Jeremiah 9
Contemporary English Version

1I wish that my eyes

were fountains of tears,

so I could cry day and night

for my people

who were killed.

2I wish I could go into the desert

and find a hiding place

from all who are treacherous

and unfaithful to God.

The Lord Answers Jeremiah

3The Lord replied:

Lies come from the mouths

of my people,

like arrows from a bow.

With each dishonest deed

their power increases,

and not one of them will admit

that I am God.

4Jeremiah, all your friends

and relatives

tell lies about you,

so don't trust them.

5They wear themselves out,

always looking for a new way

to cheat their friends.

6Everyone takes advantage

of everyone else,

and no one will admit

that I am God.

7And so I will purify

the hearts of my people

just as gold is purified

in a furnace.

I have no other choice.

8They say they want peace,

but this lie is deadly,

like an arrow that strikes

when you least expect it.

9Give me one good reason

not to punish them

as they deserve.

I, the Lord All-Powerful,

have spoken.

Jeremiah Weeps for His People

10I weep for the pastureland

in the hill country.

It's so barren and scorched

that no one travels there.

No cattle can be found there,

and birds and wild animals

have all disappeared.

11I heard the Lord reply,

“When I am finished,

Jerusalem and the towns of Judah

will be piles of ruins

where only jackals+ live.”

Why the Land Was Destroyed

12I said to the Lord, “None of us can understand why the land has become like an uncrossable desert. Won't you explain why?”

13The Lord said:

I destroyed the land because the people disobeyed me and rejected my laws and teachings. 14They were stubborn and worshiped Baal,+ just as their ancestors did. 15So I, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, promise them poison to eat and drink.+ 16I'll scatter them in foreign countries that they and their ancestors have never even heard of. Finally, I will send enemy soldiers to kill every last one of them.

The Women Who Are Paid To Weep

17The Lord All-Powerful said,

“Make arrangements now

for the women who are paid

to weep at funerals,+

especially the women

who can cry the loudest.”

18The people answered,

“Let them come quickly

and cry for us,

until our own eyes

are flooded with tears.

19Now those of us on Zion cry,

‘We are ruined!

We can't stand the shame.

Our homes have been destroyed,

and we must leave our land.’

20“We ask you women

to pay attention

to what the Lord says.

We will teach you a funeral song

that you can teach

your daughters and friends:

21‘We were in our fortress,

but death sneaked in

through our windows.

It even struck down

children at play

and our strongest young men.’

22“The Lord has told us

the ground will be covered

with dead bodies,

like ungathered stalks of grain

or manure in a field.”

What the Lord Likes Best

23The Lord says:

Don't brag about your wisdom

or strength or wealth.

24- If you feel you must brag,

then have enough sense

to brag about worshiping me,

the Lord.

What I like best

is showing kindness,

justice, and mercy

to everyone on earth.

25-26Someday I will punish the nations of Egypt, Edom, Ammon, and Moab, and the tribes of the desert.+ The men of these nations are circumcised, but they don't worship me. And it's the same with you people of Judah. Your bodies are circumcised, but your hearts are unchanged.


9.11 jackals: Desert animals related to wolves, but smaller.
9.14 Baal: See the note at 2.23.
9.15 poison to eat and drink: Or “bitter disappointment to eat, and tears to drink.”
9.17 women … weep at funerals: Or “the women who weep for Baal”; the god Baal was believed to have died and come back to life, and some women would go to places of worship and weep over the death of Baal.
9.25,26 the tribes of the desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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