August 17

Jeremiah 4:1 — 6:15

4 “If you would return, O Israel,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “you may return even to me. And if you will take away your disgusting things on my account, then you will not go as a fugitive. 2 And [if] you will certainly swear, ‘As Jehovah is alive in truth, in justice and in righteousness!’ then in him the nations will actually bless themselves, and in him they will boast about themselves.”

3 For this is what Jehovah has said to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Plow for yourselves arable land, and do not keep sowing among thorns. 4 Get yourselves circumcised to Jehovah, and take away the foreskins of YOUR hearts, YOU men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; that my rage may not go forth just like a fire, and it certainly burn with no one to do the extinguishing, on account of the badness of YOUR dealings.”

5 Tell [it] in Judah, YOU men, and publish [it] even in Jerusalem, and say [it] out, and blow a horn throughout the land. Call out loudly and say: “Gather yourselves together, and let us enter into the fortified cities. 6 Raise a signal toward Zion. Make provision for shelter. Do not stand still.” For there is a calamity that I am bringing in from the north, even a great crash. 7 He has gone up as a lion out of his thicket, and the one who is bringing the nations to ruin has pulled away; he has gone forth from his place in order to render your land as an object of astonishment. Your own cities will fall in ruins so that there will be no inhabitant. 8 On this account gird on sackcloth, YOU people. Beat YOUR breasts and howl, because the burning anger of Jehovah has not turned back from us.

9 “And it must occur in that day,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “that the heart of the king will perish, also the heart of the princes; and the priests will certainly be driven to astonishment, and the prophets themselves will be amazed.”

10 And I proceeded to say: “Alas, O Sovereign Lord Jehovah! Truly you have absolutely deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘Peace itself will become YOURS,’ and the sword has reached clear to the soul.”

11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: “There is a searing wind of the beaten paths through the wilderness [on] the way to the daughter of my people; it is not for winnowing, nor for cleansing. 12 The full wind itself comes even from these to me. Now I myself also shall speak forth the judgments with them. 13 Look! Like rain clouds he will come up, and his chariots are like a storm wind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, because we have been despoiled! 14 Wash your heart clean of sheer badness, O Jerusalem, in order that you may be saved. How long will your erroneous thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice is telling from Dan and is publishing something hurtful from the mountainous region of Ephraim. 16 Make mention [of it], YOU people, yes, to the nations. Publish [it] against Jerusalem.”

“Watchers are coming from a land far away, and they will let out their voice against the very cities of Judah. 17 Like guards of the open field they have become against her on all sides, because she has rebelled even against me,” is the utterance of Jehovah. 18 “Your way and your dealings—there will be a rendering of these to you. This is the calamity upon you, for it is bitter; because it has reached clear to your heart.”

19 O my intestines, my intestines! I am in severe pains in the walls of my heart. My heart is boisterous within me. I cannot keep silent, for the sound of the horn is what my soul has heard, the alarm signal of war. 20 Crash upon crash is what has been called out, for the whole land has been despoiled. Suddenly my tents have been despoiled, in a moment my tent cloths. 21 How long shall I keep seeing the signal, keep hearing the sound of the horn? 22 For my people is foolish. Of me they have not taken note. They are unwise sons; and they are not those having understanding. Wise they are for doing bad, but for doing good they actually have no knowledge.

23 I saw the land, and, look! [it was] empty and waste; and into the heavens, and their light was no more. 24 I saw the mountains, and, look! they were rocking, and the hills themselves were all given a shaking. 25 I saw, and, look! there was not an earthling man, and the flying creatures of the heavens had all fled. 26 I saw, and, look! the orchard itself was a wilderness, and the very cities of it had all been torn down. It was because of Jehovah, because of his burning anger.

