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Jeremiah 4 Expanded Bible (EXB)

“If you ·will [want to] return, Israel,
    then return to me,” says the Lord.
“If you will ·throw away [turn from] your abominations [C the idols],
    then ·don’t wander away from me [no longer go astray].
If you say when you ·make a promise [swear],
    ‘As surely as the Lord lives,’
    and you can say it in a truthful, ·honest [just], and ·right [righteous] way,
then the nations will be blessed by him,
    and they will ·praise him for what he has done [boast in him].”
This is what the Lord says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem:

“Plow your unplowed fields [C a metaphor for changing their spiritual condition],
    and don’t ·plant seeds [sow] among thorns.
·Give yourselves to the service of [L Circumcise yourself to] the Lord [C a metaphor for obedience],
    and ·decide to obey him [L remove the foreskin of your heart; 9:25; Deut. 10:16],
    people of Judah and ·people [L inhabitants] of Jerusalem.
If you don’t, my anger will ·spread among you [flare/blaze up] like a fire,
    and no one will be able to ·put it out [quench it],
    because of the evil you have done.

Trouble from the North

“·Announce this message [Declare; Shout; L Let it be heard] in Judah and ·say [proclaim] it in Jerusalem:
    ‘Blow the ·trumpet [ram’s horn] throughout the ·country [land]!’
Shout out loud and say,
    ‘·Come [L Gather] together!
    Let’s all ·escape [L go] to the ·strong, walled [fortified] cities!’
Raise the ·signal flag [banner; C military insignia] toward ·Jerusalem [L Zion; C the location of the Temple]!
    ·Run for your lives [Take refuge/shelter], and don’t ·wait [delay],
because I am bringing ·disaster [trouble] from the north [C the Babylonians; 1:13–14]
    There will be terrible destruction.”

A lion has come out of his ·den [lair; thicket; 2:15];
    a destroyer of nations has begun to march.
He has left his ·home [L place]
    to ·destroy [L set destruction in] your land.
Your towns will be ·destroyed [devastated]
    with no one left to live in them.
So put on ·rough cloth [sackcloth; burlap; C mourning clothes],
    ·show how sad you are [lament; mourn], and ·cry loudly [wail].
The ·terrible [fierce] anger of the Lord
    has not turned away from us.

“·When this happens [L In that day],” says the Lord,
    “the ·king and officers will lose their courage [L heart of king and officers/princes will fail].
The priests will be ·terribly afraid [desolate],
    and the prophets will be ·shocked [stunned; appalled]!”

10 Then I said, [“L Aha,] Lord God, you have ·tricked [deceived] ·the people of Judah [L this people] and Jerusalem. You said, ‘You will have peace,’ but now the sword ·is pointing at [L touches] our ·throats [or very lives]!”

11 At that time ·this message will be given [L it will be said] to Judah and Jerusalem: “A hot wind blows from the bare hilltops [3:2] of the ·desert [wilderness] toward the ·Lord’s [L daughter of my] people. ·It is not a gentle wind to separate grain from chaff [L …not for winnowing or for cleansing]. 12 I feel a stronger wind than that. Now even I will announce judgments against ·the people of Judah [L them].”

13 Look! ·The enemy [L He] rises up like a cloud,
    and his chariots come like a ·tornado [whirlwind].
His horses are faster than eagles.
    ·How terrible it will be for [Woe to] us! We are ·ruined [devastated]!
14 People of Jerusalem, ·clean [wash] the evil from your hearts so that you can be ·saved [rescued; 2:22; Ps. 51:7].
    ·Don’t continue making [L How long will you lodge in your heart/mind] evil plans.
15 A voice from Dan makes an announcement
    and ·brings bad news [L proclaims disaster/trouble] from the mountains of Ephraim.
16 “Report this to the nations.
    ·Spread this news [L Make it heard] in Jerusalem:
‘Invaders are coming from a faraway country [C Babylon],
    shouting [C war cries] against the cities of Judah.
17 The enemy has surrounded Jerusalem as men guard a field,
    because Judah ·turned [rebelled; transgressed] against me,’” says the Lord.
18 “·The way you have lived and acted [L Your path/way and your deeds]
    has brought this trouble to you.
This is your ·punishment [trouble; disaster].
    How ·terrible [bitter] it is!
    ·The pain stabs [L It reaches] your heart!”

Jeremiah’s Cry

19 Oh, ·how I hurt [my pain/anguish/L innards]! ·How I hurt [My pain/anguish/L innards]!
    ·I am bent over in pain [L My heart writhes].
Oh, the ·torture in [L walls of] my heart!
    My heart is pounding inside me.
    I cannot keep quiet,
because I have heard the sound of the ·trumpet [ram’s horn].
    I have heard the shouts of war.
20 Disaster after disaster is reported;
    the whole country has been ·destroyed [devastated].
My tents are ·destroyed [devastated] ·in only a moment [suddenly].
    My curtains are torn down quickly.
21 How long must I look at the war flag?
    How long must I listen to the ·war trumpet [L sound of the ram’s horn]?

22 The Lord says, “My people are ·foolish [stupid].
    They do not know me.
They are stupid children;
    they don’t understand.
They are ·skillful [wise] at doing evil,
    but they don’t know how to do good.”

Disaster Is Coming

23 I looked at the earth,
    and it ·had no form and was empty [was a formless void; Gen. 1:2].
I looked at the ·sky [L heavens],
    and ·its light was gone [L there was no light].
24 I looked at the mountains,
    and they were shaking.
    All the hills were ·trembling [rocking; reeling].
25 I looked, and there were no people.
    Every bird in the ·sky [heavens] had ·flown away [L fled].
26 I looked, and the good, ·rich land [fertile land; land of plenty; orchards] had become a ·desert [wilderness].
    All its towns had been destroyed
    by the Lord and his great anger.

27 This is what the Lord says:

“All the land will be ruined,
    but I will not ·completely destroy it [L make a complete end].
28 So the people in the land will ·cry loudly [mourn; wail],
    and the ·sky [L heavens above] will grow dark [Is. 13:10; 34:4; Zech. 14:6; Mark 13:24–25],
because I have spoken and made a decision.
    I will not change my mind; I will not turn back.”

29 At the sound of the horsemen and the archers,
    all the people in the towns ·run away [flee].
They ·hide [L go] in the thick bushes
    and climb up into the rocks.
All of the cities of Judah are ·empty [abandoned; forsaken];
    no one lives in them.
30 You destroyed nation [C Judah], what are you doing?
    Why do you put on ·scarlet [purple; C an expensive dress]
    and decorate yourself with gold jewelry?
Why do you ·put color around your eyes [L enlarge your eyes with black eye paint]?
    You make yourself beautiful, ·but it is all useless [in vain; without purpose].
Your lovers ·hate [despise; reject] you;
    they ·want to kill you [L seek your life].

31 I hear a cry like a woman ·having a baby [writhing in labor],
    ·distress [trouble] like a woman having her first child.
It is the sound of ·Jerusalem [L the daughter of Zion; C the location of the Temple] gasping for breath.
    She ·lifts [L spreads] her hands in prayer and says,
“·Oh! I am about to [Woe to me, for I am] faint
    before my murderers!”

Expanded Bible (EXB)

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