: As I have brought this great disaster on this people, so I am going to bring them all the good I promise them.

32:43 People will buy fields in this land of which you say: It is a wasteland without man or beast, it is given over into the power of the Chaldaeans.

32:44 People will buy fields, pay money, draw up deeds and seal them, and witness them in the land of Benjamin, in the districts round Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah, of the highlands, of the Lowlands and of the Negeb. For I am going to restore their fortunes – it is Yahweh who speaks.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 33

Another promise of recovery for Jerusalem and Judah

33:1 Jeremiah was still confined to the Court of the Guard when the word of Yahweh was addressed to him a second time,

33:2 ‘Yahweh, who made the earth, who formed it and set it firm – Yahweh is his name – says this,

33:3 Call to me and I will answer you; I will tell you great mysteries of which you know nothing.

33:4 For this is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says about the houses of this city and the royal palaces of Judah which are to be destroyed. Against the earthworks and the palisades

33:5 they will join battle with the Chaldaeans, only to fill the city with the corpses of those I strike down in my anger and my wrath, of those from whom I turned my face because of all their wickedness.

33:6 ‘But look, I will hasten their recovery and their cure; I will cure them and let them know peace and security in full measure.

33:7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem, and build them again as they were before.

33:8 I will cleanse them of every sin they have committed against me; the sins by which they offended me and apostatised from me, all these I will forgive.

33:9 And Jerusalem shall be my theme of joy, my honour and my boast, before all the nations of the earth: these, when they hear of all the prosperity that I shall grant, will be seized with fear and trembling at all the prosperity and the peace that I provide for it.

33:10 ‘Yahweh says this: In this place of which you say, “It is a waste without man or beast”, in the towns of Judah and in the ruined streets of Jerusalem where there is neither man nor beast, once more will be heard

33:11 shouts of rejoicing and mirth, the voices of bridegroom and bride, and the singing of those who bring thanksgiving sacrifices to the Temple of Yahweh, “Give thanks to Yahweh Sabaoth, for Yahweh is good, for his love is everlasting”. For I will restore the fortunes of this land as they were before. Yahweh declares it!

33:12 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth says this: In this place, this waste without man or beast, and in all its towns, once again there will be pastures for the shepherds to rest their flocks.

33:13 In all the towns of the highlands, of the Lowlands and the Negeb, in the land of Benjamin, in the districts round Jerusalem and in the towns of Judah, once again the flocks shall pass under the hand of him who counts them. Yahweh declares it!

The institutions of the future

33:14 ‘See, the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I am going to fulfil the promise I made to the House of Israel and the House of Judah:

33:15 ‘In those days and at that time, I will make a virtuous Branch grow for David, who shall practise honesty and integrity in the land.

33:16 In those days Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell in confidence. And this is the name the city will be called: Yahweh-our-integrity.

33:17 For Yahweh says this: David shall never lack a male descendant to sit on the throne of the House of Israel.

33:18 And the levitical priests shall never lack a male descendant to stand in my presence and offer holocaust, to burn the oblation and offer sacrifice every day.’

33:19 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah,

33:20 ‘Yahweh says this: If you could break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night do not come at their due time,

33:21 then my covenant with David my servant might also be broken and he would have no son to reign on his throne, and so might my covenant with the levitical priests, who are my ministers.

33:22 As the array of heaven is past counting, the sand on the seashore beyond all reckoning, so will I increase the heirs of David my servant and the Levites, who, with these heirs, minister to me.’

33:23 The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah,

33:24 ‘Have you not noticed what these people say, “The two families which Yahweh chose he has now rejected”? So they despise my people, whom they no longer think of as a nation.

33:25 Yahweh says this: if I have not created day and night and have not laid down laws for the heavens and the earth,

33:26 why, then I reject the descendants of Jacob and of David my servant and cease to choose rulers from his descendants for the heirs of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! For I mean to restore their fortunes and take pity on them.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 34

E. MISCELLANEOUS PASSAGES

The fate of Zedekiah

34:1 The word addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his whole army, with all the kingdoms of the earth under his dominion and all the peoples, were waging war on Jerusalem and its outlying towns,

34:2 ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah. Say this to him, “Yahweh says this: I am now handing over this city into the power of the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down.

34:3 And you yourself will not escape his power but will inevitably be captured and delivered into his hands. You will see the king of Babylon face to face and speak to him personally. Then you will go to Babylon.

34:4 Even so, listen to the word of Yahweh, Zedekiah king of Judah, and you will not die by the sword;

34:5 you will die in peace. And as spices were burnt for your fathers, the kings who in times past preceded you, so they will also burn spices for you and raise this dirge for you: Mourn for his highness! I myself declare it – it is Yahweh who speaks.”‘

34:6 The prophet Jeremiah repeated all these words to Zedekiah king of Judah, in Jerusalem,

34:7 while the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and the towns of Judah which still held out, namely Lachish and Azekah, these being the only towns of Judah that still held out, since they were fortified.

The episode of the liberated slaves

34:8 The word addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh after King Zedekiah had made a pact with all the people in Jerusalem to free their slaves:

34:9 each man was to free his Hebrew slaves, men and women, and no one was any longer to keep a brother Jew in slavery.

34:10 All the nobles and all the people who had entered into the pact had agreed that everyone should free his slaves, men or women, and no longer keep them as slaves: they had agreed on this and set them free.

34:11 Afterwards, however, they changed their minds, recovered the slaves, men and women, whom they had set free, and reduced them to slavery again.

34:12 So the word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah,

34:13 ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt, out of the house of slavery; it said:

34:14 At the end of seven years each one of you is to free his brother Hebrew who has sold himself to you: he may be your slave for six years, then you must send him away free. But your ancestors did not listen to me and would not pay attention.

34:15 Now, today you took a different attitude and did what pleases me by proclaiming freedom for your neighbour; you made a covenant in my presence in the Temple that bears my name.

34:16 And then you changed your mind and, profaning my name, each of you has recovered his slaves, men and women, whom you had sent away free to live their own lives, and has forced them to become your slaves again.

34:17 ‘Therefore – Yahweh says this: You have disobeyed me, by not each granting freedom to his brother and his neighbour. Very well, I in my turn – it is Yahweh who speaks – leave sword, famine and plague free to deal with you; I will make you an object of horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

34:18 And these men who have infringed my covenant, who have not observed the terms of the covenant made in my presence, I will treat these men like the calf they cut in two to pass between the parts of it.[*a]

34:19 As for the nobles of Judah and of Jerusalem, the eunuchs and the priests, and all the people of the country who have passed between the parts of the calf,

34:20 I will put them into the power of their enemies and into the power of men determined to kill them: their corpses will feed the birds of heaven and the beasts of the earth.

34:21 As for Zedekiah king of Judah and his nobles, these too I will hand over to their enemies and to men determined to kill them, and to the army of the king of Babylon which has just withdrawn.

34:22 Listen, I will give the order – it is Yahweh who speaks – and bring them back to this city to attack it and capture it and burn it down. I am going to make an uninhabited desert of the towns of Judah.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 35

The example of the Rechabites

35:1 The word addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh in the days of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah,

35:2 ‘Go to the clan of the Rechabites and speak to them; bring them into one of the apartments of the Temple of Yahweh and offer them wine to drink’.

35:3 So I brought Jaazaniah son of Jeremiah, son of Habazziniah, with his brothers and all his sons: the whole Rechabite clan.

35:4 I took them to the Temple of Yahweh into the apartment of Ben-johanan son of Igdaliah, a man of God, a room near that of the officials, over the apartment of Maaseiah son of Shallum, guardian of the threshold.

35:5 I then set pitchers full of wine, and some cups, before the men of the Rechabite clan and said, ‘Drink some wine’.

35:6 They replied, ‘We do not drink wine, because our ancestor Jonadab son of Rechab gave us this order: “You must never drink wine, neither you nor your sons;

35:7 nor must you build houses, sow seed, plant vineyards, or own property; but you must live in tents all your lives, so that you may live long on the soil to which you are alien”.

35:8 We have punctiliously obeyed the orders of our ancestor, Jonadab son of Rechab, never drinking wine ourselves, nor our wives, our sons or our daughters,

35:9 not building houses to live in, owning neither vineyard nor field to sow,

35:10 living in tents. We have obeyed the orders of our ancestor Jonadab, respecting them in every particular.

35:11 However, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon invaded this country, we decided, “We must get away! We will go to Jerusalem to escape the army of the Chaldaeans and the army of Aram.” So here we are, living in Jerusalem.’

35:12 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah,

35:13 ‘Thus Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel: Go and say to the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, “Will you not learn the lesson and listen to my words? It is Yahweh who speaks.

35:14 The word of Jonadab son of Rechab ordering his sons to drink no wine has been kept; obedient to their ancestor’s command, they drink none even today. But to me, who spoke to you so urgently, so persistently, you have not listened.

35:15 I have sent you all my servants the prophets so persistently, so often, to say: Each of you turn from your evil way, and amend your actions, do not follow alien gods and serve them; then you will be able to stay on the soil I gave to you and your ancestors. But you would not listen to me.

35:16 The sons of Jonadab son of Rechab have kept the command their ancestor gave them, but this people has not listened to me.

