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Jeremiah 4

Yahweh Calls Israel to Return to Him

“If you will return, O Israel,” declares Yahweh,
Then you should return to Me.
And if you will put away your detested things from My presence
And will not waver
And you will swear, ‘As Yahweh lives,’
In truth, in justice, and in righteousness;
Then the nations will be blessed in Him,
And in Him they will boast.”

3 For thus says Yahweh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem,
“Break up your fallow ground,
And do not sow among thorns.
Circumcise yourselves to Yahweh
And remove the foreskins of your heart,
Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,
Lest My wrath go forth like fire
And burn with none to quench it
Because of the evil of your deeds.”

Evil from the North

Declare in Judah and make it heard in Jerusalem and say,
“Blow the trumpet in the land;
Call out, make your voice full, and say,
‘Gather yourselves, and let us go
Into the fortified cities.’
Lift up a standard toward Zion!
Seek safety, do not stand still,
For I am bringing evil from the north,
And great destruction.
A lion has gone up from his thicket,
And a destroyer of nations has set out;
He has gone out from his place
To make your land a desolation.
Your cities will be turned into ruins
Without inhabitant.
For this, I gird myself with sackcloth,
Lament and wail;
For the burning anger of Yahweh
Has not turned back from us.”
9 “It will be in that day,” declares Yahweh, “that the heart of the king and the heart of the princes will perish; and the priests will be appalled, and the prophets will be astonished.” 10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord Yahweh! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; whereas a sword touches the throat.” 11 In that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness along the way of the daughter of My people—not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too full for these things—will come for My purpose; now I will also speak judgments against them. 13
Behold, he goes up like clouds,
And his chariots like the whirlwind;
His horses are swifter than eagles.
Woe to us, for we are devastated!”

Wash your heart from evil, O Jerusalem,
That you may be saved.
How long will your wicked thoughts
Lodge within you?
For a voice declares from Dan,
And makes wickedness heard from Mount Ephraim.
“Make mention of it to the nations, saying, ‘Behold!’
Make it heard over Jerusalem,
‘Besiegers come from a far country,
And give forth their voices against the cities of Judah.
Like watchmen of a field they are against her round about
Because she has rebelled against Me,’ declares Yahweh.
Your ways and your deeds
Have done these things to you.
This is your evil. How bitter!
How it has touched your heart!”

Anguish over Judah’s Desolation

My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart!
My heart is pounding in me;
I cannot be silent
Because you have heard, O my soul,
The sound of the trumpet,
The shout of war.
Destruction upon destruction is called out,
For the whole land is devastated;
Suddenly my tents are devastated,
My curtains in an instant.
How long must I see the standard
And hear the sound of the trumpet?
“For My people are ignorant fools,
They know Me not;
They are simpleminded children
And have no understanding.
They are wise to do evil,
But to do good they do not know.”

I saw on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void;
And to the heavens, and they had no light.
I saw on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
And all the hills moved to and fro.
I saw, and behold, there was no man,
And all the birds of the sky had fled.
I saw, and behold, the fruitful orchard was a wilderness,
And all its cities were torn down
Before Yahweh, before His burning anger.

27 For thus says Yahweh,
“The whole land shall be a desolation,
Yet I will not execute a complete destruction.
For this the earth shall mourn
And the heavens above be dark
Because I have spoken; I have purposed,
And I will not relent, nor will I turn from it.”
At the sound of the horseman and bowman every city flees;
They go into the thickets and climb up among the rocks;
Every city is forsaken,
And no man inhabits them.
And you, O devastated one, what will you do?
Although you dress in scarlet,
Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold,
Although you enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you make yourself beautiful.
Your lovers despise you;
They seek your life.
For I heard a sound as of a woman in labor pains,
The distress as of one giving birth to her first child,
The sound of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath,
Stretching out her hands, saying,
“Ah, woe is me, for my soul faints before murderers.”