The Day of Disaster
1 The LORD’S message came to me: 2 “Jeremiah, you must not get married. You must not have sons or daughters in this place.”
3 This is what the LORD says about the sons and daughters who are born in the land of Judah and about their mothers and fathers: 4 “They will die from terrible disease. And no one will cry for them or bury them. Their bodies will lie on the ground like dung. Or they will die in war or starve to death. Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the earth.”
5 So the LORD says, “Jeremiah, don’t go into a house where people are eating a funeral meal. Don’t go there to cry for the dead or to show your sorrow. Don’t do these things, because I have taken back my blessing. I will not be kind to the people of Judah. I will not feel sorry for them.” This message is from the LORD.
6 “Important people and common people will die in the land of Judah. No one will bury them or cry for them. No one will cut himself or shave his head to show sorrow for them. 7 No one will bring food to those who are crying for the dead. No one will comfort those whose mother or father has died. No one will offer a drink to comfort those who are crying for the dead.
8 “Jeremiah, don’t go into a house where the people are having a party. Don’t go into that house and sit down to eat and drink. 9 This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of Israel says: I will soon stop the sounds of people having fun. I will stop the happy sounds of people enjoying a wedding party. This will happen during your lifetime. I will do these things very soon.
10 “Jeremiah, you will tell the people of Judah these things, and the people will ask you, ‘Why has the LORD said these terrible things to us? What have we done wrong? What sin have we done against the LORD our God?’ 11 You must tell them: ‘Terrible things will happen to you because your ancestors stopped following me.’ This message is from the LORD. ‘They stopped following me and began to follow and serve other gods. They worshiped those other gods. Your ancestors left me and stopped obeying my law. 12 But you people have sinned more than your ancestors. You are very stubborn, and you are doing only what you want to do. You are not obeying me. Because you do only what you want to do, 13 I will throw you out of this country. I will force you to go to a foreign land. You will go to a land that you and your ancestors never knew. There you can serve false gods all you want to. I will not help you or show you any favors.’
14 “People make promises and say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives—the Lord who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt ….’ But the time is coming,” says the LORD, “when people will not say that. 15 They will say something new. They will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives—the Lord who brought the Israelites out of the northern land, who brought them out of all the countries where he had sent them ….’ Why will they say that? Because I will bring the Israelites back to the land that I gave to their ancestors.
16 “I will soon send for many fishermen to come to this land.” This message is from the LORD. “They will catch the people of Judah. After that happens, I will send for many hunters* fishermen … hunters This means the enemy soldiers from Babylon. to come to this land. They will hunt the people of Judah on every mountain and hill and in the cracks of the rocks. 17 I see everything they do. The people of Judah cannot hide the things they do. Their sin is not hidden from me. 18 I will pay the people of Judah back for the evil things they did—I will punish them two times for every sin. I will do this because they have made my land ‘dirty.’ They made my land ‘dirty’ with their terrible idols. I hate those idols, but they have filled my country with their idols.”
19 LORD, you are my strength and my protection.
You are a safe place to run to in time of trouble.
The nations will come to you from all around the world.
They will say, “Our fathers had false gods.
They worshiped those worthless idols,
but the idols did not help them.
20 Can people make real gods for themselves?
No, they can only make statues that are not really gods.”
21 “So I will teach those who make idols.
Right now I will teach them about my power and my strength.
Then they will know that I am God.
They will know that I am the LORD.
*16:16 fishermen … hunters This means the enemy soldiers from Babylon.