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“If you ·will [want to] return, Israel,
    then return to me,” says the Lord.
“If you will ·throw away [turn from] your abominations [C the idols],
    then ·don’t wander away from me [no longer go astray].
If you say when you ·make a promise [swear],
    ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
    and you can say it in a truthful, ·honest [just], and ·right [righteous] way,
then the nations will be blessed by him,
    and they will ·praise him for what he has done [boast in him].”
This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Plow your unplowed fields [C a metaphor for changing their spiritual condition],
    and don’t ·plant seeds [sow] among thorns.
·Give yourselves to the service of [L Circumcise yourself to] the Lord [C a metaphor for obedience],
    and ·decide to obey him [L remove the foreskin of your heart; 9:25; Deut. 10:16],
    people of Judah and ·people [L inhabitants] of Jerusalem.
If you don’t, my anger will ·spread among you [flare/blaze up] like a fire,
    and no one will be able to ·put it out [quench it],
    because of the evil you have done.

Trouble from the North

“·Announce this message [Declare; Shout; L Let it be heard] in Judah and ·say [proclaim] it in Jerusalem:
    ‘Blow the ·trumpet [ram’s horn] throughout the ·country [land]!’
Shout out loud and say,
    ‘·Come [L Gather] together!
    Let’s all ·escape [L go] to the ·strong, walled [fortified] cities!’
Raise the ·signal flag [banner; C military insignia] toward ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple]!
    ·Run for your lives [Take refuge/shelter], and don’t ·wait [delay],
because I am bringing ·disaster [trouble] from the north [C the Babylonians; 1:13–14]
    There will be terrible destruction.”

A lion has come out of his ·den [lair; thicket; 2:15];
    a destroyer of nations has begun to march.
He has left his ·home [L place]
    to ·destroy [L set destruction in] your land.
Your towns will be ·destroyed [devastated]
    with no one left to live in them.
So put on ·rough cloth [sackcloth; burlap; C mourning clothes],
    ·show how sad you are [lament; mourn], and ·cry loudly [wail].
The ·terrible [fierce] anger of the Lord
    has not turned away from us.

“·When this happens [L In that day],” says the Lord,
    “the ·king and officers will lose their courage [L heart of king and officers/princes will fail].
The priests will be ·terribly afraid [desolate],
    and the prophets will be ·shocked [stunned; appalled]!”

10 Then I said, [“L Aha,] Lord God, you have ·tricked [deceived] ·the people of Judah [L this people] and Jerusalem. You said, ‘You will have peace,’ but now the sword ·is pointing at [L touches] our ·throats [or very lives]!”

11 At that time ·this message will be given [L it will be said] to Judah and Jerusalem: “A hot wind blows from the bare hilltops [3:2] of the ·desert [wilderness] toward the ·Lord’s [L daughter of my] people. ·It is not a gentle wind to separate grain from chaff [L …not for winnowing or for cleansing]. 12 I feel a stronger wind than that. Now even I will announce judgments against ·the people of Judah [L them].”

13 Look! ·The enemy [L He] rises up like a cloud,
    and his chariots come like a ·tornado [whirlwind].
His horses are faster than eagles.
    ·How terrible it will be for [Woe to] us! We are ·ruined [devastated]!
14 People of Jerusalem, ·clean [wash] the evil from your hearts so that you can be ·saved [rescued; 2:22; Ps. 51:7].
    ·Don’t continue making [L How long will you lodge in your heart/mind] evil plans.
15 A voice from Dan makes an announcement
    and ·brings bad news [L proclaims disaster/trouble] from the mountains of Ephraim.
16 “Report this to the nations.
    ·Spread this news [L Make it heard] in Jerusalem:
‘Invaders are coming from a faraway country [C Babylon],
    shouting [C war cries] against the cities of Judah.
17 The enemy has surrounded Jerusalem as men guard a field,
    because Judah ·turned [rebelled; transgressed] against me,’” says the Lord.
18 “·The way you have lived and acted [L Your path/way and your deeds]
    has brought this trouble to you.
This is your ·punishment [trouble; disaster].
    How ·terrible [bitter] it is!
    ·The pain stabs [L It reaches] your heart!”

Jeremiah’s Cry

19 Oh, ·how I hurt [my pain/anguish/L innards]! ·How I hurt [My pain/anguish/L innards]!
    ·I am bent over in pain [L My heart writhes].
Oh, the ·torture in [L walls of] my heart!
    My heart is pounding inside me.
    I cannot keep quiet,
because I have heard the sound of the ·trumpet [ram’s horn].
    I have heard the shouts of war.
20 Disaster after disaster is reported;
    the whole country has been ·destroyed [devastated].
My tents are ·destroyed [devastated] ·in only a moment [suddenly].
    My curtains are torn down quickly.
21 How long must I look at the war flag?
    How long must I listen to the ·war trumpet [L sound of the ram’s horn]?

22 The Lord says, “My people are ·foolish [stupid].
    They do not know me.
They are stupid children;
    they don’t understand.
They are ·skillful [wise] at doing evil,
    but they don’t know how to do good.”

Disaster Is Coming

23 I looked at the earth,
    and it ·had no form and was empty [was a formless void; Gen. 1:2].
I looked at the ·sky [L heavens],
    and ·its light was gone [L there was no light].
24 I looked at the mountains,
    and they were shaking.
    All the hills were ·trembling [rocking; reeling].
25 I looked, and there were no people.
    Every bird in the ·sky [heavens] had ·flown away [L fled].
26 I looked, and the good, ·rich land [fertile land; land of plenty; orchards] had become a ·desert [wilderness].
    All its towns had been destroyed
    by the Lord and his great anger.

27 This is what the Lord says:

“All the land will be ruined,
    but I will not ·completely destroy it [L make a complete end].
28 So the people in the land will ·cry loudly [mourn; wail],
    and the ·sky [L heavens above] will grow dark [Is. 13:10; 34:4; Zech. 14:6; Mark 13:24–25],
because I have spoken and made a decision.
    I will not change my mind; I will not turn back.”

29 At the sound of the horsemen and the archers,
    all the people in the towns ·run away [flee].
They ·hide [L go] in the thick bushes
    and climb up into the rocks.
All of the cities of Judah are ·empty [abandoned; forsaken];
    no one lives in them.
30 You destroyed nation [C Judah], what are you doing?
    Why do you put on ·scarlet [purple; C an expensive dress]
    and decorate yourself with gold jewelry?
Why do you ·put color around your eyes [L enlarge your eyes with black eye paint]?
    You make yourself beautiful, ·but it is all useless [in vain; without purpose].
Your lovers ·hate [despise; reject] you;
    they ·want to kill you [L seek your life].

31 I hear a cry like a woman ·having a baby [writhing in labor],
    ·distress [trouble] like a woman having her first child.
It is the sound of ·Jerusalem [L the daughter of Zion; C the location of the Temple] gasping for breath.
    She ·lifts [L spreads] her hands in prayer and says,
“·Oh! I am about to [Woe to me, for I am] faint
    before my murderers!”

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

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

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

Disaster From the North

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

22 “My people are fools;(BM)
    they do not know me.(BN)
They are senseless children;
    they have no understanding.(BO)
They are skilled in doing evil;(BP)
    they know not how to do good.”(BQ)

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

27 This is what the Lord says:

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

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

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

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