The People Continue to Reject the Lord’s Love for Them
The Lord spoke his word to me,
2 “Go and announce to Jerusalem, ‘This is what the Lord says: I remember the unfailing loyalty of your youth, the love you had for me as a bride. I remember how you followed me into the desert, into a land that couldn’t be farmed. 3 Israel was set apart for the Lord. It was the best part of the harvest. All who devoured it became guilty, and disaster struck them,’” declares the Lord.
4 Listen to the Lord’s word, descendants of Jacob, all the families in the nation of Israel. 5 This is what the Lord says: What did your ancestors find wrong with me that they went so far away from me? They followed worthless idols and became worthless themselves. 6 They didn’t ask, “Where is the Lord, who brought us from Egypt? He led us through the desert, through a wasteland and its pits, a land of drought and the shadow of death. No one lives there or travels there.” 7 I brought them into a fertile land to eat its fruit and its produce. They came and made my land unclean.[a] They made my property disgusting. 8 The priests didn’t ask, “Where is the Lord?” Those who deal with my teachings didn’t know me. The rulers rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied in the name of Baal and followed statues that couldn’t help them.
9 “That is why I am bringing charges against you,” declares the Lord, “and I am bringing charges against your grandchildren. 10 Go over to the coasts of Cyprus, and see. Send someone to Kedar, and observe closely. See if there has ever been anything like this. 11 Has any nation ever exchanged gods? (Their gods aren’t really gods.) Yet, my people have exchanged their Glory for something that doesn’t help them. 12 Be horrified over this, heaven. Be terribly afraid,” declares the Lord. 13 “My people have done two things wrong. They have abandoned me, the fountain of life-giving water. They have also dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that can’t hold water.
14 “Are the people of Israel slaves? Were they born into slavery? Why, then, have they become someone’s property? 15 Young lions have roared very loudly at them. Young lions have turned the land into a wasteland. The cities have been burned down, and everyone has left. 16 People from Noph and Tahpanhes have cracked your skulls, Israel. 17 You have brought this on yourself by abandoning the Lord your God when he led you on his way. 18 You won’t gain anything by going to Egypt to drink water from the Nile River. You won’t gain anything by going to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates River. 19 Your own wickedness will correct you, and your unfaithful ways will punish you. You should know and see how evil and bitter it is for you if you abandon the Lord your God and do not fear me,” declares the Almighty Lord of Armies.
20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke,[b] tore off your chains, and said that you wouldn’t be a slave. You lay down and acted like a prostitute on every high hill and under every large tree. 21 I planted you like a choice grapevine from the very best seed. Now you have turned against me and have become a wild vine. 22 Even if you wash with detergent and use a lot of soap, I would still see the stains from your wickedness,” declares the Almighty Lord. 23 “How can you say that you haven’t dishonored yourselves and haven’t followed other gods—the Baals? Look how you’ve behaved in the valley. Acknowledge what you’ve done. You are like a young camel that swiftly runs here and there. 24 You are like a wild donkey that is used to the desert, sniffing the wind while in heat. All who look for you won’t get tired. They will find you during your monthly period. 25 Don’t run until your feet are bare and your throats are dry. But you say that it’s useless. You love foreign gods and follow them.
26 “As a thief feels ashamed when he’s caught, so the nation of Israel will feel ashamed. Their kings, princes, priests, and prophets will also feel ashamed. 27 You call wood your father. You call stone your mother. You’ve turned your backs, not your faces, to me. But when you’re in trouble, you ask me to come and rescue you. 28 Where are the gods that you made for yourselves? Let them come and rescue you when you’re in trouble. You have as many gods as you have cities, Judah!
29 “Why do you complain about me? All of you have rebelled against me,” declares the Lord. 30 “I have punished your children without results. They didn’t respond to correction. You killed my prophets like a raging lion.
31 “Consider the Lord’s word, people of this generation. Haven’t I been a desert, a land of thick darkness, for Israel? Why do my people say that they are free to wander around and no longer come to me? 32 A young woman can’t forget her jewelry or a bride her veils. Yet, my people have forgotten me for countless days. 33 You carefully planned ways to look for love. You taught your ways to wicked women. 34 You have the blood from poor and innocent people on your clothes. You didn’t kill them for breaking into your home. 35 In spite of all this you say, ‘I’m innocent. God will turn his anger from me, because I haven’t sinned.’ 36 You change your mind so easily. You will be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 You will also leave this place with your hands over your head, because the Lord has rejected those you trust. You will not be helped by them.”
Jeremiah 2:7“Unclean” refers to anything that Moses’ Teachings say is not presentable to God.
Jeremiah 2:20A yoke is a wooden bar placed over the necks of work animals so that they can pull plows or carts.
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