A copy of a letter which Jeremiah sent to
those who were to be taken to Babylon as captives by the
king of the Babylonians, to give them the message which
God had commanded him.
 Because of the sins which you have committed
before God, you will be taken to Babylon as captives by
Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Babylonians.
 Therefore when you have come to Babylon you
will remain there for many years, for a long time, up to
seven generations; after that I will bring you away from
there in peace.
 Now in Babylon you will see gods made of
silver and gold and wood, which are carried on men's
shoulders and inspire fear in the heathen.
 So take care not to become at all like the
foreigners or to let fear for these gods possess you,
when you see the multitude before and behind them
 But say in your heart, "It is thou, O
Lord, whom we must worship."
 For my angel is with you, and he is watching
 Their tongues are smoothed by the craftsman,
and they themselves are overlaid with gold and silver;
but they are false and cannot speak.
 People take gold and make crowns for the
heads of their gods, as they would for a girl who loves
 and sometimes the priests secretly take gold
and silver from their gods and spend it upon themselves,
 and even give some of it to the harlots in
the brothel. They deck their gods out with garments like
men -- these gods of silver and gold and wood,
 which cannot save themselves from rust and
corrosion. When they have been dressed in purple robes,
 their faces are wiped because of the dust
from the temple, which is thick upon them.
 Like a local ruler the god holds a scepter,
though unable to destroy any one who offends it.
 It has a dagger in its right hand, and has
an axe; but it cannot save itself from war and robbers.
 Therefore they evidently are not gods; so do
not fear them.
 For just as one's dish is useless when it is
broken, so are the gods of the heathen, when they have
been set up in the temples. Their eyes are full of the
dust raised by the feet of those who enter.
 And just as the gates are shut on every side
upon a man who has offended a king, as though he were
sentenced to death, so the priests make their temples
secure with doors and locks and bars, in order that they
may not be plundered by robbers.
 They light lamps, even more than they light
for themselves, though their gods can see none of them.
 They are just like a beam of the temple, but
men say their hearts have melted, when worms from the
earth devour them and their robes. They do not notice
 when their faces have been blackened by the
smoke of the temple.
 Bats, swallows, and birds light on their
bodies and heads; and so do cats.
 From this you will know that they are not
gods; so do not fear them.
 As for the gold which they wear for beauty
-- they will not shine unless some one wipes off the
rust; for even when they were being cast, they had no
 They are bought at any cost, but there is no
breath in them.
 Having no feet, they are carried on men's
shoulders, revealing to mankind their worthlessness.
 And those who serve them are ashamed because
through them these gods are made to stand, lest they
fall to the ground. If any one sets one of them upright,
it cannot move itself; and if it is tipped over, it
cannot straighten itself; but gifts are placed before
them just as before the dead.
 The priests sell the sacrifices that are
offered to these gods and use the money; and likewise
their wives preserve some with salt, but give none to
the poor or helpless.
 Sacrifices to them may be touched by women
in menstruation or at childbirth. Since you know by
these things that they are not gods, do not fear them.
 For why should they be called gods? Women
serve meals for gods of silver and gold and wood;
 and in their temples the priests sit with
their clothes rent, their heads and beards shaved, and
their heads uncovered.
 They howl and shout before their gods as
some do at a funeral feast for a man who has died.
 The priests take some of the clothing of
their gods to clothe their wives and children.
 Whether one does evil to them or good, they
will not be able to repay it. They cannot set up a king
or depose one.
 Likewise they are not able to give either
wealth or money; if one makes a vow to them and does not
keep it, they will not require it.
 They cannot save a man from death or rescue
the weak from the strong.
 They cannot restore sight to a blind man;
they cannot rescue a man who is in distress.
 They cannot take pity on a widow or do good
to an orphan.
 These things that are made of wood and
overlaid with gold and silver are like stones from the
mountain, and those who serve them will be put to shame.
 Why then must any one think that they are
gods, or call them gods? Besides, even the Chaldeans
themselves dishonor them;
 for when they see a dumb man, who cannot
speak, they bring him and pray Bel that the man may
speak, as though Bel were able to understand.
 Yet they themselves cannot perceive this and
abandon them, for they have no sense.
 And the women, with cords about them, sit
along the passageways, burning bran for incense; and
when one of them is led off by one of the passers-by and
is lain with, she derides the woman next to her, because
she was not as attractive as herself and her cord was
 Whatever is done for them is false. Why then
must any one think that they are gods, or call them
 They are made by carpenters and goldsmiths;
they can be nothing but what the craftsmen wish them to
 The men that make them will certainly not
live very long themselves; how then can the things that
are made by them be gods?
 They have left only lies and reproach for
those who come after.
 For when war or calamity comes upon them,
the priests consult together as to where they can hide
themselves and their gods.
 How then can one fail to see that these are
not gods, for they cannot save themselves from war or
 Since they are made of wood and overlaid
with gold and silver, it will afterward be known that
they are false.
 It will be manifest to all the nations and
kings that they are not gods but the work of men's
hands, and that there is no work of God in them.
 Who then can fail to know that they are not
 For they cannot set up a king over a country
or give rain to men.
 They cannot judge their own cause or deliver
one who is wronged, for they have no power; they are
like crows between heaven and earth.
 When fire breaks out in a temple of wooden
gods overlaid with gold or silver, their priests will
flee and escape, but the gods will be burnt in two like
 Besides, they can offer no resistance to a
king or any enemies. Why then must any one admit or
think that they are gods?
 Gods made of wood and overlaid with silver
and gold are not able to save themselves from thieves
 Strong men will strip them of their gold and
silver and of the robes they wear, and go off with this
booty, and they will not be able to help themselves.
 So it is better to be a king who shows his
courage, or a household utensil that serves its owner's
need, than to be these false gods; better even the door
of a house that protects its contents, than these false
gods; better also a wooden pillar in a palace, than
these false gods.
 For sun and moon and stars, shining and sent
forth for service, are obedient.
 So also the lightning, when it flashes, is
widely seen; and the wind likewise blows in every land.
 When God commands the clouds to go over the
whole world, they carry out his command.
 And the fire sent from above to consume
mountains and woods does what it is ordered. But these
idols are not to be compared with them in appearance or
 Therefore one must not think that they are
gods nor call them gods, for they are not able either to
decide a case or to do good to men.
 Since you know then that they are not gods,
do not fear them.
 For they can neither curse nor bless kings;
 they cannot show signs in the heavens and
among the nations, or shine like the sun or give light
like the moon.
 The wild beasts are better than they are,
for they can flee to cover and help themselves.
 So we have no evidence whatever that they
are gods; therefore do not fear them.
 Like a scarecrow in a cucumber bed, that
guards nothing, so are their gods of wood, overlaid with
gold and silver.
 In the same way, their gods of wood,
overlaid with gold and silver, and like a thorn bush in
a garden, on which every bird sits; or like a dead body
cast out in the darkness.
 By the purple and linen that rot upon them
you will know that they are not gods; and they will
finally themselves be consumed, and be a reproach in the
 Better therefore is a just man who has no
idols, for he will be far from reproach.