Blessing or Curse

If you return,[a] Israel—
this is the Lord’s declaration—
you will return to Me,(A)
if you remove your detestable idols(B)
from My presence
and do not waver,
then you can swear, “As the Lord lives,”(C)
in truth,(D) in justice, and in righteousness,(E)
then the nations will be blessed[b] by Him(F)
and will pride themselves in Him.(G)

For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

Break up the unplowed ground;(H)
do not sow among the thorns.(I)
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord;
remove the foreskin of your hearts,(J)
men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem.
Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire
and burn with no one to extinguish it(K)
because of your evil deeds.

Judgment from the North

Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

Blow the ram’s horn throughout the land.(L)
Cry out loudly and say:
Assemble yourselves,
and let’s flee to the fortified cities.
Lift up a signal flag toward Zion.(M)
Run for cover! Don’t stand still!
For I am bringing disaster from the north—
a great destruction.(N)
A lion has gone up from his thicket;(O)
a destroyer of nations has set out.
He has left his lair
to make your land a waste.
Your cities will be reduced to uninhabited ruins.(P)
Because of this, put on sackcloth;
mourn and wail,(Q)
for the Lord’s burning anger(R)
has not turned away from us.

“On that day”—this is the Lord’s declaration—“the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will tremble in fear, and the prophets will be scared speechless.”

10 I said, “Oh no, Lord God, You have certainly deceived(S) this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, ‘You will have peace,’(T) while a sword is at[c] our throats.”

11 “At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, ‘A searing wind(U) blows from the barren heights in the wilderness on the way to My dear[d] people. It comes not to winnow or to sift; 12 a wind too strong for this comes at My call.[e] Now I will also pronounce judgments against them.’”(V)

13 Look, he advances like clouds;(W)
his chariots are like a storm.(X)
His horses are swifter than eagles.(Y)
Woe to us, for we are ruined!(Z)
14 Wash the evil from your heart,(AA) Jerusalem,
so that you will be delivered.
How long will you harbor
malicious thoughts within you?(AB)
15 For a voice announces from Dan,
proclaiming malice from Mount Ephraim.
16 Warn the nations: Look!
Proclaim to Jerusalem:
Those who besiege are coming
from a distant land;(AC)
they raise their voices
against the cities of Judah.
17 They have her surrounded(AD)
like those who guard a field,
because she has rebelled against Me.(AE)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
18 Your way of life and your actions
have brought this on you.(AF)
This is your punishment. It is very bitter,
because it has reached your heart!

Jeremiah’s Lament

19 My anguish, my anguish![f] I writhe in agony!
Oh, the pain in[g] my heart!(AG)
My heart pounds;
I cannot be silent.
For you, my soul,
have heard the sound of the ram’s horn—
the shout of battle.
20 Disaster after disaster(AH) is reported
because the whole land is destroyed.
Suddenly my tents are destroyed,
my tent curtains, in a moment.
21 How long must I see the signal flag
and hear the sound of the ram’s horn?

22 “For My people are fools;
they do not know Me.
They are foolish children,
without understanding.(AI)
They are skilled in doing what is evil,
but they do not know how to do what is good.”(AJ)

23 I looked at the earth,
and it was formless and empty.(AK)
I looked to the heavens,
and their light was gone.(AL)
24 I looked at the mountains,
and they were quaking;(AM)
all the hills shook.
25 I looked, and no man was left;(AN)
all the birds of the sky had fled.(AO)
26 I looked, and the fertile field(AP) was a wilderness.(AQ)
All its cities were torn down
because of the Lord
and His burning anger.(AR)

27 For this is what the Lord says:

The whole land will be a desolation,(AS)
but I will not finish it off.(AT)
28 Because of this, the earth will mourn;(AU)
the skies above will grow dark.(AV)
I have spoken; I have planned,
and I will not relent or turn back from it.(AW)

29 Every city flees(AX)
at the sound of the horseman and the archer.
They enter the thickets
and climb among the rocks.(AY)
Every city is abandoned;
no inhabitant is left.
30 And you, devastated one, what are you doing(AZ)
that you dress yourself in scarlet,
that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry,
that you enlarge your eyes with paint?(BA)
You beautify yourself for nothing.
Your lovers reject you;(BB)
they want to take your life.(BC)
31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor,(BD)
a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child.
The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath,
stretching out her hands:(BE)
Woe is me, for my life is weary
because of the murderers!


  1. Jeremiah 4:1 Or Repent
  2. Jeremiah 4:2 Or will bless themselves
  3. Jeremiah 4:10 Lit sword touches
  4. Jeremiah 4:11 Lit to the daughter of My
  5. Jeremiah 4:12 Lit comes for Me
  6. Jeremiah 4:19 Lit My inner parts, my inner parts
  7. Jeremiah 4:19 Lit the walls of

“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)