1“At that time the bones of the kings and of the officials of Judah, as well as the bones of the priests, of the prophets, and of the other people who lived in Jerusalem, will be taken out of their graves. 2Instead of being gathered and buried, their bones will be like manure lying on the ground. They will be spread out before the sun, the moon, and the stars, which these people have loved and served, and which they have consulted and worshiped. 3And the people of this evil nation who survive, who live in the places where I have scattered them, will prefer to die rather than to go on living. I, the Lord Almighty, have spoken.”
Sin and Punishment
4The Lord told me to say to his people, “When someone falls down, doesn't he get back up? If someone misses the road, doesn't he turn back? 5Why then, my people, do you turn away from me without ever turning back? You cling to your idols and refuse to return to me. 6I listened carefully, but you did not speak the truth. Not one of you has been sorry for your wickedness; not one of you has asked, ‘What have I done wrong?’ Each of you keep on going your own way, like a horse rushing into battle. 7Even storks know when it is time to return; doves, swallows, and thrushes know when it is time to migrate. But, my people, you do not know the laws by which I rule you. 8How can you say that you are wise and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes. 9Your wise men are put to shame; they are confused and trapped. They have rejected my words; what wisdom do they have now? 10 So I will give their fields to new owners and their wives to other men. Everyone, great and small, tries to make money dishonestly. Even prophets and priests cheat the people. 11 They act as if my people's wounds were only scratches. ‘All is well,’ they say, when all is not well. 12My people, were you ashamed because you did these disgusting things? No, you were not ashamed at all; you don't even know how to blush! And so you will fall as others have fallen; when I punish you, that will be the end of you. I, the Lord, have spoken.
13“I wanted to gather my people, as a farmer gathers a harvest; but they are like a vine with no grapes, like a fig tree with no figs; even the leaves have withered. Therefore, I have allowed outsiders to take over the land.”
14“Why are we sitting still?” God's people ask. “Come on, we will run to the fortified cities and die there. The Lord our God has condemned us to die; he has given us poison to drink, because we have sinned against him. 15We hoped for peace and a time of healing, but it was no use; terror came instead. 16Our enemies are already in the city of Dan; we hear the snorting of their horses. The whole land trembles when their horses neigh. Our enemies have come to destroy our land and everything in it, our city and all its people.”
17“Watch out!” the Lord says, “I am sending snakes among you, poisonous snakes that cannot be charmed, and they will bite you.”
Jeremiah's Sorrow for His People
18My sorrow cannot be healed;
I am sick at heart.
19Listen! Throughout the land
I hear my people crying out,
“Is the Lord no longer in Zion?
Is Zion's king no longer there?”
The Lord, their king, replies,
“Why have you made me angry by worshiping your idols
and by bowing down to your useless foreign gods?”
20The people cry out,
“The summer is gone, the harvest is over,
but we have not been saved.”
21My heart has been crushed
because my people are crushed;
I mourn; I am completely dismayed.
22Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Are there no doctors there?
Why, then, have my people not been healed?