The Word of the Lord to Jeremiah

Chapter 4

God calls Israel by his promise, 1, 2. He exhorts Judah to repentance by fearful judgments, 3-18. A grievous lamentation for Judah, 19-31.

"If you will return, O Israel,"/
says the LORD,/
"return to me./
And if you will put away your abominations out of my sight/
and not wander,

Then you shall swear, 'The LORD lives,'/
in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness./
And the nations shall bless themselves in him,/
and in him they shall glory."

3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:

"Break up your fallow ground/
and do not sow among thorns.

Circumcise yourselves to the LORD/
and take away the foreskins of your heart,/
men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,/
lest my fury come forth like fire/
and burn so that none can quench it/
because of the evil of your doings."

Declare in Judah and publish in Jerusalem,/
and say, "Blow the trumpet in the land./
Cry, gather together, and say,/
'Assemble yourselves,/
and let us go into the fortified cities.'

Set up the standard toward Zion./
Retire, do not stay,/
for I will bring evil from the north,/
and a great destruction.

The lion has come up from his thicket,/
and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way./
He has gone forth from his place/
to make your land desolate./
Your cities shall be laid waste/
without an inhabitant.

For this gird yourself with sackcloth,/
lament, and howl,/
for the fierce anger of the LORD/
has not turned back from us."

"And it shall come to pass at that day,"/
says the LORD,/
"that the heart of the king/
and the heart of the princes shall perish,/
and the priests shall be astonished/
and the prophets shall wonder."

10 Then I said, "Ah, Lord GOD! Surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'You shall have peace,' whereas the sword reaches to the soul."

11 At that time it shall be said to this people and to Jerusalem,/
"A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness/
toward the daughter of my people,/
not to fan, nor to cleanse,

12 Even a full wind from those places shall come to me./
Now I will also give sentence against them.

13 "Behold, he shall come up as clouds,/
and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind./
His horses are swifter than eagles./
Woe to us! For we are laid waste."

14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness/
so that you may be saved./
How long shall your vain thoughts/
lodge within you?

15 For a voice declares from Dan/
and publishes affliction from mount Ephraim.

16 "Make mention to the nations./
Behold, publish against Jerusalem,/
'Watchers come from a far country/
and give out their voice against the cities of Judah.

17 As keepers of a field/
they are against her on all sides/
because she has been rebellious against me,'/
says the LORD.

18 Your way and your doings have procured/
these things to you./
This is your wickedness because it is bitter,/
because it reaches to your heart."

19 My anguish, my anguish!/
I am pained at my very heart./
My heart makes a noise in me./
I cannot hold my peace/
because you have heard, O my soul,/
the sound of the trumpet,/
the alarm of war.

20 Destruction upon destruction is cried,/
for the whole land is laid waste./
Suddenly my tents are ruined/
and my curtains in a moment.

21 How long shall I see the standard/
and hear the sound of the trumpet?

22 "For my people are foolish,/
they have not known me./
They are foolish children/
and they have no understanding./
They are wise to do evil,/
but to do good they have no knowledge."

23 I beheld the earth,/
and behold, it was without form and void,/
and the heavens, and they had no light.

24 I beheld the mountains, and behold, they trembled,/
and all the hills moved lightly.

25 I beheld, and behold, there was no man,/
and all the birds of the heavens had fled.

26 I beheld, and behold, the fruitful place was a wilderness,/
and all its cities were broken down/
at the presence of the LORD/
and by his fierce anger.

27 For thus the LORD has said:/
"The whole land shall be desolate,/
yet I will not make a full end.

28 For this the earth shall mourn/
and the heavens above shall be black./
For I have spoken it and I have purposed it./
I will not repent, neither will I turn back from it."

29 The whole city shall flee/
for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen./
They shall go into thickets/
and climb up upon the rocks./
Every city shall be forsaken,/
and not a man dwells therein.

30 And when you are laid waste, what will you do?/
Though you clothe yourself with crimson,/
though you deck yourself with ornaments of gold,/
though you rend your face with painting,/
in vain you shall make yourself fair./
Your lovers will despise you. They will seek your life.

31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail,/
and the anguish as of her who brings forth her first child,/
the voice of the daughter of Zion who bewails herself,/
who spreads her hands, saying,/
"Woe is me now! For my soul is wearied/
because of murderers."


Matthew Henry Commentary - Jeremiah, Chapter 4[➚]


[v.4a] - "Circumcise" - Reference, Genesis 17:10-11.

[v.4b] - "take away the foreskins of your heart" - Reference, Deuteronomy 10:16, 30:6; Romans 2:29; Colossians 2:11-14.