Letter of Jeremiah


A copy of an epistle, which Jeremy sent unto them which were to be led captives into Babylon by the king of the Babylonians, to certify them, as it was commanded him of God.[1] Because of the sins which ye have committed before God, ye shall be led away captives into Babylon by Nabuchodonosor king of the Babylonians.
[2] So when ye be come unto Babylon, ye shall remain there many years, and for a long season, namely, seven generations: and after that I will bring you away peaceably from thence.
[3] Now shall ye see in Babylon gods of silver, and of gold, and of wood, borne upon shoulders, which cause the nations to fear.
[4] Beware therefore that ye in no wise be like to strangers, neither be ye and of them, when ye see the multitude before them and behind them, worshipping them.
[5] But say ye in your hearts, O Lord, we must worship thee.
[6] For mine angel is with you, and I myself caring for your souls.
[7] As for their tongue, it is polished by the workman, and they themselves are gilded and laid over with silver; yet are they but false, and cannot speak.
[8] And taking gold, as it were for a virgin that loveth to go gay, they make crowns for the heads of their gods.
[9] Sometimes also the priests convey from their gods gold and silver, and bestow it upon themselves.
[10] Yea, they will give thereof to the common harlots, and deck them as men with garments, [being] gods of silver, and gods of gold, and wood.
[11] Yet cannot these gods save themselves from rust and moth, though they be covered with purple raiment.
[12] They wipe their faces because of the dust of the temple, when there is much upon them.
[13] And he that cannot put to death one that offendeth him holdeth a sceptre, as though he were a judge of the country.
[14] He hath also in his right hand a dagger and an ax: but cannot deliver himself from war and thieves.
[15] Whereby they are known not to be gods: therefore fear them not.
[16] For like as a vessel that a man useth is nothing worth when it is broken; even so it is with their gods: when they be set up in the temple, their eyes be full of dust through the feet of them that come in.
[17] And as the doors are made sure on every side upon him that offendeth the king, as being committed to suffer death: even so the priests make fast their temples with doors, with locks, and bars, lest their gods be spoiled with robbers.
[18] They light them candles, yea, more than for themselves, whereof they cannot see one.
[19] They are as one of the beams of the temple, yet they say their hearts are gnawed upon by things creeping out of the earth; and when they eat them and their clothes, they feel it not.
[20] Their faces are blacked through the smoke that cometh out of the temple.
[21] Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds, and the cats also.
[22] By this ye may know that they are no gods: therefore fear them not.
[23] Notwithstanding the gold that is about them to make them beautiful, except they wipe off the rust, they will not shine: for neither when they were molten did they feel it.
[24] The things wherein there is no breath are bought for a most high price.
[25] They are borne upon shoulders, having no feet whereby they declare unto men that they be nothing worth.
[26] They also that serve them are ashamed: for if they fall to the ground at any time, they cannot rise up again of themselves: neither, if one set them upright, can they move of themselves: neither, if they be bowed down, can they make themselves straight: but they set gifts before them as unto dead men.
[27] As for the things that are sacrificed unto them, their priests sell and abuse; in like manner their wives lay up part thereof in salt; but unto the poor and impotent they give nothing of it.
[28] Menstruous women and women in childbed eat their sacrifices: by these things ye may know that they are no gods: fear them not.
[29] For how can they be called gods? because women set meat before the gods of silver, gold, and wood.
[30] And the priests sit in their temples, having their clothes rent, and their heads and beards shaven, and nothing upon their heads.
[31] They roar and cry before their gods, as men do at the feast when one is dead.
[32] The priests also take off their garments, and clothe their wives and children.
[33] Whether it be evil that one doeth unto them, or good, they are not able to recompense it: they can neither set up a king, nor put him down.
[34] In like manner, they can neither give riches nor money: though a man make a vow unto them, and keep it not, they will not require it.
[35] They can save no man from death, neither deliver the weak from the mighty.
[36] They cannot restore a blind man to his sight, nor help any man in his distress.
[37] They can shew no mercy to the widow, nor do good to the fatherless.
[38] Their gods of wood, and which are overlaid with gold and silver, are like the stones that be hewn out of the mountain: they that worship them shall be confounded.
[39] How should a man then think and say that they are gods, when even the Chaldeans themselves dishonour them?
[40] Who if they shall see one dumb that cannot speak, they bring him, and intreat Bel that he may speak, as though he were able to understand.
[41] Yet they cannot understand this themselves, and leave them: for

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