Jeremiah 4:3 - Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary - (2024)

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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

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JeremiahJer 4:2JeremiahJer 4JeremiahJer 4:4

For this is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your uncultivated ground, And do not sow among thorns.
New American Standard Bible

Jeremiah 4:3 - Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary - (1)

Jump to: Clarke's CommentaryBridgeway Bible CommentaryCoffman's Commentaries on the BibleBarnes' Notes on the Whole BibleCalvin's Commentary on the BibleSmith's Bible CommentaryDr. Constable's Expository NotesDr. Constable's Expository NotesGill's Exposition of the Whole BibleHenry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Nave's Topical Bible - Agriculture; Condescension of God; Israel, Prophecies Concerning; Repentance; The Topic Concordance - Evil; Wrath; Torrey's Topical Textbook - Agriculture or Husbandry; Ploughing;


Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Farming; Easton Bible Dictionary - Fallow-Ground; Fausset Bible Dictionary - Agriculture; Hosea; Holman Bible Dictionary - Fallow Ground; Jeremiah; Plow; Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Jeremiah; Sanctification, Sanctify; Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Worldliness; The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Jeremiah; Smith Bible Dictionary - Agriculture; Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Sow (verb); Thorn;


International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Break; Fallow; Ground; Thorns; The Jewish Encyclopedia - Scythians;

Unselected Authors

Verse Specific (12)

Range Specific (14)

Chapter Specific (15)

Clarke's Commentary

Verse Jeremiah 4:3. Break up your fallow groundFallow ground is either that which, having been once tilled, has lain long uncultivated; or, ground slightly ploughed, in order to be ploughed again previously to its being sown. Ye have been long uncultivated in righteousness; let true repentance break up your fruitless and hardened hearts; and when the seed of the word of life is sown in them, take heed that worldly cares and concerns do not arise, and, like thorns, choke the good seed.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "The Adam Clarke Commentary".​commentaries/​acc/​jeremiah-4.html. 1832.

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Bridgeway Bible Commentary

Repentance means genuine change (3:19-4:4)

God wanted the relationship between him and his people to be like that between a father and a son, or between a husband and a wife. But his people have been rebellious and unfaithful (19-20). In hope, the prophet pictures the people turning from their false worship at Baal’s high places and crying out to God for forgiveness. In response God promises that if they truly repent, he will forgive them and heal them (21-22a).
The people then turn to God and confess their sins. They admit that the worship of Baal has been a deception; instead of bringing them prosperity it has brought them disaster. They are ashamed of themselves, and return to Yahweh in acknowledgment that he alone is God (22b-25).
God reminds the people that if they repent, their repentance must be genuine. They must remove every trace of idolatry from their lives and renew their oath of absolute loyalty to him. Only then will they be able to serve him by taking his message to the nations (4:1-2).
People must break up their hardened hearts and remove wrongdoing from their lives, just as farmers break up the hard ground and remove weeds before they plant new seed. Inward change, not outward ceremony, is what is needed. Without such repentance, the nation will be destroyed in divine judgment (3-4).

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Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary".​commentaries/​bbc/​jeremiah-4.html. 2005.

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Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

“For thus saith Jehovah to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to Jehovah, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn so that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.”

Here God’s Word is directed to Judah, the Southern Israel, with a call for their true repentance and conversion, coupled with a threat of drastic punishment.

“Break up your fallow ground” `Fallow ground’ refers to land that had not been recently cultivated, indicating that conditions in Judah were not at all favorable for the planting of God’s Word; and the practical import of the admonition is that they should get rid of all their idols, no longer visit the shrines of the fertility gods, and produce the kind of environment that would encourage godly living. It appears to this writer that McGee’s comment about our own country’s needing this same kind of advice is appropriate:

The fallow ground needs to be broken up. We are a nation in danger. We say we are one of the greatest nations in the world, but we could fall overnight. Babylon the great fell in one night. Rome fell from within… Our nation is decaying from within. Morality is deteriorating. Someone needs to say something about it. We are still preaching, but we are sowing the seed among the thorns.J. V. McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. III (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1982), p. 366.

“Circumcise yourselves to Jehovah… take away the foreskins of your heart” The second clause here explains the first. Circumcision was observed for all Jewish males; but the kind of circumcision they needed was not physical but spiritual. Cutting off the foreskins of their hearts meant removing from their thoughts and affections all of the sinful indulgences to which they were so addicted. As Harrison commented, “Inner cleansing of the heart is the only alternative to destruction by fire, a theme prominent also in the New Testament (Matthew 25:41, etc.)”R. K. Harrison, Jeremiah in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries, p. 69.

