1“So the LORD carried out the warning he had uttered against us: against our judges, who governed Israel, against our kings and princes, and against the people of Israel and Judah. 2Nowhere under heaven has anything been done like what he did in Jerusalem, as was written in the law of Moses:* a 3that we would each eat* the flesh of our sons, each the flesh of our daughters. 4He has made us subject to all the kingdoms around us, an object of reproach and horror among all the peoples around us, where the LORD has scattered us.b 5We are brought low, not raised high,c because we sinned against the LORD, our God, not listening to his voice.
6“To the LORD, our God, belongs justice; to us and to our ancestors, to be shamefaced, as on this day.d 7All the evils of which the LORD had warned us have come upon us. 8We did not entreat the favor of the LORD by turning, each one, from the designs of our evil hearts. 9The LORD kept watch over the evils, and brought them home to us; for the LORD is just in all the works he commanded us to do,e 10but we did not listen to his voice, or follow the precepts of the LORD which he had set before us.
C. Prayer for Deliverance
11* “And now, LORD, God of Israel, who led your people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, with signs and wonders and great might, and with an upraised arm, so that you have made for yourself a name to the present day:f 12we have sinned, we have committed sacrilege, we have violated all your statutes, LORD, our God.g 13Withdraw your anger from us, for we are left few in number among the nations where you have scattered us. 14Hear, LORD, our prayer of supplication, and deliver us for your own sake: grant us favor in the sight of those who brought us into exile, 15that the whole earth may know that you are the LORD, our God, and that Israel* and his descendants bear your name.h 16LORD, look down from your holy dwelling and take thought of us; LORD, incline your ear to hear us.i 17Open your eyes and see: it is not the dead in Hades,* whose breath has been taken from within them, who will declare the glory and vindication to the LORD.j 18The person who is deeply grieved, who walks bowed and feeble, with failing eyes and famished soul, will declare your glory and justice, LORD!k
19“Not on the just deeds of our ancestors and our kings do we base our plea for mercy in your sight, LORD, our God. 20You have sent your wrath and anger upon us, as you had warned us through your servants the prophets: 21Thus says the LORD: Bend your necks and serve the king of Babylon, that you may continue in the land I gave your ancestors;l 22* for if you do not listen to the LORD’s voice so as to serve the king of Babylon, 23I will silence from the cities of Judah and from the streets of Jerusalem the cry of joy and the cry of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride; and all the land shall be deserted, without inhabitants.m 24But we did not listen to your voice, or serve the king of Babylon, and you carried out the threats you had made through your servants the prophets, that the bones of our kings and the bones of our ancestors would be brought out from their burial places.n 25And indeed, they lie exposed* to the heat of day and the frost of night. They died in great suffering, by famine and sword and plague.o 26And you reduced the house which bears your name* to what it is today, because of the wickedness of the house of Israel and the house of Judah.p
God’s Promises Recalled. 27“But with us, Lord, our God, you have dealt in all your clemency and in all your great mercy. 28* Thus you spoke through your servant Moses, the day you ordered him to write down your law in the presence of the Israelites: 29‘If you do not listen to my voice, surely this great and numerous throng will dwindle away among the nations to which I will scatter them.q 30For I know they will not listen to me, because they are a stiff-necked people. But in the land of their exile they shall have a change of heart;r 31they shall know that I, the LORD, am their God. I will give them a heart and ears that listen;s 32and they shall praise me in the land of their exile, and shall remember my name.t 33Then they shall turn back from their stiff-necked stubbornness, and from their evil deeds, because they shall remember the ways of their ancestors, who sinned against the LORD.u 34And I will bring them back to the land I promised on oath to their ancestors, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; and they shall rule it. I will make them increase; they shall not be few. 35And I will establish for them an eternal covenant: I will be their God, and they shall be my people; and I will never again remove my people Israel from the land I gave them.’v
* [2:2] Law of Moses: cf. Dt 28:53–57.
* [2:3] We would each eat: such dreadful events were the result of the prolonged siege of Jerusalem; cf. Lam 2:20.
* [2:11–35] An earnest appeal for divine mercy, along with confession of sin; cf. Dn 9:15–19.
* [2:15] Israel: the Israelites claimed descent from the patriarch Jacob, who had received the name Israel in a mysterious encounter with God (Gn 32:29). Thus the Deity was sometimes referred to as “the God of Israel” (Gn 33:20; Ex 5:1).
* [2:17] Hades: this is the Greek translation of Hebrew sheol, the nether world.
* [2:22–24] These words are very similar to Jer 7:34; 27:9, 12.
* [2:25] They lie exposed: Jeremiah’s words threatened Jehoiakim with being left unburied (Jer 22:19; 36:30).
* [2:26] The house which bears your name: the Temple of Jerusalem; cf. Dt 12:11; Jer 7:11. What it is today: during the exile it lay in ruins.
* [2:28–35] These words do not actually quote anything Moses is recorded as having said, but they present the substance of a passage such as Dt 30:1–10, which envisions exile, repentance, and restoration.
a. [2:2–3] Dt 28:52–57; 2 Kgs 6:28–29; Jer 19:9; Lam 2:20; 4:10; Ez 5:10; Dn 9:12.
e. [2:9] Jer 1:12; 31:28; 44:27; Dn 9:14.
h. [2:15] Gn 33:20; Sir 36:11; Jer 14:9; 35:17.
o. [2:25] Jer 7:34; 14:12; 31:30.
s. [2:31] Ps 40:7; Jer 24:7; Ez 36:26.
u. [2:33–35] Lv 26:42–45; Dt 30:1–10.