35:17 And so – Yahweh, the God of Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: I will bring down on Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem all the disasters with which I have threatened them, because I spoke to them and they would not listen, called to them and they would not answer.”‘

35:18 Then Jeremiah said to the Rechabite clan, ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel says this, “Because you have obeyed the orders of Jonadab and kept all his rules and done all that he ordered you,

35:19 for this – thus says Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel – Jonadab son of Rechab shall never lack a male descendant to stand in my presence”‘.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 36

IV. THE SUFFERINGS OF JEREMIAH

The scroll written in 605-604

36:1 In the fourth year of Jehoiakim[*a], son of Josiah, king of Judah, this word was addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh,

36:2 ‘Take a scroll and write on it all the words I have spoken to you about Jerusalem and Judah and all the nations, from the day I first spoke to you, in the time of Josiah, until today.

36:3 Perhaps when the House of Judah hears of all the evil I have in mind for them, each man will turn from his evil way, and then I can forgive their misdeeds and their sin.’

36:4 Jeremiah therefore summoned Baruch son of Neriah, who at his dictation wrote down on the scroll all the words Yahweh had spoken to him.

36:9 Now in the fifth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah, in the ninth month[*b], there was a summons to a fast in the presence of Yahweh for the whole population of Jerusalem and for all the people who could come to Jerusalem from the towns of Judah.

36:5 Jeremiah then gave Baruch this order: ‘As I am prevented from entering the Temple of Yahweh,

36:6 you yourself must go and, from the scroll you wrote at my dictation, read all the words of Yahweh to the people in his Temple on the day of the fast; read them also in the hearing of all the men of Judah who come in from the towns.

36:7 Perhaps they will offer their prayers to Yahweh and each one turn from his evil way, for great is the anger and wrath with which Yahweh has threatened this people.’

36:8 Baruch son of Neriah duly carried out the order that the prophet Jeremiah had given him, to read all the words of Yahweh from the book in his Temple.

36:10 He read the words of Jeremiah from the book; this happened in the apartment of Gemariah, son of Shaphan the secretary, in the upper court at the entry of the New Gate of the Temple of Yahweh, where all the people could hear.

36:11 Micaiah son of Gemariah, son of Shaphan, had heard all the words of Yahweh read from the book,

36:12 and he went down to the royal palace and into the secretary’s room. All the officials were in session there: Elishama the secretary, Delaiah son of Shemaiah, Elnathan son of Achbor, Gemariah son of Shaphan, Zedekiah son of Hananiah and all the other officials.

36:13 Micaiah reported to them all the words he had heard as Baruch was reading the book to the people.

36:14 The officials then by common consent sent Jehudi son of Nethaniah to Baruch, with Shelemiah son of Cushi, to give him this message, ‘Come, and bring the scroll with you which you were reading to the people’. Bringing the scroll with him, Baruch son of Neriah appeared before them.

36:15 ‘Sit down,’ they said ‘and read it out.’ So Baruch read it to them.

36:16 When they had heard all the words they turned to one another in alarm and said, ‘We must certainly inform the king of all this’.

36:17 They then questioned Baruch: ‘Tell us’ they said ‘how you came to write all these words’.

36:18 ‘Jeremiah dictated them to me.’ Baruch replied ‘and I wrote them down in ink in this book.’

36:19 The officials then said to Baruch, ‘You and Jeremiah had better go into hiding; and do not tell anyone where you are’.

36:20 Whereupon they went off to the king in the palace court, depositing the scroll in the room of Elishama the secretary. And they informed the king of the whole affair.

36:21 The king sent Jehudi for the scroll, and he brought it from the room of Elishama the secretary and read it out to the king and all the officials standing round the king.

36:22 The king was seated in his winter apartments – it was the ninth month – with a fire burning in a brazier in front of him.

36:23 Each time Jehudi had read three or four columns, the king cut them off with a scribe’s knife and threw them into the fire in the brazier until the whole of the scroll had been burnt in the brazier fire.

36:24 But even after hearing all these words, neither the king nor any of his servants took alarm or tore their garments;

36:25 and although Elnathan and Delaiah and Gemariah had urged the king not to burn the scroll he would not listen to them.

36:26 He ordered Prince Jerahmeel and Seraiah son of Azriel and Shelemiah son of Abdeel to arrest the scribe Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah. But Yahweh had hidden them.

36:27 And then the word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah, after the king had burnt the scroll containing the words Baruch had written at the dictation of Jeremiah,

36:28 ‘Take another scroll and write down all the words that were written on the first scroll burnt by Jehoiakim king of Judah.

36:29 And as regards Jehoiakim king of Judah, say, “Yahweh says this: You have burnt this scroll, saying: Why have you written down: The king of Babylon will certainly come and lay this country waste and leave it without man or beast?

36:30 And so, this is what Yahweh says about Jehoiakim king of Judah: He will have no one to sit on the throne of David, and his corpse will be tossed out to the heat of the day and the frost of the night.

36:31 I will punish him, his heirs and his servants for their misdeeds; on them, on the citizens of Jerusalem and on the men of Judah I will bring down all the disasters with which I have threatened them, though they have not listened.”‘

36:32 Jeremiah then took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch son of Neriah, and at the dictation of Jeremiah he wrote down all the words of the book that Jehoiakim king of Judah had burnt, with many similar words in addition.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 37

A verdict on Zedekiah

37:1 Zedekiah son of Josiah became king, succeeding Coniah son of Jehoiakim: Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had made him king of the land of Judah.

37:2 But neither he nor his servants nor the people of the country paid any attention to the words Yahweh spoke through the prophet Jeremiah.

Zedekiah consults Jeremiah during the respite of 588

37:3 King Zedekiah sent Jehucal son of Shelemiah and the priest Zephaniah son of Maaseiah to the prophet Jeremiah with this message, ‘Intercede for us with Yahweh our God’.

37:4 Now Jeremiah was still moving freely among the people: he had not yet been put in prison.

37:5 Meanwhile Pharaoh’s army was on the move from Egypt and the Chaldaeans besieging Jerusalem had raised the siege when they heard the news.

37:6 Then the word of Yahweh was addressed to the prophet Jeremiah,

37:7 ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: To the king of Judah who sent you to consult me make this reply, “Is Pharaoh’s army marching to your aid? It will withdraw to its own country, Egypt.

37:8 The Chaldaeans will return to attack this city; they will capture it and burn it down.

37:9 Do not deceive yourselves and say: The Chaldaeans are leaving us for good. They are not leaving.

37:10 Even if you cut to pieces the whole Chaldaean army now fighting against you until there were only the wounded left, they would stand up again, each man in his tent, to burn this city down.”‘

The arrest of Jeremiah. Improvement in his treatment

37:11 At the time when the Chaldaean army, threatened by the army of Pharaoh, had raised the siege of Jerusalem,

37:12 Jeremiah started to leave Jerusalem and go to the land of Benjamin, there among his own people to divide his property.

37:13 He was at the Benjamin Gate when a sentry on duty there, Irijah son of Shelemiah, son of Hananiah, arrested the prophet Jeremiah. ‘You are deserting to the Chaldaeans’ he said.

37:14 ‘It is a lie!’ Jeremiah answered. ‘I am not deserting to the Chaldaeans.’ But Irijah would not listen to Jeremiah and took him under arrest to the officials.

37:15 The officials, furious with Jeremiah, had him beaten and shut up in the house of Jonathan the secretary which had been turned into a prison.

37:16 Thus Jeremiah found himself in an underground cell. And there for a long time he stayed.

37:17 King Zedekiah had him sent for, and he questioned him privately in his palace. ‘Is there any word from Yahweh?’ he asked. ‘There is’ Jeremiah answered. ‘”You will be handed over,” he said “into the power of the king of Babylon.”‘

37:18 .Jeremiah then said to King Zedekiah, ‘What wrong have I done to you or your servants or this people, for you to put me in prison?

37:19 Where are your prophets now who prophesied, “The king of Babylon will not attack you or this country”?

37:20 Let my lord king be pleased to listen to me now; let my request meet your favour. Do not have me taken back to the house of Jonathan the secretary, or I shall die there.’

37:21 King Zedekiah then gave an order, and Jeremiah was confined in the Court of the Guard and given a loaf of bread a day from the Street of the Bakers as long as there was bread left in the city. So Jeremiah stayed in the Court of the Guard.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 38

Jeremiah is thrown into the cistern. Ebed-melech intervenes

38:1 But Shephatiah son of Mattan, Gedaliah son of Pashhur, Jucal son of Shelemiah and Pashhur son of Malchiah heard the words which Jeremiah was saying to all the people,

38:2 ‘Yahweh says this, “Anyone who stays in this city will die by sword, famine or plague; but anyone who leaves it and surrenders to the Chaldaeans will live; he will escape with his life.

38:3 Yahweh says this: This city will certainly be delivered into the power of the army of the king of Babylon, who will capture it.”‘

38:4 These leading men accordingly spoke to the king. ‘Let this man be put to death: he is unquestionably disheartening the remaining soldiers in the city, and all the people too, by talking like this. The fellow does not have the welfare of this people at heart so much as its ruin.’

38:5 ‘He is in your hands as you know,’ King Zedekiah answered ‘for the king is powerless against you.’

38:6 So they took Jeremiah and threw him into the well of Prince Malchiah in the Court of the Guard, letting him down with ropes. There was no water in the well, only mud, and into the mud Jeremiah sank.

38:7 But Ebed-melech the Cushite, a eunuch attached to the palace, heard that Jeremiah had been put into the well. As the king was sitting at the Benjamin Gate,

38:8 Ebed-melech came out from the palace and spoke to the king.

38:9 ‘My lord king,’ he said ‘these men have done a wicked thing by treating the prophet Jeremiah like this: they have thrown him into the well where he will die.’

38:10 At this the king gave Ebed-melech the Cushite the following order: ‘Take three men with you from here and pull the prophet Jeremiah out of the well before he dies’.

