Drought and False Prophets
1 This is the LORD’S message to Jeremiah about the drought* drought A time when no rain falls and the crops become dry and die.:
2 “The nation of Judah cries for people who have died.
The people in the cities of Judah grow weaker and weaker.
They lie on the ground.
People in Jerusalem, cry to God for help.
3 The leaders of the people send their servants to get water.
The servants go to the water storage places,
but they don’t find any water.
The servants come back with empty jars,
so they are ashamed and embarrassed.
They cover their heads from shame.
4 No one prepares the ground for crops.† No one … crops This follows the ancient Greek version. The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
No rain falls on the land.
The farmers are depressed.
So they cover their heads from shame.
5 Even the mother deer in the field leaves her newborn baby alone,
because there is no grass.
6 Wild donkeys stand on the bare hills.
They sniff the wind like jackals.
But their eyes cannot find any food,
because there are no plants to eat.
7 “We know that this is our fault.
We are now suffering because of our sins.
LORD, do something to help us for the good of your name.
We admit that we have left you many times.
We have sinned against you.
8 God, you are the hope of Israel!
You save Israel in times of trouble.
But now it seems like you are a stranger in the land,
like a traveler who only stays one night.
9 You seem like a man who has been attacked by surprise,
like a soldier who does not have the power to save anyone.
But, LORD, you are with us.
We are called by your name, so don’t leave us without help!”
10 This is what the LORD says about the people of Judah: “The people of Judah really love to leave me. They don’t stop themselves from leaving me. So now the LORD will not accept them. Now he will remember the evil they do. He will punish them for their sins.”
11 Then the LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, don’t pray for good things to happen to the people of Judah. 12 They might begin to fast and pray to me, but I will not listen to their prayers. Even if they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings to me, I will not accept them. I will destroy the people of Judah with war. I will take away their food, and they will starve. And I will destroy them with terrible diseases.”
13 But I said, “Lord GOD, the prophets were telling the people something different. They were telling the people of Judah, ‘You will not suffer from war or from hunger. The Lord will give you peace in this land.’ ”
14 Then the LORD said to me, “Jeremiah, those prophets are telling lies in my name. I did not send them or command them or speak to them. Their prophecies came from false visions, worthless magic, and their own wishful thinking. 15 So this is what I, the LORD, say about the prophets who are speaking in my name. I did not send them. They said, ‘No enemy will ever attack this country. There will never be hunger in this land.’ So those prophets will die from hunger or by an enemy’s sword. 16 And the people they spoke to will be thrown into the streets. The people will die from hunger and war. I will punish them, and no one will be there to bury them, their wives, their sons, or their daughters.
17 “Jeremiah, speak this message to the people of Judah:
‘My eyes fill with tears
night and day without stopping.
I cry for my virgin daughter,‡ virgin daughter Another name for Jerusalem. and for my dear people,
because someone hit them and crushed them.
They have been hurt very badly.
18 If I go into the country,
I see the bodies of those killed in war.
If I go into the city,
I see people sick from hunger.
The priests and prophets continue their work,
but they don’t understand what is happening.’ ”
19 Lord, have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you hate Zion?
You hurt us so badly that we cannot be made well again.
Why did you do that?
We were hoping for peace,
but nothing good has come.
We were hoping for a time of healing,
but only terror came.
20 LORD, we know that we are wicked.
We know that our ancestors did evil things.
Yes, we sinned against you.
21 For the good of your name, don’t push us away.
Don’t take away the honor from your glorious throne.
Remember your agreement with us
and do not break it.
22 Foreign idols don’t have the power to bring rain.
The sky does not have the power to send down showers of rain.
You, the LORD our God, are our only hope.
You are the one who made all these things.
*14:1 drought A time when no rain falls and the crops become dry and die.
†14:4 No one … crops This follows the ancient Greek version. The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
‡14:17 virgin daughter Another name for Jerusalem.