Chapter 4

1If you return, O Israel, says the Lord, to Me, you shall return, and if you remove your detestable things from My Presence, you shall not wander.   אאִם־תָּשׁ֨וּב יִשְׂרָאֵ֧ל | נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֛ה אֵלַ֖י תָּשׁ֑וּב וְאִם־תָּסִ֧יר שִׁקּוּצֶ֛יךָ מִפָּנַ֖י וְלֹ֥א תָנֽוּד:
If you return, O Israel: with this repentance, to Me, you will return to your original glory and greatness.  
and if you remove your detestable things from My Presence: Then you shall not wander to go out in exile.  
2And you will swear, "As the Lord lives," in truth and in justice and in righteousness, nations will bless themselves with him and boast about him.   בוְנִשְׁבַּ֙עְתָּ֙ חַי־יְהֹוָ֔ה בֶּאֱמֶ֖ת בְּמִשְׁפָּ֣ט וּבִצְדָקָ֑ה וְהִתְבָּ֥רְכוּ ב֛וֹ גּוֹיִ֖ם וּב֥וֹ יִתְהַלָּֽלוּ:
And you will swear, “As the Lord lives,” in truth: When you swear by My name, you will swear in truth, not as now, that it is written concerning you, “And if they say, ‘As the Lord lives,’ surely they swear falsely” (5:2).  
nations will bless themselves with him: If you do so, then nations will bless themselves with Israel. Every non-Jew will say to his son, “You shall be like So-and-so the Jew.”  
boast: Heb. יתהללו, they will recite your praise. Another explanation of is יתהללו : Whoever is able to cleave to Israel will boast about the matter (porvanter in French).  
3For so said the Lord to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: Plow for yourself a furrow, and do not sow upon thorns.   גכִּי־כֹ֣ה | אָמַ֣ר יְהוָֹ֗ה לְאִ֚ישׁ יְהוּדָה֙ וְלִיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם נִ֥ירוּ לָכֶ֖ם נִ֑יר וְאַל־תִּזְרְע֖וּ אֶל־קֹצִֽים:
For so said the Lord, etc. Plow for yourself a furrow: Learn from the tillers of the soil, who plow it in the summer to kill the roots of the grasses, that it should not grow thorns at the time of sowing in the winter. You, too, improve your deeds before the evil befalls you, so that your prayer should not be rejected when you cry out.  
and do not sow upon thorns: And let not your cry before Me be from amidst wickedness, but from amidst repentance, that you shall not resemble one sowing without plowing, and that turns into thorns (kardons in O.F., chardons in modern French).  
4Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and remove the foreskins of your heart, O people of Judah and dwellers of Jerusalem, lest My anger go forth and burn with none to quench it because of the evil of your deeds.   דהִמֹּ֣לוּ לַֽיהֹוָ֗ה וְהָסִ֙רוּ֙ עָרְל֣וֹת לְבַבְכֶ֔ם אִ֥ישׁ יְהוּדָ֖ה וְיֹֽשְׁבֵ֣י יְרֽוּשָׁלִָ֑ם פֶּן־תֵּצֵ֨א כָאֵ֜שׁ חֲמָתִ֗י וּבָֽעֲרָה֙ וְאֵ֣ין מְכַבֶּ֔ה מִפְּנֵ֖י רֹ֥עַ מַֽעַלְלֵיכֶֽם:
Circumcise yourselves to the Lord: Before My anger comes forth like fire. This is like plowing before the sowing.  
5Tell in Judah and in Jerusalem; let it be heard and say, "Sound a shofar in the land"; cry out, assemble, and say, "Gather, and let us come into the fortified cities."   ההַגִּ֣ידוּ בִֽיהוּדָ֗ה וּבִירֽוּשָׁלִַ֙ם֙ הַשְׁמִ֔יעוּ וְאִמְר֕וּ תִּקְע֥וּ (כתיב ותִּקְע֥וּ) שׁוֹפָ֖ר בָּאָ֑רֶץ קִרְא֚וּ מַלְאוּ֙ וְאִמְר֔וּ הֵאָֽסְפ֥וּ וְנָב֖וֹאָה אֶל־עָרֵ֥י הַמִּבְצָֽר:
and say, “Sound a shofar…”: Warn the inhabitants of the land that they sound the shofar to flee.  
assemble: Heb. מלאו. An expression of gathering, and there are many in the Scriptures: (Isaiah 31:4) “Although a band of (מְלֹא) shepherds gather against him,” Also (infra 12:6) “They called after you a band (מָלֵא).” Also (Job 16:10) “Together they gather (יתמלאוּן) against me.”  
