Judah Threatened with Invasion

“If you will (A)return, O Israel,” declares the Lord,
Then you should return to Me.
And (B)if you will put away your detested things from My presence,
And will not waver,
And you will (C)swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’
(D)In truth, in justice and in righteousness;
Then the (E)nations will bless themselves in Him,
And (F)in Him they will glory.”

For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,

[a](G)Break up your fallow ground,
And (H)do not sow among thorns.
(I)Circumcise yourselves to the Lord
And remove the foreskins of your heart,
Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Or else My (J)wrath will go forth like fire
And burn with (K)none to quench it,
Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,
(L)Blow the trumpet in the land;
Cry aloud and say,
(M)Assemble yourselves, and let us go
Into the fortified cities.’
“Lift up a (N)standard toward Zion!
Seek refuge, do not stand still,
For I am bringing (O)evil from the north,
And great destruction.
“A (P)lion has gone up from his thicket,
And a (Q)destroyer of nations has set out;
He has gone out from his place
To (R)make your land a waste.
Your cities will be ruins
Without inhabitant.
“For this, (S)put on sackcloth,
Lament and wail;
For the (T)fierce anger of the Lord
Has not turned back from us.”

“It shall come about in that day,” declares the Lord, “that the (U)heart of the king and the heart of the princes will fail; and the priests will be appalled and the (V)prophets will be astounded.”

10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord [b]God! Surely You have utterly (W)deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘(X)You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the [c]throat.”

11 In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A (Y)scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness in the direction of the daughter of My people—not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for [d]this—will come [e]at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.

13 “Behold, he (Z)goes up like clouds,
And his (AA)chariots like the whirlwind;
His horses are (AB)swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for (AC)we are ruined!”

14 Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem,
That you may be saved.
How long will your (AD)wicked thoughts
Lodge within you?
15 For a voice declares from (AE)Dan,
And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim.
16 “Report it to the nations, now!
Proclaim over Jerusalem,
‘Besiegers come from a (AF)far country,
And (AG)lift their voices against the cities of Judah.
17 ‘Like watchmen of a field they are (AH)against her round about,
Because she has (AI)rebelled against Me,’ declares the Lord.
18 “Your (AJ)ways and your deeds
Have [f]brought these things to you.
This is your evil. How (AK)bitter!
How it has touched your heart!”

Lament over Judah’s Devastation

19 (AL)My [g]soul, my [h]soul! I am in anguish! [i]Oh, my heart!
My (AM)heart is pounding in me;
I cannot be silent,
Because [j]you have heard, O my soul,
The (AN)sound of the trumpet,
The alarm of war.
20 (AO)Disaster on disaster is proclaimed,
For the (AP)whole land is devastated;
Suddenly my (AQ)tents are devastated,
My curtains in an instant.
21 How long must I see the standard
And hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 (AR)For My people are foolish,
They know Me not;
They are stupid children
And have no understanding.
They are shrewd to (AS)do evil,
But to do good they do not know.”

23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was [k](AT) formless and void;
And to the heavens, and they had no light.
24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were (AU)quaking,
And all the hills [l]moved to and fro.
25 I looked, and behold, there was no man,
And all the (AV)birds of the heavens had fled.
26 I looked, and behold, [m]the (AW)fruitful land was a wilderness,
And all its cities were pulled down
Before the Lord, before His fierce anger.

27 For thus says the Lord,
“The (AX)whole land shall be a desolation,
Yet I will (AY)not execute a complete destruction.
28 “For this the (AZ)earth shall mourn
And the (BA)heavens above be dark,
Because I have (BB)spoken, I have purposed,
And I will not [n]change My mind, nor will I turn from it.”
29 At the sound of the horseman and bowman (BC)every city flees;
They (BD)go into the thickets and climb among the rocks;
(BE)Every city is forsaken,
And no man dwells in them.
30 And you, O desolate one, (BF)what will you do?
Although you dress in scarlet,
Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold,
Although you (BG)enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you make yourself beautiful.
Your [o](BH)lovers despise you;
They seek your life.
31 For I heard a [p]cry as of a woman in labor,
The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child,
The [q]cry of the daughter of Zion (BI)gasping for breath,
(BJ)Stretching out her [r]hands, saying,
“Ah, woe is me, for [s]I faint before murderers.”


