Jeremiah Chapter 5 to 6 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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The Evil of the People of Judah

5 {The Lord says,} “Walk the streets of Jerusalem. Look around and think about these things. Search the public squares of the city. See if you can find one good person, one person that does honest things, one that searches for the truth. If you find one good person, I will forgive Jerusalem! 2The people make promises and say, ‘As the Lord lives.’ But they don’t really mean it.” 3Lord, I know that you want people to be loyal to you. You hit the people of Judah, but they did not feel any pain. You destroyed them, but they refused to learn their lesson. They became very stubborn. They refused to be sorry for the bad things they did. 4But I (Jeremiah) said to myself, “It must be only the poor people that are so foolish. Poor people have not learned the way of the Lord. Poor people don’t know the teachings of their God. 5So I will go to the leaders of Judah. I will talk to them. Surely the leaders know the way of the Lord. I am sure they know the law of their God.” But the leaders had all joined together to break away from serving the Lord. 6They turned against God, so a lion from the forest will attack them. A wolf from the desert will kill them. A leopard is hiding near their cities. The leopard will tear to pieces any person that comes out of the city. This will happen because the people of Judah have sinned again and again. They have wandered away from the Lord many times. 7{God said,} “Judah, give me one good reason why I should forgive you. Your children have abandoned me. They made promises to idols, and those idols are not really gods! I gave your children everything they needed. But they still were unfaithful to me! They spent much time with prostitutes. 8They are like horses that have had plenty to eat and are ready to mate. They are like a horse that is calling its neighbor’s wife. 9Should I punish the people of Judah for doing these things?” This message is from the Lord. “Yes! You know I should punish a nation that lives like that. I will give them the punishment that they deserve. 10“Go along the rows of Judah’s grapevines. Cut down the vines. (But don’t completely destroy them.) Cut off all their branches. Why? Because they don’t belong to the Lord. 11The family of Israel and the family of Judah have been unfaithful to me in every way.” This message is from the Lord. 12“Those people have lied about the Lord. They have said, ‘The Lord will not do anything to us. Nothing bad will happen to us. We will never see an army attack us. We will never starve.’ 13“The {false} prophets are only empty wind.* The word of God is not in them.* Bad things will happen to them.” 14The Lord God All-Powerful said these things: “Those people said I would not punish them. So Jeremiah, the words I give you will be like fire. And those people will be like wood. That fire will burn them up completely!  15Family of Israel, this message is from the Lord, “I will soon bring a nation from far away to attack you. It is an old nation. It is an ancient nation. The people of that nation speak a language that you don’t know. You can’t understand what they say. 16Their arrow bags are like open graves. All of their men are strong soldiers. 17Those soldiers will eat all the crops that you gathered. They will eat all of your food. They will eat (destroy) your sons and daughters. They will eat your flocks and your herds. They will eat your grapes and your figs. They will destroy your strong cities with their swords. They will destroy the strong cities that you trust in! 18This message is from the Lord, “But Judah, when those terrible days come, I will not fully destroy you. 19The people of Judah will ask you, ‘Jeremiah, why has the Lord our God done this bad thing to us?’ Give them this answer: ‘You people of Judah have left the Lord, and you have served foreign idols in your own land. You did those things, so now you will serve foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to you.’” 20{The Lord said,} “Tell this message to the family of Jacob. Tell this message in the nation of Judah: 21Hear this message. You foolish people have no sense: ‘You have eyes, but you don’t see! You have ears, but you don’t listen!’ 22Surely you are afraid of me.’” This message is from the Lord. “You should shake with fear in front of me. I am the One who made the beaches to be a boundary for the sea. I made it that way to keep the water in its place forever. The waves may pound the beach, but they will not destroy it. The waves may roar as they come in, but they can’t go beyond the beach. 23But the people of Judah are stubborn. They are always planning ways to turn against me. They turned away from me and left me. 24The people of Judah never say to themselves, ‘Let’s fear and respect the Lord our God. He gives us autumn and spring rains at just the right time. He makes sure that we have the harvest at just the right time.’ 25People of Judah, you have done wrong. So the rains and the harvest have not come. Your sins have kept you from enjoying those good things from the Lord. 26There are evil men among my people. Those evil men are like men that make nets for catching birds.* These men set their traps, But they catch men instead of birds. 27The houses of these evil men are full of lies, like a cage full of birds. Their lies made them rich and powerful. 28They have grown big and fat {from the evil things they have done}. There is no end to the evil things they do. They will not plead the case of children that have no parents. They will not help those orphans. They will not let poor people be judged fairly. 29Should I punish the people of Judah for doing these things?” This message is from the Lord. “You know that I should punish a nation such as this. I should give them the punishment that they deserve.”  30{The Lord says,} “A terrible and shocking thing has happened in the land of Judah. 31The prophets tell lies. The priests will not do what they were chosen to do.* And my people love it this way! But what will you people do when your punishment comes?”

wind This is a word play. The Hebrew word for wind is like the word for Spirit. The word … them Literally, “and the ‘He said’ is not in them.”  men … birds The Hebrew is hard to understand here.  priests … were chosen to do The Hebrew is hard to understand here.

