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Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
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Bible Reading Plan

Daily Bible Reading

October 21 - Old & New Testament


Jeremiah 7,8,26

False Religion Worthless

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord : 2 "Stand(a) at the gate of the Lord 's house and there proclaim this message:

"‘Hear the word of the Lord , all you people of Judah who come through these gates to worship the Lord . 3 This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Reform your ways(b) and your actions, and I will let you live(c) in this place. 4 Do not trust(d) in deceptive(e) words and say, "This is the temple of the Lord , the temple of the Lord , the temple of the Lord !" 5 If you really change(f) your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly,(g) 6 if you do not oppress(h) the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood(i) in this place, and if you do not follow other gods(j) to your own harm, 7 then I will let you live in this place, in the land(k) I gave your ancestors(l) for ever and ever. 8 But look, you are trusting(m) in deceptive(n) words that are worthless.

9 "‘Will you steal(o) and murder,(p) commit adultery(q) and perjury,[a](r) burn incense to Baal(s) and follow other gods(t) you have not known, 10 and then come and stand(u) before me in this house,(v) which bears my Name, and say, "We are safe"—safe to do all these detestable things?(w) 11 Has this house,(x) which bears my Name, become a den of robbers(y) to you? But I have been watching!(z) declares the Lord .

12 "‘Go now to the place in Shiloh(aa) where I first made a dwelling(ab) for my Name,(ac) and see what I did(ad) to it because of the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 While you were doing all these things, declares the Lord , I spoke(ae) to you again and again,(af) but you did not listen;(ag) I called(ah) you, but you did not answer.(ai) 14 Therefore, what I did to Shiloh(aj) I will now do to the house that bears my Name,(ak) the temple(al) you trust in, the place I gave to you and your ancestors. 15 I will thrust you from my presence,(am) just as I did all your fellow Israelites, the people of Ephraim.'(an)

16 "So do not pray for this people nor offer any plea(ao) or petition for them; do not plead with me, for I will not listen(ap) to you. 17 Do you not see what they are doing in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem? 18 The children gather wood, the fathers light the fire, and the women knead the dough and make cakes to offer to the Queen of Heaven.(aq) They pour out drink offerings(ar) to other gods to arouse(as) my anger. 19 But am I the one they are provoking?(at) declares the Lord . Are they not rather harming themselves, to their own shame?(au)

20 "‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign(av) Lord says: My anger(aw) and my wrath will be poured(ax) out on this place—on man and beast, on the trees of the field and on the crops of your land—and it will burn and not be quenched.(ay)

21 "‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Go ahead, add your burnt offerings to your other sacrifices(az) and eat(ba) the meat yourselves! 22 For when I brought your ancestors out of Egypt and spoke to them, I did not just give them commands(bb) about burnt offerings and sacrifices,(bc) 23 but I gave them this command:(bd) Obey(be) me, and I will be your God and you will be my people.(bf) Walk in obedience to all(bg) I command you, that it may go well(bh) with you. 24 But they did not listen(bi) or pay attention;(bj) instead, they followed the stubborn inclinations of their evil hearts.(bk) They went backward(bl) and not forward. 25 From the time your ancestors left Egypt until now, day after day, again and again(bm) I sent you my servants(bn) the prophets.(bo) 26 But they did not listen to me or pay attention.(bp) They were stiff-necked(bq) and did more evil than their ancestors.'(br)

27 "When you tell(bs) them all this, they will not listen(bt) to you; when you call to them, they will not answer.(bu) 28 Therefore say to them, ‘This is the nation that has not obeyed the Lord its God or responded to correction.(bv) Truth(bw) has perished; it has vanished from their lips.

29 "‘Cut off(bx) your hair and throw it away; take up a lament(by) on the barren heights, for the Lord has rejected and abandoned(bz) this generation that is under his wrath.

The Valley of Slaughter

30 "‘The people of Judah have done evil(ca) in my eyes, declares the Lord . They have set up their detestable idols(cb) in the house that bears my Name and have defiled(cc) it. 31 They have built the high places of Topheth(cd) in the Valley of Ben Hinnom(ce) to burn their sons and daughters(cf) in the fire—something I did not command, nor did it enter my mind.(cg) 32 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord , when people will no longer call it Topheth or the Valley of Ben Hinnom, but the Valley of Slaughter,(ch) for they will bury(ci) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 33 Then the carcasses(cj) of this people will become food(ck) for the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away.(cl) 34 I will bring an end to the sounds(cm) of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom(cn) in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem,(co) for the land will become desolate.(cp)

1 "‘At that time, declares the Lord , the bones of the kings and officials of Judah, the bones of the priests and prophets, and the bones(a) of the people of Jerusalem will be removed(b) from their graves. 2 They will be exposed to the sun and the moon and all the stars of the heavens, which they have loved and served(c) and which they have followed and consulted and worshiped.(d) They will not be gathered up or buried,(e) but will be like dung lying on the ground.(f) 3 Wherever I banish them,(g) all the survivors of this evil nation will prefer death to life,(h) declares the Lord Almighty.'

Sin and Punishment

4 "Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

"‘When people fall down, do they not get up?(i)
     When someone turns away,(j) do they not return?
5 Why then have these people turned away?
     Why does Jerusalem always turn away?
They cling to deceit;(k)
     they refuse to return.(l)
6 I have listened(m) attentively,
     but they do not say what is right.
None of them repent(n) of their wickedness,
     saying, "What have I done?"
Each pursues their own course(o)
     like a horse charging into battle.
7 Even the stork in the sky
     knows her appointed seasons,
and the dove, the swift and the thrush
     observe the time of their migration.
But my people do not know(p)
     the requirements of the Lord .

8 "‘How can you say, "We are wise,
     for we have the law(q) of the Lord ,"
when actually the lying pen of the scribes
     has handled it falsely?
9 The wise(r) will be put to shame;
     they will be dismayed(s) and trapped.(t)
Since they have rejected the word(u) of the Lord ,
     what kind of wisdom(v) do they have?
10 Therefore I will give their wives to other men
     and their fields to new owners.(w)
From the least to the greatest,
     all are greedy for gain;(x)
prophets(y) and priests alike,
     all practice deceit.(z)
11 They dress the wound of my people
     as though it were not serious.
"Peace, peace," they say,
     when there is no peace.(aa)
12 Are they ashamed of their detestable conduct?
     No, they have no shame(ab) at all;
     they do not even know how to blush.
So they will fall among the fallen;
     they will be brought down when they are punished,(ac)
says the Lord .(ad)

13 "‘I will take away their harvest,
declares the Lord .
     There will be no grapes on the vine.(ae)
There will be no figs(af) on the tree,
     and their leaves will wither.(ag)
What I have given them
     will be taken(ah) from them.[a]'"

14 Why are we sitting here?
     Gather together!
Let us flee to the fortified cities(ai)
     and perish there!
For the Lord our God has doomed us to perish
     and given us poisoned water(aj) to drink,
     because we have sinned(ak) against him.
15 We hoped for peace(al)
     but no good has come,
for a time of healing
     but there is only terror.(am)
16 The snorting of the enemy's horses(an)
     is heard from Dan;(ao)
at the neighing of their stallions
     the whole land trembles.(ap)
They have come to devour(aq)
     the land and everything in it,
     the city and all who live there.

17 "See, I will send venomous snakes(ar) among you,
     vipers that cannot be charmed,(as)
     and they will bite you,"
declares the Lord .

18 You who are my Comforter[b] in sorrow,
     my heart is faint(at) within me.
19 Listen to the cry of my people
     from a land far away:(au)
"Is the Lord not in Zion?
     Is her King(av) no longer there?"

"Why have they aroused(aw) my anger with their images,
     with their worthless(ax) foreign idols?"(ay)

20 "The harvest is past,
     the summer has ended,
     and we are not saved."

21 Since my people are crushed,(az) I am crushed;
     I mourn,(ba) and horror grips me.
22 Is there no balm in Gilead?(bb)
     Is there no physician(bc) there?
Why then is there no healing(bd)
     for the wound of my people?

1 [a]Oh, that my head were a spring of water
     and my eyes a fountain of tears!(a)
I would weep(b) day and night
     for the slain of my people.(c)
2 Oh, that I had in the desert(d)
     a lodging place for travelers,
so that I might leave my people
     and go away from them;
for they are all adulterers,(e)
     a crowd of unfaithful(f) people.

3 "They make ready their tongue
     like a bow, to shoot lies;(g)
it is not by truth
     that they triumph[b] in the land.
They go from one sin to another;
     they do not acknowledge(h) me,"
declares the Lord .
4 "Beware of your friends;(i)
     do not trust anyone in your clan.(j)
For every one of them is a deceiver,[c](k)
     and every friend a slanderer.(l)
5 Friend deceives friend,(m)
     and no one speaks the truth.(n)
They have taught their tongues to lie;(o)
     they weary themselves with sinning.
6 You[d] live in the midst of deception;(p)
     in their deceit they refuse to acknowledge me,"
declares the Lord .