6Raise a standard to Zion, assemble, do not stand, for I am bringing evil from the north, and a great destruction.   ושְׂאוּ־נֵ֣ס צִיּ֔וֹנָה הָעִ֖יזוּ אַל־תַּֽעֲמֹ֑דוּ כִּ֣י רָעָ֗ה אָֽנֹכִ֛י מֵבִ֥יא מִצָּפ֖וֹן וְשֶׁ֥בֶר גָּדֽוֹל:
Raise a standard: to flee to Zion.  
assemble: Heb. העיזו. Comp.“Send, gather (העז)” (Exodus 9:19).  
7A lion has come up from his thicket, and a destroyer of nations has traveled, has come forth from his place, to make your land into a waste, your cities will be desolate without an inhabitant.   זעָלָ֚ה אַרְיֵה֙ מִֽסֻּבְּכ֔וֹ וּמַשְׁחִ֣ית גּוֹיִ֔ם נָסַ֖ע יָצָ֣א מִמְּקֹמ֑וֹ לָשׂ֚וּם אַרְצֵךְ֙ לְשַׁמָּ֔ה עָרַ֥יִךְ תִּצֶּ֖ינָה מֵאֵ֥ין יוֹשֵֽׁב:
A lion has come up: That is Nebuchadnezzar.  
from his thicket: It is customary for a lion to lie in wait in the thickets of the forest (espaises in O.F.).  
will be desolate: Heb. תצינה, an expression of desolation.  
8Because of this, gird yourselves with sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the Lord has not turned back from us.   חעַל־זֹ֛את חִגְר֥וּ שַׂקִּ֖ים סִפְד֣וּ וְהֵילִ֑ילוּ כִּ֥י לֹא־שָׁ֛ב חֲר֥וֹן אַף־יְהֹוָ֖ה מִמֶּֽנּוּ:
Because of this: What is “this?” “For the fierce anger etc.” Although he spoke above concerning Nebuchadnezzar in regards to the destruction, here he returns to speak of the death of Josiah.  
for the fierce anger of the Lord etc.: Although Josiah repented wholeheartedly, it is stated concerning him. (II Kings 23:26)…“the Lord did not turn back from his great wrath… because of all the provocations that Manasseh had provoked Him.”  
9And it shall be on that day, says the Lord, the heart of the king and the heart of the princes shall fail, and the priests shall be astonished and the prophets shall wonder.   טוְהָיָ֚ה בַיּֽוֹם־הַהוּא֙ נְאֻם־יְהֹוָ֔ה יֹאבַ֥ד לֵב־הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וְלֵ֣ב הַשָּׂרִ֑ים וְנָשַׁ֙מּוּ֙ הַכֹּֽ֣הֲנִ֔ים וְהַנְּבִאִ֖ים יִתְמָֽהוּ:
And it shall be on that day: On the day of Josiah they will wonder why so much befell him, for they do not know that his generation did not repent properly. When he came to abolish idolatry, what did the scorners of the generation do? They would engrave an image of a pagan deity on their doors, half of it on this door and half of it on this door. When he would open it, it was not discernible, and when he went away from there, he would close it, and it would join together.  
10And I said, "Ah, O Lord God! You have surely misled this people and Jerusalem, saying, 'You will have peace,' yet the sword has reached the soul."   יוָֽאֹמַ֞ר אֲהָ֣הּ | אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֗ה אָכֵן֩ הַשֵּׁ֨א הִשֵּׁ֜אתָ לָעָ֚ם הַזֶּה֙ וְלִירֽוּשָׁלִַ֣ם לֵאמֹ֔ר שָׁל֖וֹם יִֽהְיֶ֣ה לָכֶ֑ם וְנָֽגְעָ֥ה חֶ֖רֶב עַד־הַנָּֽפֶשׁ:
Surely You have misled: Heb. השא השאת (fa)tenter in O.F.), tempting, an expression like (Gen. 3:13) “The serpent misled me (השיאני),” for the false prophets prophesy for them, You will have peace.  
11At that time it shall be said of this people: A wind has swept the rivulets in the desert [on] the way of the daughter of My people, not to winnow and not to cleanse.   יאבָּעֵ֣ת הַהִ֗יא יֵֽאָמֵ֚ר לָֽעָם־הַזֶּה֙ וְלִיר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם ר֣וּחַ צַ֚ח שְׁפָיִם֙ בַּמִּדְבָּ֔ר דֶּ֖רֶךְ בַּת־עַמִּ֑י ל֥וֹא לִזְר֖וֹת וְל֥וֹא לְהָבַֽר:
of this people: Concerning this people when they are all exiled.  
has swept the rivulets: It sweeps even the fields with rivulets of water to make them into a desert. Another explanation: צח is an expression of thirst, which is translated צחותא.  