38:11 Ebed-melech took the men with him and went into the palace to the storehouse wardrobe; out of it he took some torn, worn-out rags which he lowered on ropes to Jeremiah in the well.

38:12 Ebed-melech the Cushite then said to Jeremiah, ‘These torn, worn-out rags are for you to put under your armpits to pad the ropes’. Jeremiah did this.

38:13 They then hauled Jeremiah up with the ropes and pulled him out of the well. And Jeremiah stayed in the Court of the Guard.

The last conversation between Jeremiah and Zedekiah

38:14 King Zedekiah had the prophet Jeremiah summoned to him at the third entrance to the Temple of Yahweh. ‘I want to ask you for a word,’ the king said to Jeremiah ‘keep nothing back from me.’

38:15 Jeremiah answered Zedekiah, ‘If I tell you, surely you will have me put to death? And if I give you advice, you will not listen to me.’

38:16 King Zedekiah then swore this oath in secret to Jeremiah, ‘As Yahweh lives, giver of this life of ours, I will neither have you put to death nor handed over into the power of these men who are determined to kill you’.

38:17 Jeremiah then said to Zedekiah, ‘Yahweh, the God of Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, “If you go out and surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, your life will be safe and this city will not be burnt down; you and your family will survive.

38:18 But if you do not go out and surrender to the officers of the king of Babylon, this city will be handed over into the power of the king of the Chaldaeans who will burn it down; and you yourself will not escape their hands.”‘

38:19 King Zedekiah then said to Jeremiah, ‘I am afraid of the Jews who have already gone over to the Chaldaeans: I might be handed over to them and they would ill-treat me’.

38:20 ‘You will not be handed over to them,’ Jeremiah replied ‘just listen to the voice of Yahweh, in obedience to which I have spoken, and all will go well with you and your life will be safe.

38:21 But if you refuse to go, this is what Yahweh has shown me:

38:22 a vision of all the women left in the palace of the king of Judah being led off to the officers of the king of Babylon and singing: “They have misled you, they have overreached you, your fine friends! Are your feet sinking in the mud? They are up and away!”

38:23 Yes, all your wives and children will be led off to the Chaldaeans, and you yourself will not escape their hands, but will be a prisoner in the clutches of the king of Babylon. And as for this city, it will be burnt down.’

38:24 Zedekiah then said to Jeremiah, ‘Do not let anyone else hear these words or you will die.

38:25 If the officials hear that I have been talking to you, and come to you and say, “Tell us what you said to the king and what the king said to you; keep nothing back from us, or we will put you to death”,

38:26 you must reply, “I presented this request to the king: that he would not have me sent back to the house of Jonathan to die there”.’

38:27 All the officials did in fact come to Jeremiah to question him. He told them exactly what the king had ordered him to say. They then left him in peace, since no part of the conversation had been overheard.

38:28 Jeremiah stayed in the Court of the Guard until the day Jerusalem was captured.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 39

The fall of Jerusalem: the treatment Jeremiah received

Now when Jerusalem was captured…

39:1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month[*a], Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his whole army to attack Jerusalem and besieged it.

39:2 In the eleventh year of Zedekiah, in the fourth month[*b], a breach was made in the city wall.

39:3 …all the officers of the king of Babylon marched in and took up their quarters at the Middle Gate: Nergal-sharezer, prince of Sin-magir, the chief officer, Nebushazban, the high official, and all the other officers of the king of Babylon…

39:4 Seeing this, Zedekiah king of Judah fled under cover of dark, with all the fighting men, leaving the city by way of the king’s garden through the gate between the two walls, and making their way towards the Arabah.[*c]

39:5 The Chaldaean troops pursued them and caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho. They captured him and took him up to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, who passed sentence on him.

39:6 The king of Babylon had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before his eyes at Riblah; the king of Babylon also had all the leading men of Judah put to death.

39:7 He then put out Zedekiah’s eyes and, loading him with chains, carried him off to Babylon.

39:8 The Chaldaeans burnt down the royal palace and the private houses, and demolished the walls of Jerusalem.

39:9 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to him, and the rest of the artisans to Babylon.

39:10 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, left some of the humbler people who had nothing, in the land of Judah, at the same time giving them vineyards and fields.

39:11 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had given the following orders to Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, about Jeremiah:

39:12 ‘Take him, look after him; do him no harm, but treat him as he wishes’.

39:13 Whereupon (Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard,) Nebushazban, the high official, Nergal-sharezer, the chief officer, and all the officers of the king of Babylon despatched men.

39:14 … and they despatched men to take Jeremiah from the Court of the Guard, and allowed him to move about freely. And so he lived among the people.

An oracle assuring the safety of Ebed-melech

39:15 While Jeremiah was confined in the Court of the Guard, the word of Yahweh was addressed to him,

39:16 ‘Go and say to Ebed-melech the Cushite, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: See, I am bringing disaster, not prosperity, on this city, as I said I would. That day, when this comes true before your eyes,

39:17 I will rescue you that day – it is Yahweh who speaks – and you will not be delivered into the hands of the men you fear.

39:18 will see that you escape: you are not going to fall to the sword; you will escape with your life, because you have put your trust in me – it is Yahweh who speaks.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 40

Further details about the treatment of Jeremiah

40:1 The word addressed to Jeremiah by Yahweh after Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, had released him from Ramah; there he had him singled out, chained as he was with all the other captives from Jerusalem and Judah who were being deported to Babylon.

40:2 Then taking Jeremiah aside, the commander of the guard said to him, ‘Yahweh your God foretold calamity for this country,

40:3 and now he has brought it. He has done what he threatened to do, because you had sinned against Yahweh and would not listen to his voice; so all this has happened to you.

40:4 Look, today I am having your hands unchained. If you like to come with me to Babylon, then come: I will look after you. If you do not want to come with me to Babylon, never mind. Look, you have the whole country to choose from: you may go where you please, wherever you choose.

40:5 You can, for instance, go back to Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon has appointed governor of the towns of Judah, and stay with him and live with the people; or you can go anywhere else you choose.’ With that, the commander of the guard provided him with food and gave him a present and sent him on his way.

40:6 Jeremiah went to Mizpah to Gedaliah son of Ahikam and stayed with him, living with the people still left in the country.

Gedaliah the governor; his assassination

40:7 When all the commanders of the troops, who with their men were still roaming the countryside, heard that the king of Babylon had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam as governor of the country, making him responsible for the men, women and children, and those humbler people of the country who had not been deported to Babylon,

40:8 they went to Gedaliah at Mizpah: Ishmael son of Nethaniah, Johanan son of Kareah, Seraiah son of Tanhumeth, the sons of Ephai the Netophathite, Jezaniah son of the Maacathite, they and their men.

40:9 To them and to their men Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, swore an oath. ‘Do not be afraid’ he said ‘of submitting to the Chaldaeans; but live in the country, and obey the king of Babylon, and all will go well with you.

40:10 I for my part, as the man answerable to the Chaldaeans when they come to us, am going to live here at Mizpah; but you can harvest your wine, summer fruits and oil, fill your storage jars and settle down in those towns which you care to occupy.’

40:11 Similarly, when all the Judaeans living in Moab and among the Ammonites, and in Edom, heard that the king of Babylon had left a remnant in Judah and had appointed Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, as their governor,

40:12 they all came back from all the places to which they had been dispersed. On their return to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, they harvested an immense quantity of wine and summer fruits.

40:13 Now Johanan son of Kareah, and all the army leaders still roaming in the countryside, went to Gedaliah at Mizpah

40:14 and said to him, ‘Are you aware that Baalis king of the Ammonites has sent Ishmael son of Nethaniah to murder you?’ But Gedaliah son of Ahikam would not believe them.

40:15 Johanan son of Kareah had even told Gedaliah secretly at Mizpah, ‘Let me go and kill Ishmael son of Nethaniah, and no one will know who did it. Why should he murder you? It would mean that all the Judaeans who have rallied round you would be scattered again. Why should the remnant of Judah perish?’

40:16 But Gedaliah son of Ahikam replied to Johanan son of Kareah, ‘You must not do this; what you say about Ishmael is false’.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 41

41:1 But in the seventh month, Ishmael son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama, was of royal descent, and ten men with him, came to Gedaliah son of Ahikam at Mizpah. And as they were taking their meal together, there at Mizpah,

41:2 Ishmael son of Nethaniah stood up with his ten men, and attacking Gedaliah son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan, with their swords, murdered the man whom the king of Babylon had made governor of the country.

41:3 And all the Judaeans who were with him at the feast, and those of the Chaldaeans who happened to be there – they were fighting men – Ishmael killed too.

41:4 On the day after the murder of Gedaliah, before the news had become known,

41:5 eighty men arrived from Shechem, Shiloh and Samaria, with their beards shaved off, their garments torn and their bodies gashed; they had oblations and incense with them to take to the Temple of Yahweh.

41:6 Ishmael son of Nethaniah left Mizpah to meet them as they approached, weeping as they went. When he met them he said, ‘Come to Gedaliah son of Ahikam’.

41:7 But once they were well inside the town, Ishmael son of Nethaniah slaughtered them, with the help of his men, and threw them into a cistern.

41:8 There were ten of them, however, who said to Ishmael, ‘Do not kill us: we have stocks of wheat and barley, oil and honey, hidden away in the fields’. So he spared them and did not kill them with their brothers.

41:9 The cistern into which Ishmael threw the corpses of all the men he had killed was a large cistern which King Asa had built as a precaution against Baasha king of Israel. Ishmael son of Nethaniah filled it with the bodies of his victims.

