Jeremiah 16

1The Lord’s message came to me: 2“Jeremiah, you must not get married. You must not have sons or daughters in this place.” 3The Lord says these things about the sons and daughters that are born in the land of Judah. And this is what the Lord says about the mothers and fathers of those children: 4“Those people will die a terrible death. No person will cry for those people. No person will bury them. Their bodies will lie on the ground like dung. Those people will die by an enemy’s sword, or they will starve to death. Their dead bodies will be food for the birds of the sky and the wild animals of the earth.” 5So the Lord says: “Jeremiah, don’t go into a house where people are eating a funeral meal. Don’t go there to cry for the dead or show your sorrow. Don’t do those things. Why? Because I have taken back my blessing. I will not be kind to these people of Judah. I will not feel sorry for them.” This message is from the Lord. 6“Important people and common people will die in the land of Judah. No person will bury those people or cry for them. No person will cut himself or shave his head to show sorrow for those people. 7No person will bring food to the people that are crying for the dead. No person will comfort those people whose mother or father has died. No person will offer a drink to comfort the people that are crying for the dead. 8“Jeremiah, don’t go into a house where the people are having a party. Don’t go into that house and sit down to eat and drink. 9The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel says these things: 'I will soon stop the sounds of people having fun. I will stop the happy sounds people make during a wedding party. This will happen during your lifetime. I will do these things quickly.’ 10“Jeremiah, you will tell the people of Judah these things. And the people will ask you, 'Why has the Lord said these terrible things to us? What have we done wrong? What sin have we done against the Lord our God?’ 11You must say these things to those people: 'Terrible things will happen to you because your ancestors quit following me.’ This message is from the Lord. 'They quit following me and began to follow and serve other gods. They worshiped those other gods. Your ancestors left me and `quit obeying my law. 12But you people have sinned more than your ancestors. You are very stubborn. And you are doing only the things that you want to do. You are not obeying me. You do only what you want to do. 13So I will throw you out of this country. I will force you to go to a foreign country. You will go to a land that you and your ancestors never knew. In that land you can serve false gods all you want to. I will not help you or show you any favors.’ 14“People make promises and say, 'As surely as the Lord lives. He is the One who brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt.’ But the time is coming,” this message is from the Lord, “when people will not say those things. 15The people will say something new. They will say, 'As surely as the Lord lives. He is the One who brought the people of Israel out of the northern land. He brought them out of all the countries where he had sent them.’ Why will the people say these things? Because I will bring the people of Israel back to the land that I gave to their ancestors. 16“I will soon send for many fishermen to come to this land.” This message is from the Lord. “Those fishermen will catch the people of Judah. After that happens, I will send for many hunters to come to this land. Those hunters will hunt the people of Judah on every mountain and hill and in the cracks of the rocks. 17I see everything they do. The people of Judah can’t hide from me the things they do. Their sin is not hidden from me. 18I will pay the people of Judah back for the bad things they did—I will punish them two times for every sin. I will do this because they have made my land 'dirty.’ They made my land 'dirty’ with their terrible idols. I hate those idols. But they have filled my country with their idols.” 19Lord, you are my strength and my protection. You are a safe place to run to in time of trouble. The nations will come to you from all around the world. They will say, ”Our fathers had false gods. They worshiped those worthless idols, but those idols did not help them at all.” 20Can people make real gods for themselves? No! They can make statues, but those statues are not really gods. 21So I will teach those people that make idols. Right now I will teach them about my power and my strength. Then they will know that I am God. They will know that I am the Lord.”

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