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.”
Jeremiah Laments over Judah
4 “If you will return, O Israel,” says the Lord, “Return to Me; And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, Then you shall not be moved. 2 And you shall swear, ‘The Lord lives,’ In truth, in [f]judgment, and in righteousness; The nations shall bless themselves in Him, And in Him they shall glory.”
3 For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem:
“Break up your [g]fallow ground, And do not sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord, And take away the foreskins of your hearts, You men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Lest My fury come forth like fire, And burn so that no one can quench it, Because of the evil of your doings.”
An Imminent Invasion
5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say:
“Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry, ‘Gather together,’ And say, ‘Assemble yourselves, And let us go into the fortified cities.’ 6 Set up the [h]standard toward Zion. Take refuge! Do not delay! For I will bring disaster from the north, And great destruction.”
7 The lion has come up from his thicket, And the destroyer of nations is on his way. He has gone forth from his place To make your land desolate. Your cities will be laid waste, Without inhabitant. 8 For this, clothe yourself with sackcloth, Lament and wail. For the fierce anger of the Lord Has not turned back from us.
9 “And it shall come to pass in that day,” says the Lord, “That the heart of the king shall perish, And the heart of the princes; The priests shall be astonished, And the prophets shall wonder.”
10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord God! Surely You have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, Saying, ‘You shall have peace,’ Whereas the sword reaches to the [i]heart.”
11 At that time it will be said To this people and to Jerusalem, “A dry wind of the desolate heights blows in the wilderness Toward the daughter of My people— Not to fan or to cleanse— 12 A wind too strong for these will come for Me; Now I will also speak judgment against them.”
13 “Behold, he shall come up like clouds, And his chariots like a whirlwind. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are plundered!”
14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, That you may be saved. How long shall your evil thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan And proclaims [j]affliction from Mount Ephraim: 16 “Make mention to the nations, Yes, proclaim against Jerusalem, That watchers come from a far country And raise their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 Like keepers of a field they are against her all around, Because she has been rebellious against Me,” says the Lord. 18 “Your ways and your doings Have procured these things for you. This is your wickedness, Because it is bitter, Because it reaches to your heart.”
Sorrow for the Doomed Nation
19 O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried, For the whole land is plundered. Suddenly my tents are plundered, And my curtains in a moment. 21 How long will I see the [k]standard, And hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 “For My people are foolish, They have not known Me. They are[l]silly children, And they have no understanding. They are wise to do evil, But to do good they have no knowledge.”
23 I beheld the earth, and indeed it waswithout form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. 25 I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled. 26 I beheld, and indeed the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were broken down At the presence of the Lord, By His fierce anger.
27 For thus says the Lord:
“The whole land shall be desolate; Yet I will not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, And the heavens above be black, Because I have spoken. I have purposed and will not relent, Nor will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee from the noise of the horsemen and bowmen. They shall go into thickets and climb up on the rocks. Every city shall be forsaken, And not a man shall dwell in it.
30 “And when you are plundered, What will you do? Though you clothe yourself with crimson, Though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, Though you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you will make yourself fair; Your lovers will despise you; They will seek your life.
31 “For I have heard a voice as of a woman in [m]labor, The anguish as of her who brings forth her first child, The voice of the daughter of Zion bewailing herself; She spreads her hands, saying, ‘Woe is me now, for my soul is [n]weary Because of murderers!’
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