2
1The Lord’s word came to me:
2Go and proclaim to the people of Jerusalem,
The Lord proclaims:
I remember your first love,#Or the love of your youth
your devotion as a young bride,
how you followed me in the wilderness,
in an unplanted land.
3Israel was devoted to the Lord,
the early produce of the harvest.
Whoever ate from it became guilty;
disaster overtook them,
declares the Lord.
4Listen to the Lord’s word,
people of Judah,
all you families of the Israelite household.
5This is what the Lord says:
What wrong did your ancestors find in me
that made them wander so far?
They pursued what was worthless
and became worthless.
6They didn’t ask,
"Where’s the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
who led us through the wilderness,
in a land of deserts and ravines,
in a land of drought and darkness,
in a land of no return,
where no one survives?"
7I brought you into a land of plenty,
to enjoy its gifts and goodness,
but you ruined my land;
you disgraced my heritage.
8The priests didn’t ask,
"Where’s the Lord?"
Those responsible for the Instruction didn’t know me;
the leaders rebelled against me;
the prophets spoke in the name of Baal,
going after what has no value.
9That is why I will take you to court
and charge even your descendants,
declares the Lord.
10Look to the west as far as the shores of Cyprus
and to the east as far as the land of Kedar.
Ask anyone there:
Has anything this odd ever taken place?
11Has a nation switched gods,
though they aren’t really gods at all?
Yet my people have exchanged their glory
for what has no value.
12Be stunned at such a thing, you heavens;
shudder and quake,
declares the Lord.
13My people have committed two crimes:
They have forsaken me, the spring of living water.
And they have dug wells, broken wells that can’t hold water.
14Is Israel a slave,
a servant by birth?
If not, why then has he become prey?
15Lions roar at him; they growl.
They destroy his land
and make his towns desolate
until nothing is left.
16As well, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes
lay open your scalp.
17Haven’t you brought this on yourself
by abandoning the Lord your God,
who has directed your paths?
18So why take the path to Egypt
to drink water from the Nile?
Why travel the path to Assyria
to drink water from the Euphrates?
19Your wrongdoing will punish you.
Your acts of unfaithfulness will find you out.
Don’t you understand how terribly bitter
it is to abandon the Lord your God
and not fear me?
declares the Lord of heavenly forces.
20Long ago I broke your yoke;
I shattered your chains.
But even then you said, "I won’t serve you."
On every high hill and under every lush tree,
you have acted like a prostitute.
21Yet it was I who planted you, a precious vine of fine quality;
how could you turn into a wild vine
and become good for nothing?
22Even though you scrub yourself with soap or strong powder,
the stain of your sin is still before me,
declares the Lord God.
23How can you say,
"I’m not dirty;
I haven’t gone after Baals."
Look what you have done in the valley;
consider what you have done there.
You are like a frenzied young camel,
racing around,
24a wild donkey in the wilderness,
lustfully sniffing the wind.
Who can restrain such passion?
Those who desire her need not give up;
with little effort they will find her in heat.
25Don’t run about until your feet are blistered
and your throat is parched.
But you say, "What’s the use?
I have fallen in love with foreign gods,
and I must pursue them."
26As a thief is ashamed when caught in his tracks,
so the people of Israel are ashamed—
their kings, officials, priests, and prophets—
27when they say to a piece of wood, "You are my father,"
and to a stone, "You gave me birth."
They have turned their backs to me
and not their faces.
Yet in their time of trouble they say,
"Arise and save us!"
28Where are the gods
you have made for yourselves?
Let’s see if they will come through for you in your time of trouble.
You have as many gods, Judah,
as you have towns.
29Why would you bring charges against me?
You have all rebelled against me,
declares the Lord.
30I have disciplined your children in vain;
they have rejected my correction.
You have devoured your prophets
like a hungry lion.
31People of this generation, listen closely to the Lord’s word:
Have I been a wasteland to Israel
or a land of dense darkness?
Why then do my people say,
"We have wandered far away;
we’ll come to you no longer"?
32Does a young woman forget her jewelry
or a bride her wedding dress?
Yet you have forgotten me days without end!
33So skilled are you at pursuing lovers#Or love
that you instruct even the most wicked.#Or you have taught your ways to wicked women.
34Your garments are stained
with the blood of the innocent poor,
even though you didn’t catch them
breaking and entering.
Yet, despite all this,#Heb uncertain
35you still insist,
"I’m innocent;
as a result he will turn his anger away from me."
Because you claim not to have sinned,
I will pass judgment against you.
36You change sides so casually!
But Egypt will shame you
no less than Assyria.
37From there you will go out
with your hands on your heads,
because the Lord has rejected those you rely on;
they won’t help you.
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