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Jeremiah 4 New King James Version (NKJV)

Jeremiah Laments over Judah

“If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord,
“Return to Me;
And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight,
Then you shall not be moved.
And you shall swear, ‘The Lord lives,’
In truth, in [a]judgment, and in righteousness;
The nations shall bless themselves in Him,
And in Him they shall glory.”

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

“Break up your [b]fallow ground,
And do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord,
And take away the foreskins of your hearts,
You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Lest My fury come forth like fire,
And burn so that no one can quench it,
Because of the evil of your doings.”

An Imminent Invasion

Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

“Blow the trumpet in the land;
Cry, ‘Gather together,’
And say, ‘Assemble yourselves,
And let us go into the fortified cities.’
Set up the [c]standard toward Zion.
Take refuge! Do not delay!
For I will bring disaster from the north,
And great destruction.”

The lion has come up from his thicket,
And the destroyer of nations is on his way.
He has gone forth from his place
To make your land desolate.
Your cities will be laid waste,
Without inhabitant.
For this, clothe yourself with sackcloth,
Lament and wail.
For the fierce anger of the Lord
Has not turned back from us.

“And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord,
That the heart of the king shall perish,
And the heart of the princes;
The priests shall be astonished,
And the prophets shall wonder.”

10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God!
Surely You have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem,
Saying, ‘You shall have peace,’
Whereas the sword reaches to the [d]heart.”

11 At that time it will be said
To this people and to Jerusalem,
“A dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness
Toward the daughter of My people—
Not to fan or to cleanse—
12 A wind too strong for these will come for Me;
Now I will also speak judgment against them.”

13 “Behold, he shall come up like clouds,
And his chariots like a whirlwind.
His horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for we are plundered!”

14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness,
That you may be saved.
How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you?
15 For a voice declares from Dan
And proclaims [e]affliction from Mount Ephraim:
16 “Make mention to the nations,
Yes, proclaim against Jerusalem,
That watchers come from a far country
And raise their voice against the cities of Judah.
17 Like keepers of a field they are against her all around,
Because she has been rebellious against Me,” says the Lord.
18 “Your ways and your doings
Have procured these things for you.
This is your wickedness,
Because it is bitter,
Because it reaches to your heart.”

Sorrow for the Doomed Nation

19 O my soul, my soul!
I am pained in my very heart!
My heart makes a noise in me;
I cannot hold my peace,
Because you have heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet,
The alarm of war.
20 Destruction upon destruction is cried,
For the whole land is plundered.
Suddenly my tents are plundered,
And my curtains in a moment.
21 How long will I see the [f]standard,
And hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 “For My people are foolish,
They have not known Me.
They are [g]silly children,
And they have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they have no knowledge.”

23 I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void;
And the heavens, they had no light.
24 I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled,
And all the hills moved back and forth.
25 I beheld, and indeed there was no man,
And all the birds of the heavens had fled.
26 I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness,
And all its cities were broken down
At the presence of the Lord,
By His fierce anger.

27 For thus says the Lord:

“The whole land shall be desolate;
Yet I will not make a full end.
28 For this shall the earth mourn,
And the heavens above be black,
Because I have spoken.
I have purposed and will not relent,
Nor will I turn back from it.
29 The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowmen.
They shall go into thickets and climb up on the rocks.
Every city shall be forsaken,
And not a man shall dwell in it.

30 “And when you are plundered,
What will you do?
Though you clothe yourself with crimson,
Though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
Though you enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you will make yourself fair;
Your lovers will despise you;
They will seek your life.

31 “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in [h]labor,
The anguish as of her who brings forth her first child,
The voice of the daughter of Zion bewailing herself;
She spreads her hands, saying,
‘Woe is me now, for my soul is [i]weary
Because of murderers!’

Footnotes:

  1. Jeremiah 4:2 justice
  2. Jeremiah 4:3 untilled
  3. Jeremiah 4:6 banner
  4. Jeremiah 4:10 Lit. soul
  5. Jeremiah 4:15 Or wickedness
  6. Jeremiah 4:21 banner
  7. Jeremiah 4:22 foolish
  8. Jeremiah 4:31 childbirth
  9. Jeremiah 4:31 faint
New King James Version (NKJV)

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 4 New International Version (NIV)

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

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

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

Disaster From the North

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 “My people are fools;
    they do not know me.
They are senseless children;
    they have no understanding.
They are skilled in doing evil;
    they know not how to do good.”

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

27 This is what the Lord says:

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

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

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

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

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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