Jeremiah 4 (New International Version)

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1 "If you will return1, O Israel, return to me," declares the LORD. "If you put your detestable idols2 out of my sight and no longer go astray, 2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear,3 'As surely as the LORD lives,'4 then the nations will be blessed5 by him and in him they will glory.6" 3 This is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your unplowed ground7 and do not sow among thorns.8 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts,9 you men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, or my wrath10 will break out and burn like fire11 because of the evil12 you have done-- burn with no one to quench13 it.

Disaster From the North

5 "Announce in Judah and proclaim14 in Jerusalem and say: 'Sound the trumpet15 throughout the land!' Cry aloud and say: 'Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!'16 6 Raise the signal17 to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster18 from the north,19 even terrible destruction." 7 A lion20 has come out of his lair;21 a destroyer22 of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste23 your land. Your towns will lie in ruins24 without inhabitant. 8 So put on sackcloth,25 lament26 and wail, for the fierce anger27 of the LORD has not turned away from us. 9 "In that day," declares the LORD, "the king and the officials will lose heart,28 the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled."29 10 Then I said, "Ah, Sovereign LORD, how completely you have deceived30 this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,'31 when the sword is at our throats." 11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, "A scorching wind32 from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind33 too strong for that comes from me.a Now I pronounce my judgments34 against them." 13 Look! He advances like the clouds,35 his chariots36 come like a whirlwind,37 his horses38 are swifter than eagles.39 Woe to us! We are ruined!40 14 O Jerusalem, wash41 the evil from your heart and be saved.42 How long43 will you harbor wicked thoughts? 15 A voice is announcing from Dan,44 proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim.45 16 "Tell this to the nations, proclaim it to Jerusalem: 'A besieging army is coming from a distant land,46 raising a war cry47 against the cities of Judah.48 17 They surround49 her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled50 against me,' " declares the LORD. 18 "Your own conduct and actions51 have brought this upon you.52 This is your punishment. How bitter53 it is! How it pierces to the heart!" 19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish!54 I writhe in pain.55 Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds56 within me, I cannot keep silent.57 For I have heard the sound of the trumpet;58 I have heard the battle cry.59 20 Disaster follows disaster;60 the whole land lies in ruins.61 In an instant my tents62 are destroyed, my shelter in a moment. 21 How long must I see the battle standard63 and hear the sound of the trumpet?64 22 "My people are fools;65 they do not know me.66 They are senseless children; they have no understanding.67 They are skilled in doing evil;68 they know not how to do good."69 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty;70 and at the heavens, and their light71 was gone. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking;72 all the hills were swaying. 25 I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away.73 26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert;74 all its towns lay in ruins75 before the LORD, before his fierce anger.76 27 This is what the LORD says: "The whole land will be ruined,77 though I will not destroy78 it completely. 28 Therefore the earth will mourn79 and the heavens above grow dark,80 because I have spoken and will not relent,81 I have decided and will not turn back.82" 29 At the sound of horsemen and archers83 every town takes to flight.84 Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks.85 All the towns are deserted;86 no one lives in them. 30 What are you doing,87 O devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels88 of gold? Why shade your eyes with paint?89 You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers90 despise you; they seek your life.91 31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor,92 a groan as of one bearing her first child-- the cry of the Daughter of Zion93 gasping for breath,94 stretching out her hands95 and saying, "Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers."96
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