May 13, 2022
Nothing is too hard for the Lord
Jeremiah received the Lord’s word in the tenth year of Judah’s King Zedekiah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule. 2 At that time, the army of the Babylonian king had surrounded Jerusalem, and the prophet Jeremiah was confined to the prison quarters in the palace of Judah’s king. 3 Judah’s King Zedekiah had Jeremiah sent there after questioning him: “Why do you prophesy, ‘This is what the Lord says: I’m handing this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will occupy it; 4 and Judah’s King Zedekiah will be captured and handed over to the king of Babylon; he will speak to the king of Babylon personally and see him with his very own eyes. 5 And Zedekiah will be carried off to Babylon to live out his days until I punish him, declares the Lord. If you make war against the Babylonians, you will fail.’”
6 Jeremiah said, The Lord’s word came to me: 7 Your cousin Hanamel, Shallum’s son, is on his way to see you; and when he arrives, he will tell you: “Buy my field in Anathoth, for by law you are next in line to purchase it.” 8 And just as the Lord had said, my cousin Hanamel showed up at the prison quarters and told me, “Buy my field in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin, for you are next in line and have a family obligation to purchase it.” Then I was sure this was the Lord’s doing.
9 So I bought the field in Anathoth from my cousin Hanamel, and weighed out for him seventeen shekels of silver. 10 I signed the deed, sealed it, had it witnessed, and weighed out the silver on the scales. 11 Then I took the deed of purchase—the sealed copy, with its terms and conditions, and the unsealed copy— 12 and gave it to Baruch, Neriah’s son and Mahseiah’s grandson, before my cousin Hanamel and the witnesses named in the deed, as well as before all the Judeans who were present in the prison quarters. 13 I charged Baruch before all of them: 14 “The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Take these documents—this sealed deed of purchase along with the unsealed one—and put them into a clay container so they will last a long time. 15 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Houses, fields, and vineyards will again be bought in this land.”
16 After I had given the documents to Baruch, Neriah’s son, I prayed to the Lord: 17 Lord God, you created heaven and earth by your great power and outstretched arm; nothing is too hard for you! 18 You act with mercy toward thousands upon thousands, but you also bring the consequences of the fathers’ sins on their children after them. Great and mighty God, whose name is the Lord of heavenly forces, 19 marvelous are your purposes, and mighty are your deeds. You are aware of all the ways of humanity, and you reward us for how we live and what we do even now. 20 You have performed signs and wonders in the land of Egypt as you do to this very day in Israel and everywhere else. That’s why you are so renowned. 21 With a strong hand, an outstretched arm, and with awesome power, yes, with signs and wonders, you brought your people Israel out of the land of Egypt. 22 You gave them this land that you promised to their ancestors, a land full of milk and honey. 23 They entered and took possession of it, but they didn’t obey you or follow your Instruction. In fact, they didn’t do anything you commanded them. So you brought upon them this disaster. 24 Now the siege ramps are in place to take the city. And the Babylonians are about to capture it by war, famine, and disease. What you have pronounced is now happening, as you can see. 25 So why tell me, Lord God, Buy the field for money and make sure there are witnesses, when the city is under Babylonian control?
26 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 27 I am the Lord, the God of all living things! Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, the Lord proclaims: I’m handing this city over to the Babylonians and King Nebuchadnezzar, who will capture it. 29 They will enter the city, set it on fire, and burn it down—including the houses on whose roofs offerings have been made to Baal and drink offerings to other gods, which made me especially angry. 30 The people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but evil in my eyes since their youth; the people of Israel and Judah have done nothing but anger me by the work of their hands, declares the Lord. 31 This city has enraged me from the day it was built to this very day, and so it must be removed from my sight— 32 because of all the evil done by the people of Israel and Judah to make me angry—they, their kings and officials, their priests and prophets, the men of Judah, and those who live in Jerusalem. 33 They turned their backs to me and not their faces; and though I taught them over and over, they wouldn’t accept my correction. 34 They set up their disgusting idols in the temple that bears my name and violated it; 35 and they built shrines to Baal in the Ben-hinnon Valley, where they sacrifice their sons and daughters to Molech, though I never commanded them—nor did it even cross my mind—that they should do such detestable things, leading Judah to sin.
36 You have been saying, “This city will be handed over to the king of Babylon through sword, famine, and disease.” But this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: 37 I will gather them from all the countries where I have scattered them in my fierce anger and rage. I will bring them back to this place to live securely. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. 39 I will give them one heart and one mind so that they may worship me all the days of their lives, for their own good and for the good of their children after them. 40 I will make an everlasting covenant with them, never to stop treating them graciously. I will put into their hearts a sense of awe for me so that they won’t turn away from me. 41 I will rejoice in treating them graciously, and I will plant them in this land faithfully and with all my heart and being.
