Jeremiah Chapter 3 to 4 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

Other Versions

3 “If a man divorces his wife, and she leaves him and marries another man, can that man come back to his wife again? No! If that man went back to that woman,* then that land would become ‘dirty.’ Judah, you acted like a prostitute with many lovers (false gods). And now you want to come back to me!” This message was from the Lord. 2“Look up to the bare hilltops, Judah. Is there any place where you have not had sex with your lovers (false gods)? You have sat by the road waiting for lovers, like an Arab waiting in the desert. You made the land ‘dirty’! How? You did many bad things and you were unfaithful to me. 3You sinned, so the rain has not come. There have not been any springtime rains. But still you refuse to be ashamed. The look on your face is like the look that a prostitute has when she refuses to be ashamed. You refuse to be ashamed of what you did. 4But now you are calling me, ‘Father.’ You said, ‘You have been my friend since I was a child.’ 5You also said, ‘God will not always be angry at me. God’s anger will not continue forever.’ “Judah, you say those things, but you do as much evil as you can.”

The Two Bad Sisters: Israel and Judah

6The Lord spoke to me during the time King Josiah was ruling the nation of Judah. The Lord said: “Jeremiah, you saw the bad things that Israel* did? You saw how she was unfaithful to me. She did the sin of adultery with idols on every hill and under every green tree. 7I said to myself, ‘Israel will come back to me after she has finished doing these evil things.’ But she did not come back to me. And Israel’s unfaithful sister, Judah, saw what she did. 8Israel was unfaithful and Israel knew why I sent her away. Israel knew that I divorced her because she did the sin of adultery. But that did not make her unfaithful sister afraid. Judah, was not afraid. Judah also went out and acted like a prostitute. 9Judah did not care that she was acting like a prostitute. So she made her country ‘dirty.’ She did the sin of adultery by worshiping idols made out of stone and wood. 10Israel’s unfaithful sister (Judah) did not come back to me with her whole heart. She only pretended that she came back to me.” This message was from the Lord. 11The Lord said to me, “Israel was not faithful to me. But she had a better excuse than unfaithful Judah. 12Jeremiah, look toward the north and speak this message: ‘Come back, you faithless people of Israel.’ This message was from the Lord. ‘I will stop frowning at you. I am full of mercy.’ This message was from the Lord. ‘I will not be angry with you forever. 13But you must recognize your sin. You turned against the Lord your God. That is your sin. You worshiped the idols of people from other nations. You worshiped those idols under every green tree. You did not obey me.’” This message was from the Lord.  14“You people are unfaithful. But Come back to me!” This message was from the Lord. “I am your Master. I will take one person from every city and two people from every family and bring you to Zion.* 15Then I will give you new rulers. Those rulers will be faithful to me. They will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16In those days, there will be many of you in the land.” This message is from the Lord. “At that time, people will never again say, ‘I remember the days when we had the Box of the Lord’s Agreement.’* They won’t even think about the Holy Box anymore. They won’t even remember or miss it. They will never make another Holy Box. 17At that time, the city of Jerusalem will be called the ‘Lord’s Throne.’ All nations will come together in the city of Jerusalem to give honor to the name of the Lord. They won’t follow their stubborn, evil hearts anymore. 18In those days, the family of Judah will join the family of Israel. They will come together from a land in the north. They will come to the land I gave to their ancestors.* 19“I, the Lord, said to myself, ‘I want to treat you like my own children. I want to give you a pleasant land, a land more beautiful than any other nation.’ I thought that you would call me ‘Father.’ I thought that you would always follow me. 20But you have been like a woman that is unfaithful to her husband. Family of Israel, you have been unfaithful to me!” This message was from the Lord. 21You can hear crying on the bare hills. The people of Israel are crying and praying for mercy. They became very evil. They forgot the Lord their God. 22{The Lord also said,} “People of Israel, you are unfaithful to me. But come back to me! Come back and I will forgive* you for being unfaithful to me.” {The people should say,} “Yes, we will come to you. You are the Lord our God. 23It was foolish to worship idols on the hills. All the loud parties on the mountains were wrong. Surely the salvation of Israel comes from the Lord our God. 24That terrible false god Baal has eaten everything our fathers owned. This has happened since we were children. That terrible false god took our fathers’ sheep and cattle, and their sons and daughters. 25Let us lie down in our shame. Let our shame cover us like a blanket. We have sinned against the Lord our God. We and our fathers have sinned. We have not obeyed the Lord our God from the time we were children.”

If that man went back to that woman It was against the law of Moses for a man to marry a woman he had divorced if that woman had become another man’s wife. It was against the law for that man to marry her again even if her second husband divorced her or died. See Deut. 24:1–4. Israel Here the name Israel means the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians about 100 years before Jeremiah’s time. Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. Box of the Lord’s Agreement The box containing the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments written on them and the other things that proved God was with the people of Israel during their time in the Sinai Desert. Also called “The Ark of the Covenant.” ancestors Literally, “fathers,” meaning a person’s parents, grandparents, and all the people they are descended from.  forgive Literally, “heal.”

4 This message is from the Lord. “Israel, if you want to come back, then come back to me. Throw away your idols. Don’t wander away from me. 2If you do those things, then you will be able to use my name to make a promise: You will be able to say, ‘As the Lord lives.’ And you will be able to use those words in a truthful, honest, and right way. If you do these things, then the nations will be blessed by the Lord. They will brag about the things that the Lord has done.” 3This is what the Lord says to the man of Judah and to Jerusalem: “Your fields have not been plowed. Plow those fields! Don’t plant seeds among the thorns. 4Become the Lord’s people. Change your hearts!* Men of Judah and people of Jerusalem, if you don’t change, then I will become very angry. My anger will spread fast like a fire, and my anger will burn you up. And no person will be able to put out that fire. Why will this happen? Because of the evil things you have done.”

