Other Translations of Jeremiah 4:3-31
King James Version
3 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
Judah Threatened with Invasion
5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. 6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, retire: or, strengthen stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. 7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. 8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us. 9 And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the Lord, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. 10 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul. 11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, 12 Even a full a full...: or, a fuller wind than those wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them. 13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. 14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? 15 For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim. 16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the Lord. 18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.
19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very my very...: Heb. the walls of my heart heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the Lord, and by his fierce anger. 27 For thus hath the Lord said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. 30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face face: Heb. eyes with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. 31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.
English Standard Version
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: "Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O 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."
Judah Threatened with Invasion
5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, "Blow the trumpet through the land; cry aloud and say, 'Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities!' 6 Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not, for I bring disaster from the north, and great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant. 8 For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the Lord has not turned back from us." 9 "In that day, declares the Lord, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded." 10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'It shall be well with you,' whereas the sword has reached their very life." 11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, "A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them." 13 Behold, he comes up like clouds; his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles-- woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims trouble from Mount Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations that he is coming; announce to Jerusalem, "Besiegers come from a distant land; they shout against the cities of Judah. 17 Like keepers of a field are they against her all around, because she has rebelled against me, declares the Lord. 18 Your ways and your deeds have brought this upon you. This is your doom, and it is bitter; it has reached your very heart."
19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Crash follows hard on crash; the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment. 21 How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 "For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are 'wise'--in doing evil! But how to do good they know not." 23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the Lord, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says the Lord, "The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end. 28 "For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back." 29 At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them. 30 And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life. 31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands, "Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers."
3 Here's another Message from God to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow your unplowed fields, but then don't plant weeds in the soil! 4 Yes, circumcise your lives for God's sake. Plow your unplowed hearts, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem. Prevent fire - the fire of my anger - for once it starts it can't be put out. Your wicked ways are fuel for the fire. God's Sledgehammer Anger
Judah Threatened with Invasion
5 "Sound the alarm in Judah, broadcast the news in Jerusalem. Say, 'Blow the ram's horn trumpet through the land!' Shout out - a bullhorn bellow! - 'Close ranks! Run for your lives to the shelters!' 6 Send up a flare warning Zion: 'Not a minute to lose! Don't sit on your hands!' Disaster's descending from the north. I set it off! When it lands, it will shake the foundations. 7 Invaders have pounced like a lion from its cover, ready to rip nations to shreds, Leaving your land in wrack and ruin, your cities in rubble, abandoned. 8 Dress in funereal black. Weep and wail, For God's sledgehammer anger has slammed into us head-on. 9 "When this happens" - God's Decree - "King and princes will lose heart; priests will be baffled and prophets stand dumbfounded." 10 Then I said, "Alas, Master God! You've fed lies to this people, this Jerusalem. You assured them, 'All is well, don't worry,' at the very moment when the sword was at their throats." 11 At that time, this people, yes, this very Jerusalem, will be told in plain words: "The northern hordes are sweeping in from the desert steppes - 12 a gale-force wind. I ordered this wind. I'm pronouncing my hurricane judgment on my people." Your Evil Life Is Piercing Your Heart 13 Look at them! Like banks of storm clouds, racing, tumbling, their chariots a tornado, Their horses faster than eagles! Woe to us! We're done for! 14 Jerusalem! Scrub the evil from your lives so you'll be fit for salvation. How much longer will you harbor devious and malignant designs within you? 15 What's this? A messenger from Dan? Bad news from Ephraim's hills! 16 Make the report public. Broadcast the news to Jerusalem: "Invaders from far off are raising war cries against Judah's towns. 17 They're all over her, like a dog on a bone. And why? Because she rebelled against me." God's Decree. 18 "It's the way you've lived that's brought all this on you. The bitter taste is from your evil life. That's what's piercing your heart."
