17

Judah’s Sin and Punishment

1“The sin of Judah

is inscribed with an iron chisel—

engraved with a diamond point on their stony hearts

and on the corners of their altars.

2Even their children go to worship

at their pagan altars and Asherah poles,

beneath every green tree

and on every high hill.

3So I will hand over my holy mountain—

along with all your wealth and treasures

and your pagan shrines—

as plunder to your enemies,

for sin runs rampant in your land.

4The wonderful possession I have reserved for you

will slip from your hands.

I will tell your enemies to take you

as captives to a foreign land.

For my anger blazes like a fire

that will burn forever.”

Wisdom from the Lord

5This is what the Lord says:

“Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans,

who rely on human strength

and turn their hearts away from the Lord.

6They are like stunted shrubs in the desert,

with no hope for the future.

They will live in the barren wilderness,

in an uninhabited salty land.

7“But blessed are those who trust in the Lord

and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.

8They are like trees planted along a riverbank,

with roots that reach deep into the water.

Such trees are not bothered by the heat

or worried by long months of drought.

Their leaves stay green,

and they never stop producing fruit.

9“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,

and desperately wicked.

Who really knows how bad it is?

10But I, the Lord, search all hearts

and examine secret motives.

I give all people their due rewards,

according to what their actions deserve.”

Jeremiah’s Trust in the Lord

11Like a partridge that hatches eggs she has not laid,

so are those who get their wealth by unjust means.

At midlife they will lose their riches;

in the end, they will become poor old fools.

12But we worship at your throne—

eternal, high, and glorious!

13Lord, the hope of Israel,

all who turn away from you will be disgraced.

They will be buried in the dust of the earth,

for they have abandoned the Lord, the fountain of living water.

14Lord, if you heal me, I will be truly healed;

if you save me, I will be truly saved.

My praises are for you alone!

15People scoff at me and say,

“What is this ‘message from the Lord’ you talk about?

Why don’t your predictions come true?”

16Lord, I have not abandoned my job

as a shepherd for your people.

I have not urged you to send disaster.

You have heard everything I’ve said.

17Lord, don’t terrorize me!

You alone are my hope in the day of disaster.

18Bring shame and dismay on all who persecute me,

but don’t let me experience shame and dismay.

Bring a day of terror on them.

Yes, bring double destruction upon them!

Observing the Sabbath

19This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and stand in the gates of Jerusalem, first in the gate where the king goes in and out, and then in each of the other gates. 20Say to all the people, ‘Listen to this message from the Lord, you kings of Judah and all you people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem. 21This is what the Lord says: Listen to my warning! Stop carrying on your trade at Jerusalem’s gates on the Sabbath day. 22Do not do your work on the Sabbath, but make it a holy day. I gave this command to your ancestors, 23but they did not listen or obey. They stubbornly refused to pay attention or accept my discipline.

24“‘But if you obey me, says the Lord, and do not carry on your trade at the gates or work on the Sabbath day, and if you keep it holy, 25then kings and their officials will go in and out of these gates forever. There will always be a descendant of David sitting on the throne here in Jerusalem. Kings and their officials will always ride in and out among the people of Judah in chariots and on horses, and this city will remain forever. 26And from all around Jerusalem, from the towns of Judah and Benjamin, from the western foothills*17:26 Hebrew the Shephelah.  and the hill country and the Negev, the people will come with their burnt offerings and sacrifices. They will bring their grain offerings, frankincense, and thanksgiving offerings to the Lord’s Temple.

27“‘But if you do not listen to me and refuse to keep the Sabbath holy, and if on the Sabbath day you bring loads of merchandise through the gates of Jerusalem just as on other days, then I will set fire to these gates. The fire will spread to the palaces, and no one will be able to put out the roaring flames.’”