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The Book of the Prophet Jeremie

(Part Four)


The Twenty second Chapter
     Thus says the Lord also: Go down in to the house of the king of Judah, and speak there these words, and say: Hear the word of the Lord, you king of Judah that sit in the kingly seat of David: you, and your servants, and your people, that go in and out of this gate. Thus says the Lord commands: Keep equity and righteousness, deliver the oppressed from the power of the violent: do not grieve nor oppress the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, and shed no blood in this place.
     And if you will keep these things faithfully, then shall there come in at the door of this house kings, to sit upon Davids seat: they shall be carried in Chariots and ride upon horses, both they and their servants, and their people. But if you will not be obedient unto these commandments, I swear by mine own self (says the Lord) this house shall be waste. For thus has the Lord spoken upon the kings house of Judah: You are the head, as Galaad in Libanus: What will you lay of it, if I make you not so waste (and your cities also) that no man shall dwell therin? I will prepare a destroyer with his weapons for you, to hew down your special Cedar trees, and to cast them in the fire.
     And all the people that go in this city, shall speak to one another: Wherefore has the Lord done thus unto this noble city? Then shall it be answered: because they have broken the covenant of the Lord their God, and have worshipped and served other gods. Mourn not over the dead, and be not wo for them, but be sorry for him that departs away: for he comes not again, and sees his native country no more. For thus says the Lord, as touching Selum the son of Josiah king of Judah, which reigned after his father, and is carried out of this place: He shall never come hither again, for he shall die in the place, where unto he is led captive, and shall see this land no more. Wo worth him, that builds his house with unrighteousness, and his parlors with the good that he has gotten by violence: which never recompenses his neighbors labor, nor pays him his hire. He thinks in himself: I will build me a wide house, and gorgeous parlors: He causes windows to be hewn therin, and the ceilings and *geastes (joists?) makes he of Cedar, and paints them with Zenober. Think you to reign, now that you provoke me to wrath with the Cedar trees?
     Did not your father eat and drink, and prosper well, as long as he dealt with equity and righteousness? Yes when he helped the oppressed and poor to their right, then prospered he well.
     From from where came this, but only because he had me before his eyes, says the Lord. Nevertheless, as for your eyes and your heart, they look upon covetousness, to shed innocent blood, and to do wrong and violence. And therefore, thus says the Lord against Jehoakim, the son of Josiah king of Judah: They shall not mourn for him (as they used to do) alas brother, alas sister: Neither shall they say unto him: Alas sir, alas for that noble prince. But as an Ass shall he be buried, corrupt and be cast without the gates of Jerusalem.
     Climb up the hill of Libanus (O you daughter Sion) lift up your voice upon Basan, cry from all parts: for all your lovers are destroyed. I gave you warning, while you was yet in prosperity. But you saidst: I will not hear. And this manner you have used from your youth, that you would never hear my voice. All your herdsmen shall be driven with the wind, and your dearlings shall be carried away into captivity: Then shall you be brought to shame and confusion, because of all your wickedness: you that dwell upon Libanus, and make your nest in the Cedars trees. O how great shall your mourning be, when your sorrows come upon you, as a woman travailing with child?
     As truly as I live (says the Lord) though Conaniah the son of Jehoakim king of Judah were the signet of my right hand, yet will I pluck him off: And I will give you into the power of them that seek to slay you, and into the power of them that you fear: into the power of Nabuchodonosor the King of Babylon, and into the power of the Caldees. Moreover, I will send you, and your mother that bare you, into a strange land, where you were not born, and there shall you die. But as for the land that you will desire to return unto, you shall never come at it again. This man Conaniah shall be like an image robbed and torn to pieces, which pleases no man, for all his apparel. Wherefore both he and his seed shall be sent away, and cast out into the land, that they know not. O you earth, earth, earth: hear the word of the Lord. Write this man among the outlaws, for no prosperity shall this man have all his life long. Neither shall any of his seed be so happy, as to sit upon the seat of David, and to bear rule in Juda.

