14 A message from the Lord came to Jeremiah. He told Jeremiah there wouldn’t be any rain in the land. The Lord said,
“Judah is filled with sadness.
Its cities are wasting away.
The people weep for the land.
Crying is heard in Jerusalem.
The nobles send their servants to get water.
They go to the wells.
But they do not find any water.
They return with empty jars.
They are terrified. They do not have any hope.
They cover their heads.
The ground is dry and cracked.
There isn’t any rain in the land.
The farmers are terrified.
They cover their heads.
Even the female deer in the fields
desert their newborn fawns.
There isn’t any grass to eat.
Wild donkeys stand on the bare hilltops.
They long for water as wild dogs do.
Their eyesight fails
because they do not have any food to eat.”
Lord, our sins are a witness against us.
But do something for the honor of your name.
We have often turned away from you.
We’ve sinned against you.
You are Israel’s only hope.
You save us when we’re in trouble.
Why are you like a stranger to us?
Why are you like a traveler who stays for only one night?
Why are you like a man taken by surprise?
Why are you like a soldier who can’t save anyone?
Lord, you are among us.
And we are your people.
Please don’t desert us!
The Lord gave Jeremiah a message about these people. The Lord said,
“They really love to wander away from me.
Their feet go down the wrong path.
I do not accept these people.
I will remember the evil things they have done.
I will punish them for their sins.”
The Lord continued, “Do not pray that things will go well with them. Even if they go without food, I will not listen to their cry for help. They might sacrifice burnt offerings and grain offerings. But I will not accept them. Instead, I will destroy them with war, hunger and plague.”
But I said, “Lord and King, the prophets keep telling them something else. They say, ‘You won’t have to suffer from war or hunger. Instead, the Lord will give you peace and rest in this place.’ ”
Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them. I have not even spoken to them. Everything they tell you about their visions or secret knowledge is a lie. They pretend to bring you messages from other gods. They try to get you to believe their own mistaken ideas. So here is what I am saying about the prophets who are prophesying in my name. I did not send them. But they are saying, ‘No war or hunger will come to this land.’ Those same prophets will die because of war and hunger. And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem. They will die because of hunger and war. No one will bury them. No one will bury their wives and children. I will pour out trouble on them. That is exactly what they should get.
“Jeremiah, give them this message. Tell them,
“ ‘Let tears flow from my eyes.
Let them pour out night and day.
Never let them stop.
The people of my own nation
have suffered a terrible wound.
They have been crushed.
Suppose I go into the country.
Then I see people who have been killed by swords.
Or suppose I go into the city.
Then I see people who have died of hunger.
Prophet and priest alike have gone to a land
they hadn’t known about before.’ ”
Lord, have you completely turned your back on Judah?
Do you hate the city of Zion?
Why have you made us suffer?
We can’t be healed.
We hoped peace would come.
But nothing good has happened to us.
We hoped we would finally be healed.
But all we got was terror.
Lord, we admit we’ve done evil things.
We also admit that our people of long ago were guilty.
It’s true that we’ve sinned against you.
For the honor of your name, don’t turn your back on us.
Don’t bring shame on your glorious throne in the temple.
Remember the covenant you made with us.
Please don’t break it.
Do any of the worthless gods of the nations bring rain?
Do the skies send down showers all by themselves?
No. Lord our God, you send the rain.
So we put our hope in you.
You are the one who does all these things.
15 Then the Lord said to me, “Suppose Moses and Samuel were standing in front of me. Even then my heart would not feel sorry for these people. Send them away from me! Let them go! Suppose these people ask you, ‘Where should we go?’ Then tell them, ‘The Lord says,
“ ‘ “Those I have appointed to die will die.
Those I have appointed to be killed by swords
will be killed by swords.
Those I have appointed to die of hunger
will die of hunger.
Those I have appointed to be taken away as prisoners
will be taken away.” ’
“I will send four kinds of destroyers against them,” announces the Lord. “Swords will kill them. Dogs will drag them away. Birds will eat them up. And wild animals will destroy them. I will make all the kingdoms on earth hate them. That will happen because of what Manasseh did in Jerusalem. He was king of Judah and the son of Hezekiah.
“Jerusalem, who will have pity on you?
Who will mourn for you?
Who will stop to ask how you are doing?
You have said no to me,”
announces the Lord.
“You keep on turning away from me.
So I will reach out and destroy you.
I am tired of showing you pity.
I will stand at the city gates of the land.
I will separate the straw from the grain.
I will destroy my people. I will bring great sorrow on them.
They have not changed their ways.
I will increase the number of their widows.
There will be more of them than the grains of sand on the seashore.
At noon I will bring a destroyer
against the mothers of the young men among my people.
All at once I will bring down on them
great suffering and terror.
Mothers who have many children will grow weak.
They will take their last breath.
The sun will set on them while it is still day.
They will be dishonored and put to shame.
All those who are left alive I will kill by swords.
I will have their enemies do this,”
announces the Lord.
My mother, I wish I had never been born!
The whole land opposes me.
They fight against me.
I haven’t made loans to anyone.
And I haven’t borrowed anything.
But everyone curses me anyway.
The Lord said,
“Jeremiah, I will keep you safe for a good purpose.
I will make your enemies ask you to pray for them.
They will make their appeal to you
when they are in great trouble.
“People of Judah, the armies of Babylon
will come from the north.
They are as strong as iron and bronze.
Can anyone break their power?
I will give away your wealth and your treasures.
Your enemies will carry off everything.
And they will not pay anything for it.
That will happen because you have sinned so much.
You have done it throughout your country.
I will make you slaves to your enemies.
You will serve them in a land
you have not known about before.
My anger will start a fire
that will burn you up.”
Lord, you understand how much I’m suffering.
Show concern for me. Take care of me.
Pay back those who are trying to harm me.
You are patient. Don’t take my life away from me.
Think about how much shame I suffer because of you.
When I received your words, I ate them.
They filled me with joy.
My heart took delight in them.
Lord God who rules over all,
I belong to you.
I never sat around with those who go to wild parties.
I never had a good time with them.
I sat alone because you had put your powerful hand on me.
Your anger against sin was burning inside me.
Why does my pain never end?
Why is my wound so deep?
Why can’t I ever get well?
To me you are like a stream that runs dry.
You are like a spring that doesn’t have any water.
So the Lord says to Jeremiah,
“If you turn away from your sins, I will heal you.
And then you will be able to serve me.
Speak words that are worthy, not worthless.
Then you will be speaking for me.
Let these people turn to you.
But you must not turn to them.
I will make you like a wall to them.
I will make you like a strong bronze wall.
The people will fight against you.
But they will not overcome you.
I am with you.
I will save you,”
announces the Lord.
“I will save you from the hands of evil people.
I will set you free from those who treat you badly.”