Jeremiah 4:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: "Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns.

New Living Translation
This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns.

English Standard Version
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

New American Standard Bible
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns.

King James Bible
For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
For this is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up the unplowed ground; do not sow among the thorns.

International Standard Version
For this is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, "Break up your unplowed ground, and don't sow among thorns.

NET Bible
Yes, the LORD has this to say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: "Like a farmer breaking up hard unplowed ground, you must break your rebellious will and make a new beginning; just as a farmer must clear away thorns lest the seed is wasted, you must get rid of the sin that is ruining your lives.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: Plow your unplowed fields, and don't plant among thorns.

Jubilee Bible 2000
For thus has the LORD said to every man of Judah and of Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.

King James 2000 Bible
For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

American King James Version
For thus said the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

American Standard Version
For thus saith Jehovah to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Douay-Rheims Bible
For thus saith the Lord to the men of Juda and Jerusalem: Break up anew your fallow ground, and sow not upon thorns:

Darby Bible Translation
For thus saith Jehovah to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up for you a fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

English Revised Version
For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

Webster's Bible Translation
For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

World English Bible
For thus says Yahweh to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, and don't sow among thorns.

Young's Literal Translation
For thus said Jehovah, To the man of Judah, and to Jerusalem: Till for yourselves tillage, And do not sow unto the thorns.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

4:3,4 An unhumbled heart is like ground untilled. It is ground which may be improved; it is our ground let out to us; but it is fallow; it is over-grown with thorns and weeds, the natural product of the corrupt heart. Let us entreat the Lord to create in us a clean heart, and to renew a right spirit within us; for except a man be born again, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 3. - There is no occasion to separate vers. 3, 4, from the preceding prophecy. We have other instances of as sudden a transition from the Israelites (in the narrower sense) to the men of Judah (see Isaiah 8:6-14; Isaiah 10:1-4; Isaiah 28:1-6; in the writer's commentary). For thus, etc. "For" is here not causal, but explanatory: "I say this not only to the men of Israel, but to you, O men of Judah, who need the admonition to repentance, how deeply!" (see Jeremiah 5:2). Break up your fallow ground; the same figure as in Hosea 10:12. To understand it we must read the clause in connection with the following one. Sow not among thorns. The prophet means, though he does not say so, the roots which will spring up into thorns. "Do not plant your good resolutions in a heart filled up with the roots of thorns, but first rake up the soil, and clear it of noxious germs, and then sow the seed which will grow up in a holy life" (comp. Matthew 13:7).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire 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) "ut non seratis".

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

3. Transition to Judah. Supply mentally. All which (the foregoing declaration as to Israel) applies to Judah.

and Jerusalem—that is, and especially the men of Jerusalem, as being the most prominent in Judea.

Break … fallow ground—that is, Repent of your idolatry, and so be prepared to serve the Lord in truth (Ho 10:12; Mt 13:7). The unhumbled heart is like ground which may be improved, being let out to us for that purpose, but which is as yet fallow, overgrown with weeds, its natural product.

Jeremiah 4:3 Additional Commentaries
Context
God Calls Israel by His Promise
2And you will swear, 'As the LORD lives,' In truth, in justice and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will glory." 3For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, "Break up your fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4"Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your heart, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will go forth like fire And burn with none to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds."
Cross References
Matthew 13:7
Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.

Exodus 23:11
but during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.

Hosea 10:12
Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
Treasury of Scripture

For thus said the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.

break

Genesis 3:18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to you; and you shall …

Hosea 10:12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your …

Matthew 13:7,22 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them…

Mark 4:7,18,19 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, …

Luke 8:7,14 And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it…

Galatians 6:7,8 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that …

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