7 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says:

"See, I will refine(q) and test(r) them,
     for what else can I do
     because of the sin of my people?
8 Their tongue(s) is a deadly arrow;
     it speaks deceitfully.
With their mouths they all speak cordially to their neighbors,(t)
     but in their hearts they set traps(u) for them.(v)
9 Should I not punish them for this?"
     declares the Lord .
"Should I not avenge(w) myself
     on such a nation as this?"

10 I will weep and wail for the mountains
     and take up a lament concerning the wilderness grasslands.(x)
They are desolate and untraveled,
     and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
The birds(y) have all fled
     and the animals are gone.

11 "I will make Jerusalem a heap(z) of ruins,
     a haunt of jackals;(aa)
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah(ab)
     so no one can live there."(ac)

12 Who is wise(ad) enough to understand this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it? Why has the land been ruined and laid waste like a desert that no one can cross?

13 The Lord said, "It is because they have forsaken my law, which I set before them; they have not obeyed me or followed my law.(ae) 14 Instead, they have followed(af) the stubbornness of their hearts;(ag) they have followed the Baals, as their ancestors taught them." 15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: "See, I will make this people eat bitter food(ah) and drink poisoned water.(ai) 16 I will scatter them among nations(aj) that neither they nor their ancestors have known,(ak) and I will pursue them with the sword(al) until I have made an end of them."(am)

17 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

"Consider now! Call for the wailing women(an) to come;
     send for the most skillful of them.
18 Let them come quickly
     and wail over us
till our eyes overflow with tears
     and water streams from our eyelids.(ao)
19 The sound of wailing is heard from Zion:
     ‘How ruined(ap) we are!
     How great is our shame!
We must leave our land
     because our houses are in ruins.'"

20 Now, you women, hear the word of the Lord ;
     open your ears to the words of his mouth.(aq)
Teach your daughters how to wail;
     teach one another a lament.(ar)
21 Death has climbed in through our windows(as)
     and has entered our fortresses;
it has removed the children from the streets
     and the young men(at) from the public squares.

22 Say, "This is what the Lord declares:

"‘Dead bodies will lie
     like dung(au) on the open field,
like cut grain behind the reaper,
     with no one to gather them.'"

23 This is what the Lord says:

"Let not the wise boast of their wisdom(av)
     or the strong boast of their strength(aw)
     or the rich boast of their riches,(ax)
24 but let the one who boasts boast(ay) about this:
     that they have the understanding to know(az) me,
that I am the Lord ,(ba) who exercises kindness,(bb)
     justice and righteousness(bc) on earth,
     for in these I delight,"
declares the Lord .

25 "The days are coming," declares the Lord , "when I will punish all who are circumcised only in the flesh(bd) 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, Ammon, Moab and all who live in the wilderness in distant places.[e](be) For all these nations are really uncircumcised,(bf) and even the whole house of Israel is uncircumcised in heart.(bg)"

God and Idols(a)

1 Hear what the Lord says to you, people of Israel. 2 This is what the Lord says:

"Do not learn the ways of the nations(b)
     or be terrified by signs(c) in the heavens,
     though the nations are terrified by them.
3 For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
     they cut a tree out of the forest,
     and a craftsman(d) shapes it with his chisel.(e)
4 They adorn it with silver(f) and gold;
     they fasten it with hammer and nails
     so it will not totter.(g)
5 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber field,
     their idols cannot speak;(h)
they must be carried
     because they cannot walk.(i)
Do not fear them;
     they can do no harm(j)
     nor can they do any good."(k)

6 No one is like you,(l) Lord ;
     you are great,(m)
     and your name is mighty in power.
7 Who should not fear(n) you,
     King of the nations?(o)
     This is your due.
Among all the wise leaders of the nations
     and in all their kingdoms,
     there is no one like you.

8 They are all senseless(p) and foolish;(q)
     they are taught by worthless wooden idols.(r)
9 Hammered silver is brought from Tarshish(s)
     and gold from Uphaz.
What the craftsman and goldsmith have made(t)
     is then dressed in blue and purple—
     all made by skilled workers.
10 But the Lord is the true God;
     he is the living God,(u) the eternal King.(v)
When he is angry,(w) the earth trembles;(x)
     the nations cannot endure his wrath.(y)

11 "Tell them this: ‘These gods, who did not make the heavens and the earth, will perish(z) from the earth and from under the heavens.'"[a]

12 But God made(aa) the earth(ab) by his power;
     he founded the world by his wisdom(ac)
     and stretched out the heavens(ad) by his understanding.
13 When he thunders,(ae) the waters in the heavens roar;
     he makes clouds rise from the ends of the earth.
He sends lightning(af) with the rain(ag)
     and brings out the wind from his storehouses.(ah)

14 Everyone is senseless and without knowledge;
     every goldsmith is shamed(ai) by his idols.
The images he makes are a fraud;(aj)
     they have no breath in them.
15 They are worthless,(ak) the objects of mockery;
     when their judgment comes, they will perish.
16 He who is the Portion(al) of Jacob is not like these,
     for he is the Maker of all things,(am)
including Israel, the people of his inheritance(an)
     the Lord Almighty is his name.(ao)

Coming Destruction

17 Gather up your belongings(ap) to leave the land,
     you who live under siege.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
     "At this time I will hurl(aq) out
     those who live in this land;
I will bring distress(ar) on them
     so that they may be captured."

19 Woe to me because of my injury!
     My wound(as) is incurable!
Yet I said to myself,
     "This is my sickness, and I must endure(at) it."
20 My tent(au) is destroyed;
     all its ropes are snapped.
My children are gone from me and are no more;(av)
     no one is left now to pitch my tent
     or to set up my shelter.
21 The shepherds(aw) are senseless(ax)
     and do not inquire of the Lord ;(ay)
so they do not prosper(az)
     and all their flock is scattered.(ba)
22 Listen! The report is coming—
     a great commotion from the land of the north!(bb)
It will make the towns of Judah desolate,(bc)
     a haunt of jackals.(bd)

Jeremiah's Prayer

23  Lord , I know that people's lives are not their own;
     it is not for them to direct their steps.(be)
24 Discipline me, Lord , but only in due measure—
     not in your anger,(bf)
     or you will reduce me to nothing.(bg)
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations(bh)
     that do not acknowledge you,
     on the peoples who do not call on your name.(bi)
For they have devoured(bj) Jacob;
     they have devoured him completely
     and destroyed his homeland.(bk)

The Covenant Is Broken

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord : 2 "Listen to the terms of this covenant(a) and tell them to the people of Judah and to those who live in Jerusalem. 3 Tell them that this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: ‘Cursed(b) is the one who does not obey the terms of this covenant— 4 the terms I commanded your ancestors when I brought them out of Egypt,(c) out of the iron-smelting furnace.(d)' I said, ‘Obey(e) me and do everything I command you, and you will be my people,(f) and I will be your God. 5 Then I will fulfill the oath I swore(g) to your ancestors, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey'(h)—the land you possess today."

I answered, "Amen,(i) Lord ."

6 The Lord said to me, "Proclaim(j) all these words in the towns of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem: ‘Listen to the terms of this covenant and follow(k) them. 7 From the time I brought your ancestors up from Egypt until today, I warned them again and again,(l) saying, "Obey me." 8 But they did not listen or pay attention;(m) instead, they followed the stubbornness of their evil hearts.(n) So I brought on them all the curses(o) of the covenant I had commanded them to follow but that they did not keep.(p)'"

9 Then the Lord said to me, "There is a conspiracy(q) among the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem. 10 They have returned to the sins of their ancestors,(r) who refused to listen to my words.(s) They have followed other gods(t) to serve them.(u) Both Israel and Judah have broken the covenant(v) I made with their ancestors. 11 Therefore this is what the Lord says: ‘I will bring on them a disaster(w) they cannot escape.(x) Although they cry(y) out to me, I will not listen(z) to them. 12 The towns of Judah and the people of Jerusalem will go and cry out to the gods to whom they burn incense,(aa) but they will not help them at all when disaster(ab) strikes. 13 You, Judah, have as many gods(ac) as you have towns;(ad) and the altars you have set up to burn incense(ae) to that shameful(af) god Baal are as many as the streets of Jerusalem.'

14 "Do not pray(ag) for this people or offer any plea or petition for them, because I will not listen(ah) when they call to me in the time of their distress.

