The Agreement Is Broken
1 This is the message from the LORD: 2 “Jeremiah, listen to the words of this agreement and tell them to the people living in Jerusalem and the rest of Judah. 3 Tell them that this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘Bad things will happen to anyone who does not obey this agreement. 4 I am talking about the agreement I made with your ancestors when I brought them out of that furnace* furnace Literally, “iron furnace.” That is, an oven hot enough to soften iron so that it can be hammered into something useful. called Egypt.’ At that time I told them, ‘Listen to me and obey all the commands I give you. Then 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 answered, “Amen, LORD.”
6 The LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, tell this message in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the words of this agreement, and then obey these laws. 7 I gave a warning to your ancestors at the time I brought them out of the land of Egypt. I have warned them again and again to this day. I told them to obey me. 8 But 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 the bad things happen to them. I commanded them to obey the agreement, but they did not.’ ”
9 The LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, I know that the people of Judah and the people living in Jerusalem have made secret plans. 10 They are committing 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.”
11 So this is what 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 cry to me for help, but I will not listen to them. 12 The people in the towns of Judah and in the city of Jerusalem will go and pray to their idols for help. They burn incense to those idols. But their idols will not be able to help the people of Judah when that terrible disaster 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. They will suffer and then call to me for help, but I will not listen.
15 “Judah is the one I love, but why is she in my temple?
She has done too many evil things.
Judah, do you think vows and sacrifices will keep you from being destroyed?
Will I then allow you to enjoy your evil ways?”
16 The LORD gave you a name.
He called you, “A green olive tree, beautiful to look at.”
But with a powerful storm, he will set that tree on fire,
and its branches will be burned up.† The meaning of these verses is uncertain.
17 The LORD All-Powerful planted you, and he said that disaster will come to you. That is because the family of Israel and the family of Judah have done evil things. They offered sacrifices to Baal, and that made him angry!
Evil Plans Against Jeremiah
18 The LORD showed me that the men of Anathoth‡ men of Anathoth Anathoth was Jeremiah’s hometown. The people who were plotting against him there included his own relatives. See Jeremiah 12:6. were making plans against me. He showed me what they were doing, so I knew they were against me. 19 Before he showed me this, I was like a gentle lamb waiting to be butchered. I did not understand that they were against me. They were saying this about me: “Let us destroy the tree and its fruit! Let us kill him! Then people will forget him.” 20 So I prayed, “LORD All-Powerful, you are a fair judge. You know how to test people’s hearts and minds. I will tell you my arguments, and I will let you give them the punishment they deserve.”
21 The LORD said to me, “Those people from Anathoth are planning to take your life. They are telling you not to prophesy in the name of the LORD or they will kill you. This is what I have to say about them: 22 I, the LORD All-Powerful, promise that I will soon punish those people. Their young men will die in war. Their sons and daughters will die from hunger. 23 No one from the city of Anathoth will be left. No one will survive. I will punish them and cause something bad to happen to them.”
*11:4 furnace Literally, “iron furnace.” That is, an oven hot enough to soften iron so that it can be hammered into something useful.
†11:16 The meaning of these verses is uncertain.