1You, O Lord are [uncompromisingly] righteous and consistently just when I plead my case with You;
Yet let me discuss issues of justice with You:
Why has the way of the wicked prospered?
Why are those who deal in treachery (deceit) at ease and thriving?
2You have planted them, they have also taken root;
They grow, they have even produced fruit.
You are honored by their [hypocritical] lips
But [You are] far from their heart and mind.
3But You, O Lord, know me [and understand my devotion to You];
You see me;
And You examine the attitude of my heart toward You.
Drag out the faithless like sheep for the slaughter [O Lord]
And set them apart for the day of slaughter.
4How long must the land mourn
And the grass of the countryside wither?
Because of the wickedness and hypocrisy of those who live in it,
The beasts and the birds are consumed and are swept away [by the drought],
Because men [mocking me] have said, “He will not [live long enough to] see [what happens at] our final end.”
5[The Lord rebukes Jeremiah for his impatience, saying] “If you have raced with men on foot and they have tired you out,
Then how can you compete with horses?
If you fall down in a land of peace [where you feel secure],
Then how will you do [among the lions] in the [flooded] thicket beside the Jordan?
6For even your [tribal] brothers and the household of your father,
Even they have dealt treacherously (unfaithfully) with you;
Indeed they are [like a pack of hounds] howling after you.
Do not believe them, although they may say kind words and promise you good things.”
7“I have abandoned My house,
I have given up My [precious] inheritance (Judah);
I have given the [dearly] beloved of My life
Into the hands of her enemies.
8My inheritance has become to Me
Like a lion in the forest;
She has raised her voice and roared against Me;
So I have come to [treat her as if I] hate her.
9Is My inheritance like a speckled bird of prey to Me [unlike the others]?
Are the birds of prey (enemies) surrounding her on every side?
Go, gather all the [wild] beasts of the field;
Bring them to devour [her]!
10Many shepherds (invaders) have destroyed My vineyard (Judah),
They have trampled My field underfoot;
They have made My pleasant field
A desolate wilderness.
11They have made it a wasteland,
Desolate, it mourns before Me;
The whole land has been made a wasteland,
Because no man takes it to heart.
12Destroyers have come
On all the caravan roads in the desert,
For the sword of the Lord (Babylon) is devouring
From one end of the land even to the other;
No one has peace or a way of escape.
13They have planted wheat but have reaped thorns;
They have exhausted themselves but without profit.
So be ashamed of your harvest
Because of the fierce and raging anger of the Lord.”
14Thus says the Lord regarding all My evil neighbors (Gentile nations) who strike at the inheritance which I have granted to My people Israel, “Behold, I will uproot them from their land and I will uproot the house of Judah from among them. 15And it shall come about that after I have uprooted them, I will return and have compassion on them; and I will bring them back again, each one to his inheritance and each one to his land. 16And if these [neighboring nations] will diligently learn the ways of My people, to swear by My Name, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’—even as they taught My people to swear by Baal, then they will be built up among My people. 17But if [any nation] will not listen and obey, I will [completely] uproot and destroy that nation, says the Lord.”