15 "What is my beloved doing in my temple
     as she, with many others, works out her evil schemes?
     Can consecrated meat(ai) avert your punishment?(aj)
When you engage in your wickedness,
     then you rejoice.[a]"

16 The Lord called you a thriving olive tree(ak)
     with fruit beautiful in form.
But with the roar of a mighty storm
     he will set it on fire,(al)
     and its branches will be broken.(am)

17 The Lord Almighty, who planted(an) you, has decreed disaster(ao) for you, because the people of both Israel and Judah have done evil and aroused(ap) my anger by burning incense to Baal.(aq)

Plot Against Jeremiah

18 Because the Lord revealed their plot to me, I knew it, for at that time he showed me what they were doing. 19 I had been like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter;(ar) I did not realize that they had plotted(as) against me, saying,

"Let us destroy the tree and its fruit;
     let us cut him off from the land of the living,(at)
     that his name be remembered(au) no more."
20 But you, Lord Almighty, who judge righteously(av)
     and test the heart(aw) and mind,(ax)
let me see your vengeance(ay) on them,
     for to you I have committed my cause.

21 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the people of Anathoth(az) who are threatening to kill you,(ba) saying, "Do not prophesy(bb) in the name of the Lord or you will die(bc) by our hands"— 22 therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says: "I will punish them. Their young men(bd) will die by the sword, their sons and daughters by famine. 23 Not even a remnant(be) will be left to them, because I will bring disaster on the people of Anathoth in the year of their punishment.(bf)"

Jeremiah's Complaint

1 You are always righteous,(a) Lord ,
     when I bring a case(b) before you.
Yet I would speak with you about your justice:(c)
     Why does the way of the wicked prosper?(d)
     Why do all the faithless live at ease?
2 You have planted(e) them, and they have taken root;
     they grow and bear fruit.(f)
You are always on their lips
     but far from their hearts.(g)
3 Yet you know me, Lord ;
     you see me and test(h) my thoughts about you.
Drag them off like sheep(i) to be butchered!
     Set them apart for the day of slaughter!(j)
4 How long will the land lie parched(k)
     and the grass in every field be withered?(l)
Because those who live in it are wicked,
     the animals and birds have perished.(m)
Moreover, the people are saying,
     "He will not see what happens to us."

God's Answer

5 "If you have raced with men on foot
     and they have worn you out,
     how can you compete with horses?
If you stumble[a] in safe country,
     how will you manage in the thickets(n) by[b] the Jordan?
6 Your relatives, members of your own family—
     even they have betrayed you;
     they have raised a loud cry against you.(o)
Do not trust them,
     though they speak well of you.(p)

7 "I will forsake(q) my house,
     abandon(r) my inheritance;
I will give the one I love(s)
     into the hands of her enemies.(t)
8 My inheritance has become to me
     like a lion(u) in the forest.
She roars at me;
     therefore I hate her.(v)
9 Has not my inheritance become to me
     like a speckled bird of prey
     that other birds of prey surround and attack?
Go and gather all the wild beasts;
     bring them to devour.(w)
10 Many shepherds(x) will ruin my vineyard
     and trample down my field;
they will turn my pleasant field
     into a desolate wasteland.(y)
11 It will be made a wasteland,(z)
     parched and desolate before me;(aa)
the whole land will be laid waste
     because there is no one who cares.
12 Over all the barren heights in the desert
     destroyers will swarm,
for the sword(ab) of the Lord (ac) will devour(ad)
     from one end of the land to the other;(ae)
     no one will be safe.(af)
13 They will sow wheat but reap thorns;
     they will wear themselves out but gain nothing.(ag)
They will bear the shame of their harvest
     because of the Lord 's fierce anger."(ah)

14 This is what the Lord says: "As for all my wicked neighbors who seize the inheritance(ai) I gave my people Israel, I will uproot(aj) them from their lands and I will uproot(ak) the people of Judah from among them. 15 But after I uproot them, I will again have compassion(al) and will bring(am) each of them back to their own inheritance and their own country. 16 And if they learn(an) well the ways of my people and swear by my name, saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives'(ao)—even as they once taught my people to swear by Baal(ap)—then they will be established among my people.(aq) 17 But if any nation does not listen, I will completely uproot and destroy(ar) it," declares the Lord .

A Linen Belt

1 This is what the Lord said to me: "Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water." 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.

3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time:(a) 4 "Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath[a](b) and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks." 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.(c)

6 Many days later the Lord said to me, "Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there." 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 "This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride(d) of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen(e) to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts(f) and go after other gods(g) to serve and worship them,(h) will be like this belt—completely useless!(i) 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,' declares the Lord , ‘to be my people for my renown(j) and praise and honor.(k) But they have not listened.'(l)


12 "Say to them: ‘This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: Every wineskin should be filled with wine.' And if they say to you, ‘Don't we know that every wineskin should be filled with wine?' 13 then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says: I am going to fill with drunkenness(m) all who live in this land, including the kings who sit on David's throne, the priests, the prophets and all those living in Jerusalem. 14 I will smash them one against the other, parents and children alike, declares the Lord . I will allow no pity(n) or mercy or compassion(o) to keep me from destroying(p) them.'"

Threat of Captivity

15 Hear and pay attention,
     do not be arrogant,
     for the Lord has spoken.(q)
16 Give glory(r) to the Lord your God
     before he brings the darkness,
before your feet stumble(s)
     on the darkening hills.
You hope for light,
     but he will turn it to utter darkness
     and change it to deep gloom.(t)
17 If you do not listen,(u)
     I will weep in secret
     because of your pride;
my eyes will weep bitterly,
     overflowing with tears,(v)
     because the Lord 's flock(w) will be taken captive.(x)

18 Say to the king(y) and to the queen mother,(z)
     "Come down from your thrones,
for your glorious crowns(aa)
     will fall from your heads."
19 The cities in the Negev will be shut up,
     and there will be no one to open them.
All Judah(ab) will be carried into exile,
     carried completely away.

20 Look up and see
     those who are coming from the north.(ac)
Where is the flock(ad) that was entrusted to you,
     the sheep of which you boasted?
21 What will you say when the Lord sets over you
     those you cultivated as your special allies?(ae)
Will not pain grip you
     like that of a woman in labor?(af)
22 And if you ask yourself,
     "Why has this happened to me?"(ag)
it is because of your many sins(ah)
     that your skirts have been torn off(ai)
     and your body mistreated.(aj)
23 Can an Ethiopian[b] change his skin
     or a leopard its spots?
Neither can you do good
     who are accustomed to doing evil.(ak)

24 "I will scatter you like chaff(al)
     driven by the desert wind.(am)
25 This is your lot,
     the portion(an) I have decreed for you,"
declares the Lord ,
"because you have forgotten(ao) me
     and trusted in false gods.(ap)
26 I will pull up your skirts over your face
     that your shame may be seen(aq)
27 your adulteries and lustful neighings,
     your shameless prostitution!(ar)
I have seen your detestable acts
     on the hills and in the fields.(as)
Woe to you, Jerusalem!
     How long will you be unclean?"(at)

Drought, Famine, Sword

1 This is the word of the Lord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:(a)

2 "Judah mourns,(b)
     her cities languish;
they wail for the land,
     and a cry goes up from Jerusalem.
3 The nobles send their servants for water;
     they go to the cisterns
     but find no water.(c)
They return with their jars unfilled;
     dismayed and despairing,
     they cover their heads.(d)
4 The ground is cracked
     because there is no rain in the land;(e)
the farmers are dismayed
     and cover their heads.
5 Even the doe in the field
     deserts her newborn fawn
     because there is no grass.(f)
6 Wild donkeys stand on the barren heights(g)
     and pant like jackals;
their eyes fail
     for lack of food."(h)

7 Although our sins testify(i) against us,
     do something, Lord , for the sake of your name.(j)
For we have often rebelled;(k)
     we have sinned(l) against you.
8 You who are the hope(m) of Israel,
     its Savior(n) in times of distress,(o)
why are you like a stranger in the land,
     like a traveler who stays only a night?
9 Why are you like a man taken by surprise,
     like a warrior powerless to save?(p)
You are among(q) us, Lord ,
     and we bear your name;(r)
     do not forsake(s) us!

10 This is what the Lord says about this people:

"They greatly love to wander;
     they do not restrain their feet.(t)
So the Lord does not accept(u) them;
     he will now remember(v) their wickedness
     and punish them for their sins."(w)

11 Then the Lord said to me, "Do not pray(x) for the well-being of this people. 12 Although they fast, I will not listen to their cry;(y) though they offer burnt offerings(z) and grain offerings,(aa) I will not accept(ab) them. Instead, I will destroy them with the sword,(ac) famine(ad) and plague."(ae)

13 But I said, "Alas, Sovereign Lord ! The prophets(af) keep telling them, ‘You will not see the sword or suffer famine.(ag) Indeed, I will give you lasting peace(ah) in this place.'"

