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1“If a man divorces a woman
and she goes and marries someone else,
he will not take her back again,
for that would surely corrupt the land.
But you have prostituted yourself with many lovers,
so why are you trying to come back to me?”
says the Lord.
2“Look at the shrines on every hilltop.
Is there any place you have not been defiled
by your adultery with other gods?
You sit like a prostitute beside the road waiting for a customer.
You sit alone like a nomad in the desert.
You have polluted the land with your prostitution
and your wickedness.
3That’s why even the spring rains have failed.
For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless.
4Yet you say to me,
‘Father, you have been my guide since my youth.
5Surely you won’t be angry forever!
Surely you can forget about it!’
So you talk,
but you keep on doing all the evil you can.”
Judah Follows Israel’s Example
6During the reign of King Josiah, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what fickle Israel has done? Like a wife who commits adultery, Israel has worshiped other gods on every hill and under every green tree. 7I thought, ‘After she has done all this, she will return to me.’ But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. 8She saw#3:8 As in Dead Sea Scrolls, one Greek manuscript, and Syriac version; Masoretic Text reads I saw. that I divorced faithless Israel because of her adultery. But that treacherous sister Judah had no fear, and now she, too, has left me and given herself to prostitution. 9Israel treated it all so lightly—she thought nothing of committing adultery by worshiping idols made of wood and stone. So now the land has been polluted. 10But despite all this, her faithless sister Judah has never sincerely returned to me. She has only pretended to be sorry. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Hope for Wayward Israel
11Then the Lord said to me, “Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah! 12Therefore, go and give this message to Israel.#3:12 Hebrew toward the north. This is what the Lord says:
“O Israel, my faithless people,
come home to me again,
for I am merciful.
I will not be angry with you forever.
13Only acknowledge your guilt.
Admit that you rebelled against the Lord your God
and committed adultery against him
by worshiping idols under every green tree.
Confess that you refused to listen to my voice.
I, the Lord, have spoken!
14“Return home, you wayward children,”
says the Lord,
“for I am your master.
I will bring you back to the land of Israel#3:14 Hebrew to Zion.
one from this town and two from that family—
from wherever you are scattered.
15And I will give you shepherds after my own heart,
who will guide you with knowledge and understanding.
16“And when your land is once more filled with people,” says the Lord, “you will no longer wish for ‘the good old days’ when you possessed the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant. You will not miss those days or even remember them, and there will be no need to rebuild the Ark. 17In that day Jerusalem will be known as ‘The Throne of the Lord.’ All nations will come there to honor the Lord. They will no longer stubbornly follow their own evil desires. 18In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave your ancestors as an inheritance forever.
19“I thought to myself,
‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’
I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—
the finest possession in the world.
I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’
and I wanted you never to turn from me.
20But you have been unfaithful to me, you people of Israel!
You have been like a faithless wife who leaves her husband.
I, the Lord, have spoken.”
21Voices are heard high on the windswept mountains,
the weeping and pleading of Israel’s people.
For they have chosen crooked paths
and have forgotten the Lord their God.
22“My wayward children,” says the Lord,
“come back to me, and I will heal your wayward hearts.”
“Yes, we’re coming,” the people reply,
“for you are the Lord our God.
23Our worship of idols on the hills
and our religious orgies on the mountains
are a delusion.
Only in the Lord our God
will Israel ever find salvation.
24From childhood we have watched
as everything our ancestors worked for—
their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters—
was squandered on a delusion.
25Let us now lie down in shame
and cover ourselves with dishonor,
for we and our ancestors have sinned
against the Lord our God.
From our childhood to this day
we have never obeyed him.”
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1 "It is commonly said: 'If a man has divorced his wife, and she departs from him, she will marry another man.' So why would he return to her again? Is not that woman polluted and defiled? But you have fornicated yourself with many lovers. Even so, return to me, says the Lord, and I will accept you.
2 Lift your eyes straight up, and see where you did not debase yourself. You were sitting in the roadways, waiting for them, like a robber in the wilderness. And you have polluted the land by your fornications and by your wickedness.
3 For this reason, the rain showers were withheld, and there were no late season rains. You made your face like that of a promiscuous woman; you were not willing to blush.
4 Therefore, at least from this moment on, call out to me: 'You are my father, the guide of my virginity.'
5 Why should you be angry unceasingly? And will you continue in this to the end? Behold, you have spoken and done evil, for you were able to do so."
6 And, in the days of king Josiah, the Lord said to me: "Have you not seen what the apostate Israel has done? She has brought herself up to every lofty mountain, and she has lain down under every leafy tree, and she has committed fornication there.
7 And when she had done all these things, I said: 'Return to me.' But she did not return. And her deceitful sister Judah saw this:
8 that because the apostate Israel had committed adultery, I had dismissed her and had given her a bill of divorce. Yet her deceitful sister Judah was not afraid. But she, too, went and committed fornication herself.
9 And by the act of her fornication, she defiled the land. For she committed adultery with that which is stone and wood.
10 And after all these things, her deceitful sister Judah has not returned to me with her whole heart, but with lies, says the Lord."
11 And the Lord said to me: "The apostate Israel has justified her own soul by comparing herself to the deceitful Judah.
12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and you shall say: Return, O apostate Israel, says the Lord. For I will not avert my face from you. For I am holy, says the Lord, and I will not be angry forever.
13 So then, truly acknowledge your iniquity, that you have betrayed the Lord your God, and that you have spread your ways to strangers, under every leafy tree, and that you have not listened to my voice, says the Lord.
14 Convert, O rebellious sons, says the Lord. For I am your leader. And so, I will take you, one from a city, and two from a family, and I will lead you into Zion.
15 And I will give you pastors according to my own heart. And they will feed you with knowledge and doctrine.
16 And when you have been multiplied and increased in the land in those days, says the Lord, they will no longer say: 'The Ark of the covenant of the Lord!' And it will not enter into the heart, and they will not call it to mind. It will neither be visited, nor made use of, any longer.
17 In that time, Jerusalem will be called: 'The Throne of the Lord.' And all the nations will be gathered to it, in the name of the Lord, in Jerusalem. And they will not walk after the depravity of their own most wicked heart.
18 In those days, the house of Judah will go to the house of Israel, and they will come from the land of the north, at the same time, to the land that I gave to your fathers.
19 But I said: How shall I place you among the sons, and distribute to you a desirable land, the preeminent inheritance of the host of the Gentiles? And I said: You will call me Father, and you will not cease to walk after me.
20 But, in the same way that a woman spurns her lover, so also has the house of Israel spurned me, says the Lord."
21 A voice has been heard in the highways, the weeping and wailing of the sons of Israel. For they have made their own ways sinful; they have forgotten the Lord their God.
22 "Convert, O rebellious sons! And I will heal your rebelliousness." "Behold, we are returning to you. For you are the Lord our God!
23 Truly, the hills were liars, with the multitude of the mountains. Truly, the salvation of Israel is in the Lord our God.
24 Confusion has devoured the labor of our fathers, from our youth, with their flocks and their herds, with their sons and their daughters.
25 We will sleep in our confusion, and our disgrace will cover us. For we have sinned against the Lord our God: we and our fathers, from our youth, even to this day. And we have not listened to the voice of the Lord our God."