The Bible – Old Testament
1 The following message came to Jeremiah from the LORD:
Stand at the gate of the house of the LORD, and there proclaim this message: Hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who enter these gates to worship the LORD!
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Reform your ways and your deeds, so that I may remain with you in this place.
Put not your trust in the deceitful words: “This is the temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD! The temple of the LORD!”
Only if you thoroughly reform your ways and your deeds; if each of you deals justly with his neighbor;
2 if you no longer oppress the resident alien, the orphan, and the widow; if you no longer shed innocent blood in this place, or follow strange gods to your own harm,
will I remain with you in this place, in the land which I gave your fathers long ago and forever.
But here you are, putting your trust in deceitful words to your own loss!
Are you to steal and murder, commit adultery and perjury, burn incense to Baal, go after strange gods that you know not,
and yet come to stand before me in this house which bears my name, and say: “We are safe; we can commit all these abominations again”?
Has this house which bears my name become in your eyes a den of thieves? I too see what is being done, says the LORD.
3 You may go to Shiloh, which I made the dwelling place of my name in the beginning. See what I did to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel.
And now, because you have committed all these misdeeds, says the LORD, because you did not listen, though I spoke to you untiringly; because you did not answer, though I called you,
I will do to this house named after me, in which you trust, and to this place which I gave to you and your fathers, just as I did to Shiloh.
I will cast you away from me, as I cast away all your brethren, all the offspring of Ephraim.
You, now, do not intercede for this people; raise not in their behalf a pleading prayer! Do not urge me, for I will not listen to you.
Do you not see what they are doing in the cities of Judah, in the streets of Jerusalem?
4 The children gather wood, their fathers light the fire, and the women knead dough to make cakes for the queen of heaven, while libations are poured out to strange gods in order to hurt me.
Is it I whom they hurt, says the LORD; is it not rather themselves, to their own confusion?
See now, says the Lord GOD, my anger and my wrath will pour out upon this place, upon man and beast, upon the trees of the field and the fruits of the earth; it will burn without being quenched.
Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Heap your holocausts upon your sacrifices; eat up the flesh!
5 In speaking to your fathers on the day I brought them out of the land of Egypt, I gave them no command concerning holocaust or sacrifice.
This rather is what I commanded them: Listen to my voice; then I will be your God and you shall be my people. Walk in all the ways that I command you, so that you may prosper.
But they obeyed not, nor did they pay heed. They walked in the hardness of their evil hearts and turned their backs, not their faces, to me.
From the day that your fathers left the land of Egypt even to this day, I have sent you untiringly all my servants the prophets.
Yet they have not obeyed me nor paid heed; they have stiffened their necks and done worse than their fathers.
When you speak all these words to them, they will not listen to you either; when you call to them, they will not answer you.
Say to them: This is the nation which does not listen to the voice of the LORD, its God, or take correction. Faithfulness has disappeared; the word itself is banished from their speech.
6 Cut off your dedicated hair and throw it away! on the heights intone an elegy; For the LORD has rejected and cast off the generation that draws down his wrath.
The people of Judah have done what is evil in my eyes, says the LORD. They have defiled the house which bears my name by setting up in it their abominable idols.
In the Valley of Ben-hinnom they have built the high place of Topheth to immolate in fire their sons and their daughters, such a thing as I never commanded or had in mind.
Therefore, beware! days will come, says the LORD, when Topheth and the Valley of Ben-hinnom will no longer be called such, but rather the Valley of Slaughter. For lack of space, Topheth will be a burial place.
The corpses of this people will be food for the birds of the sky and for the beasts of the field, which no one will drive away.
In the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem I will silence the cry of joy, the cry of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; for the land will be turned to rubble.
1 [1-15] The temple of the LORD will not serve as a place of refuge for the Jews against their enemies if they fail to reform their evil ways.
3  Shiloh: original place of worship from the time of Joshua to that of Samuel. The sanctuary was later rejected by God and destroyed by the Philistines; cf ⇒ 1 Sam 1:9; ⇒ 4:3-4; ⇒ Psalm 78:60, ⇒ 68, ⇒ 69.
4  Queen of heaven: the Assyro-Babylonian Ishtar, goddess of fertility, whose worship was introduced under King Manasseh and was revived after Josiah’s death. Cakes shaped like stars (Ishtar was identified with the planet Venus) were offered in her honor.
5  I gave them no command: right conduct rather than mere external cult was God’s will concerning his people (⇒ Jeremiah 7:23).
6  Dedicated hair: the unshorn hair of the nazirite, regarded as sacred because of a vow, temporary or permanent, to abstain from cutting or shaving the hair, from contact with a corpse, and from all products of the vine; cf ⇒ Numbers 6:4-8. The cutting of this hair was a sign of extreme mourning.