1 “In that day,” says the Lord, “the enemy will break open the graves of the kings and officials of Judah, and the graves of the priests, prophets, and common people of Jerusalem. 2 They will spread out their bones on the ground before the sun, moon, and stars—the gods my people have loved, served, and worshiped. Their bones will not be gathered up again or buried but will be scattered on the ground like manure. 3 And the people of this evil nation who survive will wish to die rather than live where I will send them. I, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, have spoken!
4 “Jeremiah, say to the people, ‘This is what the Lord says:
“‘When people fall down, don’t they get up again?
When they discover they’re on the wrong road, don’t they turn back?
5 Then why do these people stay on their self-destructive path?
Why do the people of Jerusalem refuse to turn back?
They cling tightly to their lies
and will not turn around.
6 I listen to their conversations
and don’t hear a word of truth.
Is anyone sorry for doing wrong?
Does anyone say, “What a terrible thing I have done”?
No! All are running down the path of sin
as swiftly as a horse galloping into battle!
7 Even the stork that flies across the sky
knows the time of her migration,
as do the turtledove, the swallow, and the crane.a
They all return at the proper time each year.
But not my people!
They do not know the Lord’s laws.
8 “‘How can you say, “We are wise because we have the word of the Lord,”
when your teachers have twisted it by writing lies?
9 These wise teachers will fall
into the trap of their own foolishness,
for they have rejected the word of the Lord.
Are they so wise after all?
10 I will give their wives to others
and their farms to strangers.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
Yes, even my prophets and priests are like that.
They are all frauds.
11 They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
12 Are they ashamed of these disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,
says the Lord.
13 I will surely consume them.
There will be no more harvests of figs and grapes.
Their fruit trees will all die.
Whatever I gave them will soon be gone.
I, the Lord, have spoken!’
14 “Then the people will say,
‘Why should we wait here to die?
Come, let’s go to the fortified towns and die there.
For the Lord our God has decreed our destruction
and has given us a cup of poison to drink
because we sinned against the Lord.
15 We hoped for peace, but no peace came.
We hoped for a time of healing, but found only terror.’
16 “The snorting of the enemies’ warhorses can be heard
all the way from the land of Dan in the north!
The neighing of their stallions makes the whole land tremble.
They are coming to devour the land and everything in it—
cities and people alike.
17 I will send these enemy troops among you
like poisonous snakes you cannot charm.
They will bite you, and you will die.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
18 My grief is beyond healing;
my heart is broken.
19 Listen to the weeping of my people;
it can be heard all across the land.
“Has the Lord abandoned Jerusalem?b” the people ask.
“Is her King no longer there?”
“Oh, why have they provoked my anger with their carved idols
and their worthless foreign gods?” says the Lord.
20 “The harvest is finished,
and the summer is gone,” the people cry,
“yet we are not saved!”
21 I hurt with the hurt of my people.
I mourn and am overcome with grief.
22 Is there no medicine in Gilead?
Is there no physician there?
Why is there no healing
for the wounds of my people?
a. 8:7 The identification of some of these birds is uncertain.
b. 8:19 Hebrew Zion?