[on] the way of the daughter of My people: That wind will come, and also, not to winnow the chaff from the threshing floor ([a] vanner in O.F.). Comp. (infra 15:7) “And I winnowed them with a sieve במזרה) (ואזרם.”  
and not to cleanse: And not to cleanse grain does it come. That is to say, not for good but for evil, to exile men [women], and children, and livestock.  
12A full spirit of these shall come to me; now, I too will debate with them.   יבר֧וּחַ מָלֵ֛א מֵאֵ֖לֶּה יָ֣בוֹא לִ֑י עַתָּ֕ה גַּם־אֲנִ֛י אֲדַבֵּ֥ר מִשְׁפָּטִ֖ים אוֹתָֽם:
A full spirit: of these retributions shall come to me.  
A full spirit: A full spirit, that I will not retract and not repent.  
spirit: (talant in O.F.)  
debate: Heb. משפטים, an expression of debating.  
13Behold, like clouds he will ascend, and like the whirlwind his chariots; his steeds are swifter than eagles; woe is to us for we have been plundered.   יגהִנֵּ֣ה | כַּֽעֲנָנִ֣ים יַֽעֲלֶ֗ה וְכַסּוּפָה֙ מַרְכְּבוֹתָ֔יו קַלּ֥וּ מִנְּשָׁרִ֖ים סוּסָ֑יו א֥וֹי לָ֖נוּ כִּ֥י שֻׁדָּֽדְנוּ:
and like the whirlwind: (comme tourbillon in O.F.)  
14Cleanse your heart of evil, O Jerusalem, in order that you be saved; how long will you lodge in your midst your iniquitous thoughts?   ידכַּבְּסִ֨י מֵֽרָעָ֚ה לִבֵּךְ֙ יְר֣וּשָׁלִַ֔ם לְמַ֖עַן תִּוָּשֵׁ֑עִי עַד־מָתַ֛י תָּלִ֥ין בְּקִרְבֵּ֖ךְ מַחְשְׁב֥וֹת אוֹנֵֽךְ:
your iniquitous thoughts: Your injustice.  
15For a voice proclaims from Dan and announces calamity from Mt. Ephraim.   טוכִּ֛י ק֥וֹל מַגִּ֖יד מִדָּ֑ן וּמַשְׁמִ֥יעַ אָ֖וֶן מֵהַ֥ר אֶפְרָֽיִם:
For a voice proclaims from Dan: Jonathan paraphrases: “Behold the voice of the prophets prophesy about them that they will be exiled because they worshipped the calf that was in Dan, and people bringing bad tidings will come upon them because they subordinated themselves to the image that Micah erected on the mountain of the house of Ephraim.” Although the calves had already been exiled since the days of Sennacherib, their iniquity was still existing. Sin is harsh, for it destroys [lit. breaks] before it and after it; before it, since the days of Abraham, as it is stated (Gen. 14:14): “And he pursued until Dan.” As soon as he reached Dan, he grew faint [lit. his strength was weakened], for his children would, in the future, worship idols there, and after it, in the destruction of the Temple, as it is stated: “A voice proclaims from Dan.”  
and announces calamity: Heb. און, a breach.  
16Mention on behalf of the nations, behold, announce concerning Jerusalem, besiegers are coming from a distant land, and they have given out their voice against the cities of Judah.   טזהַזְכִּ֣ירוּ לַגּוֹיִ֗ם הִנֵּה֙ הַשְׁמִ֣יעוּ עַל־יְרֽוּשָׁלִַ֔ם נֹֽצְרִ֥ים בָּאִ֖ים מֵאֶ֣רֶץ הַמֶּרְחָ֑ק וַיִּתְּנ֛וּ עַל־עָרֵ֥י יְהוּדָ֖ה קוֹלָֽם:
besiegers: Heb. נצרים. Those who will make a siege upon them.  
17Like watchers of a field they are against her round about, for she has rebelled against Me, says the Lord.   יזכְּשֹֽׁמְרֵ֣י שָׂדַ֔י הָי֥וּ עָלֶ֖יהָ מִסָּבִ֑יב כִּֽי־אֹתִ֥י מָרָ֖תָה נְאֻם־יְהֹוָֽה:
a field: like שדה, a field.  
for she has rebelled against me: She has provoked Me. Comp. (Deut. 9:24) “You have been rebellious (ממרים),” provoking.  
