Jeremiah 4

Blessing or Curse

1 If you return,a Israel- [this is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration- [if] you return to Me, if you remove your detestable idolsb from My presence and do not waver,
2 if you swear, As the Lord lives,c in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then the nations will be blessedd by Him and will pride themselves in Him.e
3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up the unplowed ground;f do not sow among the thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts,g men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish [it]h because of your evil deeds.

Judgment from the North

5 Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say: Blow the ram's horn throughout the land. Cry out loudly and say: Assemble yourselves, and let's flee to the fortified cities.
6 Lift up a signal flag toward Zion. Run for cover! Don't stand still! For I am bringing disaster from the north- a great destruction.i
7 A lion has gone up from his thicket;j a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his lair to make your land a waste. Your cities will be reduced to uninhabited ruins.
8 Because of this, put on sackcloth; mourn and wail, for the Lord's burning anger has not turned away from us.
9 "On that day"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will tremble in fear, and the prophets will be scared speechless."
10 I said, "Oh no, Lord God , You have certainly deceived this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, 'You will have peace,'k while a sword is atl our throats."
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A searing wind [blows] from the barren heights in the wilderness on the way to My dearm people. [It comes] not to winnow or to sift;
12 a wind too strong for this comes at My call.n Now I will also pronounce judgments against them."o
13 Look, he advances like clouds; his chariots are like a storm.p His horses are swifter than eagles.q Woe to us, for we are ruined!
14 Wash the evil from your heart,r Jerusalem, so that you will be delivered. How long will you harbor malicious thoughts within you?
15 For a voice announces from Dan, proclaiming malice from Mount Ephraim.
16 Warn the nations: Look! Proclaim to Jerusalem: Those who besiege are coming from a distant land; they raise their voices against the cities of Judah.
17 They have her surrounded like those who guard a field, because she has rebelled against Me. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration.
18 Your way of life and your actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. It is very bitter, because it has reached your heart!

Jeremiah's Lament

19 My anguish, my anguish!s I writhe in agony! Oh, the pain int my heart! My heart pounds; I cannot be silent. For you, my soul, have heard the sound of the ram's horn- the shout of battle.
20 Disaster after disaster is reported, for the whole land is destroyed. Suddenly my tents are destroyed, my tent curtains, in a moment.
21 How long must I see the signal flag and hear the sound of the ram's horn?
22 For My people are fools; they do not know Me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good.
23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty.u [I looked] to the heavens, and their light was gone.
24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills shook.
25 I looked, and no man was left; all the birds of the sky had fled.
26 I looked, and the fertile fieldv was a wilderness. All its cities were torn down because of the Lord and His burning anger.
27 For this is what the Lord says: The whole land will be a desolation, but I will not finish it off.w
28 Because of this, the earth will mourn; the skies above will grow dark. I have spoken; I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it.
29 Every city flees at the sound of the horseman and the archer. They enter the thickets and climb among the rocks. Every city is abandoned; no inhabitant is left.
30 And you devastated one, what are you doing that you dress yourself in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? You beautify yourself for nothing. Your lovers reject you; they want to take your life.
31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor, [a cry of] anguish like one bearing her first child. The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands: Woe is me, for my life is weary because of the murderers!
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