Some have difficulty understanding the part that man must play in his own conversion, repentance, and regeneration. The passage before us declares that the men of Judah and Jerusalem were to “circumcise their hearts”; but Deuteronomy 30:6 declares that, “The Lord thy God will circumcise thy heart!” Is this a contradiction? Certainly not.

The simple fact is that man is both active and passive in regeneration. The text here (Jeremiah 4:4) stresses his activity, and the passage in Deuteronomy stresses his passivity.John W. Haley, Examination of Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible (Nashville, Tennessee: B. C. Goodpasture, 1951), p. 166.

This is the way it is in the New Birth. The sinner must “Arise and be baptized and wash away his sins” (Acts 22:16); but the actual cleansing and the convert’s reception of the Holy Spirit are from above, the convert being passive in their reception. It is for this truth that Paul could say, “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). Yes indeed, there are things for the sinner to do if he is ever going to be saved.

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Coffman's Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible".​commentaries/​bcc/​jeremiah-4.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

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Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

To the men - To each man “of Judah.” They are summoned individually to repentance.

Break up - literally, Fallow for you a fallow ground, i. e., do not sow the seeds of repentance in unfit soil, but just as the farmer prepares the ground, by clearing it of weeds, and exposing it to the sun and air, before entrusting to it the seed, so must you regard repentance as a serious matter, requiring forethought, and anxious labor. To sow in unfallowed ground was practically to sow on land full of thorns.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible".​commentaries/​bnb/​jeremiah-4.html. 1870.

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Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The Prophet still pursues the same subject; for he reproves the hypocrisy of the Israelites, because they sought to discharge their duty towards God only by external ceremonies, while their hearts were full of deceits and of every kind of impiety and wickedness. Hence he says, that God required this from the Jews, — to plough again the fallow, and not to sow among thorns.

It is a most suitable comparison; for Scripture often compares us to a field, when it represents us as God’s heritage; and we have been chosen by God as a peculiar people for this end — that he may gather fruit from us, as a husbandman gathers produce from his fields. We can indeed add nothing to what God is; but there is a fruit which he demands; so that our whole life is to be devoted to his glory. God then would not have us to be idle and fruitless, but to bring forth some fruit. But what is done by hypocrites? They sow; that is, they shew some concern, yea, they pretend great ardor, when God exhorts them to repent, or when he invites them. They then make a great bustle; yet they mar everything by their own mixtures, the same as though one scattered his seed among thorns: but it will be of no avail thus to cast seed among thorns; for the ground ought to be well cleared and prepared. Hence God laughs to scorn this preposterous care and diligence, in which hypocrites pride themselves, and says, that they busy themselves without any advantage; for it is the same, as though an husbandman had wholly lost his seed; for when the ground is full of briers and thorns, the seed, though it may grow for a time, cannot yet bring forth fruit. For this reason God bids the Israelites to plough the fallows; (100) as though he had said, that they were like a rough ground, which is full of thorns, and that therefore there was need of unusual and by no means a common cultivation; for when thorns and briers grow in a field, of what benefit will it be to cast seed there? Nay, a field cannot be well prepared by the plough alone, so that it may produce fruit; but much labor is also necessary, as is the case with fallow ground, which is called essarter in our language.

The Prophet then intimates that the people had become hardened in their vices, and that they were not only full of vices, like a field left uncultivated for two years; but that their vices were so deep, that they could not be well cleared away by ploughing alone, except they were drawn up by the roots, as they were like thorns and brambles, which have been growing in a field for many years. We hence see, that not only impiety and contempt of God, and other sins of the people of Israel, are referred to by the Prophet, but also their perverseness; for they had so hardened themselves for many years in their vices, that there was need not only of the plough, but also of other instruments to tear up the thorns, to eradicate those vices which had formed deep roots. As then, he had before warned them, that they would labor in vain except they returned to God with sincerity of heart and acquiesced in him; so here he bids them to examine their life, that they might not cast away their seed, like hypocrites, who formally acknowledge their sins. Hence he bids them wholly to shake off their vices, which were hid within, according to what they do, who tear up thorns and briers in a field, which has been long neglected, and left without being cultivated. It now follows —

(100) Literally, “Plough for yourselves the ploughing,“ or, the plough-land; or, “Fallow for yourselves the fallow.” They were not to sow a land once ploughed; but they were to plough again. — Ed.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible".​commentaries/​cal/​jeremiah-4.html. 1840-57.