The Twenty third Chapter
     Woe be unto the shepherds, that destroy, and scatter my flock, says the Lord. Wherefore, this is the commandment of the Lord God of Israel, unto the shepherds that feed my people: you scatter and thrust out my flock, and look not upon them. Therefore now will I visit the wickedness of your imaginations, says the Lord: And I will gather together the remnant of my flock, from all lands that I have driven them unto, and will bring them again to their pastures, that they may grow and increase. I will set shepherds also over them, which shall feed them. They shall no more fear and dread, for there shall none of them be lost, says the Lord. Behold, the time comes, says the Lord, that I will raise up the righteous branch of David, which shall bear rule, and discuss matters with wisdom, and shall set up equity and righteousness again in the earth.
     In his time shall Judah shall be saved and Israel shall dwell without fear. And this is the name that they shall call him: even the Lord our righteous maker. And therefore behold, the time comes, says the Lord, that it shall no more be said: the Lord lives, which brought forth, and led the seed of the house of Israel, out of the North land, and from all countries where I had scattered them, and they shall dwell in their own land again.
     My heart breaks in my body because of the false prophets, all my bones shake: I am like a drunken man (that by the reason of wine I can take no rest) for very fear of the Lord, and of his holy words: Because the land is full of *advouters, where through it is destroyed and mourns, and the pleasant pastures of the desert are dried up. Yes the way that men take, is wicked, and their governance is nothing like the holy word of the Lord. For the prophets and the priests themselves are polluted *ipocrites,(hypocrites) and their wickedness have I found in my house, says the Lord. Wherefore, their way shall be slippery in the darkness, wherein they may stagger and fall. For I will bring a plague upon them, even the year of their visitation, says the Lord. I have seen folly among the Prophets of Samaria, that they preached for Baal, and deceived my people of Israel. *advouters: prefix "a" meaning not or without, devout: devotion; plain hearted to God, being devoted to something or some one else. see James 2 for adultery
     I have seen also among the Prophets of Jerusalem foul *advoutry, and presumptuous lies. They take the most shameful men by the hand, flattering them, so that they can not return from their wickedness. All these with their citizens are unto me, as Sodom, and as the inhabitors of Gomorre. Here we see advoutry is manifest with presumptuous
(arrogant) lies,

     Therefore thus says the Lord of Hosts concerning the prophets: Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall. For from the prophets of Jerusalem is the sickness of hypocrisy come in to all the land.
     And therefore the Lord of Hosts gives you this warning: Hear not the words of the prophets, that preach unto you, and deceive you: for they speak the meaning of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. They say unto them, that despise me: The Lord has spoken it: Tush, you shall prosper right well. And unto all them, that walk after the lusts of their own heart, they say: Tush , there shall no misfortune happen you. For who has sitten in the counsel of the Lord, that he has heard and understand, what he is about to do? Who has marked his devise, and heard it? Behold, the stormy weather of the Lord, that is, his indignation, shall go forth, and shall fall down upon the head of the ungodly. And the wrath of the Lord shall not turn away again, until he perform and fulfil the thought of his heart. And in the latter days you shall know his meaning.
     I have not sent these Prophets (says the Lord) and yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, and yet they preached. But if they had continued in my counsel and heard my words: they had turned my people from their evil ways and wicked imaginations. Am I then God that sees but the thing, which is near at hand, and not that is afar off? says the Lord. May any man hides himself so, that I shall not see him? says the Lord. Do not I fulfill heaven and earth? says the Lord. I have heard well enough, what the prophets say, that preach lies in my name, saying: I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long will this continue in the prophets hearts, to tell lies, and to preach the crafty subtlety of their own heart? Whose purpose is (with the dreams that everyone tell) to make my people to forget my name, as their forefathers did, when Baal came up. The prophet that has a dream, let him tell it: and he that understands my word, let him show it faithfully.
     For what has chaff and wheat to do together? says the Lord. Is not my word like as a fire? says the Lord, and like an hammer, that breaks the hard stone? Therefore, thus says the Lord: behold, I will upon the prophets, that steal my word privately from every man. Behold, here am I (says the Lord) against the prophets, that take upon their tongues to speak: The Lord has said it. Behold here am I (says the Lord) against those prophets, that dare prophecy lies, and deceive my people with their vanities, and miracles, whom I never sent, nor commanded them. They shall do this people great harm, says the Lord.
     If this people, either any prophet or a priest ask you, and say: What is the burden of the Lord? You shall say unto them: What burden? Therefore will I cast you from me (says the Lord) because you yourselves are a burden. And that prophet, priest, or people, that uses this term (the burden of the Lord) him I will visit, and his house also.
     But thus shall you say, every one to another: What answer has the Lord given? or what is the Lords commandment? And as for this burden of the Lord, you shall speak no more of it: for every mans own word is his burden, because you have altered the words of the living God the Lord of Hosts our God.
     Thus shall every man say to the Prophets: what answer has the Lord given? you? Or, what says the Lord? And not once to name the burden of the Lord. Therefore thus says the lord: For so much as you have used this term (the burden of the Lord) where as I not withstanding sent unto you, and forbade you to speak of the Lords burden.
     Behold therefore, I will repute you as a burden, and will cast you out of my presence: yes and the city also, that I gave you and your fathers: and will bring you to an everlasting confusion, and in such a shame, as shall never be forgotten.