42 The Lord proclaims: Just as I brought this great disaster on this people, so I will bring on them all the good I promised them. 43 Fields will be bought in this land, a land you have said is bleak and uninhabited and in the possession of the Babylonians. 44 Fields will be bought, and deeds will be signed, sealed, and witnessed in the land of Benjamin and in the outlying areas of Jerusalem, in the towns of Judah and in the highlands, in the towns of the western foothills and the arid southern plain; for I will bring them back from their captivity, declares the Lord.
Restoration of Judah and Israel
While he was still confined to the prison quarters, the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah a second time: 2 The Lord proclaims, the Lord who made the earth, who formed and established it, whose name is the Lord: 3 Call to me and I will answer and reveal to you wondrous secrets that you haven’t known.
4 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims about the houses of this city and the palaces of the kings of Judah that were torn down to defend against the siege ramps and weapons 5 of the invading Babylonians. They will be filled with the corpses of those slain in my fierce anger. I hid my face from the people of this city because of all their evil deeds, 6 but now I will heal and mend them. I will make them whole and bless them with an abundance of peace and security. 7 I will bring back the captives of Judah and Israel, and I will rebuild them as they were at first. 8 I will cleanse them of all the wrongdoing they committed against me, and I will forgive them for all of their guilt and rebellion. 9 Then this city will bring me great joy, praise, and renown before all nations on earth, when they hear of all the good I provide for them. They will be in total awe at all the good and prosperity I provide for them.
10 The Lord proclaims: You have said about this place, “It is a wasteland, without humans or animals.” Yet in the ravaged and uninhabited towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, 11 the sounds of joy and laughter and the voices of the bride and the bridegroom will again be heard. So will the voices of those who say, as thank offerings are brought to the Lord’s temple, “Give thanks to the Lord of heavenly forces, for the Lord is good and his kindness lasts forever.” I will bring back the captives of this land as they were before, says the Lord.
12 The Lord of heavenly forces proclaims: This wasteland, without humans or animals—and all its towns—will again become pastures for shepherds to care for their flocks. 13 Shepherds will again count their flocks in the towns of the highlands, the western foothills and the arid southern plain, in the land of Benjamin, as well as in the outlying areas of Jerusalem and the towns of Judah, says the Lord.
14 The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will fulfill my gracious promise with the people of Israel and Judah. 15 In those days and at that time, I will raise up a righteous branch from David’s line, who will do what is just and right in the land. 16 In those days, Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. And this is what he will be called: The Lord Is Our Righteousness. 17 The Lord proclaims: David will always have one of his descendants sit on the throne of the house of Israel. 18 And the levitical priests will always have someone in my presence to make entirely burned offerings and grain offerings, and to present sacrifices.
19 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 20 This is what the Lord says: If one could break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night so that they wouldn’t come at their proper time, 21 only then could my covenant with my servant David and my covenant with the levitical priests who minister before me be broken; only then would David no longer have a descendant to rule on his throne. 22 And just as the stars in the sky can’t be numbered and the sand on the shore can’t be counted, so I will increase the descendants of my servant David and the Levites who minister before me.
23 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 24 Aren’t you aware of what people are saying: “The Lord has rejected the two families that he had chosen”? They are insulting my people as if they no longer belong to me. 25 The Lord proclaims: I would no sooner break my covenant with day and night or the laws of heaven and earth 26 than I would reject the descendants of Jacob and my servant David and his descendants as rulers for the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I will restore the captives and have compassion on them.
Lessons on obedience and disobedience
Jeremiah received the Lord’s word when Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar and his army, and all the countries and people he ruled, were attacking Jerusalem and all its towns. 2 The Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims, Go and speak to Judah’s King Zedekiah and say to him: The Lord proclaims, I’m handing this city over to the king of Babylon, and he will burn it down. 3 You won’t escape but will be captured and handed over to him. You will see the king of Babylon with your very own eyes and speak to him personally, and you will be taken to Babylon. 4 Even so, hear the Lord’s word, King Zedekiah of Judah: This is what the Lord proclaims about you: You won’t die in battle; 5 you will die a peaceful death. As burial incense was burned to honor your ancestors, the kings who came before you, so it will be burned to honor you as people mourn, “Oh, master!” I myself promise this, declares the Lord.
6 The prophet Jeremiah delivered this message to Judah’s King Zedekiah in Jerusalem 7 when the army of the king of Babylon was attacking Jerusalem and all the remaining Judean towns, Lachish and Azekah—the only fortified towns still standing in Judah.
