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“If a man divorces his wife and she goes and marries someone else,
    the first husband cannot take her back.
    If he did,[a] it would make the land unclean.
Judah, you and all your false gods are like a prostitute with many lovers!
    So why do you think you can come back to me?”
    This message is from the Lord.
“Look up to the bare hilltops, Judah.
    Is there any place where you have not had sex with your lovers?
You sat by the road waiting for lovers,
    like an Arab in the desert.
You made the land ‘dirty’
    with all the evil sins you did
    when you were unfaithful to me.
You sinned, so the rain has not come.
    There has not been any springtime rains.
But still you refuse to be ashamed.
    The look on your face is like that of a prostitute who refuses to be ashamed.
But didn’t you just call me ‘Father’?
    Didn’t you say, ‘You have been my friend since I was a child’?
You also said, ‘God will not always be angry with me.
    His anger will not continue forever.’

“Judah, you say that,
    but you do as much evil as you can.”

The Two Bad Sisters: Israel and Judah

The Lord spoke to me during the time King Josiah was ruling the nation of Judah. He said, “Jeremiah, you saw the bad things Israel[b] did! You saw how she was unfaithful to me. She was unfaithful to me with every idol on every hill and under every green tree. I said to myself, ‘Israel will come back to me after she has finished doing these evil things.’ But she did not come back to me. And Israel’s unfaithful sister, Judah, saw what she did. Israel was unfaithful, and she knew why I sent her away. Israel knew that I divorced her because she committed the sin of adultery. But that did not make her unfaithful sister afraid. Judah was not afraid. She also went out and acted like a prostitute. Judah did not care that she was acting like a prostitute. So she made her country ‘dirty.’ She committed the sin of adultery by worshiping idols made out of stone and wood. 10 Israel’s unfaithful sister did not come back to me with her whole heart. She only pretended that she came back to me.” This message is from the Lord.

11 The Lord said to me, “Israel was not faithful to me, but she had a better excuse than unfaithful Judah. 12 Jeremiah, look toward the north and speak this message:

“‘Come back, you faithless people of Israel.’
    This message is from the Lord.
‘I will stop frowning at you.
    I am full of mercy.’
    The Lord says, ‘I will not be angry with you forever.
13 But you must recognize your sin.
    You turned against the Lord your God.
    That is your sin.
You worshiped the idols of other nations.
    You worshiped them under every green tree.
You did not obey me.’”
    This message is from the Lord.

14 The Lord says, “You people are unfaithful, but come back to me because I am your master. I will take one person from every city and two people from every family and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you new rulers who will be faithful to me. They will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days there will be many of you in the land.” This message is from the Lord.

“At that time people will never again say, ‘I remember the days when we had the Box of the Lord’s Agreement.’ They will not even think about the Holy Box anymore. They will not even remember or miss it. They will never make another Holy Box. 17 At that time the city of Jerusalem will be called the ‘Lord’s Throne.’ All nations will come together in the city of Jerusalem to give honor to the name of the Lord. They will not follow their stubborn, evil hearts anymore. 18 In those days the family of Judah will join the family of Israel. They will come together from a land in the north to the land I gave to their ancestors.”

19-20 This message is from the Lord:

“I want to treat you like my own children.
    I want to give you a pleasant land,
    a land more beautiful than any other nation.
I thought you would call me ‘Father.’
    I thought you would always follow me.
But you have been unfaithful to me, family of Israel!
    You have been like an unfaithful wife who leaves her husband.
21 You can hear crying on the bare hills.
    The people of Israel are crying and praying for mercy.
They became very evil.
    They forgot the Lord their God.

22 “People of Israel, you are unfaithful to me, but come back to me.
    Come back and I will forgive[c] you for being unfaithful.

“Just say, ‘Yes, we will come back,
    because you are the Lord our God.
23 It was foolish to worship idols on the hills.
    All the loud parties on the mountains were wrong.
Surely the salvation of Israel
    comes from the Lord our God.
24 That terrible false god Baal has eaten everything our fathers owned.
    This has happened since we were children.
That terrible false god took our fathers’ sheep and cattle
    and their sons and daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame.
    Let our shame cover us like a blanket.
We have sinned against the Lord our God.
    We and our fathers have sinned.
We have not obeyed the Lord our God
    from the time we were children.’”


  1. Jeremiah 3:1 If he did It was against the Law of Moses for a man to marry a woman he had divorced if that woman had become another man’s wife. See Deut. 24:1-4.
  2. Jeremiah 3:6 Israel Here, the name Israel means the northern kingdom of Israel. Israel was destroyed by the Assyrians about 100 years before Jeremiah’s time.
  3. Jeremiah 3:22 forgive Literally, “heal.”

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