The Twenty fourth Chapter
     The Lord showed me a vision, Behold, there stood two maundes (baskets) of figs before the Temple of the Lord, after that Nebuchodonosor king of Babylon had led away captive Jechoniah the son of Jehoakim king of Judah, the mighty men also of Judah, the workmasters, and conning men of Jerusalem, unto Babylon. In the one maunde (basket) were very good figs, even like as those that be first ripe. In the other maunde (basket) were very naughty figs, which might not be eaten, they were so evil. Then said the Lord unto me: What see you Jeremie? I said: figs, whereof some be very good, and some so evil, that no man may eat them.
     Then came the word of the Lord unto me, after this manner: Thus says the Lord the God of Israel: like as you know the good figs, so shall I know the men led away, whom I have sent out of this place into the land of the Caldees, for their profit: and I will set mine eyes upon them for the best, for I will bring them again in to this land: I will build them up, and not break them down: I will plant them, and not root them out. And I will give them an heart, to know, how that I am the Lord. They shall be my people, and I will be their God, for they shall return unto me with their whole heart.
     And like as you know the naughty figs, which may not be eaten, they are so evil: Even so will I (says the Lord) let Zedekiah the King of Judah, (you and all his princes, and the residue of Jerusalem that remain over this land, and them also that dwell in Egypt) to be vexed and plagued in all kingdoms and lands. And will make them to be a reproof, a common byword, a laughing stock and shame, in all the places, where I shall scatter them. I will send the sword, hunger and pestilence among them, until I have clean consumed them out of the land, that I gave unto them and to their fathers.

The Twenty fifth Chapter
     A Sermon that was given unto Jeremie, upon all the people of Judah: In the fourth year of Jehoakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was, in the first year of Nebuchodonosor king of Babylon. Which sermon, Jeremie the prophet made unto all the people of Judah, and to all the inhabitantors of Jerusalem, on this manner.
     From the thirteenth year of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, unto this present day, (that is even twenty three year) the word of the Lord has been committed unto me. And so I have spoken unto you, I have risen up early, I have given you warning in season, but you would not hear me. though the Lord has sent his servants, all the prophets unto you in season: Yet would you not obey, you would not incline your ears to hear.
     He said: turn again every man from his evil way, and from your wicked imaginations, and so shall you dwell for ever in the land, that the Lord promised you and your forefathers: And go not after strange gods, serve them not, and anger me with the works of your hands: then will I not punish you. Nevertheless, you would not hear me (says the Lord) but have defiled me with the works of your hands, to your own great harm.
     Wherefore thus says the Lord of Hosts: Because, you have not hearkened unto my word, Lo, I will send out, and call for all the people, that dwells in the North, says the Lord, and will prepare Nabuchodonosor the king of Babylon my servant, and will bring them upon this land, and upon all that dwell therin, and upon all the people that are about them, and will utterly root them out. I will make of them a wilderness, a mocking, and a continual desert.
     Moreover, I will take from them the voice of gladness and solace, the voice of the bridegroom, and the bride, the voice of the anointed, with the *cresshettes (torch): and this whole land shall become a wilderness, and they shall serve the said people and the king of Babylon, three score years and ten (70). When the seventy years are expired, I will visit also the wickedness of the king of Babylon and his people says the Lord: yes and the land of the Caldees, and will make it a perpetual wilderness, and will fulfil all my words upon that land which I have devised against it: yes all that is written in this book, which Jeremie has prophesied of all people: so that they also shall be subdued unto diverse nations and great kings, for I will recompense them, according to their deeds and works of their own hands.
     For thus has the Lord God of Israel spoken unto me: Take this wine cup of indignation from my hand, that you may cause all the people, to whom I send you, for to drink of it: that when they have drunken thereof, they may be mad, and out of their wits, when the sword comes, that I will send among them. Then took I the cup from the Lords hand, and made all the people drink thereof, unto whom the Lord had sent me. But first the city of Jerusalem, and all the cities of Judah, their kings and princes: to make them desolate, waste, despised and cursed according as it is come to pass this day. Yes and Pharao the king of Egypt, his servants, his princes and his people altogether one with another and all the kings of the land of Huz, all the kings of the Philistines land, Ascalon, Azah, Accaron and the remnant of Asood, the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites: all the kings of Tirus, and Sidon: the kings of the Isles, that are beyond the sea, Dedan, Thema, Buz and the shaven Ismaelites: all the kings of Araby, and (generally) all the kings that dwell in the desert: all the kings of Zamri, all the Kings of Elam, all the kings of the Meedes, all kings towards the north, whether they be far or nye, everyone with his neighbors: Yes and all the kingdoms that are upon the whole earth. The king of Sezach, said he, shall drink with them also.
     And said you unto them: This is the commandment of the Lord of hosts the God of Israel: Drink and be drunken, spue and fall, that you never rise: and that through the sword, which I will send among you. But if they will no receive the cup of your hand, and drink it, then tell them: Thus does the Lord of Hosts threaten you: drink it you shall, and that shortly. For lo, I bring a plague to the city, that my name is given unto: think you then, that I will leave you unpunished? you shall not go quiet. For why, I call for a sword upon all the inhabitants of the earth, says the Lord of hosts.
     Therefore tell them all these words, and say unto them: The Lord shall cry from above, and let his voice be heard from his holy habitation. With a great noise shall he cry from his court regal. He shall give a great voice (like the grape gatherers) and the sound thereof shall be heard unto the ends of the world. For the Lord has a judgement to give upon all people, and will hold his court of justice with all flesh and punish the ungodly, says the Lord.
     For thus says the Lord of Hosts: Behold, a miserable plague shall go from one people to another, and a great stormy water shall arise from all the ends of the earth. And the same day shall the Lord himself slay them, from one end of the earth to another. There shall no moan be made for any of them, none gathered up, none buried: but shall lie as dung upon the ground.
     Mourn (O you shepherds) and cry: sprinkle yourselves with ashes, O you rams or the flock: for the time of your slaughter is fulfilled, and you shall fall like vessels conningly made for pleasure.
     The shepherds shall have no way to flee, and the rams of the flock shall not escape. Then shall the shepherds cry horribly, and the rams of the flock shall mourn: for the Lord shall consume their pasture, and their best fields shall lie dead because of the horrible wrath of the Lord. They shall forsake their folds like an lion: for their land shall be waste, because of the wrath of the destroyer, and because of his fearful indignation.

