Jeremiah 4:23
Parallel Verses
New International Version
I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone.

New Living Translation
I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light.

English Standard Version
I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.

New American Standard Bible
I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light.

King James Bible
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone.

International Standard Version
I looked at the earth, and it was formless and void, at the heavens, and there was no light there.

NET Bible
"I looked at the land and saw that it was an empty wasteland. I looked up at the sky, and its light had vanished.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
I see the earth. It's formless and empty. I see the sky. Its lights are gone.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I beheld the earth, and, behold, it was without order, and empty; and the heavens, and they had no light.

King James 2000 Bible
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

American King James Version
I beheld the earth, and, see, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

American Standard Version
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Douay-Rheims Bible
I beheld the earth, and lo it was void, and nothing: and the heavens, and there was no light in them.

Darby Bible Translation
I beheld the earth, and lo, it was waste and empty; and the heavens, and they had no light.

English Revised Version
I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Webster's Bible Translation
I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

World English Bible
I saw the earth, and, behold, it was waste and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

Young's Literal Translation
I looked to the land, and lo, waste and void, And unto the heavens, and their light is not.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:19-31 The prophet had no pleasure in delivering messages of wrath. He is shown in a vision the whole land in confusion. Compared with what it was, every thing is out of order; but the ruin of the Jewish nation would not be final. Every end of our comforts is not a full end. Though the Lord may correct his people very severely, yet he will not cast them off. Ornaments and false colouring would be of no avail. No outward privileges or profession, no contrivances would prevent destruction. How wretched the state of those who are like foolish children in the concerns of their souls! Whatever we are ignorant of, may the Lord make of good understanding in the ways of godliness. As sin will find out the sinner, so sorrow will, sooner or later, find out the secure.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 23. - I beheld. The prophet is again the speaker, but in a calmer mood. God's judgment has been pronounced, and it is not for him to rebel. He has now simply to record the vision of woe which has been granted him. He foresees the utter desolation into which not only the land of Judah, but the earth in general, will be brought, and which reminds him of nothing so much as the "waste and wild" condition of the earth previous to the first creative word. But why is "the earth" mentioned in this connection? Because the judgment upon Judah is but one act in the great general judgment which, when completed, will issue in a fresh order of things (comp. Isaiah 3:14, 15, where side by side are mentioned Jehovah's judgment of "the peoples" and of "his people," and Isaiah 24, where the judgment upon the enemies of Israel is interwoven with the judgment upon "the earth"). Without form, and void; rather, waste and wild (to represent in some degree the characteristic assonance of the original - tohu va-bohu); more literally, immovable and lifeless. It is the phrase used in Genesis L 2 for primeval chaos. Tohu and bohu occur in parallel lines in Isaiah 34:11, to express utter desolation; tohu alone five times in the Book of Isaiah, and once in Job. They had no light. The heavens were in the same condition as on the third day, subsequently to the creation of the heavens, but prior to that of the luminaries.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I beheld the earth,.... The land of Judea, not the whole world; and this the prophet says, either in spirit, as Jerom; or in prophecy, as Kimchi; or in a visionary way; for these are not the words of God continued, as Cocceius, but of the prophet; who, by a prophetic spirit, describes the dreadful destruction of the Jewish nation, as follows:

and, lo, it was without form, and void; as the first earth or chaos was, before it was brought into form and order; the same words, "tohu" and "bohu", are used here, as in Genesis 1:2, the land of Judea now was, in the prophet's view of it, like the first earth, when darkness covered it; no grass sprung out of it, not a tree to be seen in it, and neither man nor beast as yet upon it, but all an undigested mass, and in the utmost wild disorder and confusion; and this may denote not only the natural, but the political, and ecclesiastical, disorder of the Jewish nation and state:

and the heavens, and they had no light; that were over the land of Judea;

"their lights did not shine,''

as the Targum paraphrases it; that is, the sun, moon, and stars, which were darkened by the smoke of the burning of Jerusalem; or which withdrew their light, as blushing at, and being ashamed of, the iniquities of his people, and who were unworthy of enjoying the light of them; and which this phrase may denote.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

23. Graphic picture of the utter desolation about to visit Palestine. "I beheld, and lo!" four times solemnly repeated, heightens the awful effect of the scene (compare Isa 24:19; 34:11).

without form and void—reduced to the primeval chaos (Ge 1:2).

Jeremiah 4:23 Additional Commentaries
Context
Lamentation for Judah
22"For My people are foolish, They know Me not; They are stupid children And have no understanding. They are shrewd to do evil, But to do good they do not know." 23I looked on the earth, and behold, it was formless and void; And to the heavens, and they had no light. 24I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills moved to and fro.…
Cross References
Genesis 1:2
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.

Isaiah 5:30
In that day they will roar over it like the roaring of the sea. And if one looks at the land, there is only darkness and distress; even the sun will be darkened by clouds.

Isaiah 24:19
The earth is broken up, the earth is split asunder, the earth is violently shaken.

Jeremiah 2:12
Be appalled at this, you heavens, and shudder with great horror," declares the LORD.

Lamentations 3:2
He has driven me away and made me walk in darkness rather than light;

Joel 2:10
Before them the earth shakes, the heavens tremble, the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars no longer shine.

Zechariah 14:6
On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness.
Treasury of Scripture

I beheld the earth, and, see, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light.

the earth.

Jeremiah 9:10 For the mountains will I take up a weeping and wailing, and for the …

Genesis 1:2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the …

Isaiah 24:19-23 The earth is utterly broken down, the earth is clean dissolved, the …

Revelation 20:11 And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose …

the heavens.

Isaiah 5:30 And in that day they shall roar against them like the roaring of …

Isaiah 13:10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not …

Ezekiel 32:7,8 And when I shall put you out, I will cover the heaven, and make the …

Joel 2:10,30,31 The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the …

Joel 3:15,16 The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw …

Amos 8:9 And it shall come to pass in that day, said the Lord GOD, that I …

Matthew 24:29,35 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be …

Mark 13:25,25 And the stars of heaven shall fall, and the powers that are in heaven …

Luke 21:25,26 And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the …

Acts 2:19,20 And I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; …

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