“If thou wilt return, O Israel,” saith the LORD, “return unto Me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of My sight, then shalt thou not remove.
“And thou shalt swear, ‘The LORD liveth,’ in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in Him, and in Him shall they glory.”
For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
“Circumcise yourselves in the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest My fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”
Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, “Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, ‘Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities.’
“Set up the standard toward Zion: retire [Or, strengthen], stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.
“The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.
“For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us.”
“And it shall come to pass at that day,” saith the LORD, “that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder.”
Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely Thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul.
At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of My people, not to fan, nor to cleanse,
“Even a full wind from those places shall come unto Me: now also will I give sentence against them.
“Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.”
O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee?
For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from Mount Ephraim.
“Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, ‘that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.
‘As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against Me,’ saith the LORD.
“Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.”
My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.
Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment.
How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet?
“For My people is foolish, they have not known Me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.”
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.
I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly.
I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled.
I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by His fierce anger.
For thus hath the LORD said, “The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.
“For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it.”
The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein.
And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.
For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers (Jeremiah 4: 1-31).
The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin:
To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign.
It came also in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the end of the eleventh year of Zedekiah the son of Josiah king of Judah, unto the carrying away of Jerusalem captive in the fifth month.
Then the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
“Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.
But the LORD said unto me, “Say not, ‘I am a child’: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee thou shalt speak.
“Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee,” saith the LORD.
Then the LORD put forth His hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, “Behold, I have put My words in thy mouth.
“See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.”
Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, “Jeremiah, what seest thou?” And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.
Then said the LORD unto me, “Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten My word to perform it.”
And the word of the LORD came unto me the second time, saying, “What seest thou?” And I said, I see a seething pot; and the face thereof is toward the north.
Then the LORD said unto me, “Out of the north an evil shall break forth upon all the inhabitants of the land.
“For, lo, I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” saith the LORD; “and they shall come, and they shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all the walls thereof round about, and against all the cities of Judah.
“And I will utter My judgments against them touching all their wickedness, who have forsaken Me, and have burned incense unto other gods, and worshipped the works of their own hands.
“Thou therefore gird up thy loins, and arise, and speak unto them all that I command thee: be not dismayed at their faces, lest I confound [Or, break to pieces] thee before them.
“For, behold, I have made thee this day a defenced city, and an iron pillar, and brasen walls against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, against the princes thereof, against the priests thereof, and against the people of the land.
“And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee,” saith the LORD, “to deliver thee.” (Jeremiah 1: 1-19)
“Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.
“And though they say, ‘The LORD liveth’; surely they swear falsely.”
O LORD, are not Thine eyes upon the truth? Thou hast stricken them, but they have not grieved; Thou hast consumed them, but they have refused to receive correction: they have made their faces harder than a rock; they have refused to return.
Therefore I said, Surely these are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God.
I will get me unto the great men, and will speak unto them; for they have known the way of the LORD, and the judgment of their God: but these have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds.
Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings [Or, deserts] shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.
“How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken Me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.
“They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.
“Shall I not visit for these things?” saith the LORD: “and shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?
“Go ye up upon her walls, and destroy; but make not a full end: take away her battlements; for they are not the LORD’s.
“For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have dealt very treacherously against Me,” saith the LORD.
They have belied the LORD, and said, It is not He; neither shall evil come upon us; neither shall we see sword nor famine:
And the prophets shall become wind, and the word is not in them: thus shall it be done unto them.
Wherefore thus saith the LORD God of hosts, “Because ye speak this word, behold, I will make My words in thy mouth fire, and this people wood, and it shall devour them.
“Lo, I will bring a nation upon you from far, O house of Israel,” saith the LORD: “it is a mighty nation, it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language thou knowest not, neither understandest what they say.
“Their quiver is as an open sepulchre, they are all mighty men.
“And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, which thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein thou trustedst, with the sword.
“Nevertheless in those days,” saith the LORD, “I will not make a full end with you.
