1Lord, when I bring a matter to you, you always do what is right. But now I would like to speak with you about whether you are being fair. Why are sinful people successful? Why do those who can't be trusted have an easy life?2You have planted them. Their roots are deep in the ground. They grow and produce fruit. They honor you by what they say. But their hearts are far away from you.3Lord, you know me and see me. You test my thoughts about you. Drag those people off like sheep to be killed! Set them apart for the day of their death!4How long will the land be thirsty for water? How long will the grass in every field be dry? The people who live in the land are evil. So the animals and birds have died. And that's not all. The people are saying, “The Lord won't see what happens to us.”
The Lord Replies to Jeremiah
5The Lord says, “Suppose you have run in a race with other men. And suppose they have worn you out. Then how would you be able to race against horses? Suppose you feel safe only in open country. Then how would you get along in the bushes near the Jordan River?6Even your own family has turned against you. They have shouted loudly at you. They might say nice things about you. But do not trust them.7“I will turn my back on my people. I will desert my land. I love the people of Judah. In spite of that, I will hand them over to their enemies.8My land has become to me like a lion in the forest. It roars at me. So I hate it.9My own land has become like a spotted hawk. And other hawks surround it and attack it. Come, all of you wild animals! Gather together! Come together to eat up my land.10Many shepherds will destroy my vineyard. They will walk all over it. They will turn my pleasant vineyard into a dry and empty land.11My vineyard will become a desert. It will be dry and empty in my sight. The whole land will be completely destroyed. And no one even cares.12Many will come to destroy it. They will gather on the bare hilltops in the desert. I will use them as my sword to destroy my people. They will kill them from one end of the land to the other. No one will be safe.13People will plant wheat. But all they will gather is thorns. They will wear themselves out. But they will not have anything to show for it. My anger is burning against you. So you will be ashamed of the crop you gather.”14The Lord continues, “All of my evil neighbors have taken over the land I gave my people Israel. So I will pull them up by their roots from the lands they live in. And I will pull up the roots of the people of Judah from among them.15“But after I pull those nations up, I will show my tender love to them again. I will bring all of them back to their own lands. I will take all of them back to their own countries.16“Suppose they learn to follow the practices of my people. And they take an oath and make a promise in my name. They say, ‘You can be sure that the Lord is alive.’ They do it just as they once taught my people to take oaths in Baal's name. Then I will give them a place among my people.17“But what if one of those nations does not listen? Then you can be sure I will pull it up by the roots and destroy it,” announces the Lord.
5“If you have raced with men on foot, and they have wearied you, how will you compete with horses? And if in a safe land you are so trusting, what will you do in the thicket of the Jordan? (Jos 3:15; Jer 49:19; Jer 50:44; Zec 11:3)6For even your brothers and the house of your father, even they have dealt treacherously with you; they are in full cry after you; do not believe them, though they speak friendly words to you.” (Pr 26:25; Jer 9:4; Jer 11:19; Jer 11:21; Jer 12:1)7“I have forsaken my house; I have abandoned my heritage; I have given the beloved of my soul into the hands of her enemies. (Isa 19:25; Jer 11:15)8My heritage has become to me like a lion in the forest; she has lifted up her voice against me; therefore I hate her. (Jer 12:7)9Is my heritage to me like a hyena’s lair? Are the birds of prey against her all around? Go, assemble all the wild beasts; bring them to devour. (Isa 46:11; Isa 56:9; Jer 7:33; Jer 12:7; Eze 39:17; Re 19:17)10Many shepherds have destroyed my vineyard; they have trampled down my portion; they have made my pleasant portion a desolate wilderness. (Isa 63:18)11They have made it a desolation; desolate, it mourns to me. The whole land is made desolate, but no man lays it to heart. (Isa 42:25; Jer 12:4)12Upon all the bare heights in the desert destroyers have come, for the sword of the Lord devours from one end of the land to the other; no flesh has peace.13They have sown wheat and have reaped thorns; they have tired themselves out but profit nothing. They shall be ashamed of their harvests because of the fierce anger of the Lord.” (Le 26:16; De 28:38; Isa 55:2; Jer 4:8; Jer 4:26; Jer 25:37; Jer 30:24; Jer 49:37; Jer 51:45; La 1:12; La 4:11; Mic 6:15; Hab 2:13; Hag 1:6)14Thus says the Lord concerning all my evil neighbors who touch the heritage that I have given my people Israel to inherit: “Behold, I will pluck them up from their land, and I will pluck up the house of Judah from among them. (Ps 137:7; Jer 3:18; Zec 2:8)15And after I have plucked them up, I will again have compassion on them, and I will bring them again each to his heritage and each to his land. (Jer 48:47; Jer 49:6)16And it shall come to pass, if they will diligently learn the ways of my people, to swear by my name, ‘As the Lord lives,’ even as they taught my people to swear by Baal, then they shall be built up in the midst of my people. (Jer 4:2; Jer 24:6; 1Pe 2:5)17But if any nation will not listen, then I will utterly pluck it up and destroy it, declares the Lord.” (Isa 60:12)