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Smith's Bible Commentary

Chapter 4

But if you will return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if you will put away thine abominations out of my sight, then you will no longer be [moved or] removed. And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth ( Jeremiah 4:1-2 ),

It won't just be saying it as a phrase. And the people were still saying, "Oh, the Lord lives. Praise the Lord, the Lord lives!" But it was meaningless. Just like a lot of people today who go around saying, "Praise the Lord, praise the Lord!" It's meaningless. It's just mouthing words. But you'll say in truth; it will be from your heart.

in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns ( Jeremiah 4:2-3 ).

That fallow ground, break it up in order that God might bring His reign and plant it and bring forth fruit.

Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and cut away the foreskins of your heart ( Jeremiah 4:4 ),

The fleshly heart, the heart that is after the flesh. Paul refers to this in Romans. The true circumcision is of the heart, not of the flesh.

ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings ( Jeremiah 4:4 ).

Cut away a heart that is after your flesh and after things of the flesh. Cut that away that you might be dedicated totally to God and the things of the Spirit.

Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defensed cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and great destruction. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way [Babylon is moving toward you]; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us. And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! ( Jeremiah 4:5-10 )

Jeremiah's responding when God said all these things. The judgment is coming. These men are all going to be silent. Then I said, Oh, Lord God!

surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword is reaching to their soul ( Jeremiah 4:10 ).

Because the prophets were going around saying, "Peace, peace, peace and safety. Babylon shall not come to this place. Babylon shall never cast a trench around this place."

At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them. Behold, he shall come up as the clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we have been spoiled [destroyed]. O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you mayest be saved. How long shall your vain thoughts remain in your minds? For a voice declares from Dan, and publish affliction from mount Ephraim. Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD. Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee ( Jeremiah 4:11-18 );

You've brought it upon yourself.

this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches into your hearts. My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because you have heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have no understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge ( Jeremiah 4:18-22 ).

Paul said we ought to be simple concerning evil things. A lot of people like to dabble into the evil things. "Oh, I just want to understand about the evil. Let's go down to the nude shows so that we'll know what to preach against." The Bible says be simple concerning evil. Better that you be dumb about evil things. Of course, it's good that you pick up the lingo so that you won't be using some of the corrupted words that they use. But it's good to just be simple about evil. And Jeremiah says much the same thing here. The people were wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

Now the Lord speaks. There are some who think that Jeremiah is here going back. But contextually it's hard to really see it that way. But he uses the same phraseology that is used in Genesis 1:1-31 . And therefore, those who adhere to the Gap Theory, and that is, that between verses Jeremiah 4:1 , and Jeremiah 4:2 of Genesis there is a gap of indeterminate time. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" ( Genesis 1:1 ). When that was, we don't know. Billions, trillions of years ago, we don't know. Verse Jeremiah 4:2 , "And the earth was without form and void," can also be translated, "but the earth became wasted and desolate." So they see the possibility of a great gap of time, indeterminate, existing between verses Jeremiah 4:1 , and Jeremiah 4:2 of Genesis. And they see the earth that was originally created by God as being destroyed by God's fierce anger in a rebellion that preceded man's existence upon this planet. And one of the scriptures that they use as a proof for the Gap Theory is this particular passage that we come to here in Jeremiah where he makes a reference.

I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void ( Jeremiah 4:23 );

The same terminology that you find in verse Jeremiah 4:2 of Genesis 1:1-31 .

and the heavens, they had no light ( Jeremiah 4:23 ).

You remember the first thing God said was, "Let there be light" ( Genesis 1:3 ).

I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all of the hills moved lightly. I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was as a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end ( Jeremiah 4:24-27 ).

And so those who subscribe to the Gap Theory see this as a proof of the Gap Theory, as Jeremiah, they say, is looking back and he sees the earth prior to God's reconstruction of the earth for placing man upon it, and sees earth in perhaps the state it was before God began to reconstruct the earth, to put man upon it. Sees it in the last ice age when there was no light shining down upon the earth. When the earth was enshrouded in darkness and the birds, the life that had existed was gone. The cities that were once here were destroyed. And so they explain the fossils, prehistoric man, and so forth through this Gap Theory. There is much that can be said for the Gap Theory. There are problems also with the Gap Theory, but it is one of the common theories of creation and especially of Genesis, that Gap Theory. And as I say, there is merit to it. There are problems, but there is merit to it. "For thus hath the Lord said, 'The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end.'"

