Sin and Punishment
4 The 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? 5 Why then, my people, do you turn away from me without ever turning back? You cling to your idols and refuse to return to me. 6 I 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. 7 Even 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. 8 How can you say that you are wise and that you know my laws? Look, the laws have been changed by dishonest scribes. 9 Your 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. 12 My 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.”[a]
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. 15 We hoped for peace and a time of healing, but it was no use; terror came instead. 16 Our 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
18 My sorrow cannot be healed;[b]
I am sick at heart.
19 Listen! 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?”
20 The people cry out,
“The summer is gone, the harvest is over,
but we have not been saved.”
because my people are crushed;
I mourn; I am completely dismayed.
22 Is there no medicine in Gilead?[c]
Are there no doctors there?
Why, then, have my people not been healed?
- Jeremiah 8:13 Therefore … land; Hebrew unclear.
- Jeremiah 8:18 Probable text My sorrow … healed; Hebrew unclear.
- Jeremiah 8:22 A region east of the Jordan, famous for plants that were used for medicinal purposes.