Bible: Jeremiah 4-6
4:1 “If you, Israel, want to come back,” says the
“if you want to come back to me 1
you must get those disgusting idols 2 out of my sight
and must no longer go astray. 3
4:2 You must be truthful, honest and upright
when you take an oath saying, ‘As surely as the
If you do, 5 the nations will pray to be as blessed by him as you are
and will make him the object of their boasting.” 6
4:3 Yes, 7 the
to the people of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Like a farmer breaking up hard unplowed ground,
you must break your rebellious will and make a new beginning;
just as a farmer must clear away thorns lest the seed is wasted,
you must get rid of the sin that is ruining your lives. 8
4:4 Just as ritual circumcision cuts away the foreskin
as an external symbol of dedicated covenant commitment,
you must genuinely dedicate yourselves to the
and get rid of everything that hinders your commitment to me, 9
people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem.
If you do not, 10 my anger will blaze up like a flaming fire against you
that no one will be able to extinguish.
That will happen because of the evil you have done.”
Warning of Coming Judgment
‘Sound the trumpet 14 throughout the land!’
Shout out loudly,
‘Gather together! Let us flee into the fortified cities!’
4:6 Raise a signal flag that tells people to go to Zion. 15
Run for safety! Do not delay!
For I am about to bring disaster out of the north.
It will bring great destruction. 16
4:7 Like a lion that has come up from its lair 17
the one who destroys nations has set out from his home base. 18
He is coming out to lay your land waste.
Your cities will become ruins and lie uninhabited.
4:8 So put on sackcloth!
Mourn and wail, saying,
‘The fierce anger of the
has not turned away from us!’” 19
4:9 “When this happens,” 20 says the
“the king and his officials will lose their courage.
The priests will be struck with horror,
and the prophets will be speechless in astonishment.”
4:10 In response to all this 21 I said, “Ah, Lord
4:11 “At that time the people of Judah and Jerusalem 27 will be told,
‘A scorching wind will sweep down
It will not be a gentle breeze
for winnowing the grain and blowing away the chaff. 30
4:12 No, 31 a wind too strong for that will come at my bidding.
Yes, even now I, myself, am calling down judgment on them.’ 32
4:13 Look! The enemy is approaching like gathering clouds. 33
The roar of his chariots is like that of a whirlwind. 34
His horses move more swiftly than eagles.”
4:14 “Oh people of Jerusalem, purify your hearts from evil 37
so that you may yet be delivered.
How long will you continue to harbor up
wicked schemes within you?
4:15 For messengers are coming, heralding disaster,
from the city of Dan and from the hills of Ephraim. 38
4:16 They are saying, 39
‘Announce to the surrounding nations, 40
“The enemy is coming!” 41
Proclaim this message 42 to Jerusalem:
“Those who besiege cities 43 are coming from a distant land.
They are ready to raise the battle cry against 44 the towns in Judah.”’
4:17 They will surround Jerusalem 45
like men guarding a field 46
because they have rebelled against me,”
4:18 “The way you have lived and the things you have done 47
will bring this on you.
This is the punishment you deserve, and it will be painful indeed. 48
The pain will be so bad it will pierce your heart.” 49
4:19 I said, 50
“Oh, the feeling in the pit of my stomach! 51
I writhe in anguish.
Oh, the pain in my heart! 52
My heart pounds within me.
I cannot keep silent.
For I hear the sound of the trumpet; 53
the sound of the battle cry pierces my soul! 54
4:20 I see 55 one destruction after another taking place,
so that the whole land lies in ruins.
I see our 56 tents suddenly destroyed,
4:21 “How long must I see the enemy’s battle flags
and hear the military signals of their bugles?” 59
“This will happen 61 because my people are foolish.
They do not know me.
They are like children who have no sense. 62
They have no understanding.
They are skilled at doing evil.
They do not know how to do good.”
I looked up at the sky, and its light had vanished.
4:24 I looked at the mountains and saw that they were shaking.
All the hills were swaying back and forth!
4:25 I looked and saw that there were no more people, 65
and that all the birds in the sky had flown away.
4:26 I looked and saw that the fruitful land had become a desert
and that all of the cities had been laid in ruins.
because of his blazing anger. 66
4:27 All this will happen because the
“The whole land will be desolate;
however, I will not completely destroy it.
4:28 Because of this the land will mourn
and the sky above will grow black. 68
For I have made my purpose known 69
and I will not relent or turn back from carrying it out.” 70
4:29 At the sound of the approaching horsemen and archers
the people of every town will flee.
Some of them will hide in the thickets.
