Jeremiah sounds the alarm. The coming judgment is certain. Jerusalem will be completely destroyed. Shepherds will graze their herds where it had been.
VERSE 1. “Flee for safety, you children of Benjamin, out of the middle of Jerusalem! Blow the shofar in Tekoa and raise up a signal on Beth Haccherem, for evil looks out from the north with a great destruction.
Blow the shofar in Tekoa. The trumpet would be sounded at Tekoa. Tekoa was seven miles south of Bethlehem.
2 Samuel 14:2. Joab sent to Tekoa, and brought a wise woman from there, and said to her, “Please act like a mourner, and put on mourning clothing, please, and don’t anoint yourself with oil, but be as a woman who has mourned a long time for the dead.
Jeremiah 6:1. Flee for safety, you children of Benjamin, out of the middle of Jerusalem! Blow the shofar in Tekoa and raise up a signal on Beth Haccherem, for evil looks out from the north with a great destruction.
Amos 1:1. The words of Amos, who was among the herdsmen of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
VERSE 2. I will cut off the beautiful and delicate one, the daughter of Zion.
VERSE 3. Shepherds with their flocks will come to her. They will pitch their tents against her all around. They will feed everyone in his place.”
Jerusalem was destroyed so completely that shepherds pitched their tents and grazed their herds on its site:
Nehemiah 1:3. They said to me, “The remnant who are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”
Nehemiah 2:3. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why shouldn’t my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates have been consumed with fire?”
Nehemiah 2:17. Then I said to them, “You see the bad situation that we are in, how Jerusalem lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire. Come, let’s build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we won’t be disgraced.”
Jeremiah 6:3. Shepherds with their flocks will come to her. They will pitch their tents against her all around. They will feed everyone in his place.”
VERSE 4. “Prepare war against her! Arise! Let’s go up at noon. Woe to us! For the day declines, for the shadows of the evening are stretched out.
VERSE 5. Arise! Let’s go up by night, and let’s destroy her palaces.”
VERSE 6. For the LORD of Hosts said, “Cut down trees, and cast up a mound against Jerusalem. This is the city to be visited. She is wholly oppression within herself.
VERSE 7. As a well produces its waters, so she produces her wickedness. Violence and destruction is heard in her. Sickness and wounds are continually before me.
VERSE 8. Be instructed, Jerusalem, lest my soul be alienated from you, lest I make you a desolation, an uninhabited land.”
VERSE 9. The LORD of Hosts says, “They will thoroughly glean the remnant of Israel like a vine. Turn again your hand as a grape gatherer into the baskets.”
NCV translation. This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “Gather the few people of Israel who are left alive, as you would gather the last grapes on a grapevine. Check each vine again, like someone who gathers grapes.”
Gather the few people of Israel who are left alive. In our day, some preachers feel they are doing this.
They feel that the people in the big mainline churches are spiritually dead. So they try to gather a few people who share a passion for the things that the preacher is most interested in.
VERSE 10. To whom should I speak and testify, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can’t listen. Behold, the LORD’s word has become a reproach to them. They have no delight in it.
their ear is uncircumcised. In most translations it says “their ears are closed.” But in some translations, it says “their ear is uncircumcised.” We don’t remember anywhere else that the Bible complains of uncircumcised ears!
English Standard Version translation. To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.
King James Bible translation. To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.
Holman Christian Standard Bible translation. Who can I speak to and give such a warning that they will listen? Look, their ear is uncircumcised, so they cannot pay attention. See, the word of the LORD has become contemptible to them– they find no pleasure in it.
New Heart English Bible translation. To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can’t listen. Behold, the word of the LORD has become a reproach to them. They have no delight in it.
Jubilee Bible 2000 translation. To whom shall I speak, and give warning that they may hear? behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken, behold, the word of the LORD is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.
English Revised Version translation. To whom shall I speak and testify, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is become unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it.
World Messianic Edition translation. To whom should I speak and testify, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they can’t listen. Behold, the LORD’s word has become a reproach to them. They have no delight in it.
the LORD’s word has become a reproach to them. They hate the Bible. It is no longer a delight to them.
VERSE 11. Therefore I am full of the LORD’s wrath. I am weary with holding it in. “Pour it out on the children in the street, and on the assembly of young men together; for even the husband with the wife will be taken, the aged with him who is full of days.
VERSE 12. Their houses will be turned to others, their fields and their wives together; for I will stretch out my hand on the inhabitants of the land, says the LORD.”
VERSE 13. “For from their least even to their greatest, everyone is given to covetousness. From the prophet even to the priest, everyone deals falsely.
