Jeremiah Chapter 11 to 13 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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The Agreement Is Broken

11 This is the message that came to Jeremiah. This message came from the Lord: 2“Jeremiah, listen to the words of this Agreement.* Tell the people of Judah about these things. Tell these things to the people living in Jerusalem. 3This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Bad things will happen to any person that does not obey this Agreement.’ 4I am talking about the Agreement I made with your ancestors.* I made that Agreement with them at the time I brought them out of Egypt. {Egypt was a place of many troubles—} it was like an oven hot enough to melt iron. I told those people: Obey me and do everything I command you. If you do this, you will be my people, and I will be your God. 5“I did this to keep the promise that I had made to your ancestors.* I promised to give them a very fertile land—a land flowing with milk and honey. And you are living in that country today.” I (Jeremiah) answered, “Amen,* Lord.” 6The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, preach this message in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem. This is the message: Listen to the words of this Agreement.* And then obey those laws. 7I gave a warning to your ancestors* at the time I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I warned them again and again to this very day. I told them to obey me. 8But your ancestors did not listen to me. They were stubborn and did what their own evil hearts wanted. The Agreement says that bad things will happen to them if they don’t obey. So I made all those bad things happen to them! I commanded them to obey the Agreement, but they did not.” 9The Lord said to me, “Jeremiah, I know that the people of Judah and the people living in Jerusalem have made secret plans. 10Those people are doing the same sins that their ancestors did. Their ancestors* refused to listen to my message. They followed and worshiped other gods. The family of Israel and the family of Judah have broken the Agreement* I made with their ancestors.”  11So the Lord says: “I will soon make something terrible happen to the people of Judah. They will not be able to escape! They will be sorry. And they will cry to me for help. But I will not listen to them. 12The people in the towns of Judah and in the city of Jerusalem will go and pray to their idols for help. Those people burn incense* to those idols. But those idols will not be able to help the people of Judah when that terrible time comes. 13“People of Judah, you have many idols—there are as many idols as there are towns in Judah. You have built many altars for worshiping that disgusting god Baal* —there are as many altars as there are streets in Jerusalem. 14“As for you, Jeremiah, don’t pray for these people of Judah. Don’t beg for them. Don’t say prayers for them. I will not listen. Those people will begin to suffer. And then they will call to me for help. But I will not listen. 15* “Why is my lover (Judah) in my house (temple)? She has no right to be there. She had done many evil things. Judah, do you think that special promises and animal sacrifices will stop you from being destroyed? Do you think you can escape punishment by offering sacrifices to me?” 16The Lord gave you a name. He called you, ‘A green olive tree, beautiful to look at.’ But with a strong storm, the Lord will set that tree on fire, and its branches will be burned up. 17The Lord All-Powerful planted you. And he said that disaster will come to you. Why? Because the family of Israel and the family of Judah have done evil things. They offered sacrifices to Baal.”* And that made me angry!

Evil Plans Against Jeremiah

18The Lord showed me that the men of Anathoth* were making plots against me. The Lord showed me the things they were doing, so I knew they were against me. 19Before the Lord showed me that the people were against me, I was like a gentle lamb waiting to be butchered. I did not understand that they were against me. They were saying these things about me: “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit! Let us kill him! Then people will forget him.” 20But Lord, you are a fair judge. You know how to test peoples’ hearts and minds. I will tell you my arguments. And I will let you give them the punishment they deserve. 21The men from Anathoth were planning to kill Jeremiah. Those men said to Jeremiah, “Don’t prophesy* in the name of the Lord, or we will kill you.” The Lord made a decision about those men from Anathoth. 22The Lord All-Powerful said, “I will soon punish those men from Anathoth. Their young men will die in war. Their sons and daughters will die from hunger. 23No person from the city of Anathoth will be left. No person will survive. I will punish them. I will cause something bad to happen to them.”

Agreement Literally, “Proof.” The flat stones with the Ten Commandments written on them were proof of the Agreement between God and Israel. ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from. Amen The Hebrew word “amen” means, “truly,” or “indeed.” It is used to show that the person agrees with what has been said. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweet- smelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. Baal The Canaanite people believed that this false god brought the rain and storms. They also thought that he made the land produce good crops. Verses 15–16 We are not sure of the exact meaning of verses 15–16. men of Anathoth Anathoth was Jeremiah’s home town. The people that were plotting against him there included his own relatives. See Jer. 12:6. prophesy To speak for God.