8 Jeremiah received the Lord’s word after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to proclaim liberty for their slaves: 9 everyone was to free their male and female Hebrew slaves and no longer hold a Judean brother or sister in bondage. 10 So all the officials and people who entered into this covenant agreed to free their male and female slaves and no longer hold them in bondage; they obeyed the king’s command and let them go. 11 But afterward they broke their promise, took back the men and women they had freed, and enslaved them again.
12 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 13 The Lord, the God of Israel, proclaims: I made a covenant with your ancestors when I brought them out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. 14 I said that every seventh year each of you must free any Hebrews who have been sold to you. After they have served you for six years, you must set them free. But your ancestors didn’t obey or pay any attention to me. 15 Recently you turned about and did what was right in my sight; each of you proclaimed liberty for the other and made a covenant before me in the temple that bears my name. 16 But then you went back on your word and made my name impure; each of you reclaimed the men and women you had set free and forced them to be your slaves again.
17 Therefore, the Lord proclaims: Since you have defied me by not setting your fellow citizens free, I’m setting you free, declares the Lord, free to die by the sword, disease, and famine! And I will make you an object of horror for all nations on earth. 18 I will make those who disregarded my covenant, violating its terms that they agreed to in my presence, like the calf they cut in two and then walked between the halves of its carcass. 19 The officials of Judah and Jerusalem, the eunuchs and priests, and all the people who passed through the pieces of the calf 20 I will hand over to their enemies who seek to kill them. And their corpses will become food for birds and wild animals. 21 I will hand over Judah’s King Zedekiah and his officials to their enemies who seek to kill them: namely, the army of Babylon’s king, which has just withdrawn from you. 22 I’m about to issue orders, declares the Lord, that the army of Babylon return to this city. They will wage war against it, capture it, and burn it down along with other Judean cities. I will make Judah a wasteland, without inhabitants.
Jeremiah received the Lord’s word during the rule of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son: 2 Go to the Rechabite family and invite them to come to one of the rooms of the Lord’s temple. When they arrive, offer them some wine to drink. 3 So I took Jaazaniah, Jeremiah’s son and Habazziniah’s grandson, and his brothers and all his sons, and the whole Rechabite family. 4 I brought them to the room in the Lord’s temple assigned to the sons of Hanan, Igdaliah’s son, the man of God. The room was next to the one used by the chief officers and right above the room of Maaseiah, Shallum’s son, the temple doorkeeper. 5 Then I set bowls full of wine before the Rechabites, along with several cups, and I said to them, “Have some.”
6 But they refused: “We don’t drink wine because our ancestor Jonadab, Rechab’s son, commanded us, ‘You and your children are never to drink wine; 7 nor are you to build or own houses or plant gardens and vineyards; rather, you are always to dwell in tents so you may live a long time in the fertile land you pass through.’ 8 We have obeyed everything our ancestor Jonadab, Rechab’s son, commanded us. No one in our household, including our wives and children, has ever had wine. 9 And we haven’t built houses to live in or had vineyards, fields, or crops. 10 We have lived in tents and done everything our ancestor Jonadab commanded us. 11 But when Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar invaded the country, we said, ‘We better go to Jerusalem to escape the Babylonian and Aramean armies.’ That’s why we’re here in Jerusalem.”
12 Then the Lord’s word came to Jeremiah: 13 The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Go and tell the people of Judah and those who live in Jerusalem: Can’t you learn a lesson about what it means to obey me? declares the Lord. 14 Jonadab, Rechab’s son, commanded his descendants not to drink wine, and to this very day they have not drunk wine, obeying their ancestor’s instruction. But I have spoken to you again and again, and you haven’t listened to me. 15 I have sent you all my servants, the prophets, time and again, saying, “Each of you, turn from your evil ways and reform your actions; don’t worship or serve other gods. Then you may live in the fertile land I gave to you and your ancestors.” But you haven’t paid attention or listened to me. 16 The descendants of Jonadab, Rechab’s son, have thoroughly obeyed their ancestor, but this people have not listened to me. 17 Therefore, this is what the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, says: I’m going to bring upon the people of Judah and all those who live in Jerusalem the disaster I pronounced against them, because they wouldn’t listen to me or respond when I called.
18 Then Jeremiah said to the Rechabite family: The Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: Because you have obeyed all Jonadab’s instructions and you have done everything he commanded you, 19 the Lord of heavenly forces, the God of Israel proclaims: Jonadab, Rechab’s son, will always have a descendant that stands before me.