18Your way and your deeds have done these to you. This is [because of] your evil that it is bitter, that it has reached to your heart.   יחדַּרְכֵּךְ֙ וּמַֽ֣עֲלָלַ֔יִךְ עָשׂ֥וּ אֵ֖לֶּה לָ֑ךְ זֹ֚את רָֽעָתֵךְ֙ כִּ֣י מָ֔ר כִּ֥י נָגַ֖ע עַד־לִבֵּֽךְ:
have done these to you: To do these to you.  
19My bowels, my bowels! I writhe in pain. The walls of my heart! My heart stirs within me. I cannot be silent, for you, my soul, have heard the sound of the shofar, the alarm of war.   יטמֵעַ֣י | מֵעַ֨י אוֹחִ֜ילָה (כתיב אֹחִ֜ולָה) קִיר֥וֹת לִבִּ֛י הֹֽמֶה־לִּ֥י לִבִּ֖י לֹ֣א אַֽחֲרִ֑ישׁ כִּ֣י ק֚וֹל שׁוֹפָר֙ שָׁמַ֣עַתְּ (כתיב שָׁמַ֣עַתְּי) נַפְשִׁ֔י תְּרוּעַ֖ת מִלְחָמָֽה:
I writhe in pain: Heb. אוחילה. An expression of writhing in pain (חיל) and shuddering.  
the walls of my heart!: (ettancon in O. F.), blocking wall, perhaps from late Latin, intimus, innermost.  
you, my soul, have heard: From behind the curtain of heaven the ridings of the sound of the alarm of war reached me.  
20Destruction upon destruction has occurred, for the entire land has been plundered; suddenly my tents have been plundered, in a moment my curtains.   כשֶׁ֚בֶר עַל־שֶׁ֙בֶר֙ נִקְרָ֔א כִּֽי־שֻׁדְּדָ֖ה כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ פִּתְאוֹם֙ שֻׁדְּד֣וּ אֹֽהָלַ֔י רֶ֖גַע יְרִֽיעֹתָֽי:
Destruction upon destruction: The destruction of Jerusalem upon the exile of Jeconiah.  
in a moment my curtains: In a moment my curtains were plundered.  
21How long will I see the standard, will I hear the sound of the shofar?   כאעַד־מָתַ֖י אֶרְאֶה־נֵּ֑ס אֶשְׁמְעָ֖ה ק֥וֹל שׁוֹפָֽר:
How long will I see: these groups carrying the standard to come to wage war.  
22For My people are foolish, they know Me not; they are foolish children, and they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, but they know not to do good.   כבכִּ֣י | אֱוִ֣יל עַמִּ֗י אוֹתִי֙ לֹ֣א יָדָ֔עוּ בָּנִ֚ים סְכָלִים֙ הֵ֔מָּה וְלֹ֥א נְבוֹנִ֖ים הֵ֑מָּה חֲכָמִ֥ים הֵ֙מָּה֙ לְהָרַ֔ע וּלְהֵיטִ֖יב לֹ֥א יָדָֽעוּ:
23I saw the earth, and behold, it was void and unformed, and the heavens, and they had no light.   כגרָאִ֙יתִי֙ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהִנֵּה־תֹ֖הוּ וָבֹ֑הוּ וְאֶל־הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ין אוֹרָֽם:
24I saw the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.   כדרָאִ֙יתִי֙ הֶֽהָרִ֔ים וְהִנֵּ֖ה רֹֽעֲשִׁ֑ים וְכָל־הַגְּבָע֖וֹת הִתְקַלְקָֽלוּ:
moved to and fro: Heb. התקלקלו, they were uprooted and cast out of their place. Menahem associates it with: “He shakes the arrows to and fro (קלקל) ” (Ezek. 21:26).  
25I saw, and behold, there were no people, and all the fowl of the heavens wandered away.   כהרָאִ֕יתִי וְהִנֵּ֖ה אֵ֣ין הָֽאָדָ֑ם וְכָל־ע֥וֹף הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם נָדָֽדוּ:
26I saw, and behold, the fruitful field became a desert, and all its cities were destroyed because of the Lord, because of His fierce anger.   כורָאִ֕יתִי וְהִנֵּ֥ה הַכַּרְמֶ֖ל הַמִּדְבָּ֑ר וְכָל־עָרָ֗יו נִתְּצוּ֙ מִפְּנֵ֣י יְהֹוָ֔ה מִפְּנֵ֖י חֲר֥וֹן אַפּֽוֹ:
and behold, the fruitful field: The land, planted with all good like a forest, has become like a desert. The Midrash Aggadah states: “I saw the mountains” These are the Patriarchs. “And all the hills” These are the Matriarchs. That is to say that their merit was depleted. “There were no people” This refers to Moses, about whom it is said: “humbler than all the people” (Num. 12:3).“And behold the Karmel” This is Elijah.  
