a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above


If you return, O Israel,

says the L ord,

if you return to me,

if you remove your abominations from my presence,

and do not waver,


and if you swear, “As the L ord lives!”

in truth, in justice, and in uprightness,

then nations shall be blessed by him,

and by him they shall boast.

3 For thus says the L ord to the people of Judah and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem:

Break up your fallow ground,

and do not sow among thorns.


Circumcise yourselves to the L ord,

remove the foreskin of your hearts,

O people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem,

or else my wrath will go forth like fire,

and burn with no one to quench it,

because of the evil of your doings.


Invasion and Desolation of Judah Threatened

5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:

Blow the trumpet through the land;

shout aloud and say,

“Gather together, and let us go

into the fortified cities!”


Raise a standard toward Zion,

flee for safety, do not delay,

for I am bringing evil from the north,

and a great destruction.


A lion has gone up from its thicket,

a destroyer of nations has set out;

he has gone out from his place

to make your land a waste;

your cities will be ruins

without inhabitant.


Because of this put on sackcloth,

lament and wail:

“The fierce anger of the L ord

has not turned away from us.”


9 On that day, says the L ord, courage shall fail the king and the officials; the priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded. 10Then I said, “Ah, Lord G od, how utterly you have deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ even while the sword is at the throat!”


11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem: A hot wind comes from me out of the bare heights in the desert toward my poor people, not to winnow or cleanse— 12a wind too strong for that. Now it is I who speak in judgment against them.


Look! He comes up like clouds,

his chariots like the whirlwind;

his horses are swifter than eagles—

woe to us, for we are ruined!


O Jerusalem, wash your heart clean of wickedness

so that you may be saved.

How long shall your evil schemes

lodge within you?


For a voice declares from Dan

and proclaims disaster from Mount Ephraim.


Tell the nations, “Here they are!”

Proclaim against Jerusalem,

“Besiegers come from a distant land;

they shout against the cities of Judah.


They have closed in around her like watchers of a field,

because she has rebelled against me,

says the L ord.


Your ways and your doings

have brought this upon you.

This is your doom; how bitter it is!

It has reached your very heart.”


Sorrow for a Doomed Nation


My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain!

Oh, the walls of my heart!

My heart is beating wildly;

I cannot keep silent;

for I hear the sound of the trumpet,

the alarm of war.


Disaster overtakes disaster,

the whole land is laid waste.

Suddenly my tents are destroyed,

my curtains in a moment.


How long must I see the standard,

and hear the sound of the trumpet?


“For my people are foolish,

they do not know me;

they are stupid children,

they have no understanding.

They are skilled in doing evil,

but do not know how to do good.”



I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void;

and to the heavens, and they had no light.


I looked on the mountains, and lo, they were quaking,

and all the hills moved to and fro.


I looked, and lo, there was no one at all,

and all the birds of the air had fled.


I looked, and lo, the fruitful land was a desert,

and all its cities were laid in ruins

before the L ord, before his fierce anger.

27 For thus says the L ord: The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.


Because of this the earth shall mourn,

and the heavens above grow black;

for I have spoken, I have purposed;

I have not relented nor will I turn back.



At the noise of horseman and archer

every town takes to flight;

they enter thickets; they climb among rocks;

all the towns are forsaken,

and no one lives in them.


And you, O desolate one,

what do you mean that you dress in crimson,

that you deck yourself with ornaments of gold,

that you enlarge your eyes with paint?

In vain you beautify yourself.

Your lovers despise you;

they seek your life.


For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor,

anguish as of one bringing forth her first child,

the cry of daughter Zion gasping for breath,

stretching out her hands,

“Woe is me! I am fainting before killers!”


Jeremiah proceeds with the same prediction: he says, that a terrible wind was coming, which would not only disperse or clear away, but dissipate and overthrow all things. He then expresses how great and how grievous would be the calamity which he had before mentioned. He compares it to dry or and wind; for צח, tsach, sometimes means “clear,” and sometimes “arid,” as the greatest dryness is found on high places. He means, no doubt, here the wind, which is violent, and disturbs the whole atmosphere, when there are no clouds, and where no trees impede its course. Hence, he speaks of high and desert places. It is the same as though he had said, that so great would be the violence of God’s vengeance, and so irresistible would be the eruption, that it would be like a violent wind when it passes through high regions and through dry land or desert places. He says, Towards the way of the daughter of my people; as though he had said, — that the course of the wind would be such as to bear directly on Judea. The mode of speaking here used is well known to all who are in any degree acquainted with the writings of the prophets. “The daughter of my people, “means the people themselves. Come, then, shall wind towards Judea.

