1 This message is from the LORD: “At that time men will take the bones of the kings and important rulers of Judah from their tombs. They will take the bones of the priests and prophets from their tombs. They will take the bones of all the people of Jerusalem from their tombs. 2 They will spread the bones on the ground under the sun, the moon, and the stars. The people of Jerusalem love to worship the sun, the moon, and the stars. No one will gather the bones and bury them again. So the bones of those people will be like dung thrown on the ground.
3 “I will force the people of Judah to leave their homes and their land. They will be taken away to foreign lands. Some of the people of Judah who were not killed in the war will wish that they had been killed.” This message is from the LORD All-Powerful.
Sin and Punishment
4 “Jeremiah, say this to the people of Judah: ‘This is what the LORD says:
“ ‘You know if a man falls down,
he gets up again.
And if a man goes the wrong way,
he turns around and comes back.
5 The people of Judah went the wrong way.
But why do the people of Jerusalem continue going the wrong way?
They believe their own lies.
They refuse to turn around and come back.
6 I have listened to them very carefully,
but they don’t say what is right.
They are not sorry for their sins.
They don’t think about the evil they have done.
They do things without thinking.
They are like horses running into a battle.
7 Even the birds in the sky
know the right time to do things.
The storks, doves, swifts, and thrushes
know when it is time to fly to a new home.
But my people don’t know
what the LORD wants them to do.
8 “ ‘You keep saying, “We have the LORD’S teachings. So we are wise!”
But this is not true, because the scribes have lied with their pens.
9 These “wise people” refused to listen to the LORD’S teachings.
So they are not really wise at all.
These “wise people” were trapped.
They became shocked and ashamed.
10 So I will give their wives to other men.
I will give their fields to new owners.
All the people of Israel want more and more money.
All of them, from the least important to the most important, are like that.
Even the prophets and priests tell lies.
11 They should bandage the wounds my people have suffered,
but they treat their wounds like small scratches.
They say, “It’s all right, everything is all right.”
But it is not all right!
12 They should be ashamed of the evil things they do,
but they are not ashamed at all.
They don’t know enough to be embarrassed by their sins.
So they will be punished with everyone else.
They will be thrown to the ground when I punish the people.’ ”
This is what the LORD said.
13 “ ‘I will take away their fruit and crops
so that there will be no harvest, says the LORD.
There will be no grapes on the vine and no figs on the fig tree.
Even the leaves will become dry and die.
I will take away the things I gave them.’ ”* I will take away … gave them The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
14 “They will say, ‘Why are we just sitting here?
Come, let’s run to the strong cities.
If the LORD our God is going to make us die,
then let’s die there.
We have sinned against the LORD,
so he has given us poisoned water to drink.
15 We hoped to have peace,
but nothing good has come.
We hoped that he would forgive us,
but only disaster has come.
16 From the land of the tribe of Dan,
we hear the snorting† snorting The sound caused by forcing breath very hard through the nose. of the enemy’s horses.
The ground shakes from the pounding of their hooves.
They have come to destroy the land
and everything in it.
They have come to destroy the city
and all the people who live there.’ ”
17 “People of Judah, I am sending poisonous snakes‡ poisonous snakes This probably means one of Judah’s enemies. to attack you.
These snakes cannot be controlled.
They will bite you.”
This message is from the LORD.
18 God, I am very sad and afraid.
19 Listen to my people.
Everywhere in this country, people are crying for help.
They say, “Is the LORD still at Zion?
Is Zion’s King still there?”
But God says,
“The people of Judah worshiped their worthless foreign idols.
That made me very angry!
Why did they do that?”
20 And the people say,
“Harvest time is over.
Summer is gone,
and still we have not been saved.”
21 My people are hurt, so I am hurt.
I am too sad to speak.
22 Surely there is some medicine in Gilead.
Surely there is a doctor in Gilead.
So why are the wounds of my people not healed?
*8:13 I will take away … gave them The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
†8:16 snorting The sound caused by forcing breath very hard through the nose.
‡8:17 poisonous snakes This probably means one of Judah’s enemies.