For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken, I have purposed, and will not change, neither will I turn back from it. The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsem*n and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. And when thou art spoiled, what will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, though you deck yourself with ornaments of gold, though you rentest your face with painting, in vain you will make yourself beautiful; for your lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that is bringing forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that is wailing, she is spreading forth her hands, she is saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers ( Jeremiah 4:28-31 ).


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Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Smith's Bible Commentary".​commentaries/​csc/​jeremiah-4.html. 2014.

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Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Gentile blessing through Israelite repentance 4:1-4

These verses provide the answer to God’s question in Jeremiah 3:1. This is the repentance that was necessary for Yahweh to return to His "wife."

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes".​commentaries/​dcc/​jeremiah-4.html. 2012.

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Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

This message closes with a call from the Lord to each of Jeremiah’s original Jerusalemite and Judean hearers. Yahweh appealed to them with two agricultural metaphors. They needed to plow up the previously unplowed soil that symbolized their hearts (cf. Hosea 10:12; Mark 4:1-9). They needed to cultivate soft hearts that would welcome the Lord’s words. Negatively, they needed to stop investing in counterproductive ventures such as idolatry.

"Just as a farmer does not sow his seed on unplowed ground, so God does not sow His blessings in unrepentant hearts." [Note: Dyer, in The Old . . ., p. 595.]

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

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Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes".​commentaries/​dcc/​jeremiah-4.html. 2012.

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Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For thus saith the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem,.... The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, who were at the time of this prophecy in their own land; and so are distinguished from Israel the ten tribes, who were in captivity; unless the same persons should be meant, who were called by these several names, the people of the Jews; and it was in Judea that our Lord appeared in the flesh, and to the inhabitants thereof he ministered, he was the minister of the circumcision; and so to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, whom he called to repentance, and would have gathered, Matthew 23:37:

break up your fallow ground; this is ground that lies untilled, not ploughed, nor sown, on which nothing grows but the produce of nature, as weeds, thorns, briers, c. is common to men and beasts, and is trodden upon, and, so is hard and unsusceptible of seed which, if it accidentally falls upon it, makes no impression on it, and is not received by it; and the breaking of it up is by the plough. The "fallow ground" fitly represents the hearts of unregenerate men, which are unopened to the word, and unbroken by it; nor have they the seed of divine grace sown in them; but are destitute of faith, hope, love, fear, and the like; there is nothing grows there but the weeds of sin and corruption; and are like a common beaten road; are the common track of sin, where lusts pass to and fro, and dwell; and so are hardened and obdurate, as hard as a stone, yea, harder than the nether millstone; and who, though they may occasionally be under the word, it makes no impression on them; it has no place in them, but is like the seed that falls by the wayside, Matthew 13:4, unless divine power attends it; for the Gospel is the plough, and ministers are the ploughmen; but it is the Lord alone that makes it effectual to the breaking up the fallow ground of men's hearts, Luke 9:62, but when the Lord puts his hand to the plough it enters within, and opens the heart; it is quick, powerful, and sharp; it cuts deep, and makes long and large furrows, even strong convictions of sin; it throws a man's inside outward, as the plough does the earth; and lays all the wicked of his heart open to him; and roots up the pride, the vanity, and boasting of the creature, and other lusts; and so makes way for the seed of divine grace to be sown there:

and sow not among thorns; or, "that ye may not sow among thorns" o; for, unless the fallow ground is broken up, it will be no other than sowing among thorns; and unless the hearts of men are opened by the power and grace of God, they will not attend to the things that are spoken; preaching and eating the word will be like sowing among thorns; cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, the pleasures of life, and the lusts thereof, which are comparable to thorns, because pricking, perplexing, and distressing, and because vain and unprofitable, choke the word, and make it unfruitful; see Matthew 13:7, now this exhortation in the text does not suppose power in man to break up and open his heart; but to show his want of renewing grace; the necessity of it; and the danger he is in without it; and to awaken in him a concern for it; see Ezekiel 18:31. The words may be applied to backsliding professors, since backsliding Israel and Judah are the persons addressed; and this may be done with great propriety and pertinence to the simile; for fallow ground is that which has been broke up and sown, and laid fallow. It is usual to till and sow two years, and lay fallow a third: and backsliding Christians look very much like fallow ground; so faithless, so lukewarm, and indifferent; so inattentive to the word, and unconcerned under it; so barren and unfruitful, as if they had never had any faith, or love, or good work in them; so that they need to be renewed in the spirit of their minds; to have a new face of things put upon them: and to have a clean heart, and a right spirit, created in them. The Targum is,

"make to yourselves good works, and seek not salvation in sins.''

o ואל תזרעו "ut non seratis".

