Jeremiah 9

Chapter 9

A Faithless People

1 Oh, if only my head were a spring of water
and my eyes a fountain of tears
so that I might weep day and night
for the slain of the daughter of my people.
2 Would that I could find in the desert
a wayside shelter for travelers
so that I might depart from my people
and leave them far behind.
For all of them are adulterers,
a faithless mob of traitors.
3 Their tongues are like devious weapons,
bent like a drawn bow.
With falsehood rather than truth
they have gained power in the land.
They commit one crime after another,
but they do not acknowledge me, says the Lord.
4 Each of you should be on guard against your neighbor
and place no trust in a brother.
For everyone seeks to supplant his brother, as Jacob did,
and every friend is a slanderer.
5 They all deceive each other;
no one speaks the truth.
They have trained their tongues in the art of lying;
immersed in iniquity, they cannot repent.
6 With their repeated acts of oppression and deceit,
they refuse to acknowledge me, says the Lord.
7 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts:
Now I will refine and test them.
How else should I deal with this people?
8 Their tongue is a deadly arrow;
their mouth utters words of deceit.
They speak cordially with their neighbors,
but inwardly, they are plotting to ambush them.
9 For such deceitful dealings
shall I not punish them, says the Lord,
and shall I not exact vengeance
on such a nation?

Dirge over Zion

10 Raise up cries of weeping and lamentation for the mountains
and chant a dirge for the pasture lands,
because they have been so scorched
that no one passes there,
and the lowing of cattle is not heard.
Birds of the air and the animals:
all have fled and are gone.
11 I will turn Jerusalem into a heap of ruins,
a lair for jackals,
and I will lay waste the towns of Judah
so that no one can live there.

12 Who is wise enough to understand this? Who has been commanded by the Lord to make it known? Why has the land been ravaged and laid waste like a desert through which no one is able to pass? 13 The Lord says, “This was permitted to happen because they have rejected my law which I set before them, and they have not followed it or listened to my voice. 14 Rather, they have stubbornly obeyed the wishes of their own hearts and followed the Baals, as their ancestors had taught them.”

15 Therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, “Now I will give this people wormwood to eat and poisoned water to drink. 16 I will scatter them among nations that neither they nor their ancestors have known, and I will pursue them with the sword until I have completely annihilated them.”

17 Thus says the Lord of hosts:
Listen to my command! Summon the mourning women;
send for those who are most skilled in this regard.
18 Let them come quickly
and raise a dirge for us
so that our eyes may overflow with tears
and our cheeks may be wet with weeping.
19 May a sound of lamenting be heard in Zion,
“Great is our ruin;
intense is our shame.
We must leave our land;
our homes have been destroyed.”[a]
20 Listen, you women, to the word of the Lord;
let your ears receive the message he imparts.
21 Death has climbed through our windows
and has entered our palaces.
It has cut down the children in the streets
and the young people in the public squares.
22 The corpses of the slain will be strewn
like dung on an open field,
like sheaves left behind by the reaper
with no one to gather them.

True Wisdom

23 Thus says the Lord:
Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom,
or the strong man boast of his strength,
or the rich man boast of his wealth.
24 But if any wish to boast,
let them boast of this:
that they understand and know me.
For I am the Lord who governs the earth
with unfailing love, justice, and righteousness.
In these things I delight,
says the Lord.

25 “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “when I will demand an account of all those who are circumcised only in the flesh: 26 Egypt, Judah, Edom, the Ammonites, Moab, and all those with shaved temples who dwell in the desert.[b] For all those nations, and the entire house of Israel as well, are uncircumcised in heart.”


  1. Jeremiah 9:19 Probably an allusion to a campaign of Nebuchadnezzar in Palestine in 602 or 598 B.C. (see 2 Ki 24:1-10).
  2. Jeremiah 9:26 Desert: or “desert and who clip the hair by their foreheads,” which would refer to an idolatrous practice.

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