8 “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!
Deception by False Prophets
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!”
Jeremiah Weeps for Sinful Judah
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?
9 [c]If only my head were a pool of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears,
I would weep day and night
for all my people who have been slaughtered.
2 [d]Oh, that I could go away and forget my people
and live in a travelers’ shack in the desert.
For they are all adulterers—
a pack of treacherous liars.
Judgment for Disobedience
3 “My people bend their tongues like bows
to shoot out lies.
They refuse to stand up for the truth.
They only go from bad to worse.
They do not know me,”
says the Lord.
4 “Beware of your neighbor!
Don’t even trust your brother!
For brother takes advantage of brother,
and friend slanders friend.
5 They all fool and defraud each other;
no one tells the truth.
With practiced tongues they tell lies;
they wear themselves out with all their sinning.
6 They pile lie upon lie
and utterly refuse to acknowledge me,”
says the Lord.
7 Therefore, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“See, I will melt them down in a crucible
and test them like metal.
What else can I do with my people?[e]
8 For their tongues shoot lies like poisoned arrows.
They speak friendly words to their neighbors
while scheming in their heart to kill them.
9 Should I not punish them for this?” says the Lord.
“Should I not avenge myself against such a nation?”
10 I will weep for the mountains
and wail for the wilderness pastures.
For they are desolate and empty of life;
the lowing of cattle is heard no more;
the birds and wild animals have all fled.
11 “I will make Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,” says the Lord.
“It will be a place haunted by jackals.
The towns of Judah will be ghost towns,
with no one living in them.”
12 Who is wise enough to understand all this? Who has been instructed by the Lord and can explain it to others? Why has the land been so ruined that no one dares to travel through it?
13 The Lord replies, “This has happened because my people have abandoned my instructions; they have refused to obey what I said. 14 Instead, they have stubbornly followed their own desires and worshiped the images of Baal, as their ancestors taught them. 15 So now, this is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: Look! I will feed them with bitterness and give them poison to drink. 16 I will scatter them around the world, in places they and their ancestors never heard of, and even there I will chase them with the sword until I have destroyed them completely.”
Weeping in Jerusalem
17 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says:
“Consider all this, and call for the mourners.
Send for the women who mourn at funerals.
18 Quick! Begin your weeping!
Let the tears flow from your eyes.
19 Hear the people of Jerusalem[f] crying in despair,
‘We are ruined! We are completely humiliated!
We must leave our land,
because our homes have been torn down.’”
20 Listen, you women, to the words of the Lord;
open your ears to what he has to say.
Teach your daughters to wail;
teach one another how to lament.
21 For death has crept in through our windows
and has entered our mansions.
It has killed off the flower of our youth:
Children no longer play in the streets,
and young men no longer gather in the squares.
22 This is what the Lord says:
“Bodies will be scattered across the fields like clumps of manure,
like bundles of grain after the harvest.
No one will be left to bury them.”
23 This is what the Lord says:
“Don’t let the wise boast in their wisdom,
or the powerful boast in their power,
or the rich boast in their riches.
24 But those who wish to boast
should boast in this alone:
that they truly know me and understand that I am the Lord
who demonstrates unfailing love
and who brings justice and righteousness to the earth,
and that I delight in these things.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
25 “A time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will punish all those who are circumcised in body but not in spirit— 26 the Egyptians, Edomites, Ammonites, Moabites, the people who live in the desert in remote places,[g] and yes, even the people of Judah. And like all these pagan nations, the people of Israel also have uncircumcised hearts.”
Idolatry Brings Destruction
10 Hear the word that the Lord speaks to you, O Israel! 2 This is what the Lord says:
“Do not act like the other nations,
who try to read their future in the stars.
Do not be afraid of their predictions,
even though other nations are terrified by them.
3 Their ways are futile and foolish.
They cut down a tree, and a craftsman carves an idol.
4 They decorate it with gold and silver
and then fasten it securely with hammer and nails
so it won’t fall over.
5 Their gods are like
helpless scarecrows in a cucumber field!
They cannot speak,
and they need to be carried because they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of such gods,
for they can neither harm you nor do you any good.”
6 Lord, there is no one like you!
For you are great, and your name is full of power.
7 Who would not fear you, O King of nations?
That title belongs to you alone!
Among all the wise people of the earth
and in all the kingdoms of the world,
there is no one like you.
8 People who worship idols are stupid and foolish.
The things they worship are made of wood!
9 They bring beaten sheets of silver from Tarshish
and gold from Uphaz,
and they give these materials to skillful craftsmen
who make their idols.
Then they dress these gods in royal blue and purple robes
made by expert tailors.
10 But the Lord is the only true God.
He is the living God and the everlasting King!
The whole earth trembles at his anger.
The nations cannot stand up to his wrath.
11 Say this to those who worship other gods: “Your so-called gods, who did not make the heavens and earth, will vanish from the earth and from under the heavens.”[h]
12 But the Lord made the earth by his power,
and he preserves it by his wisdom.
With his own understanding
he stretched out the heavens.
13 When he speaks in the thunder,
the heavens roar with rain.
He causes the clouds to rise over the earth.
He sends the lightning with the rain
and releases the wind from his storehouses.
14 The whole human race is foolish and has no knowledge!
The craftsmen are disgraced by the idols they make,
for their carefully shaped works are a fraud.
These idols have no breath or power.
15 Idols are worthless; they are ridiculous lies!
On the day of reckoning they will all be destroyed.
16 But the God of Israel[i] is no idol!
He is the Creator of everything that exists,
including Israel, his own special possession.
The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is his name!
The Coming Destruction
17 Pack your bags and prepare to leave;
the siege is about to begin.
18 For this is what the Lord says:
“Suddenly, I will fling out
all you who live in this land.