41:10 Then Ishmael led the entire remnant of the people at Mizpah away, and the royal princesses whom Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, had left in the care of Gedaliah son of Ahikam. Ishmael son of Nethaniah set out early to cross to the Ammonites.

41:11 When Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders who were with him heard about all the crimes committed by Ishmael son of Nethaniah,

41:12 mustering all their men, they set out to attack Ishmael son of Nethaniah. They caught up with him at the great Pool of Gibeon.

41:13 At the sight of Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders with him, all the people with Ishmael were beside themselves with joy.

41:14 All the people whom Ishmael had led away from Mizpah turned about and rallied to Johanan son of Kareah.

41:15 Ishmael son of Nethaniah escaped from Johanan with eight of his men and fled to the Ammonites.

41:16 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders with him then rallied the entire remnant of the people whom Ishmael son of Nethaniah had led away from Mizpah after the murder of Gedaliah son of Ahikam: men, women and children, and eunuchs, whom Johanan brought back from Gibeon.

41:17 They set out, making a halt at Khan Kimham near Bethlehem. Their plan was to make for Egypt,

41:18 away from the Chaldaeans, of whom they were now terrified because Ishmael son of Nethaniah had killed Gedaliah son of Ahikam whom the king of Babylon had made governor of the country.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 42

The flight to Egypt

42:1 Then all the army leaders, with Johanan son of Kareah and Azariah son Hoshaiah, and all the people from the least to the greatest, approached

42:2 the prophet Jeremiah and said, ‘May it please you to hear our request! Intercede with Yahweh your God for all this remnant – and how few we are who once were so many, your own eyes can now see –

42:3 so that Yahweh your God may show us the way we are to go and what we must do.’

42:4 The prophet Jeremiah replied, ‘I hear you; and I will indeed pray to Yahweh your God as you ask; and every word Yahweh your God replies I will tell you, keeping nothing back from you’.

42:5 They in their turn said to Jeremiah, ‘May Yahweh be a true and faithful witness against us, if we do not follow the instructions that Yahweh your God sends us through you.

42:6 Whether we like it or not, we mean to obey the voice of Yahweh our God to whom we send you to speak for us, and by thus obeying the voice of Yahweh our God we will prosper.’

42:7 Ten days later the word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah.

42:8 He then summoned Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders who were with him, and all the people from the least to the greatest.

42:9 He said, ‘Yahweh, the God of Israel, to whom you delegated me to offer this request says this:

42:10 “If you are willing to remain peaceably in this country, I will build you and not overthrow you; I will plant you, not tear you up. For I am sorry for the evil I have done you.

42:11 Do not be afraid of the king of Babylon any longer; do not fear him – it is Yahweh who speaks – for I am with you to save you and deliver you from his hands.

42:12 I will take pity on you, and move him to pity you and let you return to your native soil.

42:13 But if you say: We do not want to stay in this country; if you disobey the voice of Yahweh your God,

42:14 and say: No, the land of Egypt is where we want to go, where we shall not see war nor hear the sound of trumpet, nor lack for bread; that is where we want to live;

42:15 in that case, remnant of Judah, listen to the word of Yahweh. Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: If

42:16 you are determined to go to Egypt, and if you go and settle there, the sword you fear will overtake you, there in the land of Egypt; the famine you dread will follow on your heels, right into Egypt; you shall die there.

42:17 All the men who are determined to go to Egypt and settle there shall die by sword, famine and plague: not one survivor will escape the disaster I mean to bring them.

42:18 Yes, Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Just as my anger and my fury have been poured out on the citizens of Jerusalem, so will my fury be poured out on you if you go to Egypt: you will become an object of execration and horror, a curse, a laughing-stock; and you will never see this place again.”‘

43:1 However, when Jeremiah had finished telling all the people all the words of Yahweh their God, with which Yahweh had entrusted him for them – all the words quoted above –

42:2 Azariah son of Hoshaiah, and Johanan son of Kareah, and all those arrogant and apostate men, said to Jeremiah, ‘You are lying. Yahweh did not entrust you to say, “Do not go to Egypt and settle there”.

42:3 It is Baruch son of Neriah who keeps encouraging you to thwart us, to hand us over into the hands of the Chaldaeans, who will either put us to death or report us to Babylon!”

42:19 ‘Remnant of Judah!’ Jeremiah answered ‘Yahweh himself tells you, “Do not go into Egypt”. Understand this clearly: today I have given you solemn warning.

42:20 You were playing with your own lives when you made me your envoy to Yahweh your God and said, “Intercede for us with Yahweh our God; tell us what Yahweh our God orders and we shall do it”.

42:21 And now that I have told you, you have not obeyed the voice of Yahweh your God today, or any part of the message he gave me for you.

42:22 So understand this clearly: you are going to die by sword, famine and plague in the place where you have been wanting to go and settle.’

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 43

43:4 Despite this, Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders and all the people would not obey the voice of Yahweh and stay in the land of Judah.

43:5 Johanan son of Kareah and all the army leaders led off the entire remnant of Judah, those who had come back from all the nations into which they had been dispersed, to live in the land of Judah:

43:6 men, women, children, the royal princesses too, and every single person entrusted to Gedaliah son of Ahikam son of Shaphan, by Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard; they also led off the prophet Jeremiah and Baruch son of Neriah.

43:7 And so, disregarding the voice of Yahweh, they reached the land of Egypt and arrived at Tahpanhes.

Jeremiah foretells the invasion of Egypt by Nebuchadnezzar

43:8 At Tahpanhes the word of Yahweh was addressed to Jeremiah,

43:9 ‘Take some large stones and bury them in the presence of the men of Judah in the cement on the square outside the entrance of Pharaoh’s palace in Tahpanhes.

43:10 Then say to them, “Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: I am sending for Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, my servant; he will place his throne over these stones that I have buried, and spread his canopy above them.

43:11 He is coming to strike the land of Egypt: Those for the plague, to the plague; those for captivity, into captivity; those for the sword, to the sword!

43:12 He will set fire to the temples of the gods of Egypt; he will burn these gods or carry them off; as a shepherd picks his cloak clean of vermin, so will he pick Egypt clean and leave without interference.[*a] He will break the obelisks of the temple of the Sun at On[*b] and burn down the temples of the gods of Egypt.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 44

The last episode of Jeremiah’s ministry: the Jews and the Queen of Heaven

44:1 The word that was addressed to Jeremiah for all the Jews living in the land of Egypt with homes in Migdol, Tahpanhes, Noph and the land of Pathros[*a].

44:2 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: You have seen all the misery I have brought down on Jerusalem and the towns of Judah; today they lie in ruins and uninhabited.

44:3 This was because of the wicked deeds which they committed to provoke me, offering incense and serving alien gods which neither they, nor you, nor your ancestors ever knew.

44:4 I persistently sent you all my servants the prophets; I sent them to say, “Do not commit this abomination that I find so hateful”.

44:5 But they would not listen, would not pay attention and so turn from their wicked deeds and no longer offer incense to alien gods.

44:6 And so my fury and my anger overflowed, burning down the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, which were reduced to ruins and wasteland, as they still are today.

44:7 And now, Yahweh, the God of Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Why bring the same disaster on yourselves? Do you want to destroy all the men, women, children and babes in arms, out of Judah, and leave yourselves no remnant,

44:8 by provoking me with the work of your own hands, offering incense to alien gods in the land of Egypt where you have come to settle, thus working for your own destruction, to become a curse and a laughing-stock for all the nations of the earth?

44:9 Have you forgotten the crimes of your ancestors, of the kings of Judah and of their wives, your own crimes, the crimes of your own wives, committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?

44:10 To this day they have felt neither contrition nor fear; they have not observed my Law nor the statutes I proclaimed before you, as before your ancestors.

44:11 Therefore – Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: Now I mean to turn my face against you to bring disaster, and to exterminate the whole of Judah.

44:12 The remnant of Judah who resolved to come to the land of Egypt and settle there, I will remove: they will all perish in the land of Egypt; they will fall by the sword or perish by famine, from least to greatest; by sword and famine they will die; they will be an object of execration and horror, a curse, a laughing stock.

44:13 I will deal as severely with these who have made their home in the land of Egypt, as I dealt with Jerusalem, with sword, famine and plague.

44:14 Of the remnant of Judah settled in the land of Egypt, not one survivor is going to escape to return to the land of Judah where they long to live once again. For none of them are going to return, except for a few refugees.’

44:15 At this, all the men who knew that their wives offered incense to alien gods, and all the women who were standing there, a large assembly (with all the people living in Pathros in the land of Egypt), answered Jeremiah as follows,

44:16 ‘We have no intention of listening to this word you have spoken to us in Yahweh’s name,

44:17 but intend to go on doing all we have vowed to do: offering incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring libations in her honour, as we used to do, we and our fathers, our kings and our leaders, in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: we had food in plenty then, we lived well, we suffered no disasters.

44:18 But since we gave up offering incense to the Queen of Heaven and pouring libations in her honour, we have been destitute and have perished either by sword or by famine.’

44:19 The women added, ‘When we offer incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour libations in her honour, do you think we make cakes for her with her features on them, and pour libations to her, without our husbands’ knowledge?’

44:20 To all the people, men and women; all those who had made this answer, Jeremiah retorted,

44:21 ‘The incense you offered in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem, you, your fathers, your kings, your leader, and the people of the country – is not this what Yahweh remembered, what came to his mind?

44:22 Yahweh could no longer endure your misdeeds and your detestable practices; this is why your country has today become a desert, an object of horror and a curse, uninhabited.

