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Yahweh’s word came to me, saying, “Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Yahweh says,

“I remember for you the kindness of your youth,
    the love of your weddings;
how you went after me in the wilderness,
    in a land that was not sown.
Israel was holiness to Yahweh,
    the first fruits of his increase.
All who devour him will be held guilty.
    Evil will come on them,”’ says Yahweh.”

Hear Yahweh’s word, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel! Yahweh says,

“What unrighteousness have your fathers found in me,
    that they have gone far from me,
and have walked after worthless vanity,
    and have become worthless?
They didn’t say, ‘Where is Yahweh who brought us up out of the land of Egypt,
    who led us through the wilderness,
    through a land of deserts and of pits,
    through a land of drought and of the shadow of death,
    through a land that no one passed through,
    and where no man lived?’
I brought you into a plentiful land
    to eat its fruit and its goodness;
but when you entered, you defiled my land,
    and made my heritage an abomination.
The priests didn’t say, ‘Where is Yahweh?’
    and those who handle the law didn’t know me.
The rulers also transgressed against me,
    and the prophets prophesied by Baal
    and followed things that do not profit.
“Therefore I will yet contend with you,” says Yahweh,
    “and I will contend with your children’s children.
10 For pass over to the islands of Kittim, and see.
    Send to Kedar, and consider diligently,
    and see if there has been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods,
    which really are no gods?
    But my people have changed their glory for that which doesn’t profit.
12 “Be astonished, you heavens, at this
    and be horribly afraid.
    Be very desolate,” says Yahweh.
13 “For my people have committed two evils:
    they have forsaken me, the spring of living waters,
    and cut out cisterns for themselves: broken cisterns that can’t hold water.
14 Is Israel a slave?
    Is he born into slavery?
    Why has he become a captive?
15 The young lions have roared at him and yelled.
    They have made his land waste.
    His cities are burned up, without inhabitant.
16     The children also of Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken the crown of your head.
17 “Haven’t you brought this on yourself,
    in that you have forsaken Yahweh your God,[a] when he led you by the way?
18 Now what do you gain by going to Egypt, to drink the waters of the Shihor?
    Or why do you to go on the way to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River?[b]
19 “Your own wickedness will correct you,
    and your backsliding will rebuke you.
Know therefore and see that it is an evil and bitter thing,
    that you have forsaken Yahweh your God,
    and that my fear is not in you,” says the Lord, Yahweh of Armies.
20 “For long ago I broke off your yoke,
    and burst your bonds.
You said, ‘I will not serve;’
    for on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed yourself,
    playing the prostitute.
21 Yet I had planted you a noble vine,
    a pure and faithful seed.
    How then have you turned into the degenerate branches of a foreign vine to me?
22 For though you wash yourself with lye,
    and use much soap,
    yet your iniquity is marked before me,” says the Lord Yahweh.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled.
    I have not gone after the Baals’?
See your way in the valley.
    Know what you have done.
You are a swift dromedary traversing her ways, 24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, that sniffs the wind in her craving.
    When she is in heat, who can turn her away?
    All those who seek her will not weary themselves. In her month, they will find her.
25 “Keep your feet from being bare,
    and your throat from thirst.
But you said, ‘It is in vain.
    No, for I have loved strangers,
    and I will go after them.’
26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found,
    so the house of Israel is ashamed:
    they, their kings, their princes, their priests, and their prophets,
27 who tell wood, ‘You are my father,’
    and a stone, ‘You have given birth to me,’
for they have turned their back to me,
    and not their face;
    but in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise, and save us!’
28 “But where are your gods that you have made for yourselves?
    Let them arise, if they can save you in the time of your trouble;
    for you have as many gods as you have towns, O Judah.
29 “Why will you contend with me?
    You all have transgressed against me,” says Yahweh.
30 “I have struck your children in vain.
    They received no correction.
Your own sword has devoured your prophets,
    like a destroying lion.
31 Generation, consider Yahweh’s word.
    Have I been a wilderness to Israel?
    Or a land of thick darkness?
Why do my people say, ‘We have broken loose.
    We will come to you no more’?
32 “Can a virgin forget her ornaments,
    or a bride her attire?
    Yet my people have forgotten me for days without number.
33 How well you prepare your way to seek love!
    Therefore you have even taught the wicked women your ways.
34 Also the blood of the souls of the innocent poor is found in your skirts.
    You didn’t find them breaking in,
    but it is because of all these things.
35 “Yet you said, ‘I am innocent.
    Surely his anger has turned away from me.’
“Behold, I will judge you,
    because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you go about so much to change your ways?
    You will be ashamed of Egypt also,
    as you were ashamed of Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place with your hands on your head;
    for Yahweh has rejected those in whom you trust,
    and you won’t prosper with them.


