Jeremiah Speaks in the Temple
1-3The Lord told me to stand by the gate of the temple and tell the people who were going in that the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said:
Pay attention, people of Judah! Change your ways and start living right, then I will let you keep on living in your own country. 4Don't fool yourselves! My temple is here in Jerusalem, but that doesn't mean I will protect you. 5I will keep you safe only if you change your ways and are fair and honest with each other. 6Stop taking advantage of foreigners, orphans, and widows. Don't kill innocent people. And stop worshiping other gods. 7Then I will let you enjoy a long life in this land I gave your ancestors.
8But just look at what is happening! You put your trust in worthless lies. 9You steal and murder; you lie in court and are unfaithful in marriage. You worship idols and offer incense to Baal, when these gods have never done anything for you. 10And then you come into my temple and worship me! Do you think I will protect you so that you can go on sinning? 11 You are thieves, and you have made my temple your hideout. But I've seen everything you have done.
12 Go to Shiloh, where my sacred tent once stood. Take a look at what I did there. My people Israel sinned, and so I destroyed Shiloh!
13While you have been sinning, I have been trying to talk to you, but you refuse to listen. 14Don't think this temple will protect you. Long ago I told your ancestors to build it and worship me here, but now I have decided to tear it down, just as I destroyed Shiloh. 15And as for you, people of Judah, I'm going to send you away from my land, just as I sent away the people of Ephraim and the other northern tribes.
Punishment for Worshiping Other Gods
16Jeremiah, don't pray for these people! I, the Lord, would refuse to listen. 17Do you see what the people of Judah are doing in their towns and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 Children gather firewood, their fathers build fires, and their mothers mix dough to bake bread for the goddess they call the Queen of Heaven. They even offer wine sacrifices to other gods, just to insult me. 19But they are not only insulting me; they are also harming themselves by doing these shameful things.
20And now, I, the Lord All-Powerful, will flood Judah with my fiery anger until nothing is left—no people or animals, no trees or crops.
It Is Useless To Offer Sacrifices
21The Lord told me to say to the people of Judah:
I am the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, but I won't accept sacrifices from you. So don't even bother bringing them to me. You might as well just cook the meat for yourselves.
22At the time I brought your ancestors out of Egypt, I didn't command them to offer sacrifices to me. 23Instead, I told them, “If you listen to me and do what I tell you, I will be your God, you will be my people, and all will go well for you.” 24But your ancestors refused to listen. They were stubborn, and whenever I wanted them to go one way, they always went the other. 25Ever since your ancestors left Egypt, I have been sending my servants the prophets to speak for me. 26But you have ignored me and become even more stubborn and sinful than your ancestors ever were!
The Lord said:
27Jeremiah, no matter what you do, the people won't listen. 28So you must say to them:
People of Judah, I am the Lord your God, but you have refused to obey me, and you didn't change when I punished you. And now, you no longer even pretend to be faithful to me.
29Shave your head bald
and throw away the hair.
Sing a funeral song
on top of a barren hill.
You people have made me angry,
and I have abandoned you.
30You have disobeyed me by putting your disgusting idols in my temple, and now the temple itself is disgusting to me. 31 At Topheth in Hinnom Valley you have built altars where you kill your children and burn them as sacrifices to other gods. I would never think of telling you to do this. 32So watch out! Someday that place will no longer be called Topheth or Hinnom Valley. It will be called Slaughter Valley, because you will bury your dead there until you run out of room, 33and then bodies will lie scattered on the ground. Birds and wild animals will come and eat, and no one will be around to scare them off. 34 When I am finished with your land, there will be deathly silence in the empty ruins of Jerusalem and the towns of Judah—no happy voices, no sounds of parties or wedding celebrations.