44:23 And this has happened because you offered incense, because you sinned against Yahweh, refusing to listen to the voice of Yahweh, or to observe his Law, his statutes and his decrees; this is the cause of the disaster that has overtaken you – as is the case today.’

44:24 Then Jeremiah spoke to all the people, and particularly to all the women, ‘Listen to the word of Yahweh:

44:25 Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this, “You women, what your mouth promises, your hands should certainly perform! You have said: We will perform the vows we have made without fail and offer incense to the Queen of Heaven and pour libations in her honour. Very well, keep your vows, make your libations!

44:26 But listen to the word of Yahweh, all you Judaeans living in the land of Egypt: I swear by my great name, Yahweh says, that my name shall be spoken no more by any man of Judah throughout the land of Egypt; not one shall say: As the lord Yahweh lives[*b].

44:27 Yes, I will watch over them for their ruin, not for their good; all the men of Judah in the land of Egypt shall perish either by sword or by famine until they are wiped out.

44:28 Yet, though few in number, those who escape the sword will return to the land of Judah from the land of Egypt. Then the entire remnant of Judah who have come to settle in the land of Egypt will know whose word came true, mine or theirs.

44:29 “And here is the proof for you – it is Yahweh who speaks – that I mean to deal with you in this place: so that you may know that the words with which I threaten you will come true:

44:30 Yahweh says this: I will hand the pharaoh Hophra[*c], king of Egypt, over to his enemies and to those determined to kill him, just as I handed Zedekiah king of Judah over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, his enemy who was bent on killing him.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 45

An oracle of comfort for Baruch

45:1 The word that the prophet Jeremiah addressed to Baruch son of Neriah when the latter wrote these words down in a book at the dictation of Jeremiah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim[*a] son of Josiah, king of Judah,

45:2 ‘This is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says about you, Baruch!

45:3 Since you have said, “I despair, for Yahweh has added sorrow to my ordeals! I am worn out with groaning, and find no relief!”

45:4 Yahweh says this, “Now I am knocking down what I have built, tearing up what I have planted: I am going to strike the whole earth.

45:5 And here you are asking for special treatment! Do not ask, for I am now going to bring down disaster on all mankind – it is Yahweh who speaks. As for you, I will let you escape with your own life, wherever you may go.”‘

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 46

II(continued). ORACLES AGAINST THE NATIONS

B. THE ORACLES IN DETAIL

46:1 The words of Yahweh which were addressed to the prophet Jeremiah against the nations.

Oracles against Egypt. The defeat at Carchemish

46:2 On Egypt. Against the army of Pharaoh Neco, king of Egypt, which took up position near the river Euphrates by Carchemish,[*a] when it was defeated by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah.

46:3 Have buckler ready, and shield: onward to battle!

46:4 Harness the horses: into the saddle, horsemen! To your ranks! On with your helmets! Sharpen your spears, put on your breastplates!…

46:5 What do I see? They are panic-stricken, in full retreat! Their heroes, beaten back, are fleeing headlong with not a look behind. Terror from every side! – it is Yahweh who speaks.

46:6 The fastest cannot escape, nor the bravest save himself: there in the north, there by the river Euphrates, they have collapsed, have fallen.

46:7 Who was it rose like the Nile, its waters foaming like a torrent?

46:8 Why, Egypt rose like the Nile, its waters foaming like a torrent. ‘I will rise,’ he said ‘and drown the earth; sweep towns and their inhabitants away!

46:9 Charge, horses! Crash on, chariots! Advance, warriors, you men from Cush and Put with shield in hand, you men from Lud who bend the bow!'[*b]

46:10 Now, this is the day of the Lord Yahweh, a day of vengeance for his revenge on his enemies: his sword will eat them up and have its fill, will grow drunk with their blood. Yes, the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth has a sacrifice to make in the north country, by the river Euphrates.

46:11 Go up to Gilead in search of balm, virgin daughter of Egypt! You multiply remedies in vain, nothing can cure you.

46:12 The nations have heard of your shame, the dirge raised for you fills the earth: for warrior has stumbled against warrior, and both have fallen.

The invasion of Egypt

46:13 The word that Yahweh addressed to the prophet Jeremiah when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon set out to attack the land of Egypt.

46:14 Publish it in Migdol, proclaim it in Noph. Say, ‘To your posts! At the ready!’ for the sword is devouring round you.

46:15 What! Has Apis[*c] fled? Has your Strong One not stood firm? Yes, Yahweh has knocked him

46:16 flat! He tottered, and now he has fallen down! Then they said to each other, ‘Up! Let us go back to our own people, to the country where we were born, far from the destroying sword!’

46:17 Give this name to Pharaoh: ‘Much-noise-but-he-lets-the-chance-slip-by’!

46:18 As I live – it is the King who speaks whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth – someone will come, a Tabor among mountains, a Carmel high above the sea.

46:19 Get your bundle ready for exile, daughter of Egypt, so safe in your home! Noph will be reduced to a desert, desolate, uninhabited.

46:20 Egypt was a splendid heifer, but a gad-fly from the North has settled on her.

46:21 The mercenaries she had with her, these too were as sleek as fattened calves: but they too have taken to their heels, they all run at once and cannot hold their ground. For on them comes the day of their disaster, their time of reckoning.

46:22 Listen: a sound like a serpent hissing! Yes, they are coming in force to fall on her with their axes, like woodcutters,

46:23 they will fell her forest – it is Yahweh who speaks. Yes, they are past counting, outnumbering the locusts, innumerable.

46:24 The daughter of Egypt is put to shame, handed over to a people from the North.

46:25 Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, has said: Now I mean to punish Amon of No,[*d] with Pharaoh and those who put their trust in him.

46:26 I will hand him over to those who are determined to kill him, over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, over to his servants. But in later days, Egypt will be inhabited again as in the past – it is Yahweh who speaks.

46:27 But do not be afraid, my servant Jacob, Israel, do not be alarmed: look, I will rescue you from distant countries and your descendants from the country where they are captive. Jacob will have quiet again and live at ease, with no one to trouble him.

46:28 Do not be afraid, my servant Jacob – it is Yahweh who speaks – for I am with you: I will make an end of all the nations where I have scattered you; I will not make an end of you, only discipline you in moderation, so as not to let you go entirely unpunished.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 47

Oracle against the Philistines

47:1 The word of Yahweh that was addressed to Jeremiah against the Philistines before Pharaoh took Gaza by storm.

47:2 Yahweh says this: See how the waters rise from the North, and become an overflowing torrent, overflowing the country and all it contains, the towns and their inhabitants! Men shout aloud, and there is wailing from all the inhabitants of the country,

47:3 at the thunder of his stallions’ hoofs, the crash of his chariots, the grinding of his wheels. Fathers forget about their children, their hands fall limp

47:4 because the day has come on which all the Philistines are to be destroyed, on which Tyre and Sidon are to be stripped to the last of their auxiliaries. Yes, Yahweh is destroying the Philistines, the remnant from the Isle of Caphtor.

47:5 A shaven scalp for Gaza! Silence over Ashkelon! Ashdod, all that is left of the Anakim, how long will you gash yourselves?[*a]

47:6 Oh, sword of Yahweh, how long before you rest? Back into your scabbard, stop, keep still!

47:7 Yet how can it rest when Yahweh has given it an order? Ashkelon and the sea coast, these are the targets assigned to it.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 48

Oracles against Moab

48:1 On Moab. Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: Woe to Nebo, for it has been ravaged, Kiriathaim has been taken, all is confusion and alarm in the fortress:

48:2 it is no longer the boast of Moab! At Heshbon[*a] they plotted her downfall, ‘Come on! Let us blot her out from the nations!’ And you too, Madmen, you will be subdued, the sword is close on you.

48:3 Hark! From the Abarim a shout, ‘Devastation! Dire calamity!’

48:4 ‘Moab is shattered’ the cry echoes as far as Zoar.

48:5 Ah, slopes of Luhith, they go up them weeping. At the descent of Horonaim cries of distress are heard,

48:6 ‘Away! Flee for your lives! Run like the wild asses in the desert!’

48:7 Yes, since you trusted in your strongholds you will be captured too. Chemosh[*b] will go into exile, with all his priests and his nobles.

48:8 The destroyer will descend on every town, not one will escape; the Valley will be despoiled, the Plain be plundered: Yahweh proclaims it!

48:9 Give Moab a tomb, since she is totally destroyed; her towns are in ruins, with no one to live in them.

48:10 (Cursed be he who does the work of Yahweh half-heartedly! Cursed be he who grudges blood to his sword!)

48:11 From his youth Moab lived at ease, he settled on his lees, never having been decanted, never having gone into exile: and so he kept his own flavour, his aroma was unchanged[*c].

48:12 And so the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I shall send him decanters to decant him; they will empty his storage jars and break his amphorae to bits.

48:13 Moab will blush for Chemosh then, as the House of Israel blushed for Bethel[*d] in whom they put their trust.

48:14 How can you say, ‘We are heroes, sturdy fighting men’?

48:15 The destroyer of Moab has advanced on him: the flower of his youth goes down to the slaughter.

48:16 Moab’s ruin is coming soon, his downfall comes at top speed.

48:17 Grieve for him, all you living near him, all you who knew his name. Say, ‘Imagine it being broken, that mighty rod, that splendid sceptre!’

48:18 Come down from your glory, sit in the dung, daughter of Dibon, so safe in your home: the destroyer of Moab has advanced on you, he has stormed your strongholds.