27For so says the Lord: All the land shall be a desolation, but I will not make an end.   כזכִּי־כֹה֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהֹוָ֔ה שְׁמָמָ֥ה תִֽהְיֶ֖ה כָּל־הָאָ֑רֶץ וְכָלָ֖ה לֹ֥א אֶעֱשֶֽׂה:
but I will not make an end: of its inhabitants, for I will leave over refugees who will go into exile.  
28For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above shall darken, for that which I spoke as I had planned, I did not regret and I will not turn back from it.   כחעַל־זֹאת֙ תֶּֽאֱבַ֣ל הָאָ֔רֶץ וְקָֽדְר֥וּ הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם מִמָּ֑עַל עַ֚ל כִּֽי־דִבַּ֙רְתִּי֙ זַמֹּ֔תִי וְלֹ֥א נִחַ֖מְתִּי וְלֹֽא־אָשׁ֥וּב מִמֶּֽנָּה:
shall mourn: Shall be destroyed.  
I planned: Heb. זמתי, an expression of thought.  
for that which I spoke: i.e., this retribution, and I will fulfill it.  
and I will not turn back: And I will not repent to think good thoughts about them.  
29From the voice of the riders and the archers, the entire city they came into the thickets, and they ascended among the boulders; every city is deserted, and no people are living in them.   כטמִקּ֨וֹל פָּרָ֜שׁ וְרֹ֣מֵה קֶ֗שֶׁת בֹּרַ֙חַת֙ כָּל־הָעִ֔יר בָּאוּ בֶּֽעָבִ֔ים וּבַכֵּפִ֖ים עָל֑וּ כָּל־הָעִ֣יר עֲזוּבָ֔ה וְאֵין־יוֹשֵׁ֥ב בָּהֵ֖ן אִֽישׁ:
archers: Heb. רמה קשת, lit. bow shooters. Comp.“Cast (רמה) into the sea” (Exodus 15:1).  
they came into the thickets: Into the thick forests, a place intertwined with thorns, to hide.  
and they ascended among the boulders: Heb. ובכפים. סלע, a rock, is translated into Aramaic as בכפיא.  
30And you, despoiled one, what can you do that you wear crimson, that you adorn yourself with golden ornaments, that you enlarge your eye with paint? In vain you beautify yourself; lovers despise you, they seek your life.   לוְאַ֨תְּ (כתיב וְאַ֨תְּי) שָׁד֜וּד מַה־תַּֽעֲשִׂ֗י כִּֽי־תִלְבְּשִׁ֨י שָׁנִ֜י כִּי־תַעְדִּ֣י עֲדִי־זָהָ֗ב כִּֽי־תִקְרְעִ֚י בַפּוּךְ֙ עֵינַ֔יִךְ לַשָּׁ֖וְא תִּתְיַפִּ֑י מָֽאֲסוּ־בָ֥ךְ עֹֽגְבִ֖ים נַפְשֵׁ֥ךְ יְבַקֵּֽשׁוּ:
that you wear crimson: to beautify yourself and to gain clemency before the plunderer.  
that you enlarge… with paint: Heb. תקרעי. An expression of tearing, for the paint appears as widening the opening of the eye. So have I heard, and Menahem did not differentiate in the group of קרע.  
paint: Heb. בפוך, an expression of a blue paint.  
lovers: Heb. עגבים, those who jest with the women with various types of adultery. Comp. (Ezekiel 23:20) “She lusted (ותעגבה) for concubinage with them.”  
they seek your life: They seek to kill you.  
31For a voice like [that of] a travailing woman I heard, in pain as a woman bearing her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion who will wail, will break her hands. "Woe is to me, for my soul is faint before the murderers."   לאכִּ֩י ק֨וֹל כְּחוֹלָ֜ה שָׁמַ֗עְתִּי צָרָה֙ כְּמַבְכִּירָ֔ה ק֧וֹל בַּת־צִיּ֛וֹן תִּתְיַפֵּ֖חַ תְּפָרֵ֣שׂ כַּפֶּ֑יהָ אוֹי־נָ֣א לִ֔י כִּי־עָֽיְפָ֥ה נַפְשִׁ֖י לְהֹֽרְגִֽים:
like a woman bearing her first child: Heb. כמבכירה, like a woman bearing her first child, the beginning of her birth.  
who will wail: Heb. תתיפח, she will wail and cry out with sighs (konpljjnt in O.F:). Comp.“who speak (ויפח) violence” (Psalms 27:12), an expression of speech.  
“Woe is to me…”: This is what she says.