1A copy of an epistle, which Jeremiah 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.
2Because of the sins which ye have committed before God, ye shall be led away captives into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar king of the Babylonians.
3So 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.
4Now shall ye see in Babylon gods of silver, and of gold, and of wood, borne upon shoulders, which cause the nations to fear.
5Beware therefore that ye in nowise be like to strangers, neither be ye afraid of them, when ye see the multitude before them and behind them, worshiping them.
6But say ye in your hearts, O Lord, we must worship thee.
7For mine angel is with you, and I myself caring for your souls.
8As for their tongue, it is polished by the workman, and they themselves are gilded and laid over with gold; yet are they but false, and cannot speak.
9And taking gold, as it were for a virgin that loveth to go gay, they make crowns for the heads of their gods.
10Sometimes also the priests convey from their gods gold and silver, and bestow it upon themselves.
11Yea, 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.
12Yet cannot these gods save themselves from rust and moths, though they be covered with purple raiment.
13They wipe their faces because of the dust of the temple, when there is much upon them.
14And he that cannot put to death one that offendeth him holdeth a scepter, as though he were a judge of the country.
15He hath also in his right hand a dagger and an axe: but cannot deliver himself from war and thieves.
16Whereby they are known not to be gods: therefore fear them not.
17For 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.
18And 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.
19They light them candles, yea, more than for themselves, whereof they cannot see one.
20They 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.
21Their faces are blackened through the smoke that cometh out of the temple.
22Upon their bodies and heads sit bats, swallows, and birds, and the cats also.
23By this ye may know that they are no gods: therefore fear them not.
24Notwithstanding 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.
25The things wherein there is no breath are bought for a most high price.
26They are borne upon shoulders, having no feet, whereby they declare unto men that they be nothing worth.
27They 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.
28As 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.
29Menstruous women and women in childbed eat their sacrifices: by these things ye may know that they are no gods: fear them not.
30For how can they be called gods? because women set meat before the gods of silver, gold, and wood.
31And the priests sit in their temples, having their clothes rent, and their heads and beards shaven, and nothing upon their heads.
32They roar and cry before their gods, as men do at the feast when one is dead.
33The priests also take off their garments, and clothe their wives and children.
34Whether 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.
35In 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.
36They can save no man from death, neither deliver the weak from the mighty.
37They cannot restore a blind man to his sight, nor help any man in his distress.
38They can show no mercy to the widow, nor do good to the fatherless.
39Their 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.
40How should a man then think and say that they are gods, when even the Chaldeans themselves dishonor them?
41Who if they shall see one dumb that cannot speak, they bring him, and entreat Bel that he may speak, as though he were able to understand.
42Yet they cannot understand this themselves, and leave them: for they have no knowledge.
43The women also with cords about them, sitting in the ways, burn bran for perfume: but if any of them, drawn by some that passeth by, lie with him, she reproacheth her fellow, that she was not thought as worthy as herself, nor her cord broken.
44Whatsoever is done among them is false: how may it then be thought or said that they are gods?
45They are made of carpenters and goldsmiths: they can be nothing else than the workmen will have them to be.
46And they themselves that made them can never continue long; how should then the things that are made of them be gods
47For they left lies and reproaches to them that come after.
48For when there cometh any war or plague upon them, the priests consult with themselves, where they may be hidden with them.
49How then cannot men perceive that they be no gods, which can neither save themselves from war, nor from plague?
50For seeing they be but of wood, and overlaid with silver and gold, it shall be known hereafter that they are false:
51and it shall manifestly appear to all nations and kings that they are no gods, but the works of men’s hands, and that there is no work of God in them.
52Who then may not know that they are no gods?
53For neither can they set up a king in the land, nor give rain unto men.
54Neither can they judge their own cause, nor redress a wrong, being unable: for they are as crows between heaven and earth.
55Whereupon when fire falleth upon the house of gods of wood, or laid over with gold or silver, their priests will flee away, and escape: but they themselves shall be burned asunder like beams.
56Moreover they cannot withstand any king or enemies: how can it then be thought or said that they be gods?
57Neither are those gods of wood, and laid over with silver or gold, able to escape either from thieves or robbers.
58Whose gold, and silver, and garments wherewith they are clothed, they that are strong do take, and go away withal: neither are they able to help themselves.
59Therefore it is better to be a king that showeth his power, or else a profitable vessel in a house, which the owner shall have use of, than such false gods; or to be a door in a house, to keep such things safe as be therein, than such false gods; or a pillar of wood in a palace, than such false gods.
60For sun, moon, and stars, being bright, and sent to do their offices, are obedient.
61In like manner the lightning when it breaketh forth is easy to be seen: and after the same manner the wind bloweth in every country.
62And when God commandeth the clouds to go over the whole world, they do as they are bidden.
63And the fire sent from above to consume hills and woods doeth as it is commanded: but these are like unto them neither in show nor power.
64Wherefore it is neither to be supposed nor said that they are gods, seeing they are able neither to judge causes, nor to do good unto men.
65Knowing therefore that they are no gods, fear them not.
66For they can neither curse nor bless kings:
67neither can they show signs in the heavens among the heathen, nor shine as the sun, nor give light as the moon.
68The beasts are better than they: for they can get under a covert, and help themselves.
69It is then by no means manifest unto us that they are gods: therefore fear them not.
70For as a scarecrow in a garden of cucumbers keepeth nothing: so are their gods of wood, and laid over with silver and gold.
71And likewise their gods of wood, and laid over with silver and gold, are like to a white thorn in an orchard, that every bird sitteth upon; as also to a dead body, that is cast into the dark.
72And ye shall know them to be no gods by the bright purple that rotteth upon them: and they themselves afterward shall be eaten, and shall be a reproach in the country.
73Better therefore is the just man that hath no idols: for he shall be far from reproach.