Others will climb up among the rocks.
All the cities will be deserted.
No one will remain in them.
4:30 And you, Zion, city doomed to destruction, 71
decking yourself out in jewels of gold,
and putting on eye shadow! 74
You are making yourself beautiful for nothing.
Your lovers spurn you.
They want to kill you. 75
4:31 In fact, 76 I hear a cry like that of a woman in labor,
a cry of anguish like that of a woman giving birth to her first baby.
It is the cry of Daughter Zion 77 gasping for breath,
My life is ebbing away before these murderers!”
Judah is Justly Deserving of Coming Judgment
Look around and see for yourselves.
Search through its public squares.
See if any of you can find a single person
who deals honestly and tries to be truthful. 83
5:2 These people make promises in the name of the
But even when you punish these people, they feel no remorse. 90
Even when you nearly destroy them, they refuse to be corrected.
They have become as hardheaded as a rock. 91
They refuse to change their ways. 92
5:4 I thought, “Surely it is only the ignorant poor who act this way. 93
They act like fools because they do not know what the
They do not know what their God requires of them. 95
5:5 I will go to the leaders 96
and speak with them.
Surely they know what the
Surely they know what their God requires of them.” 98
Yet all of them, too, have rejected his authority
and refuse to submit to him. 99
5:6 So like a lion from the thicket their enemies will kill them.
Like a wolf from the desert they will destroy them.
Like a leopard they will lie in wait outside their cities
and totally destroy anyone who ventures out. 100
For they have rebelled so much
and done so many unfaithful things. 101
“How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem? 103
Your people 104 have rejected me
and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all. 105
5:8 They are like lusty, well-fed 110 stallions.
Each of them lusts after 111 his neighbor’s wife.
5:9 I will surely punish them for doing such things!” says the
“I will surely bring retribution on such a nation as this!” 112
“March through the vineyards of Israel and Judah and ruin them. 114
But do not destroy them completely.
Strip off their branches
for these people do not belong to the
5:11 For the nations of Israel and Judah 116
have been very unfaithful to me,”
5:12 “These people have denied what the
They have said, ‘That is not so! 118
No harm will come to us.
We will not experience war and famine. 119
5:13 The prophets will prove to be full of wind. 120
So, let what they say happen to them.’”
I will make the words that I put in your mouth like fire.
And I will make this people like wood
which the fiery judgments you speak will burn up.” 127
I am about to bring a nation from far away to attack you.
It will be a nation that was founded long ago
and has lasted for a long time.
It will be a nation whose language you will not know.
Its people will speak words that you will not be able to understand.
5:16 All of its soldiers are strong and mighty. 131
Their arrows will send you to your grave. 132
5:17 They will eat up your crops and your food.
They will kill off 133 your sons and your daughters.
They will eat up your sheep and your cattle.
They will destroy your vines and your fig trees. 134
Their weapons will batter down 135
the fortified cities you trust in.
5:18 Yet even then 136 I will not completely destroy you,” says the
Make it known throughout Judah.
5:21 Tell them: ‘Hear this,
you foolish people who have no understanding,
who have eyes but do not discern,
who have ears but do not perceive: 143
5:22 “You should fear me!” says the
“You should tremble in awe before me! 144
I made the sand to be a boundary for the sea,
a permanent barrier that it can never cross.
Its waves may roll, but they can never prevail.
They may roar, but they can never cross beyond that boundary.” 145
5:23 But these people have stubborn and rebellious hearts.
They have turned aside and gone their own way. 146
5:24 They do not say to themselves, 147
“Let us revere the
It is he who gives us the autumn rains and the spring rains at the proper time.
It is he who assures us of the regular weeks of harvest.” 148
5:25 Your misdeeds have stopped these things from coming. 149
Your sins have deprived you of my bounty.’ 150
5:26 “Indeed, there are wicked scoundrels among my people.
They lie in wait like bird catchers hiding in ambush. 151
They set deadly traps 152 to catch people.
5:27 Like a cage filled with the birds that have been caught, 153
their houses are filled with the gains of their fraud and deceit. 154
That is how they have gotten so rich and powerful. 155
There is no limit to the evil things they do. 158
They do not plead the cause of the fatherless in such a way as to win it.
They do not defend the rights of the poor.
5:29 I will certainly punish them for doing such things!” says the
“I will certainly bring retribution on such a nation as this! 159
5:30 “Something horrible and shocking
is going on in the land of Judah:
5:31 The prophets prophesy lies.
The priests exercise power by their own authority. 160
And my people love to have it this way.