  1. Jeremiah 4:3 Lit Plow for yourselves plowed ground
  2. Jeremiah 4:10 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  3. Jeremiah 4:10 Or life
  4. Jeremiah 4:12 Lit these
  5. Jeremiah 4:12 Lit for Me
  6. Jeremiah 4:18 Lit done
  7. Jeremiah 4:19 Lit inward parts
  8. Jeremiah 4:19 Lit inward parts
  9. Jeremiah 4:19 Lit The walls of my heart
  10. Jeremiah 4:19 Or I, my soul, heard
  11. Jeremiah 4:23 Or a waste and emptiness
  12. Jeremiah 4:24 Lit moved lightly
  13. Jeremiah 4:26 Or Carmel
  14. Jeremiah 4:28 Lit be sorry
  15. Jeremiah 4:30 Lit paramours
  16. Jeremiah 4:31 Lit sound
  17. Jeremiah 4:31 Lit sound
  18. Jeremiah 4:31 Lit palms
  19. Jeremiah 4:31 Lit my soul faints

“If you, Israel, will return,(A)
    then return to me,”
declares the Lord.
“If you put your detestable idols(B) out of my sight
    and no longer go astray,
and if in a truthful, just and righteous way
    you swear,(C) ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’(D)
then the nations will invoke blessings(E) by him
    and in him they will boast.(F)

This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Break up your unplowed ground(G)
    and do not sow among thorns.(H)
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
    circumcise your hearts,(I)
    you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
or my wrath(J) will flare up and burn like fire(K)
    because of the evil(L) you have done—
    burn with no one to quench(M) it.

Disaster From the North

“Announce in Judah and proclaim(N) in Jerusalem and say:
    ‘Sound the trumpet(O) throughout the land!’
Cry aloud and say:
    ‘Gather together!
    Let us flee to the fortified cities!’(P)
Raise the signal(Q) to go to Zion!
    Flee for safety without delay!
For I am bringing disaster(R) from the north,(S)
    even terrible destruction.”

A lion(T) has come out of his lair;(U)
    a destroyer(V) of nations has set out.
He has left his place
    to lay waste(W) your land.
Your towns will lie in ruins(X)
    without inhabitant.
So put on sackcloth,(Y)
    lament(Z) and wail,
for the fierce anger(AA) of the Lord
    has not turned away from us.

“In that day,” declares the Lord,
    “the king and the officials will lose heart,(AB)
the priests will be horrified,
    and the prophets will be appalled.”(AC)

10 Then I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! How completely you have deceived(AD) this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’(AE) when the sword is at our throats!”

11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, “A scorching wind(AF) from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind(AG) too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments(AH) against them.”

13 Look! He advances like the clouds,(AI)
    his chariots(AJ) come like a whirlwind,(AK)
his horses(AL) are swifter than eagles.(AM)
    Woe to us! We are ruined!(AN)
14 Jerusalem, wash(AO) the evil from your heart and be saved.(AP)
    How long(AQ) will you harbor wicked thoughts?
15 A voice is announcing from Dan,(AR)
    proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.(AS)
16 “Tell this to the nations,
    proclaim concerning Jerusalem:
‘A besieging army is coming from a distant land,(AT)
    raising a war cry(AU) against the cities of Judah.(AV)
17 They surround(AW) her like men guarding a field,
    because she has rebelled(AX) against me,’”
declares the Lord.
18 “Your own conduct and actions(AY)
    have brought this on you.(AZ)
This is your punishment.
    How bitter(BA) it is!
    How it pierces to the heart!”

19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!(BB)
    I writhe in pain.(BC)
Oh, the agony of my heart!
    My heart pounds(BD) within me,
    I cannot keep silent.(BE)
For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;(BF)
    I have heard the battle cry.(BG)
20 Disaster follows disaster;(BH)
    the whole land lies in ruins.(BI)
In an instant my tents(BJ) are destroyed,
    my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard(BK)
    and hear the sound of the trumpet?(BL)

22 “My people are fools;(BM)
    they do not know me.(BN)
They are senseless children;
    they have no understanding.(BO)
They are skilled in doing evil;(BP)
    they know not how to do good.”(BQ)

23 I looked at the earth,
    and it was formless and empty;(BR)
and at the heavens,
    and their light(BS) was gone.
24 I looked at the mountains,
    and they were quaking;(BT)
    all the hills were swaying.
25 I looked, and there were no people;
    every bird in the sky had flown away.(BU)
26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;(BV)
    all its towns lay in ruins(BW)
    before the Lord, before his fierce anger.(BX)

27 This is what the Lord says:

“The whole land will be ruined,(BY)
    though I will not destroy(BZ) it completely.
28 Therefore the earth will mourn(CA)
    and the heavens above grow dark,(CB)
because I have spoken and will not relent,(CC)
    I have decided and will not turn back.(CD)

29 At the sound of horsemen and archers(CE)
    every town takes to flight.(CF)
Some go into the thickets;
    some climb up among the rocks.(CG)
All the towns are deserted;(CH)
    no one lives in them.

30 What are you doing,(CI) you devastated one?
    Why dress yourself in scarlet
    and put on jewels(CJ) of gold?
Why highlight your eyes with makeup?(CK)
    You adorn yourself in vain.
Your lovers(CL) despise you;
    they want to kill you.(CM)

31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,(CN)
    a groan as of one bearing her first child—
the cry of Daughter Zion(CO) gasping for breath,(CP)
    stretching out her hands(CQ) and saying,
“Alas! I am fainting;
    my life is given over to murderers.”(CR)

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