The People Have Violated Their Covenant with God
1 The Lord said to Jeremiah: 2 “Hear the terms of the covenant I made with Israel and pass them on to the people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem. 3 Tell them that the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘Anyone who does not keep the terms of the covenant will be under a curse. 4 Those are the terms that I charged your ancestors to keep when I brought them out of Egypt, that place which was like an iron-smelting furnace. I said at that time, “Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement exactly as I commanded you. If you do, you will be my people and I will be your God. 5 Then I will keep the promise I swore on oath to your ancestors to give them a land flowing with milk and honey.” That is the very land that you still live in today.’” And I responded, “Amen! Let it be so, Lord!”
6 The Lord said to me, “Announce all the following words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of my covenant with you and carry them out! 7 For I solemnly warned your ancestors to obey me. I warned them again and again, ever since I delivered them out of Egypt until this very day. 8 But they did not listen to me or pay any attention to me! Each one of them followed the stubborn inclinations of his own wicked heart. So I brought on them all the punishments threatened in the covenant because they did not carry out its terms as I commanded them to do.’”
9 The Lord said to me, “The people of Judah and the citizens of Jerusalem have plotted rebellion against me! 10 They have gone back to the evil ways of their ancestors of old who refused to obey what I told them. They, too, have paid allegiance to other gods and worshipped them. Both the nation of Israel and the nation of Judah have violated the covenant I made with their ancestors. 11 So I, the Lord, say this: ‘I will soon bring disaster on them which they will not be able to escape! When they cry out to me for help, I will not listen to them. 12 Then those living in the towns of Judah and in Jerusalem will go and cry out for help to the gods to whom they have been sacrificing. However, those gods will by no means be able to save them when disaster strikes them. 13 This is in spite of the fact that the people of Judah have as many gods as they have towns and the citizens of Jerusalem have set up as many altars to sacrifice to that disgusting god, Baal, as they have streets in the city!’ 14 So, Jeremiah, do not pray for these people. Do not cry out to me or petition me on their behalf. Do not plead with me to save them. For I will not listen to them when they call out to me for help when disaster strikes them.”
15 The Lord says to the people of Judah,
“What right do you have to be in my temple, my beloved people?
Many of you have done wicked things.
Can your acts of treachery be so easily cancelled by sacred offerings
that you take joy in doing evil even while you make them?
16 I, the Lord, once called you a thriving olive tree,
one that produced beautiful fruit.
But I will set you on fire,
fire that will blaze with a mighty roar.
Then all your branches will be good for nothing.
17 For though I, the Lord who rules over all, planted you in the land,
I now decree that disaster will come on you
because the nations of Israel and Judah have done evil
and have made me angry by offering sacrifices to the god Baal.”
A Plot Against Jeremiah is Revealed and He Complains of Injustice
18 The Lord gave me knowledge, that I might have understanding.
Then he showed me what the people were doing.
19 Before this I had been like a docile lamb ready to be led to the slaughter.
I did not know they were making plans to kill me.
I did not know they were saying,
“Let’s destroy the tree along with its fruit!
Let’s remove Jeremiah from the world of the living
so people will not even be reminded of him any more.”
20 So I said to the Lord,
“O Lord who rules over all, you are a just judge!
You examine people’s hearts and minds.
I want to see you pay them back for what they have done
because I trust you to vindicate my cause.”
21 Then the Lord told me about some men from Anathoth who were threatening to kill me. They had threatened, “Stop prophesying in the name of the Lord or we will kill you!” 22 So the Lord who rules over all said, “I will surely punish them! Their young men will be killed in battle. Their sons and daughters will die of starvation. 23 Not one of them will survive. I will bring disaster on those men from Anathoth who threatened you. A day of reckoning is coming for them.”