Jeremiah 6
Contemporary English Version

A Warning for the People of Jerusalem

The Lord said:

1Run for your lives,

people of Benjamin.

Get out of Jerusalem.

Sound a trumpet in Tekoa

and light a signal fire

in Beth-Haccherem.

Soon you will be struck

by disaster from the north.

2Jerusalem is a lovely pasture,

3but shepherds will surround it

and divided up,

then let their flocks

eat all the grass.+

4Kings will tell their troops,

“If we reach Jerusalem

in the morning,

we'll attack at noon.

But if we arrive later,

5we'll attack after dark

and destroy its fortresses.”

6I am the Lord All-Powerful,

and I will command these armies

to chop down trees

and build a ramp up to the walls

of Jerusalem.

People of Jerusalem,

I must punish you

for your injustice.

7Evil pours from your city

like water from a spring.

Sounds of injustice and violence

echo within your walls;

victims are everywhere,

wounded and dying.

8Listen to me,

you people of Jerusalem

and Judah.

I will abandon you,

and your land will become

an empty desert.

9I will tell your enemies

to leave your nation bare

like a vine stripped of grapes.

I, the Lord All-Powerful,

have spoken.

Jeremiah's Anger

10I have told the people

that you, Lord,

will punish them,

but they just laugh

and refuse to listen.

11Your anger against Judah

flames up inside me,

and I can't hold it in

much longer.

The Lord's Anger Will Sweep Everyone Away

The Lord answered:

Don't hold back my anger!

Let it sweep away everyone—

the children at play

and all adults,

young and old alike.

12 I'll punish the people of Judah

and give to others

their houses and fields,

as well as their wives.

I, the Lord, have spoken.

13Everyone is greedy and dishonest,

whether poor or rich.

Even the prophets and priests

cannot be trusted.

14 All they ever offer

to my deeply wounded people

are empty hopes for peace.

15They should be ashamed

of their disgusting sins,

but they don't even blush.

And so, when I punish Judah,

they will end up on the ground,

dead like everyone else.

I, the Lord, have spoken.

The People of Judah Rejected God's Way of Life

16The Lord said:

My people, when you stood

at the crossroads,

I told you, “Follow the road

your ancestors took,

and you will find peace.”

But you refused.

17I also sent prophets

to warn you of danger,

but when they sounded the alarm,

you paid no attention.

18So I tell all nations on earth,

“Watch what I will do!

19My people ignored me

and rejected my laws.

They planned to do evil,

and now the evil they planned

will happen to them.”

20People of Judah,

you bring me incense from Sheba

and spices from distant lands.

You offer sacrifices of all kinds.

But why bother?

I hate these gifts of yours!

21So I will put stumbling blocks

in your path,

and everyone will die,

including parents and children,

neighbors and friends.

An Army from the North

22The Lord said,

“Look toward the north,

where a powerful nation

has prepared for war.

23Its well-armed troops are cruel

and never show mercy.

Their galloping horses sound

like ocean waves

pounding on the shore.

This army will attack you,

lovely Jerusalem.”

24Then the people said,

“Just hearing about them

makes us tremble with fear,

and we twist and turn in pain

like a woman giving birth.”

25The Lord said,

“Don't work in your fields

or walk along the roads.

It's too dangerous.

The enemy is well armed

26and attacks without warning.

So mourn, my people, as though

your only child had died.

Wear clothes made of sackcloth+

and roll in the ash pile.”

The Lord's People Must Be Tested

The Lord said:

27Jeremiah, test my people

as though they were metal.

28And you'll find they are hard

like bronze and iron.

They are stubborn rebels,

always spreading lies.

* 29-30Silver can be purified

in a fiery furnace,

but my people are too wicked

to be made pure,

and so I have rejected them.


6.2,3 Jerusalem … grass: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
6.26 sackcloth: See the note at 4.8.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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