1 You people of Israel, listen to what the Lord has to say to you.
2 The Lord says,
“Do not start following pagan religious practices.
Do not be in awe of signs that occur in the sky
even though the nations hold them in awe.
3 For the religion of these people is worthless.
They cut down a tree in the forest,
and a craftsman makes it into an idol with his tools.
4 He decorates it with overlays of silver and gold.
He uses hammer and nails to fasten it together
so that it will not fall over.
5 Such idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field.
They cannot talk.
They must be carried
because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them
because they cannot hurt you.
And they do not have any power to help you.”
6 I said,
“There is no one like you, Lord.
You are great.
And you are renowned for your power.
7 Everyone should revere you, O King of all nations,
because you deserve to be revered.
For there is no one like you
among any of the wise people of the nations nor among any of their kings.
8 The people of those nations are both stupid and foolish.
Instruction from a wooden idol is worthless!
9 Hammered-out silver is brought from Tarshish
and gold is brought from Uphaz to cover those idols.
They are the handiwork of carpenters and goldsmiths.
They are clothed in blue and purple clothes.
They are all made by skillful workers.
10 The Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King.
When he shows his anger the earth shakes.
None of the nations can stand up to his fury.
11 You people of Israel should tell those nations this:
‘These gods did not make heaven and earth.
They will disappear from the earth and from under the heavens.’
12 The Lord is the one who by his power made the earth.
He is the one who by his wisdom established the world.
And by his understanding he spread out the skies.
13 When his voice thunders, the heavenly ocean roars.
He makes the clouds rise from the far-off horizons.
He makes the lightning flash out in the midst of the rain.
He unleashes the wind from the places where he stores it.
14 All these idolaters will prove to be stupid and ignorant.
Every goldsmith will be disgraced by the idol he made.
For the image he forges is merely a sham.
There is no breath in any of those idols.
15 They are worthless, mere objects to be mocked.
When the time comes to punish them, they will be destroyed.
16 The Lord, who is the inheritance of Jacob’s descendants, is not like them.
He is the one who created everything.
And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own.
He is known as the Lord who rules over all.”
Jeremiah Laments for and Prays for the Soon-to-be-Judged People
17 Gather your belongings together and prepare to leave the land,
you people of Jerusalem who are being besieged.
18 For the Lord says, “I will now throw out
those who live in this land.
I will bring so much trouble on them
that they will actually feel it.”
19 And I cried out, “We are doomed!
Our wound is severe!
We once thought, ‘This is only an illness.
And we will be able to bear it!’
20 But our tents have been destroyed.
The ropes that held them in place have been ripped apart.
Our children are gone and are not coming back.
There is no survivor to put our tents back up,
no one left to hang their tent curtains in place.
21 For our leaders are stupid.
They have not sought the Lord’s advice.
So they do not act wisely,
and the people they are responsible for have all been scattered.
22 Listen! News is coming even now.
The rumble of a great army is heard approaching from a land in the north.
It is coming to turn the towns of Judah into rubble,
places where only jackals live.
23 Lord, we know that people do not control their own destiny.
It is not in their power to determine what will happen to them.
24 Correct us, Lord, but only in due measure.
Do not punish us in anger or you will reduce us to nothing.
25 Vent your anger on the nations that do not acknowledge you.
Vent it on the peoples who do not worship you.
For they have destroyed the people of Jacob.
They have completely destroyed them
and left their homeland in utter ruin.