14 Then the Lord said to me, "The prophets are prophesying lies(ai) in my name. I have not sent(aj) them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions,(ak) divinations,(al) idolatries[a] and the delusions of their own minds. 15 Therefore this is what the Lord says about the prophets who are prophesying in my name: I did not send them, yet they are saying, ‘No sword or famine will touch this land.' Those same prophets will perish(am) by sword and famine.(an) 16 And the people they are prophesying to will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and sword. There will be no one to bury(ao) them, their wives, their sons and their daughters.(ap) I will pour out on them the calamity they deserve.(aq)

17 "Speak this word to them:

"‘Let my eyes overflow with tears(ar)
     night and day without ceasing;
for the Virgin(as) Daughter, my people,
     has suffered a grievous wound,
     a crushing blow.(at)
18 If I go into the country,
     I see those slain by the sword;
if I go into the city,
     I see the ravages of famine.(au)
Both prophet and priest
     have gone to a land they know not.(av)'"

19 Have you rejected Judah completely?(aw)
     Do you despise Zion?
Why have you afflicted us
     so that we cannot be healed?(ax)
We hoped for peace
     but no good has come,
for a time of healing
     but there is only terror.(ay)
20 We acknowledge(az) our wickedness, Lord ,
     and the guilt of our ancestors;(ba)
     we have indeed sinned(bb) against you.
21 For the sake of your name(bc) do not despise us;
     do not dishonor your glorious throne.(bd)
Remember your covenant(be) with us
     and do not break it.
22 Do any of the worthless idols(bf) of the nations bring rain?(bg)
     Do the skies themselves send down showers?
No, it is you, Lord our God.
     Therefore our hope is in you,
     for you are the one who does all this.(bh)

1 Then the Lord said to me: "Even if Moses(a) and Samuel(b) were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people.(c) Send them away from my presence!(d) Let them go! 2 And if they ask you, ‘Where shall we go?' tell them, ‘This is what the Lord says:

"‘Those destined for death, to death;
those for the sword, to the sword;(e)
those for starvation, to starvation;(f)
those for captivity, to captivity.'(g)

3 "I will send four kinds of destroyers(h) against them," declares the Lord , "the sword(i) to kill and the dogs(j) to drag away and the birds(k) and the wild animals to devour and destroy.(l) 4 I will make them abhorrent(m) to all the kingdoms of the earth(n) because of what Manasseh(o) son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem.

5 "Who will have pity(p) on you, Jerusalem?
     Who will mourn for you?
     Who will stop to ask how you are?
6 You have rejected(q) me," declares the Lord .
     "You keep on backsliding.
So I will reach out(r) and destroy you;
     I am tired of holding back.(s)
7 I will winnow(t) them with a winnowing fork
     at the city gates of the land.
I will bring bereavement(u) and destruction on my people,(v)
     for they have not changed their ways.(w)
8 I will make their widows(x) more numerous
     than the sand of the sea.
At midday I will bring a destroyer(y)
     against the mothers of their young men;
suddenly I will bring down on them
     anguish and terror.(z)
9 The mother of seven will grow faint(aa)
     and breathe her last.(ab)
Her sun will set while it is still day;
     she will be disgraced(ac) and humiliated.
I will put the survivors to the sword(ad)
     before their enemies,"(ae)
declares the Lord .

10 Alas, my mother, that you gave me birth,(af)
     a man with whom the whole land strives and contends!(ag)
I have neither lent(ah) nor borrowed,
     yet everyone curses(ai) me.

11 The Lord said,

"Surely I will deliver you(aj) for a good purpose;
     surely I will make your enemies plead(ak) with you
     in times of disaster and times of distress.

12 "Can a man break iron—
     iron from the north(al)—or bronze?

13 "Your wealth(am) and your treasures
     I will give as plunder,(an) without charge,(ao)
because of all your sins
     throughout your country.(ap)
14 I will enslave you to your enemies
     in[a] a land you do not know,(aq)
for my anger will kindle a fire(ar)
     that will burn against you."

15  Lord , you understand;
     remember me and care for me.
     Avenge me on my persecutors.(as)
You are long-suffering(at)—do not take me away;
     think of how I suffer reproach for your sake.(au)
16 When your words came, I ate(av) them;
     they were my joy and my heart's delight,(aw)
for I bear your name,(ax)
     Lord God Almighty.
17 I never sat(ay) in the company of revelers,
     never made merry with them;
I sat alone because your hand(az) was on me
     and you had filled me with indignation.
18 Why is my pain unending
     and my wound grievous and incurable?(ba)
You are to me like a deceptive brook,
     like a spring that fails.(bb)

19 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

"If you repent, I will restore you
     that you may serve(bc) me;
if you utter worthy, not worthless, words,
     you will be my spokesman.(bd)
Let this people turn to you,
     but you must not turn to them.
20 I will make you a wall(be) to this people,
     a fortified wall of bronze;
they will fight against you
     but will not overcome(bf) you,
for I am with you
     to rescue and save you,"(bg)
declares the Lord .
21 "I will save(bh) you from the hands of the wicked(bi)
     and deliver(bj) you from the grasp of the cruel."(bk)

Day of Disaster

1 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 2 "You must not marry(a) and have sons or daughters in this place." 3 For this is what the Lord says about the sons and daughters born in this land and about the women who are their mothers and the men who are their fathers:(b) 4 "They will die of deadly diseases. They will not be mourned or buried(c) but will be like dung lying on the ground.(d) They will perish by sword and famine,(e) and their dead bodies will become food for the birds and the wild animals."(f)

5 For this is what the Lord says: "Do not enter a house where there is a funeral meal; do not go to mourn or show sympathy, because I have withdrawn my blessing, my love and my pity(g) from this people," declares the Lord . 6 "Both high and low will die in this land.(h) They will not be buried or mourned,(i) and no one will cut(j) themselves or shave(k) their head for the dead. 7 No one will offer food(l) to comfort those who mourn(m) for the dead—not even for a father or a mother—nor will anyone give them a drink to console(n) them.

8 "And do not enter a house where there is feasting and sit down to eat and drink.(o) 9 For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Before your eyes and in your days I will bring an end to the sounds(p) of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride(q) and bridegroom in this place.(r)

10 "When you tell these people all this and they ask you, ‘Why has the Lord decreed such a great disaster against us? What wrong have we done? What sin have we committed against the Lord our God?'(s) 11 then say to them, ‘It is because your ancestors forsook me,' declares the Lord , ‘and followed other gods and served and worshiped(t) them. They forsook me and did not keep my law.(u) 12 But you have behaved more wickedly than your ancestors.(v) See how all of you are following the stubbornness of your evil hearts(w) instead of obeying me. 13 So I will throw you out of this land(x) into a land neither you nor your ancestors have known,(y) and there you will serve other gods(z) day and night, for I will show you no favor.'(aa)

14 "However, the days are coming,"(ab) declares the Lord , "when it will no longer be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,'(ac) 15 but it will be said, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of the land of the north(ad) and out of all the countries where he had banished them.'(ae) For I will restore(af) them to the land I gave their ancestors.(ag)

16 "But now I will send for many fishermen," declares the Lord , "and they will catch them.(ah) After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt(ai) them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.(aj) 17 My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden(ak) from me, nor is their sin concealed from my eyes.(al) 18 I will repay(am) them double(an) for their wickedness and their sin, because they have defiled my land(ao) with the lifeless forms of their vile images(ap) and have filled my inheritance with their detestable idols.(aq)"(ar)

19  Lord , my strength and my fortress,
     my refuge(as) in time of distress,
to you the nations will come(at)
     from the ends of the earth and say,
"Our ancestors possessed nothing but false gods,(au)
     worthless idols(av) that did them no good.(aw)
20 Do people make their own gods?
     Yes, but they are not gods!"(ax)

21 "Therefore I will teach them—
     this time I will teach them
     my power and might.
Then they will know
     that my name(ay) is the Lord .

1 "Judah's sin is engraved with an iron tool,(a)
     inscribed with a flint point,
on the tablets of their hearts(b)
     and on the horns(c) of their altars.
2 Even their children remember
     their altars and Asherah poles[a](d)
beside the spreading trees
     and on the high hills.(e)
3 My mountain in the land
     and your[b] wealth and all your treasures
I will give away as plunder,(f)
     together with your high places,(g)
     because of sin throughout your country.(h)
4 Through your own fault you will lose
     the inheritance(i) I gave you.
I will enslave you to your enemies(j)
     in a land(k) you do not know,
for you have kindled my anger,
     and it will burn(l) forever."

5 This is what the Lord says:

"Cursed is the one who trusts in man,(m)
     who draws strength from mere flesh
     and whose heart turns away from the Lord .(n)
6 That person will be like a bush in the wastelands;
     they will not see prosperity when it comes.
They will dwell in the parched places(o) of the desert,
     in a salt(p) land where no one lives.