The Twenty sixth Chapter
     In the beginning of the reign of Jehoakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, came this word from the Lord, saying: Thus says the Lord: Stand in the court of the Lords house, and speak unto all them which (out of the cities of Juda) come to worship in the Lords house, all the words that I command you to say. Look that you keep not one word back, if (peradventure) they will hearken, and turn every man from his wicked way: that I may also repent of the plague, which I have determined to bring upon them, because of their wicked inventions.
     And after this manner you shall speak unto them: Thus says the Lord: If you will not obey me, to walk in my laws, which I have given you, and to hear the words of my servants the prophets, whom I sent unto you, rising up timely, and still sending: If you will not follow them (I say) then will I do to this house, as I did unto Siloh, and will make this city to be abhorred of all the people of the earth. And the priests, the prophets and all the people heard Jeremie preach these words, in the house of the Lord.
     Now when he had spoken out all the words, that the Lord had commanded him to preach unto all the people, then the priests, the prophets and all the people took hold upon him, and said: You shall die. How dare you be so bold, as to say in the name of the Lord: it shall happen to this house as it did unto Siloh? And this city shall be so waste, that no man shall dwell therin?
     And when all the people were gathered about Jeremie in the house of the Lord, the princes of Judah heard of this rumor and they came soon out of the kings Palace in to the house of the Lord, and sat them down before the new door of the Lord. Then spoke the priests and the prophets unto the rulers and to all the people, these words: This man is worthy to die, for he has preached against this city, as you yourselves have heard with your ears.
     Then said Jeremie unto the rulers and to all the people: The Lord has sent me to preach against this house and against this city all the words that you have heard. Therefore amend your ways, and your advisements, and be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God: so shall the Lord repent of the plague, that he had devised against you. Now as for me: I am in your hands, do with me, as you think expedient and good. But this shall you know: if you put me to death, you shall make yourselves, this city, and all the inhabitors thereof, guilty of innocent blood. For this is of a truth: that the Lord has sent me unto you, to speak all these words in your ears.
     Then said the rules and the people unto the priests and to the prophets: This man may not be condemned to death, for he has preached unto us in the name of the Lord our God. The Elders also of the land stood up, and said thus unto all the people: Micheah the Morasthite, which was a prophet under Ezekiah king of Judah, spoke to all the people of Judah, Thus says the Lord of Hosts: Sion shall be plowed like a field, Jerusalem shall be an heap of stones, and the hill of the Lords house shall be turned to an high wood. Did Ezekiah king of Judah and the people of Judah put him to death for this? No verily, but rather feared the Lord, and made their prayer unto him. For the which cause also the Lord repented of the plague, that he had devised against them. Should we then do such a shameful deed against our souls? There was a prophet also, that preached stiffly in the name of the Lord, called Urijah the son of Semeiah of Cariathiarim: this man preached also against this city and against this land, according to all as Jeremie says. Now when Jehoakim the king with all the estate and princes had heard his words, the king went about to slay him. When Uriah perceived that, he was afraid, and fled, and departed into Egypt.
     Then Jehoakim the king sent servants in to the land of Egypt, Namely, Elnathan the son of Achabor, and certain men with him into Egypt. which fetched Uriah out of Egypt, and brought him unto king Jehoakim that slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the common peoples grave But Ahikam the son of Saphan helped Jeremie, that he came not into the hands of the people to be slain.

