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“How can you say, ‘We are wise,
And the law of the Lord is with us [and we are learned in its language and teachings]’?
Behold, [the truth is that] the lying pen of the scribes
Has made the law into a lie [a mere code of ceremonial observances].
“The wise men are shamed,
They are dismayed and caught.
Behold, they have [manipulated and] rejected the [truth in the] word of the Lord,
And what kind of wisdom and insight do they have?
“Therefore I will give their wives to others
And their fields to new owners;
Because from the least even to the greatest
Everyone is greedy for [unjust] gain;
From the prophet even to the priest
Everyone practices deceit and deals in corruption.
“For they have treated the brokenness of the daughter of My people superficially,
Saying, ‘Peace, peace,’
When there is no peace.
“Were they ashamed because of the extremely disgusting and shamefully vile things they had done?
They were not at all ashamed,
And they did not know how to blush.
Therefore, they shall fall among those who fall;
At the time of their punishment they shall be overthrown,”
Says the Lord.
“I will gather and snatch them away [utterly consuming them],” says the Lord.
“There will be no grapes on the vine,
Nor figs on the fig tree,
And even the leaf will wither;
And the things that I have given them will pass away [by the hand of those whom I have appointed].”’”
Why are we sitting still [the people wonder]?
Assemble yourselves, and let us enter the fortified cities
And let us die there,
For the Lord our God has decreed our ruin
And given us bitter and poisonous water to drink,
Because we have sinned against the Lord.
We waited for peace and salvation, but no good came,
And for a time of healing, but behold, terror!
The snorting of [Nebuchadnezzar’s] horses is heard from Dan [on Palestine’s northern border].
At the sound of the neighing of his strong stallions
The whole land quakes;
For they come and devour the land and all that is in it,
The city and those who live in it.
“For behold, I am sending serpents among you,
Vipers which cannot be charmed,
And they will bite you,” says the Lord.
Oh, that I (Jeremiah) could find comfort from my sorrow [for my grief is beyond healing],
My heart is sick and faint within me!
Behold, [hear the sound of] the cry of the daughter of my people from the distant land [of Babylon]:
“Is not the Lord in Zion? Is not her King within her?”
[But the Lord answers] “Why have they provoked Me to anger with their carved images and with foreign idols?”
“The harvest is past, the summer has ended and the gathering of fruit is over,
But we are not saved,” [comes the voice of the people again].
For the brokenness of the daughter of my people I (Jeremiah) am broken;
I mourn, anxiety has gripped me.
Is there no balm in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why then has not the [spiritual] health of the daughter of my people been restored?
A Lament over Zion
9 Oh that my head were waters
And my eyes a fountain of tears,
That I might weep day and night
For the slain of the daughter of my people!
Oh that I had in the wilderness
A lodging place (a mere shelter) for wayfaring men,
That I might leave my people
And go away from them!
For they are all adulterers [worshiping idols instead of the Lord],
[They are] an assembly of treacherous men [of weak character, men without integrity].
“They bend their tongue like their bow;
[Their] lies and not truth prevail and grow strong in the land;
For they proceed from evil to evil,
And they do not know and understand and acknowledge Me,” says the Lord.
“Let everyone beware of his neighbor
And do not trust any brother.
For every brother is a supplanter [like Jacob, a deceiver, ready to grab his brother’s heel],
And every neighbor goes around as a slanderer.
“Everyone deceives and mocks his neighbor
And does not speak the truth.
They have taught their tongue to speak lies;
They exhaust themselves with sin and cruelty.
“Your dwelling is in the midst of deceit [oppression upon oppression and deceit upon deceit];
Through deceit they refuse to know (understand) Me,” says the Lord.
7 Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Behold, I will refine them [through suffering] and test them;
For how else should I deal with the daughter of My people?
“Their tongue is a murderous arrow;
It speaks deceit;
With his mouth one speaks peace to his neighbor,
But in his heart he lays traps and waits in ambush for him.
“Shall I not punish them for these things?” says the Lord.
“Shall I not avenge Myself
On such a nation as this?
“I will take up a weeping and wailing for the mountains,
And a [funeral] dirge for the pastures of the wilderness,
Because they are burned up and desolated so that no one passes through [them];
Nor can anyone hear the lowing of cattle.
Both the birds of the air and the beasts have fled; they are gone.
“I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins,
A haunt and dwelling place of jackals;
And I will make the cities of Judah a desolation, without inhabitant.”
12 Who is the wise man who may understand this [without any doubt]? To whom has the mouth of the Lord spoken, so that he may declare it? Why is the land ruined, laid waste like a wilderness, so that no one passes through? 13 The Lord said, “Because they have turned away from My law which I set before them, and have not listened to and obeyed My voice nor walked in accordance with it, 14 but have walked stubbornly after their [own] heart and after the Baals, as their fathers taught them,” 15 therefore thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “behold, I will feed them, this people, with wormwood and give them bitter and poisonous water to drink. 16 I will [also] scatter them among nations that neither they nor their fathers have known, and I will send the sword after them until I have annihilated them.”
17 Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“Consider and call for the mourning women to come;
Send for the wailing women to come.
“Let them hurry and take up a wailing for us,
That our eyes may shed tears
And our eyelids flow with water.
“For a sound of wailing is heard [coming] from Zion:
‘How we are ruined!
We are greatly perplexed and utterly shamed,
Because we have left the land,
Because they have torn down our dwellings.’”