48:19 Stand by the roadside, keep watch, inhabitants of Aroer. Question fugitive and runaway, ask, ‘What has happened?’

48:20 Moab is shattered and shamed. Wail and shriek! Shout across the Arnon, ‘Moab has been laid waste!’

48:21 Judgement has also come on the land of the Plain, on Holon, Jahzah, Mephaath,

48:22 Dibon, Nebo, Beth-diblathaim,

48:23 Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, Beth-meon,

48:24 Kerioth, Bozrah, and all the towns in the land of Moab, far and near.

48:25 The horn of Moab has been cut off, and his arm broken.

48:26 Make him drunk! He has set himself up against Yahweh: Moab will wallow in his vomit, become a laughing-stock in his turn.

48:27 Was not Israel a laughing-stock to you? Was he caught red-handed with the thieves, for you to shake your head whenever you mention him?

48:28 Leave the towns, make the rocks your home, inhabitants of Moab. Learn from the dove that makes its nest in the walls of the gaping gorge.

48:29 We have heard of the pride of Moab, excessive pride! What arrogance! What pride! What conceit! What a haughty heart!

48:30 – I know all about his presumption – it is Yahweh who speaks – his empty boasting, those empty deeds of his!

48:31 – And so I lament for Moab, for all Moab I cry aloud, and mourn for the men of Kir-heres[*e].

48:32 More than for Jazer I weep for you, vine of Sibmah: your shoots stretched beyond the sea, they reached all the way to Jazer. On your harvest, on your vintage, the destroyer has descended.

48:33 Gladness and joy have vanished from the land of Moab. There is no longer wine in the presses, the treader of grapes treads no more, no more do shouts of joy ring out.

48:34 The howling of Heshbon and Elealeh can be heard as far as Jahaz. The shrieks resound from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah, for the waters of Nimrim too are now becoming desolation.

48:35 And I shall make an end – it is Yahweh who speaks – of any man in Moab who offers sacrifice and incense to his god on the high places.

48:36 That is why my heart sobs like a flute for Moab, sobs like a flute for the men of Kir-heres: that accumulated treasure all lost!

48:37 Yes, every head is shorn, every beard cut off, gashes are on the hands of all, sackcloth round all their loins.

48:38 On all the housetops of Moab and in its squares there is nothing but lamenting, for I have broken Moab like a crock that no one wants – it is Yahweh who speaks.

48:39 What! Broken? What! Moab so shamefully in retreat? What! Moab become a laughing-stock, a thing of horror to all its neighbours?

48:40 For Yahweh says this: (Here is one who hovers like an eagle, who will spread his wings over Moab.)

48:41 The towns will be captured, the strongholds seized. (And the heart of Moab’s warriors that day will be like the heart of a woman in labour pains.)

48:42 Moab will be destroyed, no longer a people, for setting itself up against Yahweh.

48:43 Terror, the pit, the snare, are for you, inhabitant of Moab – it is Yahweh who speaks:

48:44 the man who takes flight from the terror shall fall into the pit, climbing out of the pit, he shall be caught in the snare. Yes, these are the scourges I mean to inflict on Moab when the year comes to punish them – it is Yahweh who speaks.

48:45 In the shelter of Heshbon the fugitives have paused, exhausted. But a fire has come out from Heshbon, a flame from the palace of Sihon, consuming the brows of Moab, the head of a turbulent brood.

48:46 Woe to you, Moab! People of Chemosh, you are lost! For your sons have been taken into exile, and your daughters into captivity.

48:47 But I will restore the fortunes of Moab in the days to come. It is Yahweh who speaks. Thus far the judgement on Moab.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 49

Oracle against Ammon

49:1 On the sons of Ammon. Yahweh says this: Has Israel no sons? Has he no heir? Why should Milcom have inherited Gad and his people have settled in its towns?

49:2 And so the days are coming – it is Yahweh who speaks – when I will make the war cry ring out for Rabbath-of-the-Ammonites: she will become a deserted ruin, her daughter towns burnt down. Israel will then despoil his despoilers, Yahweh proclaims.

49:3 Heshbon lament! The destroyer is on the march. Cry aloud, daughters of Rabbah! Wrap yourself in sackcloth, raise the dirge, walk about with your bodies gashed. For Milcom is going into exile, with all his priests and his nobles.

49:4 So you boast of your valley, thoughtless girl! Confident of your resources, you say, ‘Who will dare to attack me?’

49:5 But I will bring down on you terror from every side; you shall be driven away, each man making his own way, with no one to rally the fugitives.

49:6 (But later I will restore the fortunes of the sons of Ammon. It is Yahweh who speaks.)

Oracle against Edom

49:7 On Edom. Yahweh says this: Is there no wisdom left in Teman? Have the shrewd run out of commonsense, has their wisdom gone stale?

49:8 Away! Take to your heels! Go into hiding, inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring down ruin on Esau, at the time when I must punish him.

49:9 If grape-gatherers come to you, they will leave no gleanings behind them; if robbers come at night, they will loot to their heart’s content.

49:10 For I myself am despoiling Esau, I lay his hiding places bare until he has no cover left. His race is destroyed: it is no more! Of his neighbours, not one will say,

49:11 ‘Leave your orphans, I will keep them alive, your widows can rely on me’.

49:12 For Yahweh says this: Those who were not bound to drink the cup have to drink it now; so why should you go unpunished? You will not go unpunished: you too must drink!

49:13 For by my own self I have sworn it – it is Yahweh who speaks: Bozrah[*a] is to become an object of horror, a laughing-stock, a desert, a curse, and all its towns ruins for ever.

49:14 I have received a message from Yahweh, a herald has been sent throughout the nations, ‘Muster! March against this people! Prepare for battle!’

49:15 For now I will reduce you among the nations, make you despised among mankind:

49:16 your reputation for ferocity, your pride of heart, have led you astray, you whose home is in the holes in the rocks, who cling to the topmost peaks! Though you made your nest high as the eagle, I would still fling you down again – it is Yahweh who speaks.

49:17 Edom will become a desolation; every passer-by will be appalled at it, and whistle in amazement at such calamity.

49:18 As at the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbouring towns, no one will live there any more, Yahweh proclaims, no man will make his home there ever again.

49:19 See how the lion climbs from the thickets of the Jordan to a perennial pasture! So shall I chase them suddenly away, and place there whom I please. For who is there like me? Who can hale me into court? Name me the shepherd who can stand up to me.

49:20 So now hear the plan that Yahweh has made for Edom, the schemes he has in mind for the inhabitants of Teman: yes, even the weakest of the flock will be dragged away. At such a sight their pastures will shudder with dread.

49:21 Earth trembles at the crash of their downfall, the sound of it echoes as far as the Sea of Reeds.

49:22 Here is someone who soars and hovers like an eagle, who will spread his wings over Bozrah. And the heart of Edom’s warriors that day will be like the heart of a woman in labour pains.

Oracle against the towns of Syria

49:23 On Damascus: Hamath is in confusion, so is Arpad;[*b] they have heard bad news. Their heart is faint with fear and cannot be calmed.

49:24 Damascus is unmanned, she prepares for flight, she is seized with trembling (anguish and sorrow have laid hold on her as on a woman in labour).

49:25 What now! That famous town deserted, that city of gaiety?

49:26 And so in her squares her young men will fall, and all her fighting men will perish, that day. It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

49:27 I will light a fire inside the walls of Damascus, it shall devour the palaces of Ben-hadad.

Oracle against the Arab tribes

49:28 On Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor, which were conquered by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Yahweh says this: Up! March on Kedar, destroy the sons of the East!

49:29 Let their tents and their flocks be captured, their fabrics, all their gear, and their camels too. Let the shout be raised for them: ‘Terror on every side!’

49:30 Away! Get into hiding as fast as you can, citizens of Hazor! It is Yahweh who speaks. For Nebuchadnezzar has made a plan for you, he has a scheme in mind for you:

49:31 ‘Up! March on a nation at its ease, that dwells in confidence, that has no gates, no bars, that lives in a remote place!

49:32 Their camels will be the plunder, their countless sheep the spoil.’ I will scatter them to the winds, those Crop-Heads, and bring disaster down on them from every side, it is Yahweh who speaks.

49:33 Hazor will become a lair for jackals, a desert for ever. No one will live there any more, no man make his home there ever again.

Oracle against Elam

49:34 The word of Yahweh that was addressed to the prophet Jeremiah about Elam, at the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.

49:35 Yahweh Sabaoth says this: I am going to break the bow of Elam, the source of all his might.

49:36 I will bring four winds down on Elam from the four corners of the sky, and I will scatter the Elamites to the winds: there will not be a single nation into which the Elamites have not been driven for refuge.

49:37 I will make the Elamites tremble before their enemies, before those determined to kill them. I will bring down disaster on them, my own fierce anger. I will pursue them with the sword until I have destroyed them all.

49:38 I will set up my throne in Elam, and purge it of king and nobles. It is Yahweh who speaks.

49:39 But in the days to come I will restore the fortunes of Elam. It is Yahweh who speaks.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 50

Oracle against Babylon

50:1 The word that Yahweh spoke against Babylon, against the country of the Chaldaeans, through the prophet Jeremiah.

The fall of Babylon and the liberation of Israel

50:2 Publish it among the nations, proclaim it; make no secret of it, say: ‘Babylon is captured, Bel disgraced, Merodach shattered.[*a] (Her idols are disgraced, her Obscenities shattered.)’

50:3 For a nation is marching on her from the North, to turn her country into a desert: no one will live there any more; man and beast have fled and gone.