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

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Gill, John. "Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible".​commentaries/​geb/​jeremiah-4.html. 1999.

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Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible

Punishment Predicted. B. C. 620.

3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.

The prophet here turns his speech, in God's name, to the men of the place where he lived. We have heard what words he proclaimed towards the north (Jeremiah 3:12; Jeremiah 3:12), for the comfort of those that were now in captivity and were humbled under the hand of God; let us now see what he says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, who were now in prosperity, for their conviction and awakening. In these two verses he exhorts them to repentance and reformation, as the only way left them to prevent the desolating judgments that were ready to break in upon them. Observe,

I. The duties required of them, which they are concerned to do.

1. They must do by their hearts as they do by their ground that they expect any good of; they must plough it up (Jeremiah 4:3; Jeremiah 4:3): "Break up your fallow-ground. Plough to yourselves a ploughing (or plough up your plough land), that you sow not among thorns, that you may not labour in vain, for your own safety and welfare, as those do that sow good seed among thorns and as you have been doing a great while. Put yourselves into a frame fit to receive mercy from God, and put away all that which keeps it from you, and then you may expect to receive mercy and to prosper in your endeavours to help yourselves." Note, (1.) An unconvinced unhumbled heart is like fallow-ground, ground untilled, unoccupied. It is ground capable of improvement; it is our ground, let out to us, and we must be accountable for it; but it is fallow; it is unfenced and lies common; it is unfruitful and of no advantage to the owner, and (which is principally intended) it is overgrown with thorns and weeds, which are the natural product of the corrupt heart; and, if it be not renewed with grace, rain and sunshine are lost upon it, Hebrews 6:7; Hebrews 6:8. (2.) We are concerned to get this fallow-ground ploughed up. We must search into our own hearts, let the word of God divide (as the plough does) between the joints and the marrow,Hebrews 4:12. We must rend our hearts,Joel 2:13. We must pluck up by the roots those corruptions which, as thorns, choke both our endeavours and our expectations, Hosea 10:12.

2. They must do that to their souls which was done to their bodies when they were taken into covenant with God (Jeremiah 4:4; Jeremiah 4:4): "Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, and take away the foreskin of your heart. Mortify the flesh and the lusts of it. Pare off that superfluity of naughtiness which hinders your receiving with meekness the engrafted word,James 1:21. Boast not of, and rest not in, the circumcision of the body, for that is but a sign, and will not serve without the thing signified. It is a dedicating sign. Do that in sincerity which was done in profession by your circumcision; devote and consecrate yourselves unto the Lord, to be to him a peculiar people. Circumcision is an obligation to keep the law; lay yourselves afresh under that obligation. It is a seal of the righteousness of faith; lay hold then of that righteousness, and so circumcise yourselves to the Lord."

II. The danger they are threatened with, which they are concerned to avoid. Repent and reform, lest my fury come forth like fire, which it is now ready to do, as that fire which came forth from the Lord and consumed the sacrifices, and which was always kept burning upon the altar and none might quench it; such is God's wrath against impenitent sinners, because of the evil of their doings. Note, 1. That which is to be dreaded by us more than any thing else is the wrath of God; for that is the spring and bitterness of all present miseries and will be the quintessence and perfection of everlasting misery. 2. It is the evil of our doings that kindles the fire of God's wrath against us. 3. The consideration of the imminent danger we are in of falling and perishing under this wrath should awaken us with all possible care to sanctify ourselves to God's glory and to see to it that we be sanctified by his grace.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliographical Information
Henry, Matthew. "Complete Commentary on Jeremiah 4:3". "Henry's Complete Commentary on the Whole Bible".​commentaries/​mhm/​jeremiah-4.html. 1706.

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Jeremiah 4:3 - Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary - (2024)
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