The Bible in Its Traditions

Jeremiah 20:7–18

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O YHWH, Thou hast enticed me, and I was enticed, Thou hast overcome me, and hast prevailed; I am become a laughing-stock all the day, every one mocketh me.

“You have led me away, O Lord, and I have been led away. You have been stronger than I, and you have prevailed. I have become a derision all day long; everyone mocks me.

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For as often as I speak, I cry out, I cry: 'Violence and spoil'; because the word of YHWH is made a reproach unto me, and a derision, all the day.

For I speak now as I have long spoken: crying out against iniquity and proclaiming devastation. And the word of the Lord has been made into a reproach against me and a derision, all day long.

For at the time when I spoke and cried out, I spoke against the extortioners and against the robbers; because the word of the LORD has become for me a reproach and derision daily.

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And if I say: 'I will not make mention of Him, nor speak any more in His name', then there is in my heart as it were a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I weary myself to hold it in, but cannot.

Then I said, I will by no means name the name of the Lord, and I will no more at all speak in his name. But it was a burning fire flaming in my bones, and I am utterly weakened on all sides, and cannot bear up.

Then I said: I will not call him to mind, nor will I speak any longer in his name. And my heart became like a raging fire, enclosed within my bones. And I became weary of continuing to bear it.

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10  For I have heard the whispering of many, terror on every side: 'Denounce, and we will denounce him'; even of all my familiar friends, them that watch for my halting: 'Peradventure he will be enticed, and we shall prevail against him, and we shall take our revenge on him.'

10  For I heard the insults of many, and terror all around: ‘Persecute him!’ and, ‘Let us persecute him!’ from all the men who had been at peace with me and who had kept watch by my side. ‘If only there were some way that he might be deceived, and we might prevail against him and obtain vengeance from him!’

10  For I heard the evil intentions of many, who were gathering from every side inquiring of my peace with their mouth, but hating me in their heart, saying, Point him out to us; we will stand against him; perhaps we can win him over and we shall take our revenge on him.

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11  But YHWH is with me as a mighty warrior; therefore my persecutors shall stumble, and they shall not prevail; they shall be greatly ashamed, because they have not prospered, even with an everlasting confusion which shall never be forgotten.

11  But the Lord is with me, like a strong warrior. For this reason, those who persecute me will fall, and they will be ineffective. They will be greatly confounded. For they have not understood the everlasting disgrace that will never be wiped away.

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12  But, O YHWH of hosts, that triest the righteous, that seest the reins and the heart, let me see Thy vengeance on them; for unto Thee have I revealed my cause.

12  O Lord, that provest just deeds, understanding the reins and hearts, let me see thy vengeance upon them: for to thee I have revealed my cause.

12  And you, O Lord of hosts, the Tester of the just, who sees the temperament and the heart: I beg you to let me see your vengeance upon them. For I have revealed my case to you.

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13  Sing unto YHWH, praise ye the YHWH; for He hath delivered the soul of the needy from the hand of evil-doers.

13  Sing ye to the Lord, sing praise to him: for he has rescued the soul of the poor from the hand of evil-doers.

13  Sing to the LORD; praise the LORD; for he has delivered the life of the poor from the hand of evildoers.

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14  Cursed be the day wherein I was born; the day wherein my mother bore me, let it not be blessed.

14  Cursed is the day on which I was born! The day on which my mother gave birth to me: let it not be blessed!

15  Cursed be the man who brought tidings to my father, saying: 'A man-child is born unto thee'; making him very glad.

15  Cursed is the man who announced it to my father, saying, ‘A male child has been born to you,’ causing him to rejoice with gladness.

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16  And let that man be as the cities which YHWH overthrew, and repented not; and let him hear a cry in the morning, and an alarm at noontide;

16  Let that man rejoice as the cities which the Lord overthrew in wrath, and repented not: let him hear crying in the morning, and loud lamentation at noon;

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17  Because He slew me not from the womb; and so my mother would have been my grave, and her womb always great.

17  So let him be, who did not put me to death from the womb, so that my mother would have been my sepulcher, and her womb would have been my eternal resting place!

17  Because he did not slay me in the womb, so that my mother might have been my grave, and my conception would have remained in the womb for ever.

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18  Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, that my days should be consumed in shame?