Jeremiah's Message to the Royal House of Judah
1-2The Lord told me to go to the palace of the king of Judah, the descendant of David, and there tell the king, his officials, and the people of Jerusalem to listen to what the Lord had said: 3“I, the Lord, command you to do what is just and right. Protect the person who is being cheated from the one who is cheating him. Do not mistreat or oppress aliens, orphans, or widows; and do not kill innocent people in this holy place. 4If you really do as I have commanded, then David's descendants will continue to be kings. And they, together with their officials and their people, will continue to pass through the gates of this palace in chariots and on horses. 5 But if you do not obey my commands, then I swear to you that this palace will fall into ruins. I, the Lord, have spoken.
6“To me, Judah's royal palace is as beautiful as the land of Gilead and as the Lebanon Mountains; but I will make it a desolate place where no one lives. 7I am sending men to destroy it. They will all bring their axes, cut down its beautiful cedar pillars, and throw them into the fire.
8“Afterward many foreigners will pass by and ask one another why I, the Lord, have done such a thing to this great city. 9Then they will answer that it is because you have abandoned your covenant with me, your God, and have worshiped and served other gods.”
Jeremiah's Message concerning Joahaz
10People of Judah, do not weep for King Josiah;
do not mourn his death.
But weep bitterly for Joahaz, his son;
they are taking him away, never to return,
never again to see the land where he was born.
11 The Lord says concerning Josiah's son Joahaz, who succeeded his father as king of Judah, “He has gone away from here, never to return. 12He will die in the country where they have taken him, and he will never again see this land.”
Jeremiah's Message concerning Jehoiakim
13Doomed is the one who builds his house by injustice
and enlarges it by dishonesty;
who makes his people work for nothing
and does not pay their wages.
14Doomed is the one who says,
“I will build myself a mansion
with spacious rooms upstairs.”
So he puts windows in his house,
panels it with cedar,
and paints it red.
15Does it make you a better king
if you build houses of cedar,
finer than those of others?
Your father enjoyed a full life.
He was always just and fair,
and he prospered in everything he did.
16He gave the poor a fair trial,
and all went well with him.
That is what it means to know the Lord.
17But you can only see your selfish interests;
you kill the innocent
and violently oppress your people.
The Lord has spoken.
18 So then, the Lord says about Josiah's son Jehoiakim, king of Judah,
“No one will mourn his death or say,
‘How terrible, my friend, how terrible!’
No one will weep for him or cry,
‘My lord! My king!’
19With the funeral honors of a donkey,
he will be dragged away
and thrown outside Jerusalem's gates.”
Jeremiah's Message about the Fate of Jerusalem
20People of Jerusalem, go to Lebanon and shout,
go to the land of Bashan and cry;
call out from the mountains of Moab,
because all your allies have been defeated.
21The Lord spoke to you when you were prosperous,
but you refused to listen.
That is what you've done all your life;
you never would obey the Lord.
22Your leaders will be blown away by the wind,
your allies taken as prisoners of war,
your city disgraced and put to shame
because of all the evil you have done.
23You rest secure among the cedars brought from Lebanon;
but how pitiful you'll be when pains strike you,
pains like those of a woman in labor.
God's Judgment on Jehoiachin
24 The Lord said to King Jehoiachin, son of King Jehoiakim of Judah, “As surely as I am the living God, even if you were the signet ring on my right hand, I would pull you off 25and give you to people you are afraid of, people who want to kill you. I will give you to King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia and his soldiers. 26I am going to force you and your mother into exile. You will go to a country where neither of you was born, and both of you will die there. 27You will long to see this country again, but you will never return.”
28I said, “Has King Jehoiachin become like a broken jar that is thrown away and that no one wants? Is that why he and his children have been taken into exile to a land they know nothing about?”
29O land, land, land!
Listen to what the Lord has said:
30“This man is condemned to lose his children,
to be a man who will never succeed.
He will have no descendants
who will rule in Judah
as David's successors.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”