The Twenty seventh Chapter
     In the beginning of the reign of Jehoakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, came this word unto Jeremie from the Lord, which spoke thus unto me: Make you bonds and chains, and put them about your neck, and send them to the King of Edom, the King of Moab, the King of the Ammon, the King of Tyrus, and to the King of Sidon: and that by the messengers, which come to Jerusalem unto Zedekiah the King of Judah, and bid them say unto their masters: Thus says the Lord of Hosts the God of Israel, speak thus unto your masters: I am he that made the earth, the men, and the cattle that are upon the ground, with my great power and outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it pleased me. And now will I deliver all these lands into the power of Nabuchodonosor the King of Babylon, my servant. The beasts also of the field shall I give him to do him service. And all people shall serve him, and his son, and his childs children, until the time of the same land be come also: yes many people and great kings shall serve him.
     Moreover, that people and Kingdom which will not serve Nabuchodonosor, and that will not put their necks under the yoke of the King of Babylon, the same people will I visit with the sword, with hunger, with the pestilence, until I have consumed them in his hands, says the Lord. And therefore follow not your Prophets, soothsayers, expounders of dreams, charmers and witches, which say unto you: you shall not serve the King of Babylon. For they preach you lies: to bring you far from your land, and that I might cast you out, and destroy you. But the people that put their necks under the yoke of the King of Babylon, and serve him, those I will let remain still in their own land (says the Lord) and they shall occupy it, and dwell therein.
     All these things told I Zedekiah the King of Judah, and said: Put your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, that you may live. Why will you and your people perish with the sword, with hunger, with pestilence: like as the Lord has devised for all people, that will not serve the King of Babylon? Therefore give no ear unto those Prophets (that tell you: you shall not serve the King of Babylon?) for they preach you lies, neither have I sent them, says the Lord: how be it they are bold, falsely to prophesy in my name: that I might the sooner drive you out, and that you might perish with your preachers. I spoke to the Priests also, and to all the people: Thus says the Lord: Hear not to the words of those Prophets, the vessels of the Lords house shall shortly be brought hither again from Babylon: For they prophesy lies unto you. Hear them not, but serve the King of Babylon, that you may live. Wherefore will you make this city to be destroyed? But if they be true Prophets in very deed, and if the word of the Lord be committed unto them, then let them pray the Lord of Hosts, that the remnant of the ornaments (which are in the house of the Lord, and remain yet in the house of the King of Judah and at Jerusalem) be not carried to Babylon also. For thus has the Lord of Hosts spoken concerning the pillars, the *laver (large basin), the seat and the residue of the ornaments that yet remain in this city, which Nabuchodonosor the King of Babylon took not, when he carried away Jechoniah the son of Jehoakim King of Judah, with all the power of Juda and Jerusalem, from Jerusalem unto Babylon, captivity.
     Yes thus has the Lord of Hosts the God of Israel spoken, as touching the residue of the ornaments of the Lords house of the king of Judahs house, and of Jerusalem: They shall be carried unto Babylon, and there they shall remain, until I visit them, says the Lord. Then will I bring them hither again. And this was done in the same year: even in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Juda.

CONTINUE

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