7 "But blessed(q) is the one who trusts(r) in the Lord ,
     whose confidence is in him.
8 They will be like a tree planted by the water
     that sends out its roots by the stream.(s)
It does not fear when heat comes;
     its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought(t)
     and never fails to bear fruit."(u)

9 The heart(v) is deceitful above all things
     and beyond cure.
     Who can understand it?

10 "I the Lord search the heart(w)
     and examine the mind,(x)
to reward(y) each person according to their conduct,
     according to what their deeds deserve."(z)

11 Like a partridge that hatches eggs it did not lay
     are those who gain riches by unjust means.
When their lives are half gone, their riches will desert them,
     and in the end they will prove to be fools.(aa)

12 A glorious throne,(ab) exalted from the beginning,
     is the place of our sanctuary.
13  Lord , you are the hope(ac) of Israel;
     all who forsake(ad) you will be put to shame.
Those who turn away from you will be written in the dust(ae)
     because they have forsaken the Lord ,
     the spring of living water.(af)

14 Heal me, Lord , and I will be healed;(ag)
     save(ah) me and I will be saved,
     for you are the one I praise.(ai)
15 They keep saying to me,
     "Where is the word of the Lord ?
     Let it now be fulfilled!"(aj)
16 I have not run away from being your shepherd;
     you know I have not desired the day of despair.
     What passes my lips(ak) is open before you.
17 Do not be a terror(al) to me;
     you are my refuge(am) in the day of disaster.(an)
18 Let my persecutors be put to shame,
     but keep me from shame;
let them be terrified,
     but keep me from terror.
Bring on them the day of disaster;
     destroy them with double destruction.(ao)

Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy

19 This is what the Lord said to me: "Go and stand at the Gate of the People,[c] through which the kings of Judah go in and out; stand also at all the other gates of Jerusalem.(ap) 20 Say to them, ‘Hear the word of the Lord , you kings of Judah and all people of Judah and everyone living in Jerusalem(aq) who come through these gates.(ar) 21 This is what the Lord says: Be careful not to carry a load on the Sabbath(as) day or bring it through the gates of Jerusalem. 22 Do not bring a load out of your houses or do any work on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy, as I commanded your ancestors.(at) 23 Yet they did not listen or pay attention;(au) they were stiff-necked(av) and would not listen or respond to discipline.(aw) 24 But if you are careful to obey me, declares the Lord , and bring no load through the gates of this city on the Sabbath, but keep the Sabbath day holy(ax) by not doing any work on it, 25 then kings who sit on David's throne(ay) will come through the gates of this city with their officials. They and their officials will come riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by the men of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, and this city will be inhabited forever.(az) 26 People will come from the towns of Judah and the villages around Jerusalem, from the territory of Benjamin and the western foothills, from the hill country and the Negev,(ba) bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, grain offerings and incense, and bringing thank offerings to the house of the Lord . 27 But if you do not obey(bb) me to keep the Sabbath(bc) day holy by not carrying any load as you come through the gates of Jerusalem on the Sabbath day, then I will kindle an unquenchable fire(bd) in the gates of Jerusalem that will consume her fortresses.'"(be)

At the Potter's House

1 This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord : 2 "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." 3 So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. 4 But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.

5 Then the word of the Lord came to me. 6 He said, "Can I not do with you, Israel, as this potter does?" declares the Lord . "Like clay(a) in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand,(b) Israel. 7 If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted,(c) torn down and destroyed, 8 and if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent(d) and not inflict on it the disaster(e) I had planned. 9 And if at another time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be built(f) up and planted, 10 and if it does evil(g) in my sight and does not obey me, then I will reconsider(h) the good I had intended to do for it.(i)

11 "Now therefore say to the people of Judah and those living in Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: Look! I am preparing a disaster(j) for you and devising a plan(k) against you. So turn(l) from your evil ways,(m) each one of you, and reform your ways and your actions.'(n) 12 But they will reply, ‘It's no use.(o) We will continue with our own plans; we will all follow the stubbornness of our evil hearts.(p)'"

13 Therefore this is what the Lord says:

"Inquire among the nations:
     Who has ever heard anything like this?(q)
A most horrible(r) thing has been done
     by Virgin(s) Israel.
14 Does the snow of Lebanon
     ever vanish from its rocky slopes?
Do its cool waters from distant sources
     ever stop flowing?[a]
15 Yet my people have forgotten(t) me;
     they burn incense(u) to worthless idols,(v)
which made them stumble(w) in their ways,
     in the ancient paths.(x)
They made them walk in byways,
     on roads not built up.(y)
16 Their land will be an object of horror(z)
     and of lasting scorn;(aa)
all who pass by will be appalled(ab)
     and will shake their heads.(ac)
17 Like a wind(ad) from the east,
     I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face(ae)
     in the day of their disaster."

18 They said, "Come, let's make plans(af) against Jeremiah; for the teaching of the law by the priest(ag) will not cease, nor will counsel from the wise,(ah) nor the word from the prophets.(ai) So come, let's attack him with our tongues(aj) and pay no attention to anything he says."

19 Listen to me, Lord ;
     hear what my accusers(ak) are saying!
20 Should good be repaid with evil?(al)
     Yet they have dug a pit(am) for me.
Remember that I stood(an) before you
     and spoke in their behalf(ao)
     to turn your wrath away from them.
21 So give their children over to famine;(ap)
     hand them over to the power of the sword.(aq)
Let their wives be made childless and widows;(ar)
     let their men be put to death,
     their young men(as) slain by the sword in battle.
22 Let a cry(at) be heard from their houses
     when you suddenly bring invaders against them,
for they have dug a pit(au) to capture me
     and have hidden snares(av) for my feet.
23 But you, Lord , know
     all their plots to kill(aw) me.
Do not forgive(ax) their crimes
     or blot out their sins from your sight.
Let them be overthrown before you;
     deal with them in the time of your anger.(ay)

1 This is what the Lord says: "Go and buy a clay jar from a potter.(a) Take along some of the elders(b) of the people and of the priests 2 and go out to the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(c) near the entrance of the Potsherd Gate. There proclaim the words I tell you, 3 and say, ‘Hear the word of the Lord , you kings(d) of Judah and people of Jerusalem. This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Listen! I am going to bring a disaster(e) on this place that will make the ears of everyone who hears of it tingle.(f) 4 For they have forsaken(g) me and made this a place of foreign gods(h); they have burned incense(i) in it to gods that neither they nor their ancestors nor the kings of Judah ever knew, and they have filled this place with the blood of the innocent.(j) 5 They have built the high places of Baal to burn their children(k) in the fire as offerings to Baal—something I did not command or mention, nor did it enter my mind.(l) 6 So beware, the days are coming, declares the Lord , when people will no longer call this place Topheth(m) or the Valley of Ben Hinnom,(n) but the Valley of Slaughter.(o)

7 "‘In this place I will ruin[a] the plans(p) of Judah and Jerusalem. I will make them fall by the sword before their enemies,(q) at the hands of those who want to kill them, and I will give their carcasses(r) as food(s) to the birds and the wild animals. 8 I will devastate this city and make it an object of horror and scorn;(t) all who pass by will be appalled(u) and will scoff because of all its wounds.(v) 9 I will make them eat(w) the flesh of their sons and daughters, and they will eat one another's flesh because their enemies(x) will press the siege so hard against them to destroy them.'

10 "Then break the jar(y) while those who go with you are watching, 11 and say to them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: I will smash(z) this nation and this city just as this potter's jar is smashed and cannot be repaired. They will bury(aa) the dead in Topheth until there is no more room. 12 This is what I will do to this place and to those who live here, declares the Lord . I will make this city like Topheth. 13 The houses(ab) in Jerusalem and those of the kings of Judah will be defiled(ac) like this place, Topheth—all the houses where they burned incense on the roofs(ad) to all the starry hosts(ae) and poured out drink offerings(af) to other gods.'"

14 Jeremiah then returned from Topheth, where the Lord had sent him to prophesy, and stood in the court(ag) of the Lord 's temple and said to all the people, 15 "This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on this city and all the villages around it every disaster(ah) I pronounced against them, because they were stiff-necked(ai) and would not listen(aj) to my words.'"

Jeremiah and Pashhur

1 When the priest Pashhur son of Immer,(a) the official(b) in charge of the temple of the Lord , heard Jeremiah prophesying these things, 2 he had Jeremiah the prophet beaten(c) and put in the stocks(d) at the Upper Gate of Benjamin(e) at the Lord 's temple. 3 The next day, when Pashhur released him from the stocks, Jeremiah said to him, "The Lord 's name(f) for you is not Pashhur, but Terror on Every Side.(g) 4 For this is what the Lord says: ‘I will make you a terror to yourself and to all your friends; with your own eyes(h) you will see them fall by the sword of their enemies. I will give(i) all Judah into the hands of the king of Babylon, who will carry(j) them away to Babylon or put them to the sword. 5 I will deliver all the wealth(k) of this city into the hands of their enemies—all its products, all its valuables and all the treasures of the kings of Judah. They will take it away(l) as plunder and carry it off to Babylon. 6 And you, Pashhur, and all who live in your house will go into exile to Babylon. There you will die and be buried, you and all your friends to whom you have prophesied(m) lies.'"

