3 “They say, ‘If a man divorces his wife, And she goes from him And becomes another man’s, May he return to her again?’ Would not that land be greatly polluted? But you have played the harlot with many lovers; Yet return to Me,” says the Lord.
2 “Lift up your eyes to the desolate heights and see: Where have you not [a]lain with men? By the road you have sat for them Like an Arabian in the wilderness; And you have polluted the land With your harlotries and your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no latter rain. You have had a harlot’s forehead; You refuse to be ashamed. 4 Will you not from this time cry to Me, ‘My Father, You arethe guide of my youth? 5 Will He remain angry forever? Will He keep it to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken and done evil things, As you were able.”
A Call to Repentance
6 The Lord said also to me in the days of Josiah the king: “Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every green tree, and there played the harlot. 7 And I said, after she had done all these things, ‘Return to Me.’ But she did not return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 Then I saw that for all the causes for which backsliding Israel had committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a certificate of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but went and played the harlot also. 9 So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not turned to Me with her whole heart, but in pretense,” says the Lord.
11 Then the Lord said to me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say:
‘Return, backsliding Israel,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not cause My anger to fall on you. For I ammerciful,’ says the Lord; ‘I will not remain angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your iniquity, That you have transgressed against the Lord your God, And have scattered your [b]charms To alien deities under every green tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ says the Lord.
14 “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 And I will give you shepherds according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.
16 “Then it shall come to pass, when you are multiplied and increased in the land in those days,” says the Lord, “that they will say no more, ‘The ark of the covenant of the Lord.’ It shall not come to mind, nor shall they remember it, nor shall they visit it, nor shall it be made anymore.
17 “At that time Jerusalem shall be called The Throne of the Lord, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they follow[c] the dictates of their evil hearts.
18 “In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given as an inheritance to your fathers.
19 “But I said:
‘How can I put you among the children And give you a pleasant land, A beautiful heritage of the hosts of nations?’
“And I said:
‘You shall call Me, “My Father,” And not turn away from Me.’ 20 Surely, as a wife treacherously departs from her [d]husband, So have you dealt treacherously with Me, O house of Israel,” says the Lord.
21 A voice was heard on the desolate heights, Weeping and supplications of the children of Israel. For they have perverted their way; They have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 “Return, you backsliding children, And I will heal your backslidings.”
“Indeed we do come to You, For You are the Lord our God. 23 Truly, in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, And from the multitude of mountains; Truly, in the Lord our God Is the salvation of Israel. 24 For shame has devoured The labor of our fathers from our youth— Their flocks and their herds, Their sons and their daughters. 25 We lie down in our shame, And our [e]reproach covers us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God, We and our fathers, From our youth even to this day, And have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”
2 Say to your brethren, [a]‘My people,’ And to your sisters, [b]‘Mercy is shown.’
God’s Unfaithful People
2 “Bring[c] charges against your mother, [d]bring charges; For she is not My wife, nor am I her Husband! Let her put away her harlotries from her sight, And her adulteries from between her breasts; 3 Lest I strip her naked And expose her, as in the day she was born, And make her like a wilderness, And set her like a dry land, And slay her with thirst.
4 “I will not have mercy on her children, For they are the children of harlotry. 5 For their mother has played the harlot; She who conceived them has behaved shamefully. For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers, Who give me my bread and my water, My wool and my linen, My oil and my drink.’
6 “Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, And [e]wall her in, So that she cannot find her paths. 7 She will [f]chase her lovers, But not overtake them; Yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go and return to my first husband, For then it was better for me than now.’ 8 For she did not know That I gave her grain, new wine, and oil, And multiplied her silver and gold— Which they prepared for Baal.
9 “Therefore I will return and take away My grain in its time And My new wine in its season, And will take back My wool and My linen, Given to cover her nakedness. 10 Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, And no one shall deliver her from My hand. 11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, Her feast days, Her New Moons, Her Sabbaths— All her appointed feasts.
12 “And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, Of which she has said, ‘These are my wages that my lovers have given me.’ So I will make them a forest, And the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13 I will punish her For the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, And went after her lovers; But Me she forgot,” says the Lord.
God’s Mercy on His People
14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak [g]comfort to her. 15 I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt.
16 “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the Lord, “That you will call Me [h]‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me [i]‘My Master,’ 17 For I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, And they shall be remembered by their name no more. 18 In that day I will make a covenant for them With the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, And with the creeping things of the ground. Bow and sword of battle I will shatter from the earth, To make them lie down safely.
19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me In righteousness and justice, In lovingkindness and mercy; 20 I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, And you shall know the Lord.
21 “It shall come to pass in that day ThatI will answer,” says the Lord; “I will answer the heavens, And they shall answer the earth. 22 The earth shall answer With grain, With new wine, And with oil; They shall answer [j]Jezreel. 23 Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, And I will have mercy on her who had[k]not obtained mercy; Then I will say to those who were[l]not My people, ‘You are[m]My people!’ And they shall say, ‘You are my God!’ ”
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