Jeremiah Has Something to Say to You

Rove the streets of Jerusalem, now look and enquire, see in her squares if you can find an individual, one individual who does right and seeks the truth, and I will pardon her, Yahweh says. Although they say, ‘As Yahweh lives,’ they are, in fact, swearing a false oath. Yahweh, do your eyes not look for truth? You have struck them; they have not felt it. You have annihilated them, for they ignored the lesson. They have set their faces harder than rock, they have refused to repent. I thought, ‘These are only the poor! They behave stupidly since they do not know Yahweh’s way or the ruling of their God. I shall approach the great men and speak to them, for these will know Yahweh’s way and the ruling of their God.’ But these, too, have broken the yoke, have burst the bonds.

And so, a lion from the forest will slaughter them, a wolf from the plains will despoil them, a leopard will be lurking round their towns: anyone who goes out will be torn to pieces — because of their many crimes, their countless infidelities. ‘Why should I pardon you? Your sons have abandoned me, to swear by gods that are not gods at all. I fed them full, and they became adulterers, they hurried to the brothel. They are well-fed, roving stallions, each neighing for his neighbour’s wife.

Shall I fail to punish this, Yahweh demands, or on such a nation to exact vengeance? Scale her terraces! Destroy! But do not annihilate her completely! Strip off her branches, for Yahweh does not own them! How treacherously they have treated me, the House of Israel and the House of Judah! Yahweh declares. ‘They have denied Yahweh, they have said, “He is nothing; no evil will overtake us, we shall not see sword or famine.

And the prophets? Nothing but wind; the word is not in them; let those very things happen to them!” ‘ Because of this, Yahweh, God Sabaoth, says this, ‘Since you have said such things, now I shall make my words a fire in your mouth, and make this people wood, for the fire to devour. Now I shall bring on you a nation from afar, House of Israel, Yahweh declares, an enduring nation, an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you grasp what they say. — (Jer. 5:1-15)