19 I'm doubled up with cramps in my belly - a poker burns in my gut. My insides are tearing me up, never a moment's peace. The ram's horn trumpet blast rings in my ears, the signal for all-out war. 20 Disaster hard on the heels of disaster, the whole country in ruins! In one stroke my home is destroyed, the walls flattened in the blink of an eye. 21 How long do I have to look at the warning flares, listen to the siren of danger? Experts at Evil 22 "What fools my people are! They have no idea who I am. A company of half-wits, dopes and donkeys all! Experts at evil but klutzes at good." 23 I looked at the earth - it was back to pre-Genesis chaos and emptiness. I looked at the skies, and not a star to be seen. 24 I looked at the mountains - they were trembling like aspen leaves, And all the hills rocking back and forth in the wind. 25 I looked - what's this! Not a man or woman in sight, and not a bird to be seen in the skies. 26 I looked - this can't be! Every garden and orchard shriveled up. All the towns were ghost towns. And all this because of God, because of the blazing anger of God. 27 Yes, this is God's Word on the matter: "The whole country will be laid waste - still it won't be the end of the world. 28 The earth will mourn and the skies lament Because I've given my word and won't take it back. I've decided and won't change my mind." You're Not Going to Seduce Anyone 29 Someone shouts, "Horsemen and archers!" and everybody runs for cover. They hide in ditches, they climb into caves. The cities are emptied, not a person left anywhere. 30 And you, what do you think you're up to? Dressing up in party clothes, Decking yourselves out in jewelry, putting on lipstick and rouge and mascara! Your primping goes for nothing. You're not going to seduce anyone. They're out to kill you! 31 And what's that I hear? The cry of a woman in labor, the screams of a mother giving birth to her firstborn. It's the cry of Daughter Zion, gasping for breath, reaching out for help: "Help, oh help me! I'm dying! The killers are on me!"
New King James Version
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4 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."
Judah Threatened with Invasion
5 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.' 6 Set up the standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction." 7 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. 8 For this, clothe yourself with sackcloth, Lament and wail. For the fierce anger of the Lord Has not turned back from us. 9 "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 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 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."
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 standard, And hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 "For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are 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 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 weary Because of murderers!'
New Living Translation
3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 4 OÂ people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the Lord, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
Judah Threatened with Invasion
5 "Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: 'Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!' 6 Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem : 'Flee now! Do not delay!' For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north." 7 A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It's going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore. 8 So put on clothes of mourning and weep with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the Lord is still upon us. 9 "In that day," says the Lord, "the king and the officials will tremble in fear. The priests will be struck with horror, and the prophets will be appalled." 10 Then I said, "OÂ Sovereign Lord, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!" 11 The time is coming when the Lord will say to the people of Jerusalem, "My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert, and it's not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain. 12 It is a roaring blast sent by me! Now I will pronounce your destruction!" 13 Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed! 14 OÂ Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts? 15 Your destruction has been announced from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim. 16 "Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah. 17 They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me," says the Lord . 18 "Your own actions have brought this upon you. This punishment is bitter, piercing you to the heart!"
19 My heart, my heart-I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. 20 Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed. 21 How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war? 22 "My people are foolish and do not know me," says the Lord . "They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!" 23 I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light. 24 I looked at the mountains and hills, and they trembled and shook. 25 I looked, and all the people were gone. All the birds of the sky had flown away. 26 I looked, and the fertile fields had become a wilderness. The towns lay in ruins, crushed by the Lord 's fierce anger. 27 This is what the Lord says: "The whole land will be ruined, but I will not destroy it completely. 28 The earth will mourn and the heavens will be draped in black because of my decree against my people. I have made up my mind and will not change it." 29 At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned- not a person remains! 30 What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you. 31 I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, "Help! I'm being murdered!"
Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3-31
Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3-4
(Read Jeremiah 4:3-4)
An unhumbled heart is like ground untilled. It is ground which may be improved; it is our ground let out to us; but it is fallow; it is over-grown with thorns and weeds, the natural product of the corrupt heart. Let us entreat the Lord to create in us a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within us; for except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Commentary on Jeremiah 4:5-18
(Read Jeremiah 4:5-18)
The fierce conqueror of the neighbouring nations was to make Judah desolate. The prophet was afflicted to see the people lulled into security by false prophets. The approach of the enemy is described. Some attention was paid in Jerusalem to outward reformation; but it was necessary that their hearts should be washed, in the exercise of true repentance and faith, from the love and pollution of sin. When lesser calamities do not rouse sinners and reform nations, sentence will be given against them. The Lord's voice declares that misery is approaching, especially against wicked professors of the gospel; when it overtakes them, it will be plainly seen that the fruit of wickedness is bitter, and the end is fatal.
Commentary on Jeremiah 4:19-31
(Read Jeremiah 4:19-31)
The prophet had no pleasure in delivering messages of wrath. He is shown in a vision the whole land in confusion. Compared with what it was, every thing is out of order; but the ruin of the Jewish nation would not be final. Every end of our comforts is not a full end. Though the Lord may correct his people very severely, yet he will not cast them off. Ornaments and false colouring would be of no avail. No outward privileges or profession, no contrivances would prevent destruction. How wretched the state of those who are like foolish children in the concerns of their souls! Whatever we are ignorant of, may the Lord make of good understanding in the ways of godliness. As sin will find out the sinner, so sorrow will, sooner or later, find out the secure.