Jeremiah 10-11 – Easy-to-Read Version

10 Family of Israel, listen to the Lord! This is what the Lord says:

“Don’t live like people from other nations.
    Don’t be afraid of special signs in the sky.
The other nations are afraid of what they see in the sky.
    But you must not be afraid of them.
The customs of other people are worth nothing.
    Their idols are nothing but wood from the forest.
    Their idols are made by workers with their chisels.
They make their idols beautiful with silver and gold.
    They use hammers and nails to fasten their idols down
    so that they will not fall over.
The idols of the other nations are like
    a scarecrow in a cucumber field.
They cannot walk.
    They cannot talk, and the people must carry them.
So don’t be afraid of their idols.
    They cannot hurt you.
And they cannot help you either.”

Lord, there is no one like you.
    You are great!
    Your name is great and powerful!
Everyone should respect you, King of all the nations.
    You deserve their respect.
There are many wise men among the nations,
    but not one of them is as wise as you.

All the people of the other nations are stupid and foolish.
    Their teachings come from worthless wooden statues.
They use silver from the city of Tarshish
    and gold from the city of Uphaz and make their statues.
Carpenters and metalworkers make the idols.
    They put blue and purple clothes on them.
    “Wise men” make these “gods.”
But the Lord is the only true God.
    He is the only God who is alive.
    He is the King who rules forever.
The earth shakes when he is angry.
    The people of the nations cannot stop his anger.

The Lord says, “Tell them this message:
    ‘These false gods did not make heaven and earth.
    They will be destroyed and disappear from heaven and earth.’”

God is the one who used his power and made the earth.
    He used his wisdom and built the world.
    With his understanding he stretched the sky over the earth.
God causes the loud thunder,
    and he causes great floods of water to fall from the sky.
He makes clouds rise in the sky every place on earth.
    He sends lightning with the rain.
    He brings out the wind from his storehouses.

People are so stupid!
    Metalworkers are fooled by the idols that they themselves made.
These statues are nothing but lies.
    They are stupid.
These idols are worth nothing.
    They are something to make fun of.
    In the time of judgment they will be destroyed.
But Jacob’s God is not like the idols.
    He made everything,
and Israel is the family that God chose to be his own people.
    His name is Lord All-Powerful.

Get everything you own and prepare to leave.
People of Judah, you are trapped in the city,
    and the enemy is all around it.
This is what the Lord says:
“This time, I will throw the people of Judah out of this country.
    I will bring pain and trouble to them.
    I will do this so that they will learn their lesson.”

I am hurt badly.
    I am injured and I cannot be healed.
But I told myself, “This is my sickness;
    I must suffer through it.”
My tent is ruined.
    All its ropes are broken.
My children left me.
    They are gone.
No one is left to put up my tent.
    No one is left to fix a shelter for me.
The shepherds are stupid.
    They don’t try to find the Lord.
They are not wise,
    so their flocks are scattered and lost.
Listen! A loud noise!
    The noise is coming from the north.
It will destroy the cities of Judah.
    Judah will become an empty desert.
    It will be a home for jackals.

Lord, I know that our lives do not belong to us.
    We have no control over what happens.
So correct us, Lord!
    But please be fair.
Don’t punish us in anger,
    or you will destroy us!
If you are angry, then punish the other nations.
    They don’t know or respect you.
    They don’t worship you.
Those nations destroyed Jacob’s family.
    They destroyed Israel completely.
    They destroyed Israel’s homeland.

11 This is the message from the Lord: “Jeremiah, listen to the words of this agreement and tell them to the people living in Jerusalem and the rest of Judah. Tell them that this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Bad things will happen to anyone who does not obey this agreement. I am talking about the agreement I made with your ancestors when I brought them out of that furnace called Egypt.’ At that time I told them, ‘Listen to me and obey all the commands I give you. Then you will be my people and I will be your God.’

“I did this to keep the promise that I had made to your ancestors. I promised to give them a very fertile land—a land flowing with milk and honey. And you are living in that country today.”

I answered, “Amen, Lord.”

The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, tell this message in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the words of this agreement, and then obey these laws. I gave a warning to your ancestors at the time I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I have warned them again and again to this day. I told them to obey me. But your ancestors did not listen to me. They were stubborn and did what their own evil hearts wanted. The agreement says that bad things will happen to them if they don’t obey. So I made all the bad things happen to them. I commanded them to obey the agreement, but they did not.’”

The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, I know that the people of Judah and the people living in Jerusalem have made secret plans. They are committing the same sins that their ancestors did. Their ancestors refused to listen to my message. They followed and worshiped other gods. The family of Israel and the family of Judah have broken the agreement I made with their ancestors.”

So this is what the Lord says: “I will soon make something terrible happen to the people of Judah. They will not be able to escape. They will be sorry and cry to me for help, but I will not listen to them. The people in the towns of Judah and in the city of Jerusalem will go and pray to their idols for help. They burn incense to those idols. But their idols will not be able to help the people of Judah when that terrible disaster comes.

“People of Judah, you have many idols—there are as many idols as there are towns in Judah. You have built many altars for worshiping that disgusting god Baal—there are as many altars as there are streets in Jerusalem.

“As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people of Judah. Don’t beg for them. Don’t say prayers for them. I will not listen. They will suffer and then call to me for help, but I will not listen.

“Judah is the one I love, but why is she in my temple?
    She has done too many evil things.
Judah, do you think vows and sacrifices will keep you from being destroyed?
    Will I then allow you to enjoy your evil ways?”
The Lord gave you a name.
    He called you, “A green olive tree, beautiful to look at.”
But with a powerful storm, he will set that tree on fire,
    and its branches will be burned up.

The Lord All-Powerful planted you, and he said that disaster will come to you. That is because the family of Israel and the family of Judah have done evil things. They offered sacrifices to Baal, and that made him angry!

The Lord showed me that the men of Anathoth were making plans against me. He showed me what they were doing, so I knew they were against me. Before he showed me this, I was like a gentle lamb waiting to be butchered. I did not understand that they were against me. They were saying this about me: “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit! Let us kill him! Then people will forget him.” So I prayed, “Lord All-Powerful, you are a fair judge. You know how to test people’s hearts and minds. I will tell you my arguments, and I will let you give them the punishment they deserve.”

The Lord said to me, “Those people from Anathoth are planning to take your life. They are telling you not to prophesy in the name of the Lord or they will kill you. This is what I have to say about them: I, the Lord All-Powerful, promise that I will soon punish those people. Their young men will die in war. Their sons and daughters will die from hunger. No one from the city of Anathoth will be left. No one will survive. I will punish them and cause something bad to happen to them.”

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