The Enemy Surrounds Jerusalem

6 Run for your lives, people of Benjamin! Run away from the city of Jerusalem! Blow the war trumpet in the city of Tekoa! Put up the warning flag in the city of Beth Hakkerem! Do these things because disaster is coming from the north.* Terrible destruction is coming to you. 2Daughter of Zion,* you are like a beautiful meadow.* 3Shepherds come to Jerusalem, and they bring their flocks. They set up their tents all around her. Each shepherd takes care of his own flock. 4“Get ready to fight against Jerusalem. Get up! We will attack the city at noon. But it is already getting late. The evening shadows are growing long. 5So get up! We will attack the city at night! Let’s destroy the strong walls that are around Jerusalem.” 6This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “Cut down the trees around Jerusalem. And build a siege mound* against it. This city should be punished. Inside this city is nothing but oppression. 7A well keeps its water fresh. In the same way, Jerusalem keeps its wickedness fresh. I hear about the looting and violence in this city all the time. I see the pain and sickness in Jerusalem all the time. 8Listen to this warning, Jerusalem. If you don’t listen then I will turn my back on you. I will make your land an empty desert. No person will be able to live there.” 9This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “Gather* the people of Israel that were left on their land. Gather them the way you would gather the last grapes on a grapevine. Check each vine, like a worker checks each vine when he picks the grapes.” 10Who can I speak to? Who can I warn? Who will listen to me? The people of Israel have closed their ears, so they can’t hear my warnings. The people don’t like the Lord’s teachings. They don’t want to hear his message. 11But I (Jeremiah) am full of the Lord’s anger! I am tired of holding it in! “Pour out the Lord’s anger on the children that play in the street. Pour out the Lord’s anger on the young men that gather together. A man and his wife will both be captured. All the old people will be captured. 12Their houses will be given to other people. Their fields and their wives will be given to other people. I will raise my hand and punish the people of Judah.” This message was from the Lord. 13“All the people of Israel want more and more money. All the people, from the least important to the most important people, are like that. All the people, from prophets to priests tell lies. 14My people have been hurt very badly. The prophets and priests should bandage those wounds. But they treat those wounds like they are only a small scratch. They say, ‘It is all right, everything is fine!’ But it is not all right! 15The priests and prophets should be ashamed of the bad things they do. But they are not ashamed at all. They don’t know enough to be embarrassed of their sins. So they will be punished with everyone else. They will be thrown to the ground when I punish the people.” The Lord said those things. 16The Lord says these things: “Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask where the old road is. Ask where the good road is, and walk on that road. If you do, you will find rest for yourselves. But you people have said, ‘We will not walk on the good road!’ 17I chose watchmen to watch over you. I told them, ‘Listen for the sound of the war trumpet.’ But they said, ‘We will not listen!’ 18So, listen, all you nations! Pay attention, you people in those countries!* 19Hear this, people of the earth. I am going to bring disaster to the people of Judah. Why? Because of all the bad things that those people planned. And because they ignored my messages. Those people refused to obey my law.” 20{The Lord says,} “Why do you bring me incense* from the country of Sheba?* Why do you bring me sweet-smelling cane from a far away country? Your burnt offerings don’t make me happy. Your sacrifices don’t please me.” 21So, this is what the Lord says: “I will give the people of Judah problems. They will be like stones that make people fall. Fathers and sons will stumble over them. Friends and neighbors will die.” 22This is what the Lord says: “An army is coming from the north.* A great nation is coming from faraway places on earth. 23The soldiers carry bows and spears. They are cruel. They have no mercy. They are so powerful. They sound like the roaring ocean as they ride their horses. That army is coming ready for battle. That army is coming to attack you, Daughter of Zion.”* 24We have heard the news about that army. We are helpless from fear. We feel trapped by our troubles. We are like a woman that is having a baby. 25Don’t go out into the fields. Don’t go on the roads. Why? Because the enemy has swords and there is danger everywhere. 26My people, put on sackcloth*, and roll in the ashes.* Cry loud for the dead people. Cry like you lost an only son. Do these things because the destroyer will come against us very quickly. 27“Jeremiah, I (the Lord) made you like a worker that tests metals. You will test my people and watch how they live. 28My people have turned against me, and they are very stubborn. They say bad things about people. They are like bronze and iron, that are covered with rust and tarnish. 29{They are like a worker that tried to make silver pure.} The bellows* blew strongly {and the fire became hotter}. But only lead came from the fire!* The worker wasted his time trying to make that silver pure. In the same way, the evil was not removed {from my people}. 30My people will be called, ‘Rejected Silver.’ They will be given that name because the Lord did not accept them.”

north This refers to the army of Babylon coming from the north to attack the nation of Judah. Daughter of Zion A name for the city of Jerusalem. you are like a beautiful meadow The Hebrew is hard to understand here. siege mound A large pile of dirt and rock that an army put against the wall of a city they were attacking. This made it easier for the enemy soldiers to climb over the wall into the city. Gather Or “Glean.” Farmers were supposed to leave a little of their grain and other crops in the field. In this way, poor people and travelers could always find something to eat. Gathering this leftover grain is called gleaning. Pay … countries The Hebrew is hard to understand here. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweetsmelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. Sheba A land south of Israel, located where part of Saudi Arabia is today. Sheba controlled the spice trade in the time of Jeremiah. north This refers to the army of Babylon coming from the north to attack the nation of Judah. Daughter of Zion A name for the city of Jerusalem. sackcloth A kind of cloth that people wore to show they were sad or crying for dead people. roll in the ashes This is one way people showed that they were sad or crying for a dead person.  bellows A tool for blowing air on a fire to make the fire hotter. lead came from the fire Workers melted metals like silver to make the metals pure. Lead was the first metal to melt, so the workers poured the lead out, leaving the other metal pure. Here Jeremiah is saying the people are all bad—they are all lead and no silver!

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