Jeremiah's Complaint

7 You deceived[a](n) me, Lord , and I was deceived[b];
     you overpowered(o) me and prevailed.
I am ridiculed(p) all day long;
     everyone mocks(q) me.
8 Whenever I speak, I cry out
     proclaiming violence and destruction.(r)
So the word of the Lord has brought me
     insult and reproach(s) all day long.
9 But if I say, "I will not mention his word
     or speak anymore in his name,"(t)
his word is in my heart like a fire,(u)
     a fire shut up in my bones.
I am weary of holding it in;(v)
     indeed, I cannot.
10 I hear many whispering,
     "Terror(w) on every side!
     Denounce(x) him! Let's denounce him!"
All my friends(y)
     are waiting for me to slip,(z) saying,
"Perhaps he will be deceived;
     then we will prevail(aa) over him
     and take our revenge(ab) on him."

11 But the Lord (ac) is with me like a mighty warrior;
     so my persecutors(ad) will stumble and not prevail.(ae)
They will fail and be thoroughly disgraced;(af)
     their dishonor will never be forgotten.
12  Lord Almighty, you who examine the righteous
     and probe the heart and mind,(ag)
let me see your vengeance(ah) on them,
     for to you I have committed(ai) my cause.

13 Sing(aj) to the Lord !
     Give praise to the Lord !
He rescues(ak) the life of the needy
     from the hands of the wicked.(al)

14 Cursed be the day I was born!(am)
     May the day my mother bore me not be blessed!
15 Cursed be the man who brought my father the news,
     who made him very glad, saying,
     "A child is born to you—a son!"
16 May that man be like the towns(an)
     the Lord overthrew without pity.
May he hear wailing(ao) in the morning,
     a battle cry at noon.
17 For he did not kill me in the womb,(ap)
     with my mother as my grave,
     her womb enlarged forever.
18 Why did I ever come out of the womb(aq)
     to see trouble(ar) and sorrow
     and to end my days in shame?(as)

God Rejects Zedekiah's Request

1 The word came to Jeremiah from the Lord when King Zedekiah(a) sent to him Pashhur(b) son of Malkijah and the priest Zephaniah(c) son of Maaseiah. They said: 2 "Inquire(d) now of the Lord for us because Nebuchadnezzar[a](e) king of Babylon(f) is attacking us. Perhaps the Lord will perform wonders(g) for us as in times past so that he will withdraw from us."

3 But Jeremiah answered them, "Tell Zedekiah, 4 ‘This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: I am about to turn(h) against you the weapons of war that are in your hands, which you are using to fight the king of Babylon and the Babylonians[b] who are outside the wall besieging(i) you. And I will gather them inside this city. 5 I myself will fight(j) against you with an outstretched hand(k) and a mighty arm(l) in furious anger and in great wrath. 6 I will strike(m) down those who live in this city—both man and beast—and they will die of a terrible plague.(n) 7 After that, declares the Lord , I will give Zedekiah(o) king of Judah, his officials and the people in this city who survive the plague,(p) sword and famine, into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon(q) and to their enemies(r) who want to kill them.(s) He will put them to the sword;(t) he will show them no mercy or pity or compassion.'(u)

8 "Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life(v) and the way of death. 9 Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague.(w) But whoever goes out and surrenders(x) to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; they will escape with their lives.(y) 10 I have determined to do this city harm(z) and not good, declares the Lord . It will be given into the hands(aa) of the king of Babylon, and he will destroy it with fire.'(ab)

11 "Moreover, say to the royal house(ac) of Judah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord . 12 This is what the Lord says to you, house of David:

"‘Administer justice(ad) every morning;
     rescue from the hand of the oppressor(ae)
     the one who has been robbed,
or my wrath will break out and burn like fire(af)
     because of the evil(ag) you have done—
     burn with no one to quench(ah) it.
13 I am against(ai) you, Jerusalem,
     you who live above this valley(aj)
     on the rocky plateau, declares the Lord
you who say, "Who can come against us?
     Who can enter our refuge?"(ak)
14 I will punish you as your deeds(al) deserve,
     declares the Lord .
I will kindle a fire(am) in your forests(an)
     that will consume everything around you.'"

Judgment Against Wicked Kings

1 This is what the Lord says: "Go down to the palace of the king(a) of Judah and proclaim this message there: 2 ‘Hear(b) the word of the Lord to you, king of Judah, you who sit on David's throne(c)—you, your officials and your people who come through these gates.(d) 3 This is what the Lord says: Do what is just(e) and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor(f) the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow,(g) and do not shed innocent blood(h) in this place. 4 For if you are careful to carry out these commands, then kings(i) who sit on David's throne will come through the gates of this palace, riding in chariots and on horses, accompanied by their officials and their people. 5 But if you do not obey(j) these commands, declares the Lord , I swear(k) by myself that this palace will become a ruin.'"

6 For this is what the Lord says about the palace of the king of Judah:

"Though you are like Gilead(l) to me,
     like the summit of Lebanon,(m)
I will surely make you like a wasteland,(n)
     like towns not inhabited.
7 I will send destroyers(o) against you,
     each man with his weapons,
and they will cut(p) up your fine cedar beams
     and throw them into the fire.(q)

8 "People from many nations will pass by this city and will ask one another, ‘Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?'(r) 9 And the answer will be: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord their God and have worshiped and served other gods.(s)'"

10 Do not weep for the dead(t) king or mourn(u) his loss;
     rather, weep bitterly for him who is exiled,
because he will never return(v)
     nor see his native land again.

11 For this is what the Lord says about Shallum[a](w) son of Josiah, who succeeded his father as king of Judah but has gone from this place: "He will never return. 12 He will die(x) in the place where they have led him captive; he will not see this land again."

13 "Woe(y) to him who builds(z) his palace by unrighteousness,
     his upper rooms by injustice,
making his own people work for nothing,
     not paying(aa) them for their labor.
14 He says, ‘I will build myself a great palace(ab)
     with spacious upper rooms.'
So he makes large windows in it,
     panels it with cedar(ac)
     and decorates it in red.(ad)

15 "Does it make you a king
     to have more and more cedar?
Did not your father have food and drink?
     He did what was right and just,(ae)
     so all went well(af) with him.
16 He defended the cause of the poor and needy,(ag)
     and so all went well.
Is that not what it means to know(ah) me?"
     declares the Lord .
17 "But your eyes and your heart
     are set only on dishonest gain,(ai)
on shedding innocent blood(aj)
     and on oppression and extortion."(ak)

18 Therefore this is what the Lord says about Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah:

"They will not mourn(al) for him:
     ‘Alas, my brother! Alas, my sister!'
They will not mourn for him:
     ‘Alas, my master! Alas, his splendor!'
19 He will have the burial(am) of a donkey—
     dragged away and thrown(an)
     outside the gates of Jerusalem."

20 "Go up to Lebanon and cry out,(ao)
     let your voice be heard in Bashan,(ap)
cry out from Abarim,(aq)
     for all your allies(ar) are crushed.
21 I warned you when you felt secure,(as)
     but you said, ‘I will not listen!'
This has been your way from your youth;(at)
     you have not obeyed(au) me.
22 The wind(av) will drive all your shepherds(aw) away,
     and your allies(ax) will go into exile.
Then you will be ashamed and disgraced(ay)
     because of all your wickedness.
23 You who live in ‘Lebanon,[b](az)'
     who are nestled in cedar buildings,
how you will groan when pangs come upon you,
     pain(ba) like that of a woman in labor!

24 "As surely as I live," declares the Lord , "even if you, Jehoiachin[c](bb) son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring(bc) on my right hand, I would still pull you off. 25 I will deliver(bd) you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians.[d] 26 I will hurl(be) you and the mother(bf) who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. 27 You will never come back to the land you long to return(bg) to."

28 Is this man Jehoiachin(bh) a despised, broken pot,(bi)
     an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled(bj) out,
     cast into a land(bk) they do not know?
29 O land,(bl) land, land,
     hear the word of the Lord !
30 This is what the Lord says:
"Record this man as if childless,(bm)
     a man who will not prosper(bn) in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring(bo) will prosper,
     none will sit on the throne(bp) of David
     or rule anymore in Judah."