Jeremiah Complains to God

12 Lord, if I argue with you, you are always right! But I want to ask you about some things that don’t seem right. Why are wicked people successful? Why do people you can’t trust have such easy lives? 2You have put those wicked people here. They are like plants with strong roots, they grow and produce fruit. With their mouths, they say that you are near and dear to them. But in their hearts, they are really far away from you. 3But you know my heart, Lord. You see me and test my mind. Drag those evil people away like sheep to be butchered. Choose them for the day of slaughter. 4How much longer will the land be dry? How long will the grass be dry and dead? The animals and birds in the land have died, and it is the fault of the wicked people. Yet those wicked people are saying, “Jeremiah will not live long enough to see what happens to us.”

God’s Answer to Jeremiah

5“Jeremiah, if you get tired running in a footrace with men, how will you race against horses? If you get tired in a safe place, what will you do in a dangerous place? What will you do in the thorn bushes that grow along the Jordan River? 6These men are your own brothers. Members of your own family are making plans against you. People from your own family are yelling at you. Don’t trust them, even when they speak to you like friends.”

The Lord Rejects His People, Judah

7“I (the Lord) have abandoned my house. I have left my own property.* I have given the one I love (Judah) to her enemies. 8My own people turned against me like a wild lion. They roared at me, so I turned away from them. 9My own people have become like a dying animal surrounded by vultures. Those birds fly around her. Come on, wild animals. Come get something to eat. 10Many shepherds (leaders) have ruined my field of grapes. Those shepherds have walked on the plants in my field. Those shepherds have made my beautiful field into an empty desert. 11They changed my field to a desert. It is dry and dead. No people live there. The whole country is an empty desert. There is no person left to care for that field. 12Soldiers came to take things from every place in that empty land. The Lord used those armies to punish that land. People from one end of the land to the other were punished. No person was safe. 13The people will plant wheat, but they will harvest only thorns. They will work hard until they are very tired, but they will get nothing for all their work. They will be ashamed of their crop. The Lord’s anger caused those things.”

The Lord’s Promise to Israel’s Neighbors

14This is what the Lord says: “I will tell you what I will do for all the people that live around the land of Israel. Those people are very wicked. They have destroyed the land I gave to the people of Israel. I will pull those evil people up and throw them out of their land. And I will pull the people of Judah up with them. 15But after I pull those people out of their land, I will feel sorry for them. I will bring each family back to its own property and to its own land. 16I want those people to learn their lessons well. In the past, those people taught my people to use Baal’s* name to make promises. Now, I want those people to learn their lessons just as well. I want those people to learn to use my name. I want those people to say, ‘As the Lord lives …’ If those people do that, then I will allow them to be successful and I will let them live among my people. 17But if any nation does not listen to my message, then I will completely destroy it. I will pull it up like a dead plant.” This message is from the Lord.

house … my own property That is, the people of Judah. Baal The Canaanite people believed that this false god brought the rain and storms. They also thought that he made the land produce good crops.

The Sign of the Loincloth

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Jeremiah, go and buy a linen loincloth.* Then put it around your waist. Don’t let the loincloth get wet.” 2So I bought a linen loincloth,* just as the Lord told me to do. And I put it around my waist. 3Then the message of the Lord came to me a second time. 4This was the message: “Jeremiah, take the loincloth you bought and are wearing, and go to Perath.* Hide the loincloth there in a crack in the rocks.” 5So I went to Perath* and hid the loincloth* there, just like the Lord told me to do. 6Many days later, the Lord said to me, “Now, Jeremiah, go to Perath. Get the loincloth that I told you to hide there.” 7So I went to Perath and dug up the loincloth.* I took it out of the crack in the rocks where I had hidden it. But now I could not wear the loincloth, because it was ruined. It was not good for anything. 8Then the message of the Lord came to me. 9This is what the Lord said: “The loincloth* is ruined and not good for anything. In the same way, I will ruin the proud people of Judah and Jerusalem. 10I will ruin those proud and evil people of Judah. They refuse to listen to my messages. They are stubborn and do only the things they want to do. They follow and worship other gods. Those people of Judah will become like this linen loincloth. They will be ruined and not good for anything. 11A loincloth is wrapped tightly around a man’s waist. In the same way, I wrapped all the family of Israel and all the family of Judah around me.” This message is from the Lord.” I did that so those people would be my people. Then my people would bring fame, praise, and honor to me. But my people would not listen to me.”