“And it shall come to pass, when ye shall say, ‘Wherefore doeth the LORD our God all these things unto us?’ then shalt thou answer them, ‘Like as ye have forsaken Me, and served strange gods in your land, so shall ye serve strangers in a land that is not yours.’
“Declare this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying,
“‘Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not:
“‘Fear ye not Me?’ saith the LORD: ‘will ye not tremble at My presence, which have placed the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree, that it cannot pass it: and though the waves thereof toss themselves, yet can they not prevail; though they roar, yet can they not pass over it?
“‘But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone.
“‘Neither say they in their heart, “Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
“‘Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you.
“‘For among My people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men.
“‘As a cage [Or, coop] is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich.
“‘They are waxen fat, they shine: yea, they overpass the deeds of the wicked: they judge not the cause, the cause of the fatherless, yet they prosper; and the right of the needy do they not judge.
“‘Shall I not visit for these things?’ saith the LORD: ‘shall not My soul be avenged on such a nation as this?’
“A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land;
“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means [Or, take into their hands]; and My people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? (Jeremiah 5: 1-31)
THE BOOK OF THE PROPHET JEREMIAH
Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
“Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Thus saith the LORD; “I remember thee [Or, for thy sake], the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
“‘“Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of His increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them,” saith the LORD.’ ”
Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
Thus saith the LORD, “What iniquity have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?
“Neither said they, ‘Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?’
“And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made Mine heritage an abomination.
“The priests said not, ‘Where is the LORD?’ and they that handle the law knew Me not: the pastors also transgressed against Me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
“Wherefore I will yet plead with you,” saith the LORD, “and with your children’s children will I plead.
“For pass over [Or, over to] the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.
“Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but My people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.
“Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate,” saith the LORD.
“For My people have committed two evils; they have forsaken Me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
“Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave? why is he spoiled?
“The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.
“Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.
“Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when He led thee by the way?
“And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
“Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that My fear is not in thee,” saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
“For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, ‘I will not transgress [Or, serve]’; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
“Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?
“For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me,” saith the Lord GOD.
“How canst thou say, ‘I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim’? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;
“A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.
“Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, ‘There is no hope [Or, Is the case desperate?]: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.’
“As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,
“Saying to a stock, ‘Thou art my father’; and to a stone, ‘Thou hast brought me forth [Or, begotten me]’: for they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us.’
“But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
“Wherefore will ye plead with Me? ye all have transgressed against Me,” saith the LORD.
“In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
“O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say My people, ‘We are lords; we will come no more unto Thee’?
“Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.
“Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.
“Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.
“Yet thou sayest, ‘Because I am innocent, surely His anger shall turn from me.’ Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, ‘I have not sinned.’
“Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.
“Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.” (Jeremiah 2: 1-37)
“They say, ‘If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted?’ but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to Me,” saith the LORD.
“Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.
“Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore’s forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
“Wilt thou not from this time cry unto Me, ‘My Father, Thou art the guide of my youth?
‘Will He reserve His anger for ever? will He keep it to the end?’ Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.”
The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, “Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
“And I said after she had done all these things, ‘Turn thou unto Me.’ But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
“And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
“And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
“And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto Me with her whole heart, but feignedly,” saith the LORD.
And the LORD said unto me, “The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
“Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, ‘Return, thou backsliding Israel,’ saith the LORD; ‘and I will not cause Mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful,’ saith the LORD, ‘and I will not keep anger for ever.
“‘Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed My voice,’ saith the LORD.
“‘Turn, O backsliding children,’ saith the LORD; ‘for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion’:
“And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
“And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days,” saith the LORD, “they shall say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD’: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
“At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination [Or, stubbornness] of their evil heart.
“In those days the house of Judah shall walk with [Or, to] the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
“But I said, ‘How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations?’ and I said, ‘Thou shalt call Me, My Father; and shalt not turn away from Me.’
“Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” saith the LORD.
A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.
“Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings.” Behold, we come unto Thee; for Thou art the LORD our God.
Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.
For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God (Jeremiah 3: 1-25).