27 For this is what Jehovah has said: “A desolate waste is what the whole land will become, and shall I not carry out a sheer extermination? 28 On this account the land will mourn, and the heavens above will certainly become dark. It is because I have spoken, I have considered, and I have not felt regret, nor shall I turn back from it. 29 Because of the sound of the horsemen and bow shooters the entire city is running away. They have entered into the thickets, and into the rocks they have gone up. Every city is left, and there is no man dwelling in them.”

30 Now that you are despoiled, what will you do, since you used to clothe yourself with scarlet, since you used to deck yourself with ornaments of gold, since you used to enlarge your eyes with black paint? It is in vain that you used to make yourself pretty. Those lusting after [you] have rejected you; they keep seeking for your very soul. 31 For a voice like that of a sick woman I have heard, the distress like that of a woman giving birth to her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion who keeps gasping for breath. She keeps spreading out her palms: “Woe, now, to me, for my soul is tired of the killers!”

5 Go roving about in the streets of Jerusalem and see, now, and know, and seek for yourselves in her public squares whether YOU can find a man, whether there exists anyone doing justice, anyone seeking faithfulness, and I shall forgive her. 2 Even if they should say: “As Jehovah is alive!” they would thereby be swearing to sheer falsehood.

3 O Jehovah, are not those eyes of yours toward faithfulness? You have struck them, but they did not become ill. You exterminated them. They refused to take discipline. They made their faces harder than a crag. They refused to turn back. 4 Even I myself had said: “Surely they are of low class. They acted foolishly, for they have ignored the way of Jehovah, the judgment of their God. 5 I will go my way to the great ones and speak with them; for they themselves must have taken note of the way of Jehovah, the judgment of their God. Surely they themselves must have all together broken the yoke; they must have torn apart the bands.”

6 That is why a lion out of the forest has struck them, a wolf itself of the desert plains keeps despoiling them, a leopard is keeping awake at their cities. Everyone going forth from them gets torn to pieces. For their transgressions have become many; their acts of unfaithfulness have become numerous.

7 How can I forgive you for this very thing? Your own sons have left me, and they keep swearing by what is no God. And I kept satisfying them, but they continued committing adultery, and to the house of a prostitute woman they go in troops. 8 Horses seized with sexual heat, having [strong] testicles, they have become. They neigh each one to the wife of his companion.

9 “Should I not take an accounting because of these very things?” is the utterance of Jehovah. “Or upon a nation that is like this should not my soul avenge itself?”

10 “Come up against her [vine] rows and cause ruin, but do not YOU men make an actual extermination. Take away her luxuriating shoots, for they do not belong to Jehovah. 11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have positively dealt treacherously with me,” is the utterance of Jehovah. 12 “They have denied Jehovah, and they keep saying, ‘He is not. And upon us no calamity will come, and no sword or famine shall we see.’ 13 And the prophets themselves become a wind, and the word is not in them. That is how it will be done to them.”

14 Therefore this is what Jehovah, the God of armies, has said: “For the reason that YOU men are saying this thing, here I am making my words in your mouth a fire, and this people will be pieces of wood, and it will certainly devour them.”

15 “Here I am bringing in upon YOU men a nation from far away, O house of Israel,” is the utterance of Jehovah. “It is an enduring nation. It is a nation of long ago, a nation whose language you do not know, and you cannot hear [understandingly] what they speak. 16 Their quiver is like an open burial place; all of them are mighty men. 17 They will also certainly eat up your harvest and your bread. The men will eat up your sons and your daughters. They will eat up your flocks and your herds. They will eat up your vine and your fig tree. They will shatter with the sword your fortified cities in which you are trusting.”

18 “And even in those days,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “I shall not carry out an extermination of YOU men. 19 And it must occur that YOU will say, ‘Due to what fact has Jehovah our God done to us all these things?’ And you must say to them, ‘Just as YOU have left me and have gone serving a foreign god in YOUR land, so YOU will serve strangers in a land that is not YOURS.’”

