Jeremiah 6

A Warning for the People of Jerusalem

The Lord said:
6 Run for your lives,
    people of Benjamin.
      Get out of Jerusalem.
   Sound a trumpet in Tekoa
      and light a signal fire
    in Beth-Haccherem.
    Soon you will be struck
      by disaster from the north.
*2 Jerusalem is a lovely pasture,
    but shepherds will surround it
      and divide it up,
3  then let their flocks
     eat all the grass.
4 Kings will tell their troops,
      “If we reach Jerusalem
    in the morning,
       we’ll attack at noon.
    But if we arrive later,
5 we’ll attack after dark
       and destroy its fortresses.”

6 I am the Lord All-Powerful,
    and I will command these armies
       to chop down trees
    and build a ramp up to the walls
       of Jerusalem.

    People of Jerusalem,
    I must punish you
       for your injustice.
7 Evil pours from your city
       like water from a spring.
    Sounds of violent crimes
       echo within your walls;
    victims are everywhere,
       wounded and dying.

8 Listen to me,
    you people of Jerusalem
       and Judah.
    I will abandon you,
       and your land will become
          an empty desert.
9 I will tell your enemies
    to leave your nation bare
       like a vine stripped of grapes.
    I, the Lord All-Powerful,
       have spoken.

Jeremiah’s Anger

10 I have told the people
    that you, Lord,
       will punish them,
    but they just laugh
       and refuse to listen.
11 Your anger against Judah
       flames up inside me,
    and I can’t hold it in
       much longer.

The Lord’s Anger Will Sweep Everyone Away

The Lord answered:
    Don’t hold back my anger!
    Let it sweep away everyone—
       the children at play
    and all adults,
       young and old alike.
12 I’ll punish the people of Judah
       and give to others
    their houses and fields,
       as well as their wives.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

13 Everyone is greedy and dishonest,
       whether poor or rich.
    Even the prophets and priests
       cannot be trusted.
14 All they ever offer
    to my deeply wounded people
       are empty hopes for peace.
15 They should be ashamed
    of their disgusting sins,
       but they don’t even blush.
    And so, when I punish Judah,
    they will end up on the ground,
       dead like everyone else.
    I, the Lord, have spoken.

The People of Judah Rejected God’s Way of Life

    16 The Lord said:
    My people, when you stood
       at the crossroads,
    I told you, “Follow the road
       your ancestors took,
    and you will find peace.”
       But you refused.
17 I also sent prophets
          to warn you of danger,
    but when they sounded the alarm,
       you paid no attention.
*18 So I tell all nations on earth,
       “Watch what I will do!
19 My people ignored me
       and rejected my laws.
    They planned to do evil,
    and now the evil they planned
       will happen to them.”

20 People of Judah,
    you bring me incense from Sheba
       and spices from distant lands.
    You offer sacrifices of all kinds.
    But why bother?
       I hate these gifts of yours!
21 So I will put stumbling blocks
       in your path,
    and everyone will die,
    including parents and children,
       neighbors and friends.

An Army from the North

    22 The Lord said,
    “Look toward the north,
    where a powerful nation
       has prepared for war.
23 Its well-armed troops are cruel
       and never show mercy.
    Their galloping horses sound
    like ocean waves
       pounding on the shore.
    This army will attack you,
       lovely Jerusalem.”

    24 Then the people said,
    “Just hearing about them
       makes us tremble with fear,
    and we twist and turn in pain
       like a woman giving birth.”

    25 The Lord said,
    “Don’t work in your fields
       or walk along the roads.
    It’s too dangerous.
    The enemy is well armed
26     and attacks without warning.
    So mourn, my people, as though
       your only child had died.
    Wear clothes made of sackcloth
       and roll in the ash pile.”

The Lord’s People Must Be Tested

The Lord said:
27 Jeremiah, test my people
       as though they were metal.
28 And you’ll find they are hard
       like bronze and iron.
    They are stubborn rebels,
       always spreading lies.
*29 Silver can be purified
       in a fiery furnace,
30 but my people are too wicked
       to be made pure,
    and so I have rejected them.

The Contemporary English Version, c1995 by the American Bible Society.
Selected texts provided for use with the Hypertext Bible Commentary