Distresses Foretold

The word of the Lord also came to me, saying, “You shall not take a wife or have sons and daughters in this place (Jerusalem).” For thus says the Lord concerning the sons and daughters who are born in this place, and concerning the mothers who give birth to them, and the fathers who father them in this land: “They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried; they will be like dung on the surface of the ground and come to an end by sword and famine, and their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the air and for the beasts of the earth.”

For thus says the Lord, “Do not enter a house of mourning, nor go to lament (express grief) or bemoan [the dead], for I have taken My peace away from this people,” says the Lord, “even My lovingkindness and compassion. Both great men and small will die in this land; they will not be buried, nor will they be lamented (mourned over with expressions of grief in death), nor will anyone cut himself or shave his head for them [in mourning]. People will not offer food to the mourners, to comfort anyone [as they grieve] for the dead, nor give them a cup of consolation to drink for anyone’s father or mother. And you [Jeremiah] shall not go into a house of feasting to sit with them to eat and drink.” For thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Behold, I will remove from this place, before your very eyes and in your time, the sound of joy and the shout of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.

10 “Now when you tell these people all these words and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed all this great tragedy against us? And what is our iniquity, what is the sin which we have committed against the Lord our God?’ 11 Then you are to say to them, ‘It is because your fathers have abandoned (rejected) Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and have walked after other gods and have served them and bowed down to the handmade idols and have abandoned (rejected) Me and have not kept My law, 12 and because you have done worse [things] than your fathers. Just look, every one of you walks in the stubbornness of his own evil heart, so that you do not listen [obediently] to Me. 13 Therefore I will hurl you out of this land [of Judah] into the land [of the Babylonians] which neither you nor your fathers have known, and there you will serve other gods day and night, for I will show you no compassion.’

God Will Restore Them

14 “Therefore behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when it will no longer be said, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel out of the land of Egypt,’ 15 but, ‘As the Lord lives, who brought up the sons of Israel from the land of the north and from all the countries to which He had driven them.’ And I will bring them back to their land which I gave to their fathers.

16 “Behold (listen carefully), I will send for many fishermen,” says the Lord, “and they will fish for them; and afterward I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and out of the clefts of the rocks. 17 For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their wickedness concealed from My eyes. 18 I will first doubly repay and punish them for their wickedness and their sin [before I return them to their land], because they have profaned My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable idols and with their abominations.”

[Then said Jeremiah] “O Lord, my Strength and my Stronghold,
And my Refuge in the day of distress and need,
The nations will come to You
From the ends of the earth and say,
‘Our fathers have inherited nothing but lies and illusion,
[Worthless] things in which there is no benefit!’
“Can a man make gods for himself?
Such [things] are not gods!

“Therefore,” [says the Lord] “behold, I will make them know—
This time I will make them know
My power and My might;
And they will know and recognize [without any doubt] that My Name is the Lord.”