20 TELL this in the house of Jacob, and publish it in Judah, saying: 21 “Hear, now, this, O unwise people that is without heart: They have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear. 22 ‘Do YOU not fear even me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘or are YOU in no severe pains even because of me, who have set the sand as the boundary for the sea, an indefinitely lasting regulation that it cannot pass over? Although its waves toss themselves, still they cannot prevail; and [although] they do become boisterous, still they cannot pass over it. 23 But this very people has come to have a stubborn and rebellious heart; they have turned aside and keep walking in their course. 24 But they have not said in their heart: “Let us, now, fear Jehovah our God, the One who is giving the downpour and the autumn rain and the spring rain in its season, the One who guards even the prescribed weeks of the harvest for us.” 25 YOUR own errors have turned these things away, and YOUR own sins have held back what is good from YOU people.

26 “‘For among my people there have been found wicked men. They keep peering, as when birdcatchers crouch down. They have set a ruinous [trap]. It is men that they catch. 27 As a cage is full of flying creatures, so their houses are full of deception. That is why they have become great and they gain riches. 28 They have grown fat; they have become shiny. They have also overflowed with bad things. No legal case have they pleaded, even the legal case of the fatherless boy, that they may gain success; and the judgment of the poor ones they have not taken up.’”

29 “Should I not hold an accounting because of these very things,” is the utterance of Jehovah, “or on a nation that is like this should not my soul avenge itself? 30 An astonishing situation, even a horrible thing, has been brought to be in the land: 31 The prophets themselves actually prophesy in falsehood; and as for the priests, they go subduing according to their powers. And my own people have loved [it] that way; and what will YOU men do in the finale of it?”

6 Take shelter, O YOU sons of Benjamin, from the midst of Jerusalem; and in Tekoa blow the horn. And over Beth-haccherem raise a fire signal; because calamity itself has looked down out of the north, even a great crash. 2 The daughter of Zion has resembled indeed a comely and daintily bred woman. 3 To her the shepherds and their droves proceeded to come. Against her they pitched [their] tents all around. They grazed off each one his own part. 4 Against her they have sanctified war: “Rise up, and let us go up at midday!”

“Woe to us, for the day has declined, for the shadows of evening keep extending themselves!”

5 “Rise up, and let us go up during the night and bring to ruin her dwelling towers.”

6 For this is what Jehovah of armies has said: “Cut down wood and throw up against Jerusalem a siege rampart. She is the city with which an accounting must be held. She is nothing but oppression in the midst of her. 7 As a cistern keeps its waters cool, so she has kept her badness cool. Violence and despoiling are heard in her; sickness and plague are before my face constantly. 8 Be corrected, O Jerusalem, that my soul may not turn away disgusted from you; that I may not set you as a desolate waste, a land not inhabited.”

9 This is what Jehovah of armies has said: “They will without fail glean the remnant of Israel just like a vine. Put your hand back like one that is gathering grapes upon the vine tendrils.”

10 “To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Look! Their ear is uncircumcised, so that they are unable to pay attention. Look! The very word of Jehovah has become to them a reproach, in which [word] they can take no delight. 11 And with the rage of Jehovah I have become full. I have become weary with holding in.”

“Pour [it] out upon the child in the street and upon the intimate group of young men at the same time; for they will also be caught, a man along with his wife, an old man along with one that is full of days. 12 And their houses will certainly be turned over to others for possession, the fields and the wives at the same time. For I shall stretch my hand out against the inhabitants of the land,” is the utterance of Jehovah.

13 “For from the least one of them even to the greatest one of them, every one is making for himself unjust gain; and from the prophet even to the priest, each one is acting falsely. 14 And they try to heal the breakdown of my people lightly, saying, ‘There is peace! There is peace!’ when there is no peace. 15 Did they feel shame because it was something detestable that they had done? For one thing, they positively do not feel any shame; for another thing, they have not come to know even how to feel humiliated. Therefore they will fall among those who are falling; in the time that I must hold an accounting with them they will stumble,” Jehovah has said.