Jeremiah 9

1If my head was filled with water, and if my eyes were a fountain of tears, I would cry day and night for my people that have been destroyed. 2If only I had a place in the desert, a house where travelers spend the night, I could leave my people. I could go away from those people. Why? Because they are all unfaithful to God. They have all turned against him. 3“Those people use their tongues like a bow; lies fly from their mouths like arrows. Lies, not truth, have grown strong in this land. Those people go from one sin to another. They don’t know me.” The Lord said these things. 4“Watch your neighbors! Don’t trust your own brothers! Why? Because every brother is a cheat. Every neighbor talks behind your back. 5Every person lies to his neighbor. No person speaks the truth. The people of Judah have taught their tongues to lie. They sinned until they were too tired to come back. 6One bad thing followed another. And lies followed lies. The people refused to know me.” The Lord said those things. 7So, the Lord All-Powerful says: “A worker heats metal in a fire to test if it is pure. I will test the people of Judah like that. I have no other choice. My people have sinned. 8The people of Judah have tongues that are like sharp arrows. Their mouths speak lies. Each person speaks nice to his neighbor. But he is secretly planning ways to attack his neighbor. 9I should punish the people of Judah.” This message is from the Lord. “You know that I should punish that kind of people. I should give them the punishment that they deserve.” 10I ˻(Jeremiah)˼ will cry loud for the mountains. I will sing a funeral song for the empty fields. Why? Because the living things were taken away. No person travels there now. The sounds of cattle can’t be heard there. The birds have flown away and the animals are gone. 11“I ˻(the Lord)˼ will make the city of Jerusalem a pile of garbage. It will be a home for jackals. I will destroy the cities in the land of Judah, so no one will live there.” 12Is there a man that is wise enough to understand these things? Is there some person that has been taught by the Lord? Can anyone explain the Lord’s message? Why was the land ruined? Why was it made like an empty desert where no people go? 13The Lord answered these questions. He said, ”It is because the people of Judah quit following my teachings. I gave them my teachings, but they refused to listen to me. They did not follow my teachings. 14The people of Judah lived their own way. They were stubborn. They followed the false god Baal. Their fathers taught them to follow those false gods.” 15So the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, says, “I will soon make the people of Judah eat bitter food. I will make them drink poisoned water. 16I will scatter the people of Judah through other nations. They will live in strange nations. They and their fathers never knew about those countries. I will send men with swords. Those men will kill the people of Judah. They will kill them until the people are finished.” 17This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: ”Now, think about these things! Call for the women that get paid to cry at funerals. Send for the people that are good at that job. 18˻The people say,˼ 'Let those women come quickly and cry for us. Then our eyes will fill with tears, and streams of water will come out of our eyes.’ 19“The sound of loud crying is heard from Zion: 'We are truly ruined! We are truly ashamed! We must leave our land, because our houses have been destroyed. Now our houses are only piles of rock.’” 20Now, women of Judah, listen to the message from the Lord. Listen to the words from the Lord’s mouth. ˻The Lord says,˼ ”Teach your daughters how to cry loud. Each woman must learn to sing this funeral song: 21'Death has come. Death climbed in through our windows. Death came into our palaces. Death has come to our children that play in the streets. Death has come to the young men that meet in the public places.’ 22“Jeremiah, say these things: 'The Lord says, Dead bodies will lie in the fields like dung. Their bodies will lie on the ground like grain a farmer has cut. But there will be no one to gather them.’” 23The Lord says: “Wise men must not brag about their wisdom. Strong men must not brag about their strength. Rich men must not brag about their money. 24But if someone wants to brag, then let him brag about these things: Let him brag that he learned to know me. Let him brag that he understands that I am the Lord that I am kind and fair and that I do good things on earth. I love those things.” This message is from the Lord. 25This message is from the Lord. “The time is coming when I will punish all the people that are circumcised only in the body. 26I am talking about the people of the nations of Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab, and all the people that live in the desert. The men in all those countries really were not circumcised in their bodies. But the people from the family of Israel were not circumcised in their hearts.”

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