“If you come back, Israel, if you come back to me, if you take your disgusting idols out of my sight and you don’t wander away from me, 2 if you take the oath, “As the Lord lives . . .” in an honest, fair, and right way, then the nations will be blessed, and they will be honored by me.”
The Lord Will Bring Destruction on Judah from the North
3 This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:
Plow your unplowed fields, and don’t plant among thorns. 4 Be circumcised by the Lord, and get rid of the foreskins of your hearts, people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. If you don’t, my fury will flare up like a fire. It will burn, and no one will be able to put it out, because of the evil you do.
5 Report this message in Judah. Make it heard in Jerusalem. Say, “Blow the ram’s horn throughout the land.” Shout loudly and say, “Gather together! Let’s go into the fortified cities.” 6 Raise the flag to signal people to go to Zion. Take cover! Don’t just stand there! I’m bringing disaster and widespread destruction from the north. 7 A lion has come out of its lair. A destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to destroy your land. Your cities will be ruined, and no one will live in them. 8 So put on sackcloth, mourn, and cry because the Lord’s burning anger hasn’t turned away from us.
9 “When that day comes,” declares the Lord, “the king and the leaders will lose their courage. The priests will be stunned. The prophets will be amazed and astonished.”
10 I said, “Almighty Lord, you certainly have deceived these people and Jerusalem. You said that everything would go well for them, but a sword is held at their throats.”
11 At that time it will be said to these people and to Jerusalem: “A hot wind from the heights will blow in the desert on the tracks of my people. It will not be a wind that winnows[a] or cleanses. 12 It will be a stronger wind than that. It will come from me. Now, I will pass sentence on them.”
13 The enemy comes up like clouds. His chariots are like a raging wind. His horses are faster than eagles. How horrible it will be for us! We will be destroyed! 14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart so that you may be rescued. Don’t continue making evil plans. 15 A message is heard from Dan, and a report of disaster comes from the mountains of Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations about these things. Bring them to the attention of Jerusalem. “Hostile troops are coming from a distant country. They are shouting battle cries against the cities of Judah. 17 They surround them like men guarding a field, because Judah has rebelled against me,” declares the Lord. 18 “You brought this on yourself. This is your punishment. It is bitter. It breaks your heart.”
19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. My heart is beating wildly! My heart is pounding! I can’t keep quiet because I hear a ram’s horn sounding the alarm for war. 20 One disaster follows another. The whole land is ruined. My tents are suddenly destroyed. Their curtains are torn in an instant. 21 How long must I see the battle flag and hear the sound of rams’ horns?
22 “My people are fools. They don’t know me. They are stupid people. They don’t understand. They are experts in doing wrong, and they don’t know how to do good.”
23 I see the earth. It’s formless and empty. I see the sky. Its lights are gone. 24 I see the mountains. They are shaking, and the hills are swaying. 25 I see that there are no people, and every bird has flown away. 26 I see that the fertile land has become a desert, and all its cities are torn down because of the Lord and his burning anger.
27 This is what the Lord says:
The whole earth will be ruined, although I will not destroy it completely. 28 The earth will mourn, and the sky will grow black. I have spoken, and I have planned it. I won’t change my plans, and I won’t turn back. 29 All the people in the city will flee at the sound of riders and archers. They will go off into the thickets and climb among the rocks. The entire city will be abandoned, and no one will live in it.
30 You are going to be destroyed! What are you going to do? Why do you dress in red and put on gold jewelry? Why do you wear eye shadow? You are making yourself beautiful for nothing. Your lovers reject you; they want to kill you.
31 I hear a woman in labor. I hear the woman cry with anguish as she gives birth to her first child. My people Zion are gasping for breath. They are stretching out their hands, saying, “How horrible it is for us! We’re defenseless in the presence of murderers!”
Jeremiah 4:11Winnowing is the process of separating husks from grain.
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