The Righteous Branch

1 "Woe to the shepherds(a) who are destroying and scattering(b) the sheep of my pasture!"(c) declares the Lord . 2 Therefore this is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says to the shepherds(d) who tend my people: "Because you have scattered my flock(e) and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil(f) you have done," declares the Lord . 3 "I myself will gather the remnant(g) of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture,(h) where they will be fruitful and increase in number. 4 I will place shepherds(i) over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid(j) or terrified, nor will any be missing,(k)" declares the Lord .

5 "The days are coming," declares the Lord ,
     "when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,(l)
a King(m) who will reign(n) wisely
     and do what is just and right(o) in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
     and Israel will live in safety.(p)
This is the name(q) by which he will be called:
     The Lord Our Righteous Savior.(r)

7 "So then, the days are coming,"(s) declares the Lord , "when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,'(t) 8 but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.' Then they will live in their own land."(u)

Lying Prophets

9 Concerning the prophets:

My heart(v) is broken within me;
     all my bones tremble.(w)
I am like a drunken man,
     like a strong man overcome by wine,
because of the Lord
     and his holy words.(x)
10 The land is full of adulterers;(y)
     because of the curse[b](z) the land lies parched
     and the pastures(aa) in the wilderness are withered.(ab)
The prophets follow an evil course
     and use their power unjustly.

11 "Both prophet and priest are godless;(ac)
     even in my temple(ad) I find their wickedness,"
declares the Lord .
12 "Therefore their path will become slippery;(ae)
     they will be banished to darkness
     and there they will fall.
I will bring disaster on them
     in the year they are punished,(af)"
declares the Lord .

13 "Among the prophets of Samaria
     I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal(ag)
     and led my people Israel astray.(ah)
14 And among the prophets of Jerusalem
     I have seen something horrible:(ai)
     They commit adultery and live a lie.(aj)
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,(ak)
     so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.(al)
They are all like Sodom(am) to me;
     the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."(an)

15 Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty says concerning the prophets:

"I will make them eat bitter food
     and drink poisoned water,(ao)
because from the prophets of Jerusalem
     ungodliness(ap) has spread throughout the land."

16 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

"Do not listen(aq) to what the prophets are prophesying to you;
     they fill you with false hopes.
They speak visions(ar) from their own minds,
     not from the mouth(as) of the Lord .
17 They keep saying(at) to those who despise me,
     ‘The Lord says: You will have peace.'(au)
And to all who follow the stubbornness(av) of their hearts
     they say, ‘No harm(aw) will come to you.'
18 But which of them has stood in the council(ax) of the Lord
     to see or to hear his word?
     Who has listened and heard his word?
19 See, the storm(ay) of the Lord
     will burst out in wrath,
a whirlwind(az) swirling down
     on the heads of the wicked.
20 The anger(ba) of the Lord will not turn back(bb)
     until he fully accomplishes
     the purposes of his heart.
In days to come
     you will understand it clearly.
21 I did not send(bc) these prophets,
     yet they have run with their message;
I did not speak to them,
     yet they have prophesied.
22 But if they had stood in my council,(bd)
     they would have proclaimed(be) my words to my people
and would have turned(bf) them from their evil ways
     and from their evil deeds.(bg)

23 "Am I only a God nearby,(bh)"
declares the Lord ,
     "and not a God far away?
24 Who can hide(bi) in secret places
     so that I cannot see them?"
declares the Lord .
     "Do not I fill heaven and earth?"(bj)
declares the Lord .

25 "I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies(bk) in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream!(bl) I had a dream!' 26 How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions(bm) of their own minds?(bn) 27 They think the dreams they tell one another will make my people forget(bo) my name, just as their ancestors forgot(bp) my name through Baal worship.(bq) 28 Let the prophet who has a dream(br) recount the dream, but let the one who has my word(bs) speak it faithfully. For what has straw to do with grain?" declares the Lord . 29 "Is not my word like fire,"(bt) declares the Lord , "and like a hammer(bu) that breaks a rock in pieces?

30 "Therefore," declares the Lord , "I am against(bv) the prophets(bw) who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31 Yes," declares the Lord , "I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.'(bx) 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,(by)" declares the Lord . "They tell them and lead my people astray(bz) with their reckless lies,(ca) yet I did not send(cb) or appoint them. They do not benefit(cc) these people in the least," declares the Lord .

False Prophecy

33 "When these people, or a prophet or a priest, ask you, ‘What is the message(cd) from the Lord ?' say to them, ‘What message? I will forsake(ce) you, declares the Lord .' 34 If a prophet or a priest or anyone else claims, ‘This is a message(cf) from the Lord ,' I will punish(cg) them and their household. 35 This is what each of you keeps saying to your friends and other Israelites: ‘What is the Lord 's answer?'(ch) or ‘What has the Lord spoken?' 36 But you must not mention ‘a message from the Lord ' again, because each one's word becomes their own message. So you distort(ci) the words of the living God,(cj) the Lord Almighty, our God. 37 This is what you keep saying to a prophet: ‘What is the Lord 's answer to you?' or ‘What has the Lord spoken?' 38 Although you claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord ,' this is what the Lord says: You used the words, ‘This is a message from the Lord ,' even though I told you that you must not claim, ‘This is a message from the Lord .' 39 Therefore, I will surely forget you and cast(ck) you out of my presence along with the city I gave to you and your ancestors. 40 I will bring on you everlasting disgrace(cl)—everlasting shame that will not be forgotten."

Two Baskets of Figs

1 After Jehoiachin[a](a) son of Jehoiakim king of Judah and the officials, the skilled workers and the artisans of Judah were carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, the Lord showed me two baskets of figs(b) placed in front of the temple of the Lord . 2 One basket had very good figs, like those that ripen early;(c) the other basket had very bad(d) figs, so bad they could not be eaten.

3 Then the Lord asked me, "What do you see,(e) Jeremiah?"

"Figs," I answered. "The good ones are very good, but the bad ones are so bad they cannot be eaten."

4 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 5 "This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, says: ‘Like these good figs, I regard as good the exiles from Judah, whom I sent(f) away from this place to the land of the Babylonians.[b] 6 My eyes will watch over them for their good, and I will bring them back(g) to this land. I will build(h) them up and not tear them down; I will plant(i) them and not uproot them. 7 I will give them a heart to know(j) me, that I am the Lord . They will be my people,(k) and I will be their God, for they will return(l) to me with all their heart.(m)

8 "‘But like the bad(n) figs, which are so bad they cannot be eaten,' says the Lord , ‘so will I deal with Zedekiah(o) king of Judah, his officials(p) and the survivors(q) from Jerusalem, whether they remain in this land or live in Egypt.(r) 9 I will make them abhorrent(s) and an offense to all the kingdoms of the earth, a reproach and a byword,(t) a curse[c](u) and an object of ridicule, wherever I banish(v) them. 10 I will send the sword,(w) famine(x) and plague(y) against them until they are destroyed from the land I gave to them and their ancestors.(z)'"

Seventy Years of Captivity

1 The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim(a) son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar(b) king of Babylon. 2 So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah(c) and to all those living in Jerusalem: 3 For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah(d) son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again,(e) but you have not listened.(f)

4 And though the Lord has sent all his servants the prophets(g) to you again and again, you have not listened or paid any attention.(h) 5 They said, "Turn(i) now, each of you, from your evil ways and your evil practices, and you can stay in the land(j) the Lord gave to you and your ancestors for ever and ever. 6 Do not follow other gods(k) to serve and worship them; do not arouse my anger with what your hands have made. Then I will not harm you."

7 "But you did not listen to me," declares the Lord , "and you have aroused(l) my anger with what your hands have made,(m) and you have brought harm(n) to yourselves."

8 Therefore the Lord Almighty says this: "Because you have not listened to my words, 9 I will summon(o) all the peoples of the north(p) and my servant(q) Nebuchadnezzar(r) king of Babylon," declares the Lord , "and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants and against all the surrounding nations. I will completely destroy[a](s) them and make them an object of horror and scorn,(t) and an everlasting ruin.(u) 10 I will banish from them the sounds(v) of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom,(w) the sound of millstones(x) and the light of the lamp.(y) 11 This whole country will become a desolate wasteland,(z) and these nations will serve(aa) the king of Babylon seventy years.(ab)

12 "But when the seventy years(ac) are fulfilled, I will punish the king of Babylon(ad) and his nation, the land of the Babylonians,[b] for their guilt," declares the Lord , "and will make it desolate(ae) forever. 13 I will bring on that land all the things I have spoken against it, all that are written(af) in this book and prophesied by Jeremiah against all the nations. 14 They themselves will be enslaved(ag) by many nations(ah) and great kings; I will repay(ai) them according to their deeds and the work of their hands."

The Cup of God's Wrath

15 This is what the Lord , the God of Israel, said to me: "Take from my hand this cup(aj) filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send(ak) you drink it. 16 When they drink(al) it, they will stagger(am) and go mad(an) because of the sword(ao) I will send among them."

