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Jeremiah 2Common English Bible (CEB)

God’s people abandon their God

The Lord’s word came to me:
Go and proclaim to the people of Jerusalem,
The Lord proclaims:
I remember your first love,[a]
    your devotion as a young bride,
    how you followed me in the wilderness,
    in an unplanted land.
Israel was devoted to the Lord,
    the early produce of the harvest.
Whoever ate from it became guilty;
    disaster overtook them,
        declares the Lord.
Listen to the Lord’s word,
    people of Judah,
    all you families of the Israelite household.

This is what the Lord says:

What wrong did your ancestors find in me
    that made them wander so far?
They pursued what was worthless
    and became worthless.
They didn’t ask,
    “Where’s the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
        who led us through the wilderness,
        in a land of deserts and ravines,
        in a land of drought and darkness,
        in a land of no return,
            where no one survives?”
I brought you into a land of plenty,
    to enjoy its gifts and goodness,
        but you ruined my land;
        you disgraced my heritage.
The priests didn’t ask,
    “Where’s the Lord?”
Those responsible for the Instruction didn’t know me;
    the leaders rebelled against me;
    the prophets spoke in the name of Baal,
        going after what has no value.
That is why I will take you to court
    and charge even your descendants,
        declares the Lord.
10 Look to the west as far as the shores of Cyprus
    and to the east as far as the land of Kedar.
Ask anyone there:
    Has anything this odd ever taken place?
11     Has a nation switched gods,
        though they aren’t really gods at all?
Yet my people have exchanged their glory
    for what has no value.
12 Be stunned at such a thing, you heavens;
    shudder and quake,
        declares the Lord.
13 My people have committed two crimes:
    They have forsaken me, the spring of living water.
    And they have dug wells, broken wells that can’t hold water.

14 Is Israel a slave,
    a servant by birth?
    If not, why then has he become prey?
15 Lions roar at him; they growl.
    They destroy his land
        and make his towns desolate
        until nothing is left.
16 As well, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes
    lay open your scalp.
17 Haven’t you brought this on yourself
    by abandoning the Lord your God,
        who has directed your paths?
18 So why take the path to Egypt
    to drink water from the Nile?
Why travel the path to Assyria
    to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wrongdoing will punish you.
    Your acts of unfaithfulness will find you out.
Don’t you understand how terribly bitter
    it is to abandon the Lord your God
    and not fear me?
        declares the Lord of heavenly forces.
20 Long ago I broke your yoke;
    I shattered your chains.
    But even then you said, “I won’t serve you.”
On every high hill and under every lush tree,
    you have acted like a prostitute.
21 Yet it was I who planted you, a precious vine of fine quality;
    how could you turn into a wild vine
        and become good for nothing?
22 Even though you scrub yourself with soap or strong powder,
    the stain of your sin is still before me,
        declares the Lord God.
23 How can you say,
    “I’m not dirty;
    I haven’t gone after Baals.”
Look what you have done in the valley;
    consider what you have done there.
You are like a frenzied young camel,
    racing around,
24     a wild donkey in the wilderness,
    lustfully sniffing the wind.
Who can restrain such passion?
    Those who desire her need not give up;
    with little effort they will find her in heat.
25 Don’t run about until your feet are blistered
    and your throat is parched.
But you say, “What’s the use?
    I have fallen in love with foreign gods,
        and I must pursue them.”
26 As a thief is ashamed when caught in his tracks,
    so the people of Israel are ashamed—
        their kings, officials, priests, and prophets—
27     when they say to a piece of wood, “You are my father,”
        and to a stone, “You gave me birth.”
They have turned their backs to me
    and not their faces.
Yet in their time of trouble they say,
    “Arise and save us!”
28 Where are the gods
        you have made for yourselves?
    Let’s see if they will come through for you in your time of trouble.
    You have as many gods, Judah,
        as you have towns.
29 Why would you bring charges against me?
You have all rebelled against me,
        declares the Lord.
30 I have disciplined your children in vain;
    they have rejected my correction.
You have devoured your prophets
    like a hungry lion.
31 People of this generation, listen closely to the Lord’s word:
Have I been a wasteland to Israel
    or a land of dense darkness?
Why then do my people say,
    “We have wandered far away;
    we’ll come to you no longer”?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry
    or a bride her wedding dress?
Yet you have forgotten me days without end!
33     So skilled are you at pursuing lovers[b]
        that you instruct even the most wicked.[c]
34 Your garments are stained
    with the blood of the innocent poor,
        even though you didn’t catch them
        breaking and entering.
Yet, despite all this,[d]
35 you still insist,
    “I’m innocent;
        as a result he will turn his anger away from me.”
Because you claim not to have sinned,
    I will pass judgment against you.
36 You change sides so casually!
    But Egypt will shame you
    no less than Assyria.
37 From there you will go out
    with your hands on your heads,
        because the Lord has rejected those you rely on;
        they won’t help you.


  1. Jeremiah 2:2 Or the love of your youth
  2. Jeremiah 2:33 Or love
  3. Jeremiah 2:33 Or you have taught your ways to wicked women.
  4. Jeremiah 2:34 Heb uncertain
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible


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