50:4 In those days and at that time the sons of Israel will return: they will come weeping in search of Yahweh their God.

50:5 They will ask the way to Zion, their faces will turn in that direction: ‘Come,’ they say ‘let us bind ourselves to Yahweh by an everlasting covenant never to be forgotten!’

50:6 Lost sheep, such were my people; their shepherds led them astray, left them wandering in the mountains; from mountain to hill they went, forgetful of their fold.

50:7 Whoever came across them devoured them, their enemies said, ‘No blame to us; it is because they have sinned against Yahweh their true fold and the hope of their fathers’.

50:8 Escape out of Babylon, from the country of the Chaldaeans. Go! Act like the he-goats, be leaders of the flock.

50:9 See, I am raising a league of mighty nations against Babylon. They will come from the land of the North, will draw up the battle line against her: there she will be captured; their arrows are like a victorious warrior, never returning empty-handed.

50:10 Chaldaea will be plundered, all who plunder her will have their fill.

50:11 Rejoice, if you like! Have your triumph, you plunderers of my heritage! Be playful like calves let out to grass! Neigh like stallions!

50:12 But your mother is covered with shame, disgraced is the woman who bore you; she is the least of nations now; a wilderness, a parched land, a desert.

50:13 The fury of Yahweh will leave her uninhabited, she will become an empty solitude. All who pass by Babylon will be appalled at it, and whistle in amazement at such calamity.

50:14 Draw yourself up against Babylon, surround her, all you who bend the bow. Shoot! Do not spare your arrows.

50:15 Raise the war cry against her from all sides. She surrenders! Her bastions fall! Her walls collapse! This is the vengeance of Yahweh. Take revenge on her. Treat her as she has treated others.

50:16 Deprive Babylon of the man who sows, of the man who wields the sickle at harvest. Escape from the destroying sword, let everyone return to his own people, let everyone escape to his own country!

50:17 Israel was a straying sheep hunted by lions. First, the king of Assyria devoured him; next, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon crunched his bones.

50:18 Therefore – Yahweh, the God of Israel, says this: Now I will punish the king of Babylon and his country as I punished the king of Assyria.

50:19 I will bring Israel back to his pastures to browse on Carmel and in Bashan, and on the highlands of Ephraim and in Gilead to eat his fill.

50:20 In those days and at that time you may look for Israel’s iniquity, it will not be there, for Judah’s sins, you will not find them. For I will pardon the remnant that I leave.

The fall of Babylon proclaimed to Jerusalem

50:21 March up to the land of Merathaim; march against it and against the inhabitants of Pekod; follow them; brandish the sword, let their destruction be complete, it is Yahweh who speaks. Do everything I have ordered![*b]

50:22 The din of battle fills the country, immense destruction.

50:23 What! Broken to pieces that hammer of the whole world? What! Babylon become a thing of horror, throughout the nations?

50:24 A snare was set for you, and you were caught before you knew it. You have been found out and overpowered, because you defied Yahweh.

50:25 Yahweh has opened his armoury and taken out the weapons of his fury. For the Lord Yahweh has work to do in the country of the Chaldaeans.

50:26 Fall on her, one and all, break her granaries open, pile the plunder up like heaps of grain, put her under the ban until nothing is left of her.

50:27 Slaughter all her bulls, down to the slaughter-house with them! Woe to them, their day has come, their time of reckoning.

50:28 Listen! Fugitives and runaways come from the land of Babylon to proclaim in Zion the vengeance of Yahweh our God.

The sin of arrogance

50:29 Call up the archers against Babylon! All you who bend the bow, encamp round her: leave her no way of escape. Repay her as her deeds deserve; treat her as she has treated others, to repay her arrogance against Yahweh, against the Holy One of Israel.

50:30 And so in her squares her young men will fall, and all her fighting men will perish, that day. It is Yahweh who speaks.

50:31 My quarrel is with you, ‘Arrogance’! It is the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks: your day has come, the time when I must punish you.

50:32 ‘Arrogance’ will stumble, she will fall, no one will lift her up: I will light a fire inside her towns; it shall devour all her surroundings.

Yahweh the redeemer of Israel

50:33 Yahweh Sabaoth says this: The sons of Israel are oppressed, all those who have taken them captive hold them fast, they will not let them go.

50:34 But their redeemer is strong: Yahweh Sabaoth is his name. He has taken up their cause: he will bring peacefulness to the world but trembling to the inhabitants of Babylon.

50:35 A sword for the Chaldaeans, for the inhabitants of Babylon, for her leaders and her sages!

50:36 A sword for her diviners: may they lose their wits! A sword for her men of war: may they be discomfited!

50:37 A sword for the whole crowd of foreigners within her: may they be like women! A sword for her treasures: may they be plundered!

50:38 A sword for her waters: may they dry up! For it is a country of idols: they are mad, they and their bogies.

50:39 Hence wild cats and jackals will live there, and ostriches make their home there. She will never be inhabited again, but remain uninhabited age after age.

50:40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, with their neighbouring towns – it is Yahweh who speaks – no one will live there any more, no man will make his home there ever again.

The enemy from the north and the lion of Jordan

50:41 Now a people is coming from the North, a mighty nation; from the far ends of the earth great kings are stirring:

50:42 they fight with bow and spear, they are cruel and pitiless; their noise is like the roaring of the sea; they ride horses, each man equipped for war on you, daughter of Babylon.

50:43 But the king of Babylon has heard the news of them, his hands fall limp, anguish has seized him, pain like that of a woman in labour.

50:44 See how the lion climbs from the thickets of the Jordan to a perennial pasture! So shall I chase them suddenly away, and place there whom I please. For who is there like me? Who can hale me into court? Name me the shepherd who can stand up to me.

50:45 So now hear the plan that Yahweh has made for Babylon, the schemes he has in mind for the country of the Chaldaeans: yes, even the weakest of the flock will be dragged away. At such a sight their pastures will shudder with dread.

50:46 Earth trembles at the sound of the capture of Babylon, the dirge for her is heard throughout the nations.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 51

Yahweh makes war on Babylon

51:1 Yahweh says this: [*a]Against the citizens of Leb-kamai I will rouse a destroying spirit;

51:2 I will send winnowers to Babylon to winnow her and leave her country bare: for they will beleaguer her from every side in the day of disaster.

51:3 Let no archer bend his bow! Let no man swagger in his coat of mail! – No quarter for her young warriors! Vow her whole army to the ban!

51:4 In the country of the Chaldaeans the slaughtered will fall, in the streets of Babylon, those whom the sword runs through.

51:5b This is because their country was full of sin against the Holy One of Israel.

51:5a But Israel is not bereft of his God, Yahweh Sabaoth.

51:6 Escape out of Babylon (save your lives, each one of you); do not perish yourselves in her punishment, for this is the time of Yahweh’s vengeance: he is paying her her reward!

51:7 Babylon was a golden cup in Yahweh’s hand, she made the whole world drunk, the nations drank her wine and then went mad.

51:8 Babylon has suddenly fallen, is broken: lament for her! Go and fetch balm for her wounds, perhaps she can be cured!

51:9 – ‘We tried to cure Babylon; she has got no better. Leave her alone and let us each go to his own country.’ Yes, her sentence reaches to the sky, rises to the very clouds.

51:10 Yahweh has vindicated our integrity. Come, let us tell in Zion what Yahweh our God has done.

51:11 Sharpen the arrows, fill the quivers! Yahweh has roused the spirit of the king of the Medes[*b], because he has a plan against Babylon to destroy it; this is the vengeance of Yahweh, the revenge for his Temple.

51:12 Against the walls of Babylon display the standard! Strengthen the guard! Post the sentries! Take up concealed positions! For Yahweh made a plan, and he has treated the citizens of Babylon as he promised he would.

51:13 Enthroned beside abundant waters, rich in treasures, you now meet your end, the finish of your pillaging.

51:14 By his own self Yahweh Sabaoth has sworn: had I filled you with men as plentiful as locusts, the war cry would still have been raised against you!

51:15 By his power he made the earth, by his wisdom set the world firm, by his discernment spread out the heavens.

51:16 When he thunders there is a tumult of water in the heavens; he raises clouds from the boundaries of earth, makes the lightning flash for the downpour, and brings the wind from his storehouse.

51:17 At this all men stand stupefied, uncomprehending, every goldsmith blushes for the idol he has made, since his images are nothing but delusion, with no breath in them.

51:18 They are a Nothing, a laughable production, when the time comes for them to be punished, they will vanish.

51:19 ‘The portion of Jacob’ is not like these, for he has formed everything, and Israel is the tribe that is his heritage. His name is Yahweh Sabaoth.

The hammer of Yahweh and the giant mountain

51:20 You were my mace, a weapon of war. With you I crushed the nations, struck kingdoms down,

51:21 with you crushed horse and rider, chariot and charioteer,

51:22 with you crushed man and woman, old man and young, youth and maid,

51:23 with you crushed shepherd and flock, ploughman and team, governors and nobles,

51:24 but I will let you see how I make Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldaea pay for all the wrongs they have done to Zion. It is Yahweh who speaks.

51:25 My quarrel is with you, Mountain of destruction – it is Yahweh who speaks – destroyer of the whole world! I will stretch out my hand against you and send you tumbling from the crags and make you a mountain scorched.

51:26 Never a cornerstone will be taken from you, never a foundation-stone either, for you will be a desert for ever, it is Yahweh who speaks.

