Jeremiah 4:10 (NIV)

10 Then I said, “Alas, Sovereign Lord! How completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, ‘You will have peace,’ when the sword is at our throats!”

In what sense has God mislead the people and Jerusalem?

2 Answers 2


There is a problem with the English translations of this verse. It was not God who was deceiving the people, but the false prophets who were promising peace.

The NET translates this verse as:

"In response to all this I said, "Ah, Lord GOD, you have surely allowed the people of Judah and Jerusalem to be deceived by those who say, 'You will be safe!' But in fact a sword is already at our throats."

Young's has it as:

"And I say, 'Ah, Lord Jehovah, Surely thou hast entirely forgotten this people and Jerusalem, saying, Peace is for you, And struck hath a sword unto the soul!'"

Excerpt from Clarke's Commentary in the Introduction on Jer. 4:9-10:

" And as the lying prophets had flattered the people with the hopes of peace and safety, they are now introduced, (when their predictions are falsified by the event), excusing themselves; and, with matchless effrontery, laying the blame of the deception upon God, ("And they said," etc., so the text is corrected by Kennicott), Jeremiah 4:10." Source: Biblehub

And again at vs. 10:

"Ah, Lord God! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people - The Targum paraphrases this verse thus: "And I said, Receive my supplication, O Lord God; for, behold, the false prophets deceive this people and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace." The prophet could not reconcile this devastation of the country with the promises already made; and he appears to ask the question, Hast thou not then deceived this people in saying there shall be peace, i.e., prosperity?" Source: Ibid.

Or, other commentaries take this as a use of irony on the part of Jeremiah, contemplating the belief of the people in the false prophets.

Benson Commentary on Jer. 4:10:

"Then said I, Ah, Lord God! — The Hebrew word, Aha, is a word expressive both of admiration and lamentation. Surely thou hast greatly deceived this people — Hast suffered them to be deceived by their false prophets. These pretenders to prophecy studied only to speak pleasing things to the people, and sooth them up in their impenitency and carnal security; and thou hast, in thy just judgment, given them up to follow these delusions: compare 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12. Saying, Ye shall have peace — The word peace here comprises all good, signifying that all things should go on prosperously with them; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul — Whereas the sword is at the door, not only to take away the comforts of life, but even life itself." Source: Biblehub

And, the excerpt from Gill's Exposition:

"Then said I, ah, Lord God!.... Expressing great sorrow and concern: this "ah" is by way of lamentation. The Targum interprets it as a petition,

"and I said, receive my prayer, O Lord God:''

surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem: what the false prophets did, that God is said to do, because he suffered them to deceive the people; see 1 Kings 22:20. The Targum ascribes the deception to the false prophets, and not to God,

"surely behold the false prophets deceive this people, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem;''

or this may be ironically said, because the false prophets pretended to speak in the name of the Lord; wherefore Jeremiah says, "surely thou hast greatly deceived", &c. "saying, ye shall have peace"; as the false prophets did, Jeremiah 6:14, " Source: Ibid.

Whether the verse is as Young's and the NET have it, or whether the use of irony on Jeremiah's part, the deception was carried out by the false prophets whom the people preferred to believe. God allowed them to believe what they chose to believe. They did not want to hear the truth.

2 Thess. 2:10-12:

"10 and in all deceitfulness of the unrighteousness in those perishing, because the love of the truth they did not receive for their being saved,

11 and because of this shall God send to them a working of delusion, for their believing the lie,

12 that they may be judged -- all who did not believe the truth, but were well pleased in the unrighteousness." (YLT)

Bold emphasis is mine.

  • great answer Gina +1. In my view it can be more concise though.
    – bach
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 1:03
  • Thank you, Bach. When I try to be more concise I am usually asked for more proof or support. So, maybe I now throw the kitchen sink in to cover all bases.
    – Gina
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 4:04
  • @Gina : You are right +1 It appears that during Jeremiah's days there were many false prophets prophesying lies and God did not prevent them. (Jeremiah 20:6, 23:16,17,25-32) Concise answers using the scriptures are more readable. Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 20:26
  • @O.Nicolas, see the comment under the answer hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/32089/…, where I tried to be more concise. Either way, can't please everyone.
    – Gina
    Commented Mar 5, 2018 at 22:57

Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Surely You have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, Saying, ‘You shall have peace,’ Whereas the sword reaches to the heart.”

Jeremiah is saying that God promised peace, but there is an imminent invasion on the horizon so not peace. God shows Jeremiah that the land will be redeemed and in Jeremiah 32, he purchases the land and sets up God's redemption plan.

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