Jeremiah 4

Faithless Israel Called to Repentance

1 "If you return, O Israel,
declares the Lord,
x to me you should return.
If you remove your detestable things from my presence,
y and do not waver,
2 z and if you swear, 'As the Lord lives,'
in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,
then a nations shall bless themselves in him,
b and in him shall they glory."

3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:
c "Break up your fallow ground,
and d sow not among thorns.
4 e Circumcise yourselves to the Lord;
remove the foreskin of your hearts,
O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;
f lest my wrath go forth like fire,
and burn with none to quench it,
g because of the evil of your deeds."

Disaster from the North

5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,
h "Blow the trumpet through the land;
cry aloud and say,
i 'Assemble, and let us go
into the fortified cities!'
6 j Raise a standard toward Zion,
flee for safety, stay not,
for I bring disaster from k the north,
l and great destruction.
7 m A lion has gone up from his thicket,
a destroyer of nations has set out;
he has gone out from his place
to make your land a waste;
your cities will be ruins
n without inhabitant.
8 For this o put on sackcloth,
lament and wail,
for p the fierce anger of the Lord
has not turned back from us."

9 "In that day, declares the Lord, q courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded." 10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord God, r surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'It shall be well with you,' whereas the sword has reached their very life."

11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A hot wind from s the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who t speak in judgment upon them."

13 Behold, he comes up like clouds;
u his chariots like the whirlwind;
his horses are v swifter than eagles -
woe to us, w for we are ruined!
14 O Jerusalem, x wash your heart from evil,
that you may be saved.
How long shall your wicked thoughts
lodge within you?
15 For a voice y declares from Dan
and proclaims trouble from z Mount Ephraim.
16 Warn the nations that he is coming;
announce to Jerusalem,
"Besiegers come a from a distant land;
they shout against the cities of Judah.
17 Like keepers of a field b are they against her all around,
because she has rebelled against me,
declares the Lord.
18 Your ways and your deeds
have brought this upon you.
This is your doom, and c it is bitter;
it has reached your very heart."

Anguish over Judah's Desolation

19 d My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!
Oh the walls of my heart!
My heart is beating wildly;
I cannot keep silent,
for I hear the sound of the trumpet,
the alarm of war.
20 e Crash follows hard on crash;
the whole land is laid waste.
f Suddenly my tents are laid waste,
my curtains in a moment.
21 How long must I see the standard
and hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 "For g my people are foolish;
they know me not;
they are stupid children;
they have no understanding.
h They are 'wise' - in doing evil!
But how to do good they know not."

23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was i without form and void;
j and to the heavens, and they had no light.
24 I looked on k the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
and all the hills moved to and fro.
25 l I looked, and behold, there was no man,
and all the birds of the air had fled.
26 I looked, and behold, the m fruitful land was a desert,
and all its cities were laid in ruins
before the Lord, before n his fierce anger.

27 For thus says the Lord, "The whole land shall be a desolation; o yet I will not make a full end.

28 p "For this the earth shall mourn,
q and the heavens above be dark;
for I have spoken; I have purposed;
r I have not relented, nor will I turn back."

29 At the noise of horseman and archer
every city takes to flight;
they enter thickets; they climb among rocks;
all the cities are forsaken,
and s no man dwells in them.
30 And you, O desolate one,
what do you mean that you dress in scarlet,
t that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
u that you enlarge your eyes with paint?
In vain you beautify yourself.
v Your lovers despise you;
they seek your life.
31 For I heard w a cry as of a woman in labor,
anguish as of one giving birth to her first child,
the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath,
x stretching out her hands,
"Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers."