Disaster from the North

5“Give this message to the people of Judah: Tell every person in the city of Jerusalem, ‘blow the trumpet all over the country.’ Shout out loud and say, ‘Come together! Let us all escape to the strong cities for protection.’ 6Raise the signal flag toward Zion.* Run for your lives! Don’t wait! Do this because I am bringing disaster from the north.* I am bringing terrible destruction.” 7A lion has come out of his cave. A destroyer of nations has begun to march. He has left his home to destroy your land. Your towns will be destroyed. There will be no people left to live in them. 8So put on sackcloth* and cry out loud! Why? Because the Lord is angry at us.” 9The Lord says, “At the time this happens, the king and his officers will lose their courage, the priests will be scared, the prophets will be shocked.” 10Then I, Jeremiah, said, “Lord my Master, you have really tricked the people of Judah and Jerusalem. You said to them, ‘You will have peace.’ But now the sword is pointing at their throats!” 11At that time a message will be given to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “A hot wind blows from the bare hills. It comes from the desert to my people. It is not like the gentle wind that farmers use to separate the grain from the chaff.* 12It is a stronger wind than that, and it comes from me. Now, I will announce my judgment against the people of Judah.” 13Look! The enemy rises up like a cloud. His chariots* look like a wind storm. His horses are faster than eagles. It will be very bad for us! We are ruined! 14People of Jerusalem, wash the evil from your hearts. Make your hearts pure so you can be saved. Don’t continue making evil plans. 15Listen! The voice of a messenger from the land of Dan* is speaking. A person is bringing bad news from the hill country of Ephraim.* 16“Report it to this nation.* Spread the news to the people in Jerusalem. Enemies are coming from a faraway country. Those enemies are shouting words of war against the cities of Judah. 17The enemy has surrounded Jerusalem like men guarding a field. Judah, you turned against me! So the enemy is coming against you!” This message is from the Lord. 18“The way you lived and the things you did brought this trouble to you. It is your evil that made your life so hard. Your evil life brought the pain that hurts deep in your heart.”

Jeremiah’s Cry

19Oh, my sadness and worry is making my stomach hurt. I am bent over in pain. Oh, I am so scared. My heart is pounding inside me. I can’t keep quiet. Why? Because I have heard the trumpet blow. The trumpet is calling the army to war! 20Disaster follows disaster! The whole country is destroyed! Suddenly my tents are destroyed! My curtains are torn down! 21Lord, how long must I see the war flags? How long must I hear the war trumpets? 22{God said,} “My people are foolish. They don’t know me. They are stupid children. They don’t understand. They are skillful at doing evil, but they don’t know how to do good.”

Disaster Is Coming

23I looked at the earth. The earth was empty; nothing was on the earth. I looked at the sky and its light was gone.* 24I looked at the mountains, and they were shaking. All of the hills were trembling. 25I looked, but there were no people. All the birds of the sky had flown away. 26I looked, and the good land had become a desert. All the cities in that land were destroyed. The Lord caused this. The Lord and his great anger caused this. 27The Lord says these things: “The whole country will be ruined. (But I will not completely destroy the land.) 28So the people in the land will cry for the dead people. The sky will grow dark. I have spoken and will not change. I have made a decision and I will not change my mind.” 29The people of Judah will hear the sound of the horse soldiers and the archers,* and the people will run away! Some of the people will hide in caves,* some people will hide in the bushes, some people will climb up into the rocks. All of the cities of Judah will be empty. No person will live in them. 30Judah, you have been destroyed. So what are you doing now? Why are you putting on your best red dress? Why are you putting on your gold jewelry? Why are you putting on your eye makeup? You make yourself beautiful, but it is a waste of time. Your lovers hate you. They are trying to kill you. 31I hear a cry like a woman having a baby. It is a scream like a woman that is having her first baby. It is the cry of the Daughter of Zion.* She is lifting her hands in prayer, saying, “Oh! I am about to faint! Murderers are all around me!”

Change your hearts Literally, “Be circumcised to the Lord. Cut away the foreskin of your hearts.” A man cut away the foreskin from his sex organ to show he was becoming one of God’s people. Jeremiah is saying that the real circumcision must be from inside a person’s heart (mind). Zion The southeast part of the mountain Jerusalem is built on. Sometimes it means the people of God living in Jerusalem. north The Babylonian army came from this direction to attack Judah. Armies from countries north and east of Israel often came this way to attack Judah and Israel. sackcloth A kind of cloth that people wore to show they were sad or crying for dead people. chaff The seed coverings and stems separated from the seeds of plants like wheat or barley. Farmers saved the seeds but let the wind blow the useless chaff away. chariot(s) A small wagon used in war. land of Dan The people from the family group of Dan lived near the border in the northern part of Israel. They would be the first to be attacked by an enemy from the north. hill country of Ephraim This was the central part of the land that had been the northern kingdom of Israel. “Report … nation The Hebrew is hard to understand here.  The earth … gone Jeremiah is comparing his country to the time before people were put on the earth. See Gen. 1:1. archers Soldiers that use bows and arrows in war. hide in caves This line is from the ancient Greek translation. The Hebrew text does not have this line. Daughter of Zion A name for the city of Jerusalem.

Other Versions