Search Engine

Provide a keyword or phrase below to find blog entries relevant to your search:

Results For

No Results


< Return to List


Chapter 4:19-31 (ESV)

Posted on June 20, 2024  - By Chris LaBelle  

Chapter 4:19-31 (ESV) - 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.
Crash follows hard on crash;
    the whole land is laid waste.
Suddenly my tents are laid waste,
    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 know me not;
they are stupid children;
    they have no understanding.
They are ‘wise’—in doing evil!
    But how to do good they know not.”

I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void;
    and to the heavens, and they had no light.
I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking,
    and all the hills moved to and fro.
I looked, and behold, there was no man,
    and all the birds of the air had fled.
I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert,
    and all its cities were laid in ruins
    before the LORD, before his fierce anger.

For thus says the LORD, “The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.

“For this the earth shall mourn,
    and the heavens above be dark;
for I have spoken; I have purposed;
    I have not relented, nor will I turn back.”

At the noise of horseman and archer
    every city takes to flight;
they enter thickets; they climb among rocks;
    all the cities are forsaken,
    and no man dwells in them.
And you, O desolate one,
what do you mean that you dress in scarlet,
    that you adorn 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 giving birth to her first child,
the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath,
    stretching out her hands,
“Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”

Question to consider: Who adorned herself with ornaments of gold and a dress of scarlet?

When the LORD’s decree to destroy the kingdom of Judah along with the city of Jerusalem sinks into the guts of Jeremiah, he writhes in pain as if he were pierced through to the heart. His reaction demonstrated that Jeremiah would have made a good and faithful priest for the people if that had been his calling. A true priest of Israel loved the people and interceded in anguish for them. He offered up prayers and sacrifices for those who had sinned and pleaded for God’s mercy upon them.

The prophet Habakkuk had a similar reaction. At first he lamented the sin of Israel and called for the LORD’s justice against those who promoted iniquity in the land. When the LORD pronounced that Judah’s judgment was coming by the Babylonians, Habakkuk wondered whether there would ever be an end to war if God’s people were wiped out, for then the world would be overrun by the prideful conquerors. 

Jeremiah asked when the standard and trumpets of war would cease, and the LORD said that His people were foolish and stupid children who did not understand Him and had more wisdom for doing evil than for doing good. At the same time, the LORD showed Jeremiah a desolate wasteland of a world where no man or beast lived. Fields were replaced by deserts and cities lay in ruin. The description mirrored the state of the universe before creation as if sin "uncreated" the world. Unless the LORD intervened, there would be wars and devastation until there was nothing left.

However, the LORD promised that while the whole land of Judah would lie desolate, it would not be her end. This foreshadowed their seventy year exile to Babylon. The vision of the daughter of Zion (Jerusalem) beautifying herself in vain was a picture of her delusion perpetuated by the false prophets. She believed she was loved by the surrounding nations when in fact she was despised. Those in the surrounding cities of Judah would see the archers and hear the horsemen and flee through thickets and to the mountains to hide, but Jerusalem would be filled with cries of anguish as her citizens were being slaughtered by the Babylonian armies coming down through Dan.


Dear heavenly Father, may we not be deceived by the trappings of wealth or the things of this world that give us the delusion of security. May we learn to fear You alone and be wise in doing good instead of evil. Amen.