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It was because the Lord loved you and because of his fidelity to the oath he had sworn to your ancestors, that the Lord brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh, king of Egypt.(A)

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15 Yet only on your ancestors did the Lord set his heart to love them. He chose you, their descendants, from all the peoples, as it is today.(A)

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Chapter 2

Infidelity of Israel.[a] The word of the Lord came to me: Go, cry out this message for Jerusalem to hear!

I remember the devotion[b] of your youth,
    how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the wilderness,
    in a land unsown.(A)
Israel was dedicated to the Lord,
    the first fruits[c] of his harvest;
All who ate of it were held guilty,
    evil befell them—oracle of the Lord.(B)
Listen to the word of the Lord, house of Jacob!
    All you clans of the house of Israel,
    thus says the Lord:
What fault did your ancestors find in me
    that they withdrew from me,
Went after emptiness,
    and became empty themselves?(C)
They did not ask, “Where is the Lord
    who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the wilderness,
    through a land of wastes and ravines,
A land of drought and darkness,
    a land which no one crosses,
    where no one dwells?”(D)
I brought you into the garden land
    to eat its fine fruits,
But you entered and defiled my land,
    you turned my heritage into an abomination.(E)
The priests did not ask,
    “Where is the Lord?”
The experts in the law[d] did not know me:
    the shepherds rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
    and went after useless idols.(F)
Therefore I will again accuse you—oracle of the Lord
    even your children’s children I will accuse.(G)

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  1. 2:1–3:5 These chapters may contain some of Jeremiah’s early preaching. He portrays Israel as the wife of the Lord, faithful only in the beginning, when she walked behind him (2:2–3, 5; 3:1). Consistent with the marriage metaphor, he describes her present unfaithfulness as adultery (2:20; 3:2–3); now she walks behind the Baals.
  2. 2:2 Devotion: Heb. hesed; Israel’s gratitude, fidelity, and love for God.
  3. 2:3 First fruits: the first yield of a harvest offered as a sign of dependence on and gratitude toward the Lord of the land, thus divine property. Israel, then, is a gift made to God, set apart for his use; cf. Ex 23:19.
  4. 2:8 Experts in the law: the priests. The shepherds: the kings and nobles.