Jeremias 4

1 Jehovah says: »If you come back, Israel, if you come back to me, if you take your disgusting idols out of my sight and you do not stray from me,

2 if you take the oath, as Jehovah lives in an honest, fair, and right way, then the nations will be blessed, and in him they will glory.«

3 Jehovah says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: »Break up your unplowed fields, and do not plant among thorns.

4 »Be circumcised by Jehovah, and get rid of the foreskins of your hearts cleanse your hearts, people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem. If you do not, my fury will blaze like a fire. It will burn, and no one will be able to put it out. This is 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: ‘Assemble together! Let us go into the fortified cities.’

6 »Raise the flag to signal people to go to Zion. Take cover! Do not just stand there! I am 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 and is on his way to destroy your land. Your cities will be ruined. No one will live in them.

8 »Dress in sackcloth, beat your breasts mourn, and cry because Jehovah’s burning anger has not turned back from us.

9 »In that day,« declares Jehovah, »the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will be stunned. The prophets will be amazed and astonished.«

10 I said, »Lord Jehovah, you have greatly deceived these people and Jerusalem. You said that everything would go well for them, but a sword is held at their throats threatens their lives.«

11 Then it will be said to these people and to Jerusalem: »A hot wind from the heights will blow in the desert toward my people. It will not be a wind that winnows 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 swifter than eagles. How horable it will be for us! We will be destroyed!«

14 »O Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart so that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts lodge within you?

15 »A message is heard from Dan. A report of disaster comes from the mountains of Ephraim.

16 »Warn the nations about this. Tell it to Jerusalem. Hostile troops are coming from a distant country. They shout battle cries against the cities of Judah.«

17 »They surround Judah like men guarding a field, because Judah has rebelled against me,« declares Jehovah.

18 »You brought this on yourself. This is your punishment. It is bitter. It breaks your heart.«

19 O my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. My heart pounds in side of me. My heart is pounding! I cannot keep quiet because I hear a ram's horn sounding the alarm for war.

20 Destruction upon destruction is proclaimed. 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 do not know me. They are stupid people. They do not understand. They are experts in doing wrong, and they do not know how to do good.«

23 I see the earth. It is without form and empty. I see the sky. Its lights are gone.

24 I see the mountains. They tremble and the hills sway.

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. Its cities are torn down because of Jehovah and his burning anger.

27 Jehovah says: »The whole earth will be ruined, although I will not entirely destroy it.

28 »The earth will mourn, and the sky will grow black. I have spoken, and I have determined it. I will not change my plans, and I will not 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. No one will live in it.

30 You are going to be destroyed! What are you going to do? Why do you dress in scarlet crimson and put on gold jewelry? Why do you wear eye shadow? You are making yourself beautiful for nothing. Your lovers despise 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 gasp for breath. They stretch out their hands and say: »How horrible it is for us! My life is exhausted by the presence of murderers!«