I will pour great troubles upon you,
and at last you will feel my anger.”
19 My wound is severe,
and my grief is great.
My sickness is incurable,
but I must bear it.
20 My home is gone,
and no one is left to help me rebuild it.
My children have been taken away,
and I will never see them again.
21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses.
They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord.
Therefore, they fail completely,
and their flocks are scattered.
22 Listen! Hear the terrifying roar of great armies
as they roll down from the north.
The towns of Judah will be destroyed
and become a haunt for jackals.
23 I know, Lord, that our lives are not our own.
We are not able to plan our own course.
24 So correct me, Lord, but please be gentle.
Do not correct me in anger, for I would die.
25 Pour out your wrath on the nations that refuse to acknowledge you—
on the peoples that do not call upon your name.
For they have devoured your people Israel[j];
they have devoured and consumed them,
making the land a desolate wilderness.
8:7 The identification of some of these birds is uncertain.
8:19 Hebrew Zion?
9:1 Verse 9:1 is numbered 8:23 in Hebrew text.
9:2 Verses 9:2-26 are numbered 9:1-25 in Hebrew text.
9:7 Hebrew with the daughter of my people? Greek version reads with the evil daughter of my people?
9:19 Hebrew Zion.
9:26 Or in the desert and clip the corners of their hair.
10:11 The original text of this verse is in Aramaic.
10:16 Hebrew the Portion of Jacob. See note on 5:20.
10:25 Hebrew devoured Jacob. See note on 5:20.
Wisdom Calls for a Hearing
8 Listen as Wisdom calls out!
Hear as understanding raises her voice!
2 On the hilltop along the road,
she takes her stand at the crossroads.
3 By the gates at the entrance to the town,
on the road leading in, she cries aloud,
4 “I call to you, to all of you!
I raise my voice to all people.
5 You simple people, use good judgment.
You foolish people, show some understanding.
6 Listen to me! For I have important things to tell you.
Everything I say is right,
7 for I speak the truth
and detest every kind of deception.
8 My advice is wholesome.
There is nothing devious or crooked in it.
9 My words are plain to anyone with understanding,
clear to those with knowledge.
10 Choose my instruction rather than silver,
and knowledge rather than pure gold.
11 For wisdom is far more valuable than rubies.
Nothing you desire can compare with it.
6 All slaves should show full respect for their masters so they will not bring shame on the name of God and his teaching. 2 If the masters are believers, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. Those slaves should work all the harder because their efforts are helping other believers[a] who are well loved.
False Teaching and True Riches
Teach these things, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. 3 Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. 4 Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. 5 These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.
6 Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. 7 After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. 8 So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.
9 But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
Paul’s Final Instructions
11 But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. 12 Fight the good fight for the true faith. Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have declared so well before many witnesses. 13 And I charge you before God, who gives life to all, and before Christ Jesus, who gave a good testimony before Pontius Pilate, 14 that you obey this command without wavering. Then no one can find fault with you from now until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 15 For,
At just the right time Christ will be revealed from heaven by the blessed and only almighty God, the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. 16 He alone can never die, and he lives in light so brilliant that no human can approach him. No human eye has ever seen him, nor ever will. All honor and power to him forever! Amen.
17 Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. 18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. 19 By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.
20 Timothy, guard what God has entrusted to you. Avoid godless, foolish discussions with those who oppose you with their so-called knowledge. 21 Some people have wandered from the faith by following such foolishness.
May God’s grace be with you all.
6:2 Greek brothers.
A prayer of one overwhelmed with trouble, pouring out problems before the Lord.
1 Lord, hear my prayer!
Listen to my plea!
2 Don’t turn away from me
in my time of distress.
Bend down to listen,
and answer me quickly when I call to you.
3 For my days disappear like smoke,
and my bones burn like red-hot coals.
4 My heart is sick, withered like grass,
and I have lost my appetite.
5 Because of my groaning,
I am reduced to skin and bones.
6 I am like an owl in the desert,
like a little owl in a far-off wilderness.
7 I lie awake,
lonely as a solitary bird on the roof.
8 My enemies taunt me day after day.
They mock and curse me.
9 I eat ashes for food.
My tears run down into my drink
10 because of your anger and wrath.
For you have picked me up and thrown me out.
11 My life passes as swiftly as the evening shadows.
I am withering away like grass.
12 But you, O Lord, will sit on your throne forever.
Your fame will endure to every generation.
13 You will arise and have mercy on Jerusalem[a]—
and now is the time to pity her,
now is the time you promised to help.
14 For your people love every stone in her walls
and cherish even the dust in her streets.
15 Then the nations will tremble before the Lord.
The kings of the earth will tremble before his glory.
16 For the Lord will rebuild Jerusalem.
He will appear in his glory.
17 He will listen to the prayers of the destitute.
He will not reject their pleas.
18 Let this be recorded for future generations,
so that a people not yet born will praise the Lord.
19 Tell them the Lord looked down
from his heavenly sanctuary.
He looked down to earth from heaven
20 to hear the groans of the prisoners,
to release those condemned to die.
21 And so the Lord’s fame will be celebrated in Zion,
his praises in Jerusalem,
22 when multitudes gather together
and kingdoms come to worship the Lord.
23 He broke my strength in midlife,
cutting short my days.
24 But I cried to him, “O my God, who lives forever,
don’t take my life while I am so young!
25 Long ago you laid the foundation of the earth
and made the heavens with your hands.
26 They will perish, but you remain forever;
they will wear out like old clothing.
You will change them like a garment
and discard them.
27 But you are always the same;
you will live forever.
28 The children of your people
will live in security.
Their children’s children
will thrive in your presence.”
102:13 Hebrew Zion; also in 102:16.