  1. Cross References
    Joel 2:12
    Yet even now," declares the Lord, "return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning.
  2. Cross References
    1 Kings 14:15
    The Lord will strike Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and root up Israel out of this good land that he gave to their fathers and scatter them beyond the Euphrates, because they have made their Asherim, provoking the Lord to anger.
  3. Cross References
    Deuteronomy 6:13
    It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear.
  4. Cross References
    Isaiah 65:16
    So that he who blesses himself in the land shall bless himself by the God of truth, and he who takes an oath in the land shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten and are hidden from my eyes.
  5. Cross References
    1 Corinthians 1:31
    So that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.
    2 Corinthians 10:17
    "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."
  6. Cross References
    Hosea 10:12
    Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
  7. Cross References
    Matthew 13:7
    Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns g...
    Matthew 13:22
    As for what was sown among thorns, this is the ...
    Mark 4:7
    Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns gr...
    Mark 4:18
    And others are the ones sown among thorns. They...
    Luke 8:7
    And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew...
    Luke 8:14
    And as for what fell among the thorns, they are...
  8. Cross References
    Deuteronomy 10:16
    Circumcise therefore the foreskin of your heart, and be no longer stubborn.
    Jeremiah 9:26
    Egypt, Judah, Edom, the sons of Ammon, Moab, and all who dwell in the desert who cut the corners of their hair, for all these nations are uncircumcised, and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart.
    Romans 2:28 - 29
    For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical.
  9. Cross References
    Jeremiah 21:12
    O house of David! Thus says the Lord : "'Execute justice in the morning, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed, lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of your evil deeds.'
  10. Cross References
    Deuteronomy 28:20
    The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me.
  11. Cross References
    Jeremiah 6:1
    Flee for safety, O people of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem! Blow the trumpet in Tekoa, and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem, for disaster looms out of the north, and great destruction.
    Hosea 5:8
    Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you, O Benjamin!
    Joel 2:1
    Blow a trumpet in Zion; sound an alarm on my holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble, for the day of the Lord is coming; it is near.
  12. Cross References
    Jeremiah 8:14
    Why do we sit still? Gather together; let us go into the fortified cities and perish there, for the Lord our God has doomed us to perish and has given us poisoned water to drink, because we have sinned against the Lord.
  13. Cross References
    Jeremiah 50:2
    "Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not, and say: 'Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.'
    Jeremiah 51:12
    Set up a standard against the walls of Babylon; make the watch strong; set up watchmen; prepare the ambushes; for the Lord has both planned and done what he spoke concerning the inhabitants of Babylon.
    Jeremiah 51:27
    Set up a standard on the earth; blow the trumpet among the nations; prepare the nations for war against her; summon against her the kingdoms, Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz; appoint a marshal against her; bring up horses like bristling locusts.
  14. Cross References
    Jeremiah 1:13
    The word of the Lord came to me a second time, saying, "What do you see?" And I said, "I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.
  15. Cross References
    Isaiah 1:28
    But rebels and sinners shall be broken together, and those who forsake the Lord shall be consumed.
  16. Cross References
    Jeremiah 2:15
    The lions have roared against him; they have roared loudly. They have made his land a waste; his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
    Jeremiah 5:6
    Therefore a lion from the forest shall strike them down; a wolf from the desert shall devastate them. A leopard is watching their cities; everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces, because their transgressions are many, their apostasies are great.
    Jeremiah 49:19
    Behold, like a lion coming up from the jungle of the Jordan against a perennial pasture, I will suddenly make him run away from her. And I will appoint over her whomever I choose. For who is like me? Who will summon me? What shepherd can stand before me?
  17. Cross References
    Jeremiah 33:10
    Thus says the Lord : In this place of which you say, 'It is a waste without man or beast,' in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem that are desolate, without man or inhabitant or beast, there shall be heard again
    Jeremiah 34:22
    Behold, I will command, declares the Lord, and will bring them back to this city. And they will fight against it and take it and burn it with fire. I will make the cities of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.
    Jeremiah 46:19
    Prepare yourselves baggage for exile, O inhabitants of Egypt! For Memphis shall become a waste, a ruin, without inhabitant.
    Isaiah 5:9
    The Lord of hosts has sworn in my hearing: "Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
    Isaiah 6:11
    Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without people, and the land is a desolate waste.
  18. Cross References
    Jeremiah 6:26
    O daughter of my people, put on sackcloth, and roll in ashes; make mourning as for an only son, most bitter lamentation, for suddenly the destroyer will come upon us.
    Isaiah 22:12
    In that day the Lord God of hosts called for weeping and mourning, for baldness and wearing sackcloth.
    Isaiah 32:11
    Tremble, you women who are at ease, shudder, you complacent ones; strip, and make yourselves bare, and tie sackcloth around your waist.
  19. Cross References
    Numbers 25:4
    And the Lord said to Moses, "Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the Lord, that the fierce anger of the Lord may turn away from Israel.
    Psalms 78:49
    He let loose on them his burning anger, wrath, indignation, and distress, a company of destroying angels.
    Isaiah 13:9 - 13
    Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it.
  20. Cross References
    Psalms 48:4 - 5
    For behold, the kings assembled; they came on together.
  21. Cross References
    Ezekiel 14:9
    And if the prophet is deceived and speaks a word, I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand against him and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel.
    1 Kings 22:22
    And the Lord said to him, 'By what means?' And he said, 'I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.' And he said, 'You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.
  22. Cross References
    Jeremiah 3:2
    Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers like an Arab in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom.
  23. Cross References
    Jeremiah 1:16
    And I will declare my judgments against them, for all their evil in forsaking me. They have made offerings to other gods and worshiped the works of their own hands.