NCV translation. Everyone, from the least important to the greatest, is greedy for money. Even the prophets and priests all tell lies.
greedy for money. We often hear about people for whom the “American dream” has come true. That means the person got rich. Perhaps it was a rags-to-riches” story. It glamorizes greed.
Even the prophets and priests all tell lies. Church leaders easily succumb to the universal greed for money. And with their position of great power and influence, it is easy:
1. They can pander to the richest members of their congregation.
2. They can slant their sermons to favor the opinions of their richest members.
3. They can favor the ministry programs favored by the richest members.
When ministers do this, they receive astonishingly generous gifts. And in the process, they lost their sincerity. They have become “owned,” just like how a politician is “owned” by major donors.
Isaiah 30:10. They say to the seers, “Have no visions;” to the prophets, “Do not decry for us what is right;” speak flatteries to us, conjure up illusions!” (NAB translation)
Jeremiah 5:31. The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own authority; and my people love to have it so. What will you do in the end of it?
Jeremiah 6:13. Everyone, from the least important to the greatest, is greedy for money. Even the prophets and priests all tell lies. (NCV translation)
2 Timothy 4:3. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. (NIV translation)
VERSE 14. They have healed also the hurt of my people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.
saying, ‘Peace, peace! Those are the words of a false prophet.
Jeremiah 5:12. They have denied the LORD, and said, “It is not he. Evil will won’t come on us. We won’t see sword or famine.
Jeremiah 6:14. They have healed also the hurt of my people superficially, saying, ‘Peace, peace!’ when there is no peace.
Jeremiah 23:17. They say continually to those who despise me, ‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace;” ’ and to everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart they say, ‘No evil will come on you.’
Matthew 24:29. But immediately after the suffering of those days, the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, the stars will fall from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken
1 Thessalonians 5:3. When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.” (NLT translation)
VERSE 15. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush. Therefore they will fall among those who fall. When I visit them, they will be cast down,” says the LORD.
VERSE 16. The LORD says, “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, ‘Where is the good way?’ and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’
VERSE 17. I set watchmen over you, saying, ‘Listen to the sound of the shofar!’ But they said, ‘We will not listen!’
I set watchmen over you. In ancient times, a watchman stood on a high tower and scanned the horizon for developments, especially developments in the enemy camp, or signs of danger. The king formulated his plans based on input from the watchman.
In our day, some Christians feel called to be a spiritual watchman over society. They climb the high tower of prayer. They scan society for developments, especially developments in the enemy’s camp, or signs of danger.
VERSE 18. Therefore hear, you nations, and know, congregation, what is among them.
VERSE 19. Hear, earth! Behold, I will bring evil on this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not listened to my words; and as for my law, they have rejected it.
VERSE 20. To what purpose does frankincense from Sheba come to me, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.”
Isaiah 1:11. “What are the multitude of your sacrifices to me?”, says the LORD. “I have had enough of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed animals. I don’t delight in the blood of bulls, or of lambs, or of male goats.
Jeremiah 6:20. To what purpose does frankincense from Sheba come to me, and the sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, and your sacrifices are not pleasing to me.
Amos 5:21. I hate, I despise your feasts, and I can’t stand your solemn assemblies.
Hebrews 10:8. Previously saying, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you didn’t desire, neither had pleasure in them” (those which are offered according to the law),
VERSE 21. Therefore The LORD says, “Behold, I will lay stumbling blocks before this people. The fathers and the sons together will stumble against them. The neighbor and his friend will perish.”
VERSE 22. The LORD says, “Behold, a people comes from the north country. A great nation will be stirred up from the uttermost parts of the earth.
VERSE 23. They take hold of bow and spear. They are cruel, and have no mercy. Their voice roars like the sea, and they ride on horses, everyone set in array, as a man to the battle, against you, daughter of Zion.”
VERSE 24. We have heard its report. Our hands become feeble. Anguish has taken hold of us, and pains as of a woman in labor.
VERSE 25. Don’t go out into the field or walk by the way; for the sword of the enemy and terror are on every side.
VERSE 26. Daughter of my people, clothe yourself with sackcloth, and wallow in ashes! Mourn, as for an only son, most bitter lamentation, for the destroyer will suddenly come on us.
VERSE 27. “I have made you a tester of metals and a fortress among my people, that you may know and try their way.
NAB translation. A tester among my people I have appointed you, to search and test their way.
The ministry of Jeremiah was confrontive. It was not easy, and Jeremiah struggled a great deal.
VERSE 28. They are all grievous rebels, going around to slander. They are bronze and iron. All of them deal corruptly.
VERSE 29. The bellows blow fiercely. The lead is consumed in the fire. In vain they go on refining, for the wicked are not plucked away.
VERSE 30. Men will call them rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them.”
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.