1 The Lord spoke to Jeremiah about the drought.
2 “The people of Judah are in mourning.
The people in her cities are pining away.
They lie on the ground expressing their sorrow.
Cries of distress come up to me from Jerusalem.
3 The leading men of the cities send their servants for water.
They go to the cisterns, but they do not find any water there.
They return with their containers empty.
Disappointed and dismayed, they bury their faces in their hands.
4 They are dismayed because the ground is cracked
because there has been no rain in the land.
The farmers, too, are dismayed
and bury their faces in their hands.
5 Even the doe abandons her newborn fawn in the field
because there is no grass.
6 Wild donkeys stand on the hilltops
and pant for breath like jackals.
Their eyes are strained looking for food,
because there is none to be found.”
7 Then I said,
“O Lord, intervene for the honor of your name
even though our sins speak out against us.
Indeed, we have turned away from you many times.
We have sinned against you.
8 You have been the object of Israel’s hopes.
You have saved them when they were in trouble.
Why have you become like a resident foreigner in the land?
Why have you become like a traveler who only stops in to spend the night?
9 Why should you be like someone who is helpless,
like a champion who cannot save anyone?
You are indeed with us,
and we belong to you.
Do not abandon us!”
10 Then the Lord spoke about these people.
“They truly love to go astray.
They cannot keep from running away from me.
So I am not pleased with them.
I will now call to mind the wrongs they have done
and punish them for their sins.”
Judgment for Believing the Misleading Lies of the False Prophets
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Do not pray for good to come to these people! 12 Even if they fast, I will not hear their cries for help. Even if they offer burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Instead, I will kill them through wars, famines, and plagues.”
13 Then I said, “Oh, Lord God, look! The prophets are telling them that you said, ‘You will not experience war or suffer famine. I will give you lasting peace and prosperity in this land.’ ”
14 Then the Lord said to me, “Those prophets are prophesying lies while claiming my authority! I did not send them. I did not commission them. I did not speak to them. They are prophesying to these people false visions, worthless predictions, and the delusions of their own mind. 15 I did not send those prophets, though they claim to be prophesying in my name. They may be saying, ‘No war or famine will happen in this land.’ But I, the Lord, say this about them: ‘War and starvation will kill those prophets.’ 16 The people to whom they are prophesying will die through war and famine. Their bodies will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem and there will be no one to bury them. This will happen to the men and their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out on them the destruction they deserve.”
Lament over Present Destruction and Threat of More to Come
17 “Tell these people this, Jeremiah:
‘My eyes overflow with tears
day and night without ceasing.
For my people, my dear children, have suffered a crushing blow.
They have suffered a serious wound.
18 If I go out into the countryside,
I see those who have been killed in battle.
If I go into the city,
I see those who are sick because of starvation.
For both prophet and priest go about their own business
in the land without having any real understanding.’ ”
19 Then I said,
“Lord, have you completely rejected the nation of Judah?
Do you despise the city of Zion?
Why have you struck us with such force
that we are beyond recovery?
We hope for peace, but nothing good has come of it.
We hope for a time of relief from our troubles, but experience terror.
20 Lord, we confess that we have been wicked.
We confess that our ancestors have done wrong.
We have indeed sinned against you.
21 For the honor of your name, do not treat Jerusalem with contempt.
Do not treat with disdain the place where your glorious throne sits.
Be mindful of your covenant with us. Do not break it!
22 Do any of the worthless idols of the nations cause rain to fall?
Do the skies themselves send showers?
Is it not you, O Lord our God, who does this?
So we put our hopes in you
because you alone do all this.”