Now hear the word of the Lord, O you women,
And let your ear hear the word of His mouth;
Teach your daughters a song of mourning,
And each one [teach] her neighbor a dirge.
For death has come up through our windows;
It has entered our palaces,
Cutting off the children from the streets
And the young men from the town squares.
Speak, “Thus says the Lord,
‘The dead bodies of men will fall like dung on the open field,
And like sheaves [of grain] behind the reaper,
And no one will gather them.’”
23 Thus says the Lord, “Let not the one who is wise and skillful boast in his insight; let not the one who is mighty and powerful boast in his strength; let not the one who is rich boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] abundance; 24 but let the one who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows Me [and acknowledges Me and honors Me as God and recognizes without any doubt], that I am the Lord who practices lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on the earth, for in these things I delight,” says the Lord.
25 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all who are circumcised [physically] and yet uncircumcised [spiritually]— 26 Egypt and Judah, and Edom and the sons of Ammon, and Moab and all those who live in the desert who clip off the hair on their temples; for all these nations are uncircumcised (sinful, impure), and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.”
Put On the New Self
3 Therefore if you have been raised with Christ [to a new life, sharing in His resurrection from the dead], keep seeking the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind and keep focused habitually on the things above [the heavenly things], not on things that are on the earth [which have only temporal value]. 3 For you died [to this world], and your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
5 So put to death and deprive of power the evil longings of your earthly body [with its sensual, self-centered instincts] immorality, impurity, sinful passion, evil desire, and greed, which is [a kind of] idolatry [because it replaces your devotion to God]. 6 Because of these [sinful] things the [divine] wrath of God is coming on the sons of disobedience [those who fail to listen and who routinely and obstinately disregard God’s precepts], 7 and in these [sinful things] you also once walked, when you were habitually living in them [without the knowledge of Christ]. 8 But now rid yourselves [completely] of all these things: anger, rage, malice, slander, and obscene (abusive, filthy, vulgar) language from your mouth. 9 Do not lie to one another, for you have stripped off the old self with its evil practices, 10 and have put on the new [spiritual] self who is being continually renewed in true knowledge in the image of Him who created the new self— 11 a renewal in which there is no [distinction between] Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, [nor between nations whether] barbarian or Scythian, [nor in status whether] slave or free, but Christ is all, and in all [so believers are equal in Christ, without distinction].
12 So, as God’s own chosen people, who are holy [set apart, sanctified for His purpose] and well-beloved [by God Himself], put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience [which has the power to endure whatever injustice or unpleasantness comes, with good temper]; 13 bearing graciously with one another, and willingly forgiving each other if one has a cause for complaint against another; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so should you forgive. 14 Beyond all these things put on and wrap yourselves in [unselfish] love, which is the perfect bond of unity [for everything is bound together in agreement when each one seeks the best for others]. 15 Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always]. 16 Let the [spoken] word of Christ have its home within you [dwelling in your heart and mind—permeating every aspect of your being] as you teach [spiritual things] and admonish and train one another with all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 Whatever you do [no matter what it is] in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus [and in dependence on Him], giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
In spite of all this they still sinned,
For they did not believe in His wonderful and extraordinary works.
Therefore He consumed their days like a breath [in emptiness and futility]
And their years in sudden terror.
When He killed [some of] them, then those remaining sought Him,
And they returned [to Him] and searched diligently for God [for a time].
And they remembered that God was their rock,
And the Most High God their Redeemer.
Nevertheless they flattered Him with their mouths
And lied to Him with their tongues.
For their heart was not steadfast toward Him,
Nor were they faithful to His covenant.
But He, the source of compassion and lovingkindness, forgave their wickedness and did not destroy them;
Many times He restrained His anger
And did not stir up all His wrath.
For He [graciously] remembered that they were mere [human] flesh,
A wind that goes and does not return.
How often they rebelled against Him in the wilderness
And grieved Him in the desert!
Again and again they tempted God,
And distressed the Holy One of Israel.
They did not remember [the miracles worked by] His [powerful] hand,
Nor the day when He redeemed them from the enemy,
How He worked His miracles in Egypt
And His wonders in the field of Zoan [where Pharaoh resided],
And turned their rivers into blood,
And their streams, so that they could not drink.
He sent among them swarms of flies which devoured them,
And frogs which destroyed them.
He also gave their crops to the grasshopper,
And the fruit of their labor to the locust.
He destroyed their vines with [great] hailstones
And their sycamore trees with frost.
He gave over their cattle also to the hailstones,
And their flocks and herds to thunderbolts.
He sent upon them His burning anger,
His fury and indignation and distress,
A band of angels of destruction [among them].
He leveled a path for His anger [to give it free run];
He did not spare their souls from death,
But turned over their lives to the plague.
He killed all the firstborn in Egypt,
The first and best of their strength in the tents [of the land of the sons] of Ham.
But God led His own people forward like sheep
And guided them in the wilderness like [a good shepherd with] a flock.
He led them safely, so that they did not fear;
But the sea engulfed their enemies.
So He brought them to His holy land,
To this mountain [Zion] which His right hand had acquired.
He also drove out the nations before the sons of Israel
And allotted their land as an inheritance, measured out and partitioned;
And He had the tribes of Israel dwell in their tents [the tents of those who had been dispossessed].
Prepare your work outside
And get it ready for yourself in the field;
Afterward build your house and establish a home.