Blessing or Curse

If you return,[a] Israel—

this is the Lord’s declaration—

you will return to Me,

if you remove your detestable idols

from My presence

and do not waver,

then you can swear, “As the Lord lives,”

in truth, in justice, and in righteousness,

then the nations will be blessed[b] by Him

and will pride themselves in Him.

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

Break up the unplowed ground;

do not sow among the thorns.

Circumcise yourselves to the Lord;

remove the foreskin of your hearts,

men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem.

Otherwise, My wrath will break out like fire

and burn with no one to extinguish it

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.

Cry out loudly and say:

Assemble yourselves,

and let’s flee to the fortified cities.

Lift up a signal flag toward Zion.

Run for cover! Don’t stand still!

For I am bringing disaster from the north—

a great destruction.

A lion has gone up from his thicket;

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.

Because of this, put on sackcloth;

mourn and wail,

for the Lord’s burning anger

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 this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, ‘You will have peace,’ 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 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.’”

13 Look, he advances like clouds;

his chariots are like a storm.

His horses are swifter than eagles.

Woe to us, for we are ruined!

14 Wash the evil from your heart, Jerusalem,

so that you will be delivered.

How long will you harbor

malicious thoughts within you?

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;

they raise their voices

against the cities of Judah.

17 They have her surrounded

like those who guard a field,

because she has rebelled against Me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

18 Your way of life and your actions

have brought this on you.

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!

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 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.

They are skilled in doing what is evil,

but they do not know how to do what is good.”

23 I looked at the earth,

and it was formless and empty.

I looked to the heavens,

and their light was gone.

24 I looked at the mountains,

and they were quaking;

all the hills shook.

25 I looked, and no man was left;

all the birds of the sky had fled.

26 I looked, and the fertile field was a wilderness.

All its cities were torn down

because of the Lord

and His burning anger.

27 For this is what the Lord says:

The whole land will be a desolation,

but I will not finish it off.

28 Because of this, the earth will mourn;

the skies above will grow dark.

I have spoken; I have planned,

and I will not relent or turn back from it.

29 Every city flees

at the sound of the horseman and the archer.

They enter the thickets

and climb among the rocks.

Every city is abandoned;

no inhabitant is left.

30 And you, devastated one, what are you doing

that you dress yourself in scarlet,

that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry,

that you enlarge your eyes with paint?

You beautify yourself for nothing.

Your lovers reject you;

they want to take your life.

31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor,

a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child.

The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath,

stretching out her hands:

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