17 So I took the cup from the Lord 's hand and made all the nations to whom he sent(ap) me drink it: 18 Jerusalem(aq) and the towns of Judah, its kings and officials, to make them a ruin(ar) and an object of horror and scorn,(as) a curse[c](at)—as they are today;(au) 19 Pharaoh king(av) of Egypt,(aw) his attendants, his officials and all his people, 20 and all the foreign people there; all the kings of Uz;(ax) all the kings of the Philistines(ay) (those of Ashkelon,(az) Gaza,(ba) Ekron, and the people left at Ashdod); 21 Edom,(bb) Moab(bc) and Ammon;(bd) 22 all the kings of Tyre(be) and Sidon;(bf) the kings of the coastlands(bg) across the sea; 23 Dedan,(bh) Tema,(bi) Buz(bj) and all who are in distant places[d];(bk) 24 all the kings of Arabia(bl) and all the kings of the foreign people(bm) who live in the wilderness; 25 all the kings of Zimri,(bn) Elam(bo) and Media;(bp) 26 and all the kings of the north,(bq) near and far, one after the other—all the kingdoms(br) on the face of the earth. And after all of them, the king of Sheshak[e](bs) will drink it too.

27 "Then tell them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Drink, get drunk(bt) and vomit, and fall to rise no more because of the sword(bu) I will send among you.' 28 But if they refuse to take the cup from your hand and drink(bv), tell them, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says: You must drink it! 29 See, I am beginning to bring disaster(bw) on the city that bears my Name,(bx) and will you indeed go unpunished?(by) You will not go unpunished, for I am calling down a sword(bz) on all(ca) who live on the earth,(cb) declares the Lord Almighty.'

30 "Now prophesy all these words against them and say to them:

"‘The Lord will roar(cc) from on high;
     he will thunder(cd) from his holy dwelling(ce)
     and roar mightily against his land.
He will shout like those who tread(cf) the grapes,
     shout against all who live on the earth.
31 The tumult(cg) will resound to the ends of the earth,
     for the Lord will bring charges(ch) against the nations;
he will bring judgment(ci) on all(cj) mankind
     and put the wicked to the sword,(ck)'"
declares the Lord .

32 This is what the Lord Almighty says:

"Look! Disaster(cl) is spreading
     from nation to nation;(cm)
a mighty storm(cn) is rising
     from the ends of the earth."(co)

33 At that time those slain(cp) by the Lord will be everywhere—from one end of the earth to the other. They will not be mourned or gathered(cq) up or buried,(cr) but will be like dung lying on the ground.

34 Weep and wail, you shepherds;(cs)
     roll(ct) in the dust, you leaders of the flock.
For your time to be slaughtered(cu) has come;
     you will fall like the best of the rams.[f](cv)
35 The shepherds will have nowhere to flee,
     the leaders of the flock no place to escape.(cw)
36 Hear the cry(cx) of the shepherds,(cy)
     the wailing of the leaders of the flock,
     for the Lord is destroying their pasture.
37 The peaceful meadows will be laid waste
     because of the fierce anger of the Lord .
38 Like a lion(cz) he will leave his lair,
     and their land will become desolate(da)
because of the sword[g] of the oppressor(db)
     and because of the Lord 's fierce anger.(dc)

Jeremiah Threatened With Death

1 Early in the reign of Jehoiakim(a) son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came from the Lord : 2 "This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard(b) of the Lord 's house and speak to all the people of the towns of Judah who come to worship in the house of the Lord .(c) Tell(d) them everything I command you; do not omit(e) a word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and each will turn(f) from their evil ways. Then I will relent(g) and not inflict on them the disaster I was planning because of the evil they have done. 4 Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you do not listen(h) to me and follow my law,(i) which I have set before you, 5 and if you do not listen to the words of my servants the prophets, whom I have sent to you again and again (though you have not listened(j)), 6 then I will make this house like Shiloh(k) and this city a curse[a](l) among all the nations of the earth.'"

7 The priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremiah speak these words in the house of the Lord . 8 But as soon as Jeremiah finished telling all the people everything the Lord had commanded(m) him to say, the priests, the prophets and all the people seized(n) him and said, "You must die!(o) 9 Why do you prophesy in the Lord 's name that this house will be like Shiloh and this city will be desolate and deserted?"(p) And all the people crowded(q) around Jeremiah in the house of the Lord .

10 When the officials(r) of Judah heard about these things, they went up from the royal palace to the house of the Lord and took their places at the entrance of the New Gate(s) of the Lord 's house. 11 Then the priests and the prophets said to the officials and all the people, "This man should be sentenced to death(t) because he has prophesied against this city. You have heard it with your own ears!"(u)

12 Then Jeremiah said to all the officials(v) and all the people: "The Lord sent me to prophesy(w) against this house and this city all the things you have heard.(x) 13 Now reform(y) your ways and your actions and obey(z) the Lord your God. Then the Lord will relent(aa) and not bring the disaster he has pronounced against you. 14 As for me, I am in your hands;(ab) do with me whatever you think is good and right. 15 Be assured, however, that if you put me to death, you will bring the guilt of innocent blood(ac) on yourselves and on this city and on those who live in it, for in truth the Lord has sent me to you to speak all these words(ad) in your hearing."

16 Then the officials(ae) and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, "This man should not be sentenced to death!(af) He has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God."

17 Some of the elders of the land stepped forward and said to the entire assembly of people, 18 "Micah(ag) of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:

"‘Zion(ah) will be plowed like a field,
     Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,(ai)
     the temple hill(aj) a mound overgrown with thickets.'[b](ak)

19 "Did Hezekiah king of Judah or anyone else in Judah put him to death? Did not Hezekiah(al) fear the Lord and seek(am) his favor? And did not the Lord relent,(an) so that he did not bring the disaster(ao) he pronounced against them? We are about to bring a terrible disaster(ap) on ourselves!"

20 (Now Uriah son of Shemaiah from Kiriath Jearim(aq) was another man who prophesied in the name of the Lord ; he prophesied the same things against this city and this land as Jeremiah did. 21 When King Jehoiakim(ar) and all his officers and officials(as) heard his words, the king was determined to put him to death.(at) But Uriah heard of it and fled(au) in fear to Egypt. 22 King Jehoiakim, however, sent Elnathan(av) son of Akbor to Egypt, along with some other men. 23 They brought Uriah out of Egypt and took him to King Jehoiakim, who had him struck down with a sword(aw) and his body thrown into the burial place of the common people.)(ax)

24 Furthermore, Ahikam(ay) son of Shaphan supported Jeremiah, and so he was not handed over to the people to be put to death.

Acts 28

Chapter 28

Paul Ashore on Malta

1 Once safely on shore, we(a) found out that the island(b) was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand,(c) they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live."(d) 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects.(e) 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.(f)

7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer,(g) placed his hands on him(h) and healed him.(i) 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us(j) in many ways; and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

Paul's Arrival at Rome

11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island—it was an Alexandrian ship(k) with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers and sisters(l) who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers and sisters(m) there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these people Paul thanked God and was encouraged. 16 When we got to Rome, Paul was allowed to live by himself, with a soldier to guard him.(n)

Paul Preaches at Rome Under Guard

17 Three days later he called together the local Jewish leaders.(o) When they had assembled, Paul said to them: "My brothers,(p) although I have done nothing against our people(q) or against the customs of our ancestors,(r) I was arrested in Jerusalem and handed over to the Romans. 18 They examined me(s) and wanted to release me,(t) because I was not guilty of any crime deserving death.(u) 19 The Jews objected, so I was compelled to make an appeal to Caesar.(v) I certainly did not intend to bring any charge against my own people. 20 For this reason I have asked to see you and talk with you. It is because of the hope of Israel(w) that I am bound with this chain."(x)

21 They replied, "We have not received any letters from Judea concerning you, and none of our people(y) who have come from there has reported or said anything bad about you. 22 But we want to hear what your views are, for we know that people everywhere are talking against this sect."(z)

23 They arranged to meet Paul on a certain day, and came in even larger numbers to the place where he was staying. He witnessed to them from morning till evening, explaining about the kingdom of God,(aa) and from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets(ab) he tried to persuade them about Jesus.(ac) 24 Some were convinced by what he said, but others would not believe.(ad) 25 They disagreed among themselves and began to leave after Paul had made this final statement: "The Holy Spirit spoke the truth to your ancestors when he said(ae) through Isaiah the prophet:

26 "‘Go to this people and say,
"You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
     you will be ever seeing but never perceiving."
27 For this people's heart has become calloused;(af)
     they hardly hear with their ears,
     and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
     hear with their ears,
     understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.'[a](ag)

28 "Therefore I want you to know that God's salvation(ah) has been sent to the Gentiles,(ai) and they will listen!" [29] [b]

30 For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God(aj) and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness(ak) and without hindrance!

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