1 The Lord told me: Even if Moses and Samuel were standing before me pleading with me on behalf of these people, I wouldn't feel sorry for them. Send them away from me. Have them leave. 2 If they ask you, “Where shall we go?” tell them that this is what the Lord says: Those to be killed by the plague, to the plague; those to be killed by the sword, to the sword; those to be killed by famine, to famine; and those to be killed in captivity, to captivity.
3 I will put four kinds of destroyers in charge of them, declares the Lord: swords to kill, dogs to drag their bodies away, and the birds of prey and wild animals to eat them and destroy them. 4 I will make all the kingdoms of the world horrified by them, because of the evil things Manasseh, son of Hezekiah, king of Judah did in Jerusalem.
Who will be sorry for you, Jerusalem? Who will mourn for you? Who will stop to ask you how you are? 6
You have deserted me, declares the Lord. You have turned your back on me. So I will take action against you and destroy you; I am tired of showing you mercy. 7
I will scatter you with a winnowing fork*
from every town in the country. I will destroy my people and take away their children because they refuse to give up their evil ways. 8
There will be more widows than the sand of the sea. I will bring a destroyer at noon and mothers will lose their young sons. They will suddenly experience agony and shock. 9
A mother of seven children will collapse; she will gasp for breath. Her sun will set while it's still daytime; she will be ashamed and humiliated. I will let the enemies kill the rest of them, declares the Lord.
10 How sad I am, my mother, that you gave birth to me! I'm a victim of argument and conflict wherever I go in the country. I have never lent anyone anything, or borrowed anything, but still everyone curses me.
But the Lord told me: Don't worry, I'm going to take away your problems so you can do good. I will make your enemies plead with you whenever they're in trouble or suffering.†
Can anyone break iron, iron from the north, or bronze? 13
I will give away your wealth and valuable possessions for free. They will become plunder for your enemies because of all the sins you committed throughout your country. 14
Then I will have your enemies make you their slaves‡
in an unfamiliar country, because I will so angry it will be like lighting a fire that will burn you up.
15 You know what's happening to me, Lord. Please remember me and look after me. Punish my persecutors! Please be patient—don't let me die! You know I put up with criticism because I want to honor you.
When I received your messages, I ate them up! What you said made me really happy—I was delighted. I belong to you, Lord God Almighty! 17
I didn't join in with a bunch of jokers as they had fun. I stayed by myself because you have called me, and you have filled me with outrage.§
18 Why doesn't my pain ever stop? Why is my wound incurable? Why can't it be healed? You've really become like a seasonal stream to me, an unreliable source of water.
So this is what the Lord says: If you come back to me, I will take you back and you will serve me again. If what you talk about are worthwhile subjects and not nonsense, you will be my spokesman, Jeremiah.*
They must be the ones who follow you; you must not follow them.
Then I will make you a wall to these people, a strong wall of bronze. They will fight against you but they won't defeat you.†
I am with you to save you and rescue you, declares the Lord. 21
I will liberate you from the power of the wicked, and free you from clutches of the cruel.