Warnings to Judah

12“Jeremiah, say to the people of Judah: ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin* should be filled with wine.’ Those people will laugh and say to you, ‘Of course, we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine.’ 13Then you will say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I will make everyone that lives in this land helpless, like a drunken man. I am talking about the kings that sit on David’s throne. I am also talking about the priests, the prophets, and all the people that live in Jerusalem. 14I will make the people of Judah stumble and fall into one another. Fathers and sons will fall into one another.’” This message is from the Lord. “‘I will not feel sorry or have pity for them. I will not allow compassion to stop me from destroying the people of Judah.’” 15Listen and pay attention. The Lord has spoken to you. Don’t be proud. 16Honor the Lord your God. Praise him or he will bring darkness. Praise him before you fall on the dark hills. You people of Judah are hoping for light. But the Lord will turn the light into thick darkness. The Lord will change the light into a very thick darkness. 17If you people of Judah don’t listen to the Lord, I will hide and cry. Your pride will cause me to cry. I will cry very hard. My eyes will overflow with tears. Why? Because the Lord’s flock* will be captured.  18Tell these things to the king and his wife, “Come down from your thrones. Your beautiful crowns have fallen from your heads.” 19The cities in the Negev desert* are locked. No person can open them. All the people of Judah are taken into exile.* They were carried away as prisoners. 20Jerusalem, look! The enemy is coming from the north!* Where is your flock?* God gave that beautiful flock to you. {You were supposed to care for that flock.} 21What will you say when the Lord asks you to account for that flock? You were supposed to teach the people {about God}. Your leaders were supposed to lead the people. {But they did not do their job!} So you will have much pain and troubles. You will be like a woman having a baby. 22You might ask yourself, “Why has this bad thing happened to me?” Those things happened because of your many sins. Because of your sins, your skirt was torn off and your shoes were taken away. They did this to embarrass you. 23A black man can’t change the color of his skin. And a leopard can’t change his spots. In the same way, Jerusalem, you can’t change and do good. You always do bad things. 24“I will force you to leave your homes. You will run in all directions. You will be like chaff* blown away by the desert wind. 25These are the things that will happen to you. This is your part in my plans.” This message is from the Lord. “Why will this happen? Because you forgot me. You trusted false gods. 26Jerusalem, I will pull your skirt up over your face. Everyone will see you, and you will be ashamed. 27I saw the terrible things you did.* I saw you laughing and having sex with your lovers. I know about your plans to be like a prostitute.* I have seen you on the hills and in the fields. It will be very bad for you, Jerusalem. I wonder how long you will continue doing your dirty sins.”

loincloth A common undergarment in ancient Judah. It was a short skirt that was wrapped around the hips. It reached about halfway down the thighs. Perath Probably a village near Jerusalem. It is probably the town that is called Parah in the list of the cities of the land of Benjamin in Joshua 18:23. But the name “Perath” also means the Euphrates River. wineskin A bottle made from the skin of an animal and used for storing wine. Lord’s flock This is a figurative name for the people of Judah. The Lord is thought of as a shepherd, while his people are seen as his flock of sheep.  Negev desert The desert area in the southern part of the kingdom of Judah. exile Being forced to leave one’s home country and being moved to a foreign country. north This refers to the army of Babylon coming from the north to attack the nation of Judah. flock Here, the word “flock” refers to all the towns around Jerusalem, as if Jerusalem were the shepherd and the towns of Judah were her flock. chaff The seed coverings and stems separated from the seeds of plants like wheat or barley. Farmers saved the seeds but let the wind blow the useless chaff away. I saw … you did This is probably talking about worshiping false gods. But part of that worship was having sex with temple prostitutes. prostitute A woman paid by men for sexual sin. Sometimes this also means a person that is not faithful to God and stops following him.

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