Enduring word of God
In the fourth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 Take a scroll and write in it all the words I have spoken to you concerning Israel, Judah, and all the nations from the time of Josiah until today. 3 Perhaps when the people of Judah hear about every disaster I intend to bring upon them, they will turn from their evil ways, and I will forgive their wrongdoing and sins. 4 So Jeremiah sent for Baruch, Neriah’s son. As Jeremiah dictated all the words that the Lord had spoken to him, Baruch wrote them in the scroll. 5 Then Jeremiah told Baruch, “I’m confined here and can’t go to the Lord’s temple. 6 So you go to the temple on the next day of fasting, and read the Lord’s words from the scroll that I have dictated to you. Read them so that all the people in the temple can hear them, as well as all the Judeans who have come from their towns. 7 If they turn from their evil ways, perhaps the Lord will hear their prayers. The Lord has threatened them with fierce anger.” 8 Baruch, Neriah’s son, did everything the prophet Jeremiah instructed him: he read all the Lord’s words from the scroll in the temple.
9 In the ninth month of the fifth year of Judah’s King Jehoiakim, Josiah’s son, all the people in Jerusalem and all those who had come from Judean towns observed a fast for the Lord in Jerusalem. 10 Then Baruch read Jeremiah’s words from the scroll to all the people in the Lord’s temple; he read them in the chamber of Gemariah, Shaphan the scribe’s son, in the upper courtyard near the entrance of the New Gate of the Lord’s temple. 11 When Micaiah, Gemariah’s son and Shaphan’s grandson, heard all the Lord’s words from the scroll, 12 he went down to the scribes’ chamber in the royal palace. There he found all the officials meeting together: Elishama the scribe; Delaiah, Shemaiah’s son; Elnathan, Achbor’s son; Gemariah, Shaphan’s son; Zedekiah, Hananiah’s son, and all the other officials. 13 Micaiah told them all the words he heard Baruch read from the scroll before the people.
14 Then all the officials sent Jehudi, Nethaniah’s son and Shelemiah’s grandson, and Cushi’s great-grandson, to Baruch: “Take the scroll you read to the people and come with me.”
So Baruch, Neriah’s son, took the scroll and went to the officials. 15 They said to him, “Sit down and read it to us.” So Baruch read it to them. 16 When they heard all its words, they were alarmed and said to Baruch: “We must at once report all this to the king!” 17 Then they asked Baruch, “Tell us, how did you write all these words? Did they come from Jeremiah?”
18 Baruch replied, “He dictated all the words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the scroll.”
19 The officials then said to Baruch, “You and Jeremiah had better go and hide. And don’t let anyone know where you are.”
20 After leaving the scroll in the room of Elishama the scribe, they went to the king’s court and told him everything. 21 The king sent Jehudi to take the scroll, and he retrieved it from the room of Elishama the scribe. Then Jehudi read it to the king and all his royal officials who were standing next to the king. 22 Now it was the ninth month, and the king was staying in the winterized part of the palace with the firepot burning near him. 23 And whenever Jehudi read three or four columns of the scroll, the king would cut them off with a scribe’s knife and throw them into the firepot until the whole scroll was burned up. 24 Neither the king nor any of his attendants who heard all these words were alarmed or tore their clothes. 25 Elnathan, Delaiah, and Gemariah begged the king not to burn the scroll, but he wouldn’t listen to them.
26 The king commanded Jerahmeel, the king’s son, along with Seraiah, Azriel’s son, and Shelemiah, Abdeel’s son, to arrest the scribe Baruch and the prophet Jeremiah. But the Lord hid them.
27 The Lord’s word came to Jeremiah after the king had burned the scroll containing the words written by Baruch at Jeremiah’s dictation: 28 Get another scroll and write in it all the words that were in the first scroll that Judah’s King Jehoiakim burned. 29 Then say to Judah’s King Jehoiakim: The Lord proclaims: You burned that scroll because it declared that the king of Babylon will come and destroy this land and eliminate every sign of life from it. 30 Therefore, this is what the Lord proclaims about Judah’s King Jehoiakim: He won’t have any heirs to occupy the throne of David, and his dead body will be cast out and exposed to the heat of the day and the frost of the night. 31 I will punish him and his family and his attendants for their wrongdoing. I will bring upon them, as well as the residents of Jerusalem and the people of Judah, every disaster I pronounced against them. But they wouldn’t listen.
32 So Jeremiah took another scroll and gave it to the scribe Baruch, Neriah’s son, who wrote at Jeremiah’s dictation all the words in the scroll burned in the fire by Judah’s King Jehoiakim. Many similar words were added to them.
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