  1. 2:17 The Hebrew word rendered “God” is “אֱלֹהִ֑ים” (Elohim).
  2. 2:18 i.e., the Euphrates River

Israel Forsakes God

The word(A) of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

“This is what the Lord says:

“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,(B)
    how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,(C)
    through a land not sown.
Israel was holy(D) to the Lord,(E)
    the firstfruits(F) of his harvest;
all who devoured(G) her were held guilty,(H)
    and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
    all you clans of Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
    that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols(I)
    and became worthless(J) themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,
    who brought us up out of Egypt(K)
and led us through the barren wilderness,
    through a land of deserts(L) and ravines,(M)
a land of drought and utter darkness,
    a land where no one travels(N) and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land
    to eat its fruit and rich produce.(O)
But you came and defiled my land
    and made my inheritance detestable.(P)
The priests did not ask,
    ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;(Q)
    the leaders(R) rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,(S)
    following worthless idols.(T)

“Therefore I bring charges(U) against you again,”
declares the Lord.
    “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus(V) and look,
    send to Kedar[a](W) and observe closely;
    see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
    (Yet they are not gods(X) at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious(Y) God
    for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
    and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken(Z) me,
    the spring of living water,(AA)
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave(AB) by birth?
    Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions(AC) have roared;
    they have growled at him.
They have laid waste(AD) his land;
    his towns are burned(AE) and deserted.(AF)
16 Also, the men of Memphis(AG) and Tahpanhes(AH)
    have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves(AI)
    by forsaking(AJ) the Lord your God
    when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt(AK)
    to drink water from the Nile[b]?(AL)
And why go to Assyria(AM)
    to drink water from the Euphrates?(AN)
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
    your backsliding(AO) will rebuke(AP) you.
Consider then and realize
    how evil and bitter(AQ) it is for you
when you forsake(AR) the Lord your God
    and have no awe(AS) of me,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke(AT)
    and tore off your bonds;(AU)
    you said, ‘I will not serve you!’(AV)
Indeed, on every high hill(AW)
    and under every spreading tree(AX)
    you lay down as a prostitute.(AY)
21 I had planted(AZ) you like a choice vine(BA)
    of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
    into a corrupt,(BB) wild vine?
22 Although you wash(BC) yourself with soap(BD)
    and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
    the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.(BE)
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;(BF)
    I have not run after the Baals’?(BG)
See how you behaved in the valley;(BH)
    consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
    running(BI) here and there,
24 a wild donkey(BJ) accustomed to the desert,(BK)
    sniffing the wind in her craving—
    in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
    at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
    and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!(BL)
    I love foreign gods,(BM)
    and I must go after them.’(BN)

26 “As a thief is disgraced(BO) when he is caught,
    so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
    their priests(BP) and their prophets.(BQ)
27 They say to wood,(BR) ‘You are my father,’
    and to stone,(BS) ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs(BT) to me
    and not their faces;(BU)
yet when they are in trouble,(BV) they say,
    ‘Come and save(BW) us!’
28 Where then are the gods(BX) you made for yourselves?
    Let them come if they can save you
    when you are in trouble!(BY)
For you, Judah, have as many gods
    as you have towns.(BZ)

29 “Why do you bring charges against me?
    You have all(CA) rebelled against me,”
declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I punished your people;
    they did not respond to correction.(CB)
Your sword has devoured your prophets(CC)
    like a ravenous lion.

31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel
    or a land of great darkness?(CD)
Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;
    we will come to you no more’?(CE)
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,
    a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten(CF) me,
    days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing(CG) love!
    Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found
    the lifeblood(CH) of the innocent poor,
    though you did not catch them breaking in.(CI)
Yet in spite of all this
35     you say, ‘I am innocent;(CJ)
    he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment(CK) on you
    because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’(CL)
36 Why do you go about so much,
    changing(CM) your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt(CN)
    as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
    with your hands on your head,(CO)
for the Lord has rejected those you trust;
    you will not be helped(CP) by them.


  1. Jeremiah 2:10 In the Syro-Arabian desert
  2. Jeremiah 2:18 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile