Wages of Apostasy

If[a] a man divorces his wife
and she leaves him to marry another,
can he ever return to her?(A)
Wouldn’t such a land[b] become totally defiled?
But you!
You have played the prostitute with many partners(B)
can you return to Me?(C)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
Look to the barren heights(D) and see.
Where have you not been immoral?
You sat waiting for them beside the highways(E)
like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land
with your prostitution and wickedness.(F)
This is why the showers haven’t come(G)
why there has been no spring rain.
You have the brazen look(H) of a prostitute[c]
and refuse to be ashamed.(I)
Have you not lately called to Me, “My Father.(J)
You were my friend in my youth.(K)
Will He bear a grudge forever?(L)
Will He be endlessly infuriated?”
This is what you have said,
but you have done the evil things
you are capable of.

Unfaithful Israel, Treacherous Judah

In the days of King Josiah the Lord asked me, “Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there.(M) I thought: After she has done all these things, she will return to Me.(N) But she didn’t return, and her treacherous sister Judah(O) saw it. I[d] observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce.(P) Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself.(Q) Indifferent to[e] her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones(R) and trees.(S) 10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn’t return to Me with all her heart(T)—only in pretense.”

This is the Lord’s declaration.

11 The Lord announced to me, “Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.(U) 12 Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say:

Return, unfaithful Israel.(V)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
I will not look on you with anger,[f]
for I am unfailing in My love.(W)
This is the Lord’s declaration.
I will not be angry forever.(X)
13 Only acknowledge your guilt(Y)
you have rebelled against the Lord your God.(Z)
You have scattered your favors to strangers
under every green tree(AA)
and have not obeyed My voice.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

14 “Return, you faithless children”(AB)—this is the Lord’s declaration—“for I am your master,(AC) and I will take you,(AD) one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds who are loyal to Me,[g](AE) and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. 16 When you multiply and increase in the land,(AF) in those days”—the Lord’s declaration—“no one will say any longer, ‘The ark of the Lord’s covenant.’(AG) It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. It will never again be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem will be called, Yahweh’s Throne,(AH) and all the nations will be gathered to it,(AI) to the name of Yahweh in Jerusalem.(AJ) They will cease to follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join with the house of Israel,(AK) and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit.”(AL)

True Repentance

19 I thought: How I long to make you My sons
and give you a desirable land,
the most beautiful inheritance(AM) of all the nations.
I thought: You will call Me, my Father,
and never turn away from Me.
20 However, as a woman may betray her lover,[h]
so you have betrayed(AN) Me, house of Israel.
This is the Lord’s declaration.

21 A sound is heard on the barren heights,
the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy,
for they have perverted their way;
they have forgotten the Lord their God.(AO)
22 Return, you faithless children.
I will heal your unfaithfulness.(AP)
“Here we are, coming to You,
for You are the Lord our God.
23 Surely, falsehood comes from the hills,
commotion from the mountains,(AQ)
but the salvation of Israel
is only in the Lord our God.(AR)
24 From the time of our youth
the shameful one[i] has consumed
what our fathers have worked for—
their flocks and their herds,
their sons and their daughters.
25 Let us lie down in our shame;
let our disgrace cover us.(AS)
We have sinned against the Lord our God,(AT)
both we and our fathers,
from the time of our youth even to this day.(AU)
We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.”


  1. Jeremiah 3:1 One Hb ms, LXX, Syr; other Hb mss read Saying: If
  2. Jeremiah 3:1 LXX reads woman
  3. Jeremiah 3:3 Lit have a prostitute’s forehead
  4. Jeremiah 3:8 One Hb ms, Syr read She
  5. Jeremiah 3:9 Lit From the lightness of
  6. Jeremiah 3:12 Lit not cause My face to fall on you
  7. Jeremiah 3:15 Lit shepherds according to My heart
  8. Jeremiah 3:20 Lit friend
  9. Jeremiah 3:24 = Baal

“If a man divorces(A) his wife
    and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
    Would not the land be completely defiled?(B)
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers(C)
    would you now return to me?”(D)
declares the Lord.
“Look up to the barren heights(E) and see.
    Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
By the roadside(F) you sat waiting for lovers,
    sat like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land(G)
    with your prostitution(H) and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,(I)
    and no spring rains(J) have fallen.
Yet you have the brazen(K) look of a prostitute;
    you refuse to blush with shame.(L)
Have you not just called to me:
    ‘My Father,(M) my friend from my youth,(N)
will you always be angry?(O)
    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,(P) the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless(Q) Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree(R) and has committed adultery(S) there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister(T) Judah saw it.(U) I gave faithless Israel(V) her certificate of divorce(W) and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;(X) she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land(Y) and committed adultery(Z) with stone(AA) and wood.(AB) 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return(AC) to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,(AD)” declares the Lord.(AE)

11 The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteous(AF) than unfaithful(AG) Judah.(AH) 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:(AI)

“‘Return,(AJ) faithless(AK) Israel,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’(AL) declares the Lord,
    ‘I will not be angry(AM) forever.
13 Only acknowledge(AN) your guilt—
    you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods(AO)
    under every spreading tree,(AP)
    and have not obeyed(AQ) me,’”
declares the Lord.

14 “Return,(AR) faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.(AS) 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(AT) after my own heart,(AU) 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(AV) of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered;(AW) it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne(AX) of the Lord, and all nations(AY) will gather in Jerusalem to honor(AZ) the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.(BA) 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel,(BB) and together(BC) they will come from a northern(BD) land to the land(BE) 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,(BF)
    the most beautiful inheritance(BG) of any nation.’
I thought you would call me ‘Father’(BH)
    and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,
    so you, Israel, have been unfaithful(BI) to me,”
declares the Lord.

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

22 “Return,(BM) faithless people;
    I will cure(BN) you of backsliding.”(BO)

“Yes, we will come to you,
    for you are the Lord our God.
23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills(BP)
    and mountains is a deception;
surely in the Lord our God
    is the salvation(BQ) of Israel.
24 From our youth shameful(BR) 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,(BS)
    and let our disgrace cover us.
We have sinned(BT) against the Lord our God,
    both we and our ancestors;(BU)
from our youth(BV) till this day
    we have not obeyed(BW) the Lord our God.”