But they will not be able to help you when the time of judgment comes! 161
The Destruction of Jerusalem Depicted
6:1 “Run for safety, people of Benjamin!
Get out of Jerusalem! 162
Sound the trumpet 163 in Tekoa!
Light the signal fires at Beth Hakkerem!
For disaster lurks 164 out of the north;
it will bring great destruction. 165
who is as delicate and defenseless as a young maiden. 168
6:3 Kings will come against it with their armies. 169
They will encamp in siege all around it. 170
Each of them will devastate the portion assigned to him. 171
Come on! Let’s attack it at noon!’
The day is almost over
and the shadows of evening are getting long.
6:5 So come on, let’s go ahead and attack it by night
and destroy all its fortified buildings.’
‘Cut down the trees around Jerusalem
and build up a siege ramp against its walls. 178
This is the city which is to be punished. 179
Nothing but oppression happens in it. 180
6:7 As a well continually pours out fresh water
so it continually pours out wicked deeds. 181
Sounds of violence and destruction echo throughout it. 182
All I see are sick and wounded people.’ 183
6:8 So 184 take warning, Jerusalem,
or I will abandon you in disgust 185
and make you desolate,
a place where no one can live.”
“Those who remain in Israel will be
like the grapes thoroughly gleaned 188 from a vine.
So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester
passing your hand over the branches one last time.” 189
6:10 I answered, 190
“Who would listen
if I spoke to them and warned them? 191
Their ears are so closed 192
that they cannot hear!
Indeed, 193 what the
They do not like it at all. 194
6:11 I am as full of anger as you are,
I am tired of trying to hold it in.”
“Vent it, then, 197 on the children who play in the street
and on the young men who are gathered together.
Husbands and wives are to be included, 198
as well as the old and those who are advanced in years.
6:12 Their houses will be turned over to others
as will their fields and their wives.
For I will unleash my power 199
against those who live in this land,”
6:13 “That is because, from the least important to the most important of them,
all of them are greedy for dishonest gain.
Prophets and priests alike,
all of them practice deceit.
6:14 They offer only superficial help
for the harm my people have suffered. 200
They say, ‘Everything will be all right!’
But everything is not all right! 201
6:15 Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things?
No, they are not at all ashamed.
They do not even know how to blush!
So they will die, just like others have died. 202
They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,”
“You are standing at the crossroads. So consider your path. 204
Ask where the old, reliable paths 205 are.
Ask where the path is that leads to blessing 206 and follow it.
If you do, you will find rest for your souls.”
But they said, “We will not follow it!”
“I appointed prophets as watchmen to warn you, 208 saying:
‘Pay attention to the warning sound of the trumpet!’” 209
But they said, “We will not pay attention!”
6:18 So the
“Hear, you nations!
Be witnesses and take note of what will happen to these people. 211
6:19 Hear this, you peoples of the earth: 212
‘Take note! 213 I am about to bring disaster on these people.
It will come as punishment for their scheming. 214
For they have paid no attention to what I have said, 215
and they have rejected my law.
frankincense that comes from Sheba
or sweet-smelling cane imported from a faraway land.
I cannot accept the burnt offerings they bring me.
I get no pleasure from the sacrifices they offer to me.’ 218
6:21 So, this is what the
Parents and children will stumble and fall to their destruction. 221
Friends and neighbors will die.’
6:22 “This is what the
‘Beware! An army 222 is coming from a land in the north.
A mighty nation is stirring into action in faraway parts of the earth.
6:23 Its soldiers are armed with bows and spears.
They are cruel and show no mercy.
They sound like the roaring sea
as they ride forth on their horses.
Lined up in formation like men going into battle
to attack you, Daughter Zion.’” 223
6:24 The people cry out, 224 “We have heard reports about them!
We have become helpless with fear! 225
Anguish grips us,
agony like that of a woman giving birth to a baby!
6:25 Do not go out into the countryside.
Do not travel on the roads.
For the enemy is there with sword in hand. 226
They are spreading terror everywhere.” 227
and roll in ashes.
Mourn with painful sobs
as though you had lost your only child.
will come against us.”
“I have made you like a metal assayer
to test my people like ore. 233
You are to observe them
and evaluate how they behave.” 234
6:28 I reported, 235
“All of them are the most stubborn of rebels! 236
They are as hard as bronze or iron.
They go about telling lies.
They all deal corruptly.
6:29 The fiery bellows of judgment burn fiercely.
But there is too much dross to be removed. 237
The process of refining them has proved useless. 238
The wicked have not been purged.
6:30 They are regarded as ‘rejected silver’ 239