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.

“If a man divorces(CQ) his wife
    and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
    Would not the land be completely defiled?(CR)
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers(CS)
    would you now return to me?”(CT)
declares the Lord.
“Look up to the barren heights(CU) and see.
    Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
By the roadside(CV) you sat waiting for lovers,
    sat like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land(CW)
    with your prostitution(CX) and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,(CY)
    and no spring rains(CZ) have fallen.
Yet you have the brazen(DA) look of a prostitute;
    you refuse to blush with shame.(DB)
Have you not just called to me:
    ‘My Father,(DC) my friend from my youth,(DD)
will you always be angry?(DE)
    Will your wrath continue forever?’
This is how you talk,
    but you do all the evil you can.”

Unfaithful Israel

During the reign of King Josiah,(DF) the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless(DG) Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree(DH) and has committed adultery(DI) there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister(DJ) Judah saw it.(DK) I gave faithless Israel(DL) her certificate of divorce(DM) and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;(DN) she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land(DO) and committed adultery(DP) with stone(DQ) and wood.(DR) 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return(DS) to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,(DT)” declares the Lord.(DU)

11 The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous(DV) than unfaithful(DW) Judah.(DX) 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:(DY)

“‘Return,(DZ) faithless(EA) Israel,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’(EB) declares the Lord,
    ‘I will not be angry(EC) forever.
13 Only acknowledge(ED) your guilt—
    you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods(EE)
    under every spreading tree,(EF)
    and have not obeyed(EG) me,’”
declares the Lord.

14 “Return,(EH) faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.(EI) I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds(EJ) after my own heart,(EK) who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The ark(EL) of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered;(EM) it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne(EN) of the Lord, and all nations(EO) will gather in Jerusalem to honor(EP) the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.(EQ) 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel,(ER) and together(ES) they will come from a northern(ET) land to the land(EU) I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

19 “I myself said,

“‘How gladly would I treat you like my children
    and give you a pleasant land,(EV)
    the most beautiful inheritance(EW) of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’(EX)
    and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
    so you, Israel, have been unfaithful(EY) to me,”
declares the Lord.

21 A cry is heard on the barren heights,(EZ)
    the weeping(FA) and pleading of the people of Israel,
because they have perverted their ways
    and have forgotten(FB) the Lord their God.

22 “Return,(FC) faithless people;
    I will cure(FD) you of backsliding.”(FE)

“Yes, we will come to you,
    for you are the Lord our God.
23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills(FF)
    and mountains is a deception;
surely in the Lord our God
    is the salvation(FG) of Israel.
24 From our youth shameful(FH) gods have consumed
    the fruits of our ancestors’ labor—
their flocks and herds,
    their sons and daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame,(FI)
    and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned(FJ) against the Lord our God,
    both we and our ancestors;(FK)
from our youth(FL) till this day
    we have not obeyed(FM) the Lord our God.”

Footnotes

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

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