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Jeremiah 4:1–5:31

“If you return, O Israel,

declares the Lord,

xto me you should return.

If you remove your detestable things from my presence,

yand do not waver,

zand if you swear, ‘As the Lord lives,’

in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,

then anations shall bless themselves in him,

band in him shall they glory.”

For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

c“Break up your fallow ground,

and dsow not among thorns.

eCircumcise yourselves to the Lord;

remove the foreskin of your hearts,

O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem;

flest my wrath go forth like fire,

and burn with none to quench it,

gbecause of the evil of your deeds.”

Disaster from the North

Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say,

h“Blow the trumpet through the land;

cry aloud and say,

i‘Assemble, and let us go

into the fortified cities!’

jRaise a standard toward Zion,

flee for safety, stay not,

for I bring disaster from kthe north,

land great destruction.

mA 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

nwithout inhabitant.

For this oput on sackcloth,

lament and wail,

for pthe fierce anger of the Lord

has not turned back from us.”

“In that day, declares the Lord, qcourage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.” 10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God, rsurely 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 sthe 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 tspeak in judgment upon them.”

13  Behold, he comes up like clouds;

uhis chariots like the whirlwind;

his horses are vswifter than eagles—

woe to us, wfor we are ruined!

14  O Jerusalem, xwash your heart from evil,

that you may be saved.

How long shall your wicked thoughts

lodge within you?

15  For a voice ydeclares from Dan

and proclaims trouble from zMount Ephraim.

16  Warn the nations that he is coming;

announce to Jerusalem,

“Besiegers come afrom a distant land;

they shout against the cities of Judah.

17  Like keepers of a field bare 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 cit is bitter;

it has reached your very heart.”

Anguish over Judah’s Desolation

19  dMy 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  eCrash follows hard on crash;

the whole land is laid waste.

fSuddenly 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 gmy people are foolish;

they know me not;

they are stupid children;

they have no understanding.

hThey are ‘wise’—in doing evil!

But how to do good they know not.”

23  I looked on the earth, and behold, it was iwithout form and void;

jand to the heavens, and they had no light.

24  I looked on kthe mountains, and behold, they were quaking,

and all the hills moved to and fro.

25  lI looked, and behold, there was no man,

and all the birds of the air had fled.

26  I looked, and behold, the mfruitful land was a desert,

and all its cities were laid in ruins

before the Lord, before nhis fierce anger.

27 For thus says the Lord, “The whole land shall be a desolation; oyet I will not make a full end.

28  p“For this the earth shall mourn,

qand the heavens above be dark;

for I have spoken; I have purposed;

rI 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 sno man dwells in them.

30  And you, O desolate one,

what do you mean that you dress in scarlet,

tthat you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,

uthat you enlarge your eyes with paint?

In vain you beautify yourself.

vYour lovers despise you;

they seek your life.

31  For I heard wa 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,

xstretching out her hands,

“Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”

Jerusalem Refused to Repent

yRun to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem,

look and take note!

Search her squares to see

zif you can find a man,

one who does justice

and seeks truth,

athat I may pardon her.

bThough they say, “As the Lord lives,”

cyet they swear falsely.

O Lord, do not your eyes look for truth?

dYou have struck them down,

but they felt no anguish;

you have consumed them,

but they refused to take correction.

eThey have made their faces harder than rock;

they have refused to repent.

Then I said, “These are only the poor;

they have no sense;

ffor they do not know the way of the Lord,

the justice of their God.

I will go to the great

and will speak to them,

for they know the way of the Lord,

the justice of their God.”

gBut they all alike had broken the yoke;

they had burst the bonds.

Therefore ha lion from the forest shall strike them down;

a iwolf from the desert shall devastate them.

jA leopard is watching their cities;

everyone who goes out of them shall be torn in pieces,

because their transgressions are many,

their kapostasies are great.

l“How can I pardon you?

Your children have forsaken me

mand have sworn by those who are no gods.

nWhen I fed them to the full,

othey committed adultery

pand trooped to the houses of whores.

They were well-fed, lusty stallions,

qeach neighing rfor his neighbor’s wife.

sShall I not punish them for these things?

declares the Lord;

and shall I not avenge myself

on a nation such as this?

10  t“Go up through her vine rows and destroy,

ubut make not a full end;

strip away her branches,

for they are not the Lord’s.

11  vFor the house of Israel and the house of Judah

have been utterly treacherous to me,

declares the Lord.

12  They have spoken falsely of the Lord

and have said, ‘He will do nothing;

wno disaster will come upon us,

xnor shall we see sword or famine.

13  The prophets will become wind;

the word is not in them.

Thus shall it be done to them!’ ”

The Lord Proclaims Judgment

14  Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:

“Because you have spoken this word,

behold, yI am making my words in your mouth za fire,

and this people wood, and the fire shall consume them.

15  aBehold, I am bringing against you

a nation from afar, O house of Israel,

declares the Lord.

It is an enduring nation;

it is an ancient nation,

a nation whose language you do not know,

bnor can you understand what they say.

16  cTheir quiver is like dan open tomb;

they are all mighty warriors.

17  eThey shall eat up your harvest and your food;

they shall eat up your sons and your daughters;

they shall eat up your flocks and your herds;

they shall eat up your vines and your fig trees;

your ffortified cities in which you trust

they shall beat down with the sword.”

18 “But even in those days, declares the Lord, uI will not make a full end of you. 19 And when your people say, g‘Why has the Lord our God done all these things to us?’ you shall say to them, ‘As you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, hso you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.’ ”

20  Declare this in the house of Jacob;

proclaim it in Judah:

21  “Hear this, iO foolish and senseless people,

jwho have eyes, but see not,

who have ears, but hear not.

22  kDo you not fear me? declares the Lord.

Do you not tremble before me?

I placed the sand las the boundary for the sea,

a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass;

though the waves toss, they cannot prevail;

though mthey roar, they cannot pass over it.

23  nBut this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart;

they have turned aside and gone away.

24  They do not say in their hearts,

‘Let us fear the Lord our God,

owho gives the rain in its season,

the autumn rain and the spring rain,

and keeps for us

pthe weeks appointed for the harvest.’

25  qYour iniquities have turned these away,

and your sins have kept good from you.

26  For wicked men are found among my people;

rthey lurk like fowlers lying in wait.1

sThey set a trap;

they catch men.

27  Like a cage full of birds,

their houses are full of deceit;

therefore they have become great and rich;

28  tthey have grown fat and sleek.

They know no bounds in deeds of evil;

uthey judge not with justice

the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper,

and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

29  vShall I not punish them for these things?

declares the Lord,

and shall I not avenge myself

on a nation such as this?”

30  An appalling and whorrible thing

has happened in the land:

31  xthe prophets prophesy falsely,

and the priests rule at their direction;

ymy people love to have it so,

but what will you do when the end comes?

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The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

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