The end of Babylon is imminent

51:27 Display the standard throughout the world, sound the trumpet among the nations! Prepare nations to make war on her; summon kingdoms against her: Ararat, Minni, Ashkenaz;[*c] call the roll of her enemies, officer! Bring up the cavalry, bristling like locusts.

51:28 Prepare nations to make war on her: the king of Media with his governors and dignitaries and the whole territory under his rule.

51:29 Then the earth trembled and writhed, for Yahweh’s plan against Babylon was going forward: to change the country of Babylon into an unpopulated desert.

51:30 The warriors of Babylon have done with fighting, they have taken to their strongholds; their strength has gone: they are like women now. Her houses are on fire, her gates are shattered.

51:31 Courier follows close on courier, messenger on messenger, to tell the king of Babylon that his city has been stormed from every side:

51:32 the fords occupied, the bastions burnt down, the fighting men thrown into panic.

51:33 For Yahweh Sabaoth, the God of Israel, says this: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing-floor when it is being trodden: a little while, and there the grain will lie that has been harvested.

The vengeance of Yahweh

51:34 ‘He has devoured, consumed me, that king of Babylon; he has left me like an empty dish, like a dragon he has swallowed me whole, he has filled his belly with my delicacies.’

51:35 ‘May her violence to me, and all my sufferings, be avenged on Babylon!’ say the people of Zion; ‘On the inhabitants of Chaldaea be my blood!’ says Jerusalem.

51:36 Therefore – Yahweh says this: See, I myself am taking up your cause to make sure you are avenged. I will dry her river up. make her springs run dry,

51:37 and turn Babylon into a heap of stones, a lair for jackals, a thing of horror and of scorn, with no one living in it.

51:38 Like lions they roar together, they growl like lions’ whelps

51:39 Are they feverish? I will prepare them a drink and make them drink until they grow drowsy and fall into an everlasting sleep, never to wake up; it is Yahweh who speaks.

51:40 I will take them down to the slaughter-house like lambs, like rams and he-goats.

An elegy for Babylon

51:41 What! Is she captured and conquered, the admiration of all the world? What! Babylon become a thing of horror, throughout the nations?

51:42 The sea has risen over Babylon, she sinks under its boisterous waves.

51:43 Her towns have been turned into desert, a parched land, a wilderness: no one lives in them, no man goes that way.

Yahweh punishes the idols

51:44 I will punish Bel in Babylon and take from his mouth what he has swallowed. In future the nations will stream to him no more. The wall of Babylon has fallen.

51:45 Go out of her, my people; save your lives, each one of you, from the fierce anger of Yahweh.

51:46 But do not be faint-hearted! Do not take fright at rumours hawked round the country: one rumour spreads one year, next year another follows; violence rules on earth and one tyrant cancels out another.

51:47 See, the days are coming when I am going to punish the idols of Babylon. Her whole country shall be put to shame, with all her slaughtered lying in her midst.

51:48 Then heaven and earth and all within them shall shout for joy over Babylon, because the destroyers from the North are coming against her – it is Yahweh who speaks.

51:49 Babylon in her turn must fall because of those who were slaughtered in Israel, just as through Babylon there fell men slaughtered over all the world.

51:50 You who have escaped her sword, get away, do not wait there! Remember Yahweh in that distant country, let Jerusalem be in your mind.

51:51 – ‘We were ashamed when we heard of the outrage, our face was covered with confusion: because foreigners had entered the holy places of the Temple of Yahweh.’

51:52 – See, the days are coming, it is Yahweh who speaks, when I will punish her idols, and the stricken shall groan throughout her country.

51:53 Were Babylon to scale the heavens, or reinforce her towering citadel, destroyers would still fall on her at my command, it is Yahweh who speaks.

51:54 Listen to the shouting from Babylon, the mighty crash from the country of the Chaldaeans!

51:55 That is Yahweh as he lays Babylon waste and silences her monstrous din; well may her waves roar like mighty waters and their tumultuous voice resound:

51:56 for a destroyer is sweeping down on Babylon, her warriors are taken captive, their bows are broken. Yes, Yahweh is a God of retribution, he pays in full.

51:57 I will make her nobles and her sages drink, her governors, her officials and her warriors; they shall fall into an everlasting sleep and not wake up; it is the King who speaks, whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth.

Babylon razed to the ground

51:58 Yahweh Sabaoth says this: The wide ramparts of Babylon will be razed to the ground, and her high gates will be burnt down. Thus the labouring of the peoples comes to nothing the toiling of the nations ends in fire.

The written oracle thrown into the Euphrates

51:59 This is the order that the prophet Jeremiah gave to Seraiah son of Mahseiah when the latter left for Babylon at the command of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the fourth year of his reign.

51:60 Now Jeremiah had written down the entire disaster that was to befall Babylon in a special book, all these words recorded here as regards Babylon.

51:61 Jeremiah then said to Seraiah, ‘When you reach Babylon, make a point of reading out every one of these words.

51:62 Then say, “Yahweh, you yourself have proclaimed that this place will be destroyed, that no one will live here ever again, neither man nor beast, but that it will remain desolate for ever”.

51:63 When you have finished reading this book, tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates,

51:64 with the words, “So shall Babylon sink, never to rise again from the disaster with which I am going to overwhelm her”.’ Here end the words of Jeremiah.

JB JEREMIAH Chapter 52

V. APPENDIX[*a]

The destruction of Jerusalem and the pardon of Jehoiachin

52:1 Zedekiah was twenty-one years old when he came to the throne, and he reigned for eleven years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hamital, daughter of Jeremiah, from Libnah.

52:2 He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, just as Jehoiakim had done.

52:3 That this happened in Jerusalem and Judah was due to the anger of Yahweh, with the result that in the end he cast them away from him. Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon.

52:4 In the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month[*b], on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with his whole army to attack Jerusalem; he pitched camp in front of the city and threw up earthworks round it.

52:5 The city lay under siege till the eleventh year of King Zedekiah.

52:6 In the fourth month, on the ninth day of the month, when famine was raging in the city and there was no food for the populace,

52:7 a breach was made in the city wall. Seeing this, the king fled under cover of dark, with all the fighting men, leaving the city by way of the gate between the two walls, which is near the king’s garden – the Chaldaeans had surrounded the city – and making his way towards the Arabah.

52:8 The Chaldaean troops pursued the king and caught up with Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho, where all his troops deserted.

52:9 The Chaldaeans captured the king and took him to the king of Babylon at Riblah in the land of Hamath, who passed sentence on him.

52:10 He had the sons of Zedekiah slaughtered before his eyes; he also had all the leading men of Judah put to death at Riblah.

52:11 He then put out Zedekiah’s eyes. Loading him with chains, the king of Babylon carried him off to Babylon where he kept him prisoner until his dying day.

52:12 In the fifth month, on the tenth day of the month – it was in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon – Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, one of the king’s ministers, entered Jerusalem.

52:13 He burnt down the Temple of Yahweh, the royal palace and all the houses in Jerusalem.

52:14 The Chaldaean troops who accompanied the commander of the guard demolished all the walls surrounding Jerusalem.

52:15 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported the remainder of the population left behind in the city, the deserters who had gone over to the king of Babylon, and the remainder of the artisans.

52:16 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, left some of the humbler country people as vineyard workers and ploughmen.

52:17 The Chaldaeans broke up the bronze pillars from the Temple of Yahweh, the wheeled stands and the bronze Sea that were in the Temple of Yahweh, and took all the bronze away to Babylon.

52:18 They also took the ash containers, the scoops, the knives, the sprinkling bowls, the incense boats, and all the bronze furnishings used in worship.

52:19 The commander of the guard also took the bowls, the censers, the sprinkling bowls, the ash containers, the lamp-stands, the goblets and the saucers: everything that was made of gold and everything made of silver.

52:20 As regards the two pillars, the one Sea and the twelve bronze oxen supporting the Sea, and the wheeled stands, which King Solomon had made for the Temple of Yahweh, there was no reckoning the weight of bronze in all these objects.

52:21 As regards the pillars, the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits, its circumference was twelve cubits, it was four fingers thick, and hollow inside;

52:22 on it stood a capital of bronze, the height of the capital being five cubits; round the capital were filigree and pomegranates, all in bronze. So also for the second pillar.

52:23 There were ninety-six pomegranates which hung down, making a hundred pomegranates round the filigree in all.

52:24 The commander of the guard took prisoner Seraiah the chief priest, Zephaniah the priest next in rank, and the three guardians of the threshold.

52:25 In the city he took prisoner a eunuch who was in command of the fighting men, seven of the king’s personal friends who were discovered in the city, the secretary of the army commander, responsible for military conscription, and sixty men of distinction discovered in the city.

52:26 Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, took these men and brought them to the king of Babylon at Riblah,

52:27 and at Riblah, in the land of Hamath, the king of Babylon had them put to death. Thus Judah was deported from its land.

52:28 The number of people deported by Nebuchadnezzar was as follows. In the seventh year: three thousand and twenty-three Judaeans;

52:29 in the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar, eight hundred and thirty-two persons were deported from Jerusalem;

52:30 in the twenty-third year[*c] of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan, commander of the guard, deported seven hundred and forty-five Judaeans. In all: four thousand six hundred persons.

52:31 But in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year he came to the throne[*d], pardoned Jehoiachin king of Judah and released him from prison.

52:32 He treated him kindly and allotted him a seat above those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon.

52:33 So Jehoiachin laid aside his prisoner’s garb, and for the rest of his life always ate at the king’s table.

52:34 And his upkeep was permanently ensured by the king for the rest of his life day after day until his dying day.

END OF JB JEREMIAH [52 Chapters].

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