Jeremiah 6

1Run for your lives, people of Benjamin! Run away from the city of Jerusalem! Blow the war trumpet in the city of Tekoa! Put up the warning flag in the city of Beth Hakkerem! Do these things because disaster is coming from the north. Terrible destruction is coming to you. 2Daughter of Zion, you are like a beautiful meadow. 3Shepherds come to Jerusalem, and they bring their flocks. They set up their tents all around her. Each shepherd takes care of his own flock. 4“Get ready to fight against Jerusalem. Get up! We will attack the city at noon. But it is already getting late. The evening shadows are growing long. 5So get up! We will attack the city at night! Let’s destroy the strong walls that are around Jerusalem.” 6This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: ”Cut down the trees around Jerusalem. And build a siege mound against it. This city should be punished. Inside this city is nothing but oppression. 7A well keeps its water fresh. In the same way, Jerusalem keeps its wickedness fresh. I hear about the looting and violence in this city all the time. I see the pain and sickness in Jerusalem all the time. 8Listen to this warning, Jerusalem. If you don’t listen then I will turn my back on you. I will make your land an empty desert. No person will be able to live there.” 9This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “Gather the people of Israel that were left on their land. Gather them the way you would gather the last grapes on a grapevine. Check each vine, like a worker checks each vine when he picks the grapes.” 10Who can I speak to? Who can I warn? Who will listen to me? The people of Israel have closed their ears, so they can’t hear my warnings. The people don’t like the Lord’s teachings. They don’t want to hear his message. 11But I (Jeremiah) am full of the Lord’s anger! I am tired of holding it in! “Pour out the Lord’s anger on the children that play in the street. Pour out the Lord’s anger on the young men that gather together. A man and his wife will both be captured. All the old people will be captured. 12Their houses will be given to other people. Their fields and their wives will be given to other people. I will raise my hand and punish the people of Judah.” This message was from the Lord. 13“All the people of Israel want more and more money. All the people, from the least important to the most important people, are like that. All the people, from prophets to priests tell lies. 14My people have been hurt very badly. The prophets and priests should bandage those wounds. But they treat those wounds like they are only a small scratch. They say, 'It is all right, everything is fine!’ But it is not all right! 15The priests and prophets should be ashamed of the bad things they do. But they are not ashamed at all. They don’t know enough to be embarrassed of their sins. So they will be punished with everyone else. They will be thrown to the ground when I punish the people.” The Lord said those things. 16The Lord says these things: ”Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask where the old road is. Ask where the good road is, and walk on that road. If you do, you will find rest for yourselves. But you people have said, 'We will not walk on the good road!’ 17I chose watchmen to watch over you. I told them, 'Listen for the sound of the war trumpet.’ But they said, 'We will not listen!’ 18So, listen, all you nations! Pay attention, you people in those countries! 19Hear this, people of the earth. I am going to bring disaster to the people of Judah. Why? Because of all the bad things that those people planned. And because they ignored my messages. Those people refused to obey my law.” 20˻The Lord says,˼ ”Why do you bring me incense from the country of Sheba? Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a far away country? Your burnt offerings don’t make me happy. Your sacrifices don’t please me.” 21So, this is what the Lord says: “I will give the people of Judah problems. They will be like stones that make people fall. Fathers and sons will stumble over them. Friends and neighbors will die.” 22This is what the Lord says: ”An army is coming from the north. A great nation is coming from faraway places on earth. 23The soldiers carry bows and spears. They are cruel. They have no mercy. They are so powerful. They sound like the roaring ocean as they ride their horses. That army is coming ready for battle. That army is coming to attack you, Daughter of Zion.” 24We have heard the news about that army. We are helpless from fear. We feel trapped by our troubles. We are like a woman that is having a baby. 25Don’t go out into the fields. Don’t go on the roads. Why? Because the enemy has swords and there is danger everywhere. 26My people, put on sackcloth, and roll in the ashes. Cry loud for the dead people. Cry like you lost an only son. Do these things because the destroyer will come against us very quickly. 27“Jeremiah, I ˻(the Lord)˼ made you like a worker that tests metals. You will test my people and watch how they live. 28My people have turned against me, and they are very stubborn. They say bad things about people. They are like bronze and iron, that are covered with rust and tarnish. 29˻They are like a worker that tried to make silver pure.˼ The bellows blew strongly ˻and the fire became hotter˼. But only lead came from the fire! The worker wasted his time trying to make that silver pure. In the same way, the evil was not removed ˻from my people˼. 30My people will be called, 'Rejected Silver.’ They will be given that name because the Lord did not accept them.”

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