Jeremiah 4:3, 4 - Breaking Up Fallow Ground.

Jer 4:3, 4:  Breaking Up Fallow Ground.

CONTENT; What's in the verse; Translations; Paraphrase; Word 

Jer 4:3, 4 (KJV)  For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah 
and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among 
thorns.  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. 

Jer 4:3, 4 (TEV)  The LORD says to the people of Judah and 
Jerusalem, "Plow up your unplowed fields; do not plant your seeds among 
thorns.  Keep your covenant with me, your LORD, and dedicate yourselves 
to me, you people of Judah and Jerusalem.  If you don't, my anger 
will burn like fire because of the evil things you have done.  It 
will burn, and there will be no one to put it out."  

Jer 4:3, 4 (NCV)  This is what the LORD says to the people of 
Judah and to Jerusalem: "Plow your unplowed fields, and don't plant 
seeds among thorns. Give yourselves to the service of the LORD, and 
decide to obey him, people of Judah and people of Jerusalem. If you 
don't, my anger will spread among you like a fire, and no one will be 
able to put it out, because of the evil you have done.  

Jeremiah 4:3, 4 (NLT)  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.  Cleanse your minds and 
hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire 
because of all your sins. 

Jer 4:3, 4 (AMP)  For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and 
to Jerusalem: Break up your ground left uncultivated for a season, 
so that you may not sow among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the 
Lord and take away the foreskins of your hearts, you men of Judah and 
inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest My wrath go forth like fire [consuming all 
that gets in its way] and burn so that no one can quench it because 
of the evil of your doings. 

Fallow ground: Untilled ground. [Ryrie SB]

Fallow ground: refers to the unplowed ground which is sunbaked 
and possibly covered with weeds. God says, "Break [plow] it up." 
[Believer's SB] 

Fallow ground: Unless the thorns and weeds were removed, they 
would choke the seeds of reform. It was necessary for Judah to make a 
clean work of ridding herself of idolatry and moral and social evil. 
[SDA Commentary] 

Fallow ground: Unplowed fields. A figure of speech standing for 
hard, rebellious attitudes toward God. [Passages Of Life SB] 

What does it mean to circumcise your hearts? (4:4)
This was a figurative way to call the people to cut sinful 
impurities from their lives, just as in physical circumcision the foreskin 
was removed. Jeremiah was advising the people of Judah to remove the 
sinful practices that hinder spiritual growth. The apostle Paul also 
used the metaphor of a circumcised heart (see Romans 2:28-29; Col. 
2:11). [Quest SB] 

Circumcise: The intent of God was always that the outward symbol 
should be a sign of an inward reality of total devotion to Him [Nelson 

Circumcision was intended to be a symbol of the devotion of the 
heart to God and a mark of separation from idolatry. To remove the 
foreskin of the heart meant to put away all impurity. True circumcision 
is inward rather than outward. [SDA Commentary] 

Circumcise yourselves. Here the meaning is figurative and has 
the idea of purifying, separating from the sins of the flesh. [Ryrie 

Circumcise your hearts.: Consecrate your hearts [NIV SB]

Circumcision was an outward witness of an inward, spiritual 
reality. The command "Circumcise yourselves" (4:4) spoke figuratively of 
the need to separate oneself from sin and reconsecrate oneself to 
God. [New Bible Companion] 

CONTEXT; What's around the verse; Overview; Topic:

Judah had forsaken God in favor of pagan idols, despite His 
loving care (2:1-37). Even so, spiritually unfaithful Judah was urged 
to return (3:1-25), before judgment came from the north (4:1-31). 
Josiah's religious reformation had not touched Judah's heart (5:1-31), 
and the enemy was commissioned to punish the Holy City (6:1-16). 
Everyone listening to Jeremiah stood at a crossroads: the way he or she 
chose would determine his destiny (vv. 17-30). [The 365-Day Devotional 


A Call to Repentance
Coming Judgment against Judah

CROSS REFERENCES; What's in verses elsewhere.

Hosea 10:12 (KJV)  Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in 
mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, 
till he come and rain righteousness upon you.  

Mark 4:18-19 (KJV)  And these are they which are sown among 
thorns; such as hear the word, [19] And the cares of this world, and the 
deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the 
word, and it becometh unfruitful.  

Luke 8:14 (KJV)  And that which fell among thorns are they, 
which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and 
riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.  

Deut. 30:6 (KJV)  And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine 
heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all 
thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.  

Ezekiel 18:31 (KJV)  Cast away from you all your transgressions, 
whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: 
for why will ye die, O house of Israel?  

Ezekiel 24:13 (KJV)  In thy filthiness is lewdness: because I 
have purged thee, and thou wast not purged, thou shalt not be purged 
from thy filthiness any more, till I have caused my fury to rest upon 

Amos 5:6 (KJV)  Seek the Lord, and ye shall live; lest he break 
out like fire in the house of Joseph, and devour it, and there be 
none to quench it in Bethel.  

Mark 9:49, 50 (KJV)  For every one shall be salted with fire, 
and every sacrifice shall be salted with salt. [50] Salt is good: 
but if the salt have lost his saltness, wherewith will ye season it? 
Have salt in yourselves, and have peace one with another.  