  24. Cross References
    Isaiah 5:28
    Their arrows are sharp, all their bows bent, their horses' hoofs seem like flint, and their wheels like the whirlwind.
  25. Cross References
    2 Samuel 1:23
    Saul and Jonathan, beloved and lovely! In life and in death they were not divided; they were swifter than eagles; they were stronger than lions.
    Lamentations 4:19
    Our pursuers were swifter than the eagles in the heavens; they chased us on the mountains; they lay in wait for us in the wilderness.
  26. Cross References
    Jeremiah 9:19
    For a sound of wailing is heard from Zion: 'How we are ruined! We are utterly shamed, because we have left the land, because they have cast down our dwellings.'
  27. Cross References
    Psalms 51:2
    Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
    Psalms 51:7
    Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
    Isaiah 1:16
    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil.
    James 4:8
    Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
  28. Cross References
    Jeremiah 8:16
    The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan; at the sound of the neighing of their stallions the whole land quakes. They come and devour the land and all that fills it, the city and those who dwell in it.
  29. Cross References
    Joshua 24:33
    And Eleazar the son of Aaron died, and they buried him at Gibeah, the town of Phinehas his son, which had been given him in the hill country of Ephraim.
  30. Cross References
    Jeremiah 5:15
    Behold, I am bringing against you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, declares the Lord. It is an enduring nation; it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say.
  31. Cross References
    Jeremiah 6:3
    Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her; they shall pitch their tents around her; they shall pasture, each in his place.
    2 Kings 25:1 - 4
    And in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, on the tenth day of the month, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came with all his army against Jerusalem and laid siege to it. And they built siegeworks all around it.
  32. Cross References
    Jeremiah 2:19
    Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; the fear of me is not in you, declares the Lord God of hosts.
  33. Cross References
    Isaiah 16:11
    Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth.
    Habakkuk 3:16
    I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me. Yet I will quietly wait for the day of trouble to come upon people who invade us.
    Jeremiah 9:1
    Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!
    Isaiah 22:4
    Therefore I said: "Look away from me; let me weep bitter tears; do not labor to comfort me concerning the destruction of the daughter of my people.
  34. Cross References
    Ezekiel 7:26
    Disaster comes upon disaster; rumor follows rumor. They seek a vision from the prophet, while the law perishes from the priest and counsel from the elders.
  35. Cross References
    Jeremiah 10:20
    My tent is destroyed, and all my cords are broken; my children have gone from me, and they are not; there is no one to spread my tent again and to set up my curtains.
    Jeremiah 49:29
    Their tents and their flocks shall be taken, their curtains and all their goods; their camels shall be led away from them, and men shall cry to them: 'Terror on every side!
  36. Cross References
    Psalms 82:5
    They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
    Isaiah 1:3
    The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.
  37. Cross References
    Psalms 36:3
    The words of his mouth are trouble and deceit; he has ceased to act wisely and do good.
    Isaiah 1:16 - 17
    Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil.
    Romans 16:19
    For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil.
  38. Cross References
    Genesis 1:2
    The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
  39. Cross References
    Isaiah 5:30
    They will growl over it on that day, like the growling of the sea. And if one looks to the land, behold, darkness and distress; and the light is darkened by its clouds.
  40. Cross References
    Nahum 1:5
    The mountains quake before him; the hills melt; the earth heaves before him, the world and all who dwell in it.
  41. Cross References
    Zephaniah 1:3
    I will sweep away man and beast; I will sweep away the birds of the heavens and the fish of the sea, and the rubble with the wicked. I will cut off mankind from the face of the earth," declares the Lord.
  42. Cross References
    Psalms 107:34
    A fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
  43. Cross References
    Jeremiah 4:8
    For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the Lord has not turned back from us.
  44. Cross References
    Jeremiah 5:10
    Go up through her vine rows and destroy, but ma...
    Jeremiah 5:18
    But even in those days, declares the Lord, I wi...
    Jeremiah 30:11
    For I am with you to save you, declares the Lor...
    Jeremiah 46:28
    Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the Lord...
    Nehemiah 9:31
    Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not...
    Ezekiel 11:13
    And it came to pass, while I was prophesying, t...
  45. Cross References
    Jeremiah 12:4
    How long will the land mourn and the grass of every field wither? For the evil of those who dwell in it the beasts and the birds are swept away, because they said, "He will not see our latter end.
    Hosea 4:3
    Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
  46. Cross References
    Isaiah 50:3
    I clothe the heavens with blackness and make sackcloth their covering.
  47. Cross References
    Numbers 23:19
    God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
  48. Cross References
    Jeremiah 4:7
    A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant.
  49. Cross References
    Isaiah 61:10
    I will greatly rejoice in the Lord ; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
  50. Cross References
    2 Kings 9:30
    When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it. And she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out of the window.
  51. Cross References
    Lamentations 1:2
    She weeps bitterly in the night, with tears on her cheeks; among all her lovers she has none to comfort her; all her friends have dealt treacherously with her; they have become her enemies.
    Lamentations 1:19
    I called to my lovers, but they deceived me; my priests and elders perished in the city, while they sought food to revive their strength.
    Ezekiel 23:22
    Therefore, O Oholibah, thus says the Lord God : "Behold, I will stir up against you your lovers from whom you turned in disgust, and I will bring them against you from every side:
  52. Cross References
    Jeremiah 6:24
    We have heard the report of it; our hands fall helpless; anguish has taken hold of us, pain as of a woman in labor.
    Isaiah 13:8
    They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame.
  53. Cross References
    Isaiah 1:15
    When you spread out your hands, I will hide my eyes from you; even though you make many prayers, I will not listen; your hands are full of blood.
    Lamentations 1:17
    Zion stretches out her hands, but there is none to comfort her; the Lord has commanded against Jacob that his neighbors should be his foes; Jerusalem has become a filthy thing among them.
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
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