He then adds, Not to scatter nor to cleanse Husbandmen are wont to winnow the corn when taken from the thrashing — floor, that the chaff may be carried away by the wind: but the Prophet says, that this wind would not be to clear away or scatter the chaff; for it will be, he says, a very vehement wind He means, in short, that God would shew so much displeasure towards the Jews, that he would no longer chastise them in a moderate degree, or use any moderation, as he had done previously; for God had already often punished the Jews, but had hitherto acted the part of a physician, having endeavored to heal the vices of the people. As, then, these corrections had been without fruit, the Prophet now says, that God’s wrath would now come, not to cleanse as before, nor to scatter the chaff, but to consume everything among the people. Hence he adds (for the two verses are connected together) a fuller wind, or one more complete, shall come to them. Some read, “from these places, “so they render מ; but it is rather to be taken as noting the comparative degree, — that this wind would be much rougher and more violent than other winds which usually clear the land or scatter away the chaff, and separate it from the corn: come, then, shall a much more violent wind

And come, he says, unto me God, I doubt not, speaks here. Some think that the Prophet here represents the whole body of the people; and they consider them as saying, that there would come a wind which would rush on themselves. But this is too strained; and further, this explanation is disproved by the context: nor can what follows be applied to the Prophet, I will now pronounce judgments against them Here then God, in his office as a judge, declares that a wind was nigh, by which he would dissipate and overthrow the whole of Judea, and would no more cleanse it. And thus he shews, that the Chaldeans would not of themselves come, but would be sent to execute his orders; as though he had said, — that he would be the author of those calamities which were impending over the Jews: come, then, shall wind unto me; that is, it will be ready to obey my orders.

And he adds at last, by way of an exposition, I will then speak judgments with them To speak judgments is to execute the office of a judge, or to call to judgment, or to summon men to declare their cause, as kings are said to speak judgments when they constrain the guilty to render an account, of themselves. God briefly intimates, that he had hitherto exercised great forbearance towards the Jews; but that as he found that his indulgence availed nothing, except that they became more and more ferocious, he declares, that he would now become their judge to punish their wickedness. 108108     The Septuagint version of these two verses is as foreign to the original as it can well be; and the Syriac and Arabic are nearly the same. The Vulgate gives a fair version; and the meaning, as given by the Targum, is nearly the same. The latter part of the 11th and 12th are thus rendered by Blayney,
   A wind that scorcheth the plains in the wilderness, [Shall come] toward the daughter of my people, Not to winnow, nor to cleanse;

   12. A full wind for a curse shall come at my bidding; Now even I will proceed judicially with them.

   Horsley differs as to the 11th verse, and renders it thus, —

   The wind that scorcheth the craggy rocks of the wilderness Taketh its course against the daughter of my people, Not for winnowing or cleansing.

   The reason assigned for rendering מאלה for “a curse,” and not “from those places,“ as in our version, is, because the enemy did not come from that quarter. But this may be avoided, if we consider “as” or “like” to be understood before wind, which is no uncommon thing in Hebrew. To refer “those” or these to the winds implied in winnowing and cleansing, as Calvin does, and also Gataker and others, is not satisfactory, I would propose the following version, —

   The dry wind of the cliffs in the wilderness Is advancing against the daughter of my people, Not to winnow, nor to cleanse;

   12. As a full wind from these, it shall come for me: Then will I myself pronounce judgments on them.

   The word דרך, as Horsley takes it, is a verb, or rather a participle; and it is usual in Hebrew to put a participle in the first clause, and in the second a verb, as here, in the future tense. The verb means to come upon, so as to tread down or subdue, Judges 5:21; Judges 20:43; Psalm 91:13. “The effect of this wind is not only to render the air extremely hot and scorching, but to fill it with poisonous and suffocating vapors.” — Blayney.Ed.
He afterwards adds —

VIEWNAME is study