Col. 2:11 (KJV)  In whom also ye are circumcised with the 
circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the 
flesh by the circumcision of Christ:  

COMMENTARY / APPLICATION: Moving From The Head To The Heart
What is God teaching here? What does it teach about Jesus?

SITUATION  Many sinful kings led the people astray in both Judah 
and the Northern Kingdom.  Eventually, the Assyrians captured the 
Northern Kingdom (722 B.C.).  Judah was on the verge of similar 
punishment from Babylon.  Jeremiah began his prophecy against Judah by 
outlining the people's unfaithfulness to God and urging them to repent or 
face strong punishment. 
OBSERVATION    Any severe and prolonged pattern of sin, 
practiced by people who claim to be devoted to God, invites punishment 
from God.  
INSPIRATION    Many people will profess faithfulness, but very 
few will demonstrate it.  The virtue of faithfulness is often 
costly, and few people are willing to pay the price. But for the godly 
person, faithfulness is an absolutely essential quality of his 
character, regardless of what it might cost. What is faithfulness? How do 
we practice it, and when do we exhibit it in our lives? The 
biblical word denotes that which is firm and can be counted upon. . . . 
The faithful person is one who is dependable, trustworthy, and 
loyal, who can be depended upon in all of his relationships, and who is 
absolutely honest and ethical in all of his affairs.... If we are careful 
to be honest in the little things, we will certainly be careful to 
be honest in the more important things of life. . . If our society 
needs to reemphasize the virtue of honesty, it certainly needs to 
place great importance on dependability.... Reliability is not just a 
social obligation; it is a spiritual obligation. God is even more 
concerned about our faithfulness than the person who is relying on us in 
some particular situation. . . . The faithful person is not only 
honest and dependable, but also loyal.... Whether it be in honesty or 
dependability or loyalty, faithfulness is frequently a costly virtue, only the 
Holy Spirit can enable us to pay that price. (From The Practice of 
Godliness by Jerry Bridges)  
APPLICATION     Do you gossip about others? Do you criticize 
others?  Do you lustfully think about someone?  Last April, did you 
cheat the government?  Do you work hard on your job, or do you waste 
time?  If you repeat sin again and again, you will experience God's 
discipline!  Consider your life and ask the Holy Spirit to help you get rid 
of sin. [Inspirational SB] 

Staying On The Path; Jer.4:1-4; Step 10
Even before we began our Twelve-Step living, God didn't hate us; 
he detested the ways of addiction and codependency that were 
stealing our lives, relationships and health. He hated the way we were 
choosing to walk because it was only leading us to destruction. God is 
pleased when any of his erring children begin the journey toward 
As we continue the journey, we will occasionally have a tendency 
to relapse, to leave the path. And the consequences can be serious. 
But even then we will experience our Father's severe mercy. He wants 
us to enjoy peace, joy, love and a sound mind, and he knows that 
our addictions will rob us of that. In love he corrects our course, 
not because he is mad but because he knows how easy it is to go off 
in the wrong direction. 
If we accept his correction, we will be back on the road of 
recovery. If not, our addictive disease will again rule our lives.-Barbara 
Prayer: God, keep my feet firmly planted on the Twelve-Step road 
as I seek to follow you. [Life Recovery Devotional SB] 

Radical problems often necessitate radical solutions.
To extinguish an oil well fire, dynamite is sometimes used. The 
stupendous power of the explosion is the only way to "blow out" the raging 
inferno. In medicine, the seemingly radical amputation of a limb 
preserves life by stopping the progress of cancer or gangrene. Many old 
buildings are best "renovated" by tearing them down, clearing the rubble, 
and building anew. 
Judah's apostasy had destroyed the nation's spiritual vitality. 
Like a spreading ' cancer it resisted half-hearted attempts at 
treatment. Clearly, something more radical was needed-something that would 
purge the nation of its idolatry and immorality. 
Before God can build into your life, there may be things he 
needs to blast and remove: bad habits, selfish attitudes, walls of 
indifference, closets of secret sin. Have possessions in your life become the 
focus of your affection? Are people in your life tearing you down, 
rather than building you up? Do pursuits in your life oppose rather 
than promote the kingdom of God? Pick one of those areas of need, and 
with God's help, deal with it now ... before the cure becomes more 
painful than the disease. [Daily Walk Bible] 

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. [Matthew Henry 

If the word of God fails of accomplishing its work in our hearts 
and lives, the reason is to be found in ourselves.... The Spirit of 
God is ever seeking to break the spell of infatuation that holds men 
absorbed in worldly things, and to awaken a desire for the imperishable 
treasure. It is by resisting the Spirit that men become inattentive to or 
neglectful of God's word. They are themselves responsible for the hardness 
of heart that prevents the good seed from taking root, and for the 
evil growths that check its development. The garden of the heart must 
be cultivated. The soil must be broken up by deep repentance for 
sin. Poisonous, Satanic plants must be uprooted. The soil once 
overgrown by thorns can be reclaimed only by diligent labor. So the evil 
tendencies of the natural heart can be overcome only by earnest effort in 
the name and strength of Jesus. COL56 

4.	APPLY & SHARE [mod from 3ABN

Repentance had to be sincere and evidence of repentance can be 
found in the fruit of true faith. [New Bible Companion] 

It doesn't take such a great man to be a Christian; it just 
takes all there is of him. [Your Daily Walk SB]