Jeremiah 21 And the word of the Lord came to me, saying: 2 “Go, and cry out to the ears of Jerusalem, saying: Thus says the Lord: I have remembered you, taking pity on your youth and on the charity of your betrothal, when you followed me into the desert, into a land which is not sown. 3 Israel is holy to the Lord, the first of his fruits. All those who devour him commit an offense. Evils will overwhelm them, says the Lord.” 4 Listen to the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all you families of the house of Israel. 5 Thus says the Lord: “What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they would draw far away from me, and would walk after emptiness, and would become empty? 6 And they have not said: ‘Where is the Lord, who caused us to ascend from the land of Egypt; who led us through the desert, through an uninhabited and impassable land, through a land of drought and of the image of death, through a land in which no one walked and in which no man lived?’ 7 And I led you into the land of Carmel, so that you would eat from its fruit and from its excellence. And having entered it, you defiled my land, and you turned my inheritance into an abomination. 8 The priests have not sad: ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who held the law did not know me. And the pastors betrayed me. And the prophets prophesied in Baal and followed idols. 9 Because of this, I will still contend in judgment against you, says the Lord, and I will dispute with your sons. 10 Cross over to the isles of Kittim, and gaze. And send to Kedar, and consider diligently. And see if anything like this has ever been done. 11 See if a nation has ever changed their gods, though certainly those are not gods. Yet truly, my people have exchanged their glory for an idol. 12 Be astonished at this, O heavens, and be utterly desolate, O gates of heaven, says the Lord. 13 For my people have done two evils. They have forsaken me, the Fountain of living water, and they have dug for themselves cisterns, broken cisterns that are unable to hold water. 14 Is Israel a servant, or one born into slavery? Then why has he become a prey? 15 The lions have roared over him, and they have uttered their voice. They have set his land in solitude; his cities have been burned up, and there is no one who lives in them. 16 Likewise, the sons of Memphis and of Tahpanhes have defiled you, even to the top of the head. 17 Has this not been done to you because you abandoned the Lord your God, in that time when he was leading you by the way? 18 And now what do you want from the way of Egypt, but to drink their turbid water? And what do you want from the way of the Assyrians, but to drink the water of their river? 19 Your own malice will reprove you, and your own apostasy will rebuke you! But know and perceive this: it is an evil and bitter thing for you to forsake the Lord your God, and to be without my fear within you, says the Lord, the God of hosts. 20 From ancient times, you have broken my yoke; you have torn apart my bonds, and you have said, ‘I will not serve.’ For on every high hill, and under every leafy tree, you have been debased, O harlot. 21 Yet I planted you as an elect vineyard, with only true seed. Then how have you been turned away from me, toward that which is depraved, O strange vineyard? 22 Even if you wash yourself with soap, and increase your use of herbal soaps, you are still stained by your iniquity in my sight, says the Lord God. 23 How can you say: ‘I have not been polluted. I have not walked after Baal?’ Consider your ways in the steep valley. Acknowledge what you have done, so that you may be like a swift runner, following his course. 24 A wild donkey accustomed to solitude, out of the desire in his soul, caught the scent of his lover. Now nothing will turn him away from her. All those who seek her will not cease. But they will find her in her menstruation. 25 You should keep your foot from being naked, and your throat from being thirsty. But you have said: ‘I have lost hope. I will not do it. For certainly, I have loved strangers, and I will walk after them.’ 26 In the same way that a thief is confounded when he has been apprehended, so the house of Israel has been confounded, they and their kings, their leaders and priests and prophets. 27 For they say to a piece of wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘You have conceived me.’ They have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their affliction, they will say: ‘Rise up and deliver us.’ 28 Where are your gods that you made for yourselves? Let them rise up and deliver you in the time of your affliction. For certainly, your gods were like the number of your cities, O Judah. 29 Why do you want to contend against me in judgment? You have all forsaken me, says the Lord. 30 I have struck your children to no effect; they have not accepted discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets. Your generation is like a raging lion. 31 Consider the word of the Lord. Have I become like a wilderness to Israel, or like a land late to bear fruit? Then why have my people said, ‘We are withdrawing; we will no longer approach you’? 32 Can a virgin forget her ornament, or a bride the covering across her breast? Yet truly, my people have forgotten me, for innumerable days. 33 Why are you striving to claim that your way is good, as if to seek my love, when all the while you are also displaying your malice by your own way, 34 and in your armpits there is found the blood of poor and innocent souls? I have found them, not in ditches, but everywhere that I mentioned previously. 35 And you have said: ‘I am innocent and without sin. And because of this, let your fury be turned away from me.’ Behold, I will contend with you in judgment, because you have said: ‘I have not sinned.’ 36 How exceedingly vile you have become, repeating your ways again and again! And so, you will be ashamed of Egypt, just as you were ashamed of Assur. 37 For you will also depart from that place, and your hand will be upon your head. For the Lord has crushed your confidence, and you will have nothing prosperous by it.”
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