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The Great Drought


The word of the L ord that came to Jeremiah concerning the drought:


Judah mourns

and her gates languish;

they lie in gloom on the ground,

and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.


Her nobles send their servants for water;

they come to the cisterns,

they find no water,

they return with their vessels empty.

They are ashamed and dismayed

and cover their heads,


because the ground is cracked.

Because there has been no rain on the land

the farmers are dismayed;

they cover their heads.


Even the doe in the field forsakes her newborn fawn

because there is no grass.


The wild asses stand on the bare heights,

they pant for air like jackals;

their eyes fail

because there is no herbage.



Although our iniquities testify against us,

act, O L ord, for your name’s sake;

our apostasies indeed are many,

and we have sinned against you.


O hope of Israel,

its savior in time of trouble,

why should you be like a stranger in the land,

like a traveler turning aside for the night?


Why should you be like someone confused,

like a mighty warrior who cannot give help?

Yet you, O L ord, are in the midst of us,

and we are called by your name;

do not forsake us!



Thus says the L ord concerning this people:

Truly they have loved to wander,

they have not restrained their feet;

therefore the L ord does not accept them,

now he will remember their iniquity

and punish their sins.


11 The L ord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people. 12Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Denunciation of Lying Prophets

13 Then I said: “Ah, Lord G od! Here are the prophets saying to them, ‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you true peace in this place.’ ” 14And the L ord said to me: The prophets are prophesying lies in my name; I did not send them, nor did I command them or speak to them. They are prophesying to you a lying vision, worthless divination, and the deceit of their own minds. 15Therefore thus says the L ord concerning the prophets who prophesy in my name though I did not send them, and who say, “Sword and famine shall not come on this land”: By sword and famine those prophets shall be consumed. 16And the people to whom they prophesy shall be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword. There shall be no one to bury them—themselves, their wives, their sons, and their daughters. For I will pour out their wickedness upon them.



You shall say to them this word:

Let my eyes run down with tears night and day,

and let them not cease,

for the virgin daughter—my people—is struck down with a crushing blow,

with a very grievous wound.


If I go out into the field,

look—those killed by the sword!

And if I enter the city,

look—those sick with famine!

For both prophet and priest ply their trade throughout the land,

and have no knowledge.


The People Plead for Mercy


Have you completely rejected Judah?

Does your heart loathe Zion?

Why have you struck us down

so that there is no healing for us?

We look for peace, but find no good;

for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.


We acknowledge our wickedness, O L ord,

the iniquity of our ancestors,

for we have sinned against you.


Do not spurn us, for your name’s sake;

do not dishonor your glorious throne;

remember and do not break your covenant with us.


Can any idols of the nations bring rain?

Or can the heavens give showers?

Is it not you, O L ord our God?

We set our hope on you,

for it is you who do all this.

This then was the reason why God so severely visited the Jews, who had been deceived by false teachers: it was owing to their previous impiety and ingratitude. And on this account also he adds at the end of the verse, I will pour forth upon them their wickedness Some think that the word רעה, roe, may denote punishment as well as wickedness, as עון, oun, also is taken for both. But the Prophet seems to give a reason why God had resolved to execute so dreadful a judgment on the Jews; and the reason was, because they were worthy of such a reward. I am therefore inclined to render the word wickedness, as though he had said, “A dreadful calamity indeed awaits this people; but that they may not complain of my severity, they shall receive the reward of their own wickedness.” However this may be, the Prophet no doubt wished here to close the mouths of the Jews, that they might not proceed in their evasions, as though God treated them with too little kindness. Hence then it appears, that God does not heedlessly execute his vengeance on the innocent; but that the teachers and the whole people, who approved of them, were involved in the same punishment. 117117     These two verses are differently connected by some: the words, “these prophets,” at the end of the fifteenth verse, are joined with the “the people” in the next verse; and this construction is evidently the best, —
   15. Therefore, thus saith Jehovah, — As to the prophets who prophesy in my name, (Though I have not sent them, yet they say, — The sword and the famine shall not be in this land) By the sword and by the famine shall they perish:

   16. These prophets, and the people, to whom they prophesy, Shall be cast out into the streets of Jerusalem, On account of the famine and the sword; And there will be none to bury them — Neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters; Thus will I pour upon them their own wickedness.

   The preceding connection is favored by the Septuagint and the Arabic, but the other versions do not join the “prophets” and the “people” together. “Their own wickedness” is “their own evils” in the Septuagint, — “their own evil” in the Vulgate, — and “their own wickedness” in the Syriac. If rendered “wickedness,” then it is a metonymy for the fruit or effect of wickedness; if “evil” then the meaning is, the evil due to them. — Ed.

And he says, They shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem by the famine and the sword, or on account of the famine and the sword. They shall then all of them, that is, their carcases, be cast out; for their carcases are evidently meant, as he immediately adds, and no one shall bury them; and he mentions their wives and children. And these had no excuse for themselves, for we have seen in the seventh chapter that this charge was brought against them, rothat the children gathered wood, that the parents kindled the fire, and that the women kneaded the dough to make cakes for their idols. The Prophet then intimates, that no one would escape, because they were all implicated in the same wickedness, some more and some less, but so far, however, that the children were not to go unpunished, because they followed their fathers, nor the wives, because they followed the example of their husbands. It follows —

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