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Israel Forsakes the Lord

1 The word of the Lord came to me, saying,
2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the Lord, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest. All who ate of it incurred guilt; disaster came upon them, declares the Lord.”
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the clans of the house of Israel.
5 Thus says the Lord: “What wrong did your fathers find in me that they went far from me, and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
6 They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord who brought us up from the land of Egypt, who led us in the wilderness, in a land of deserts and pits, in a land of drought and deep darkness, in a land that none passes through, where no man dwells?’
7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my land and made my heritage an abomination.
8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who handle the law did not know me; the shepherds1 transgressed against me; the prophets prophesied by Baal and went after things that do not profit.
9 “Therefore I still contend with you, declares the Lord, and with your children’s children I will contend.
10 For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see, or send to Kedar and examine with care; see if there has been such a thing.
11 Has a nation changed its gods, even though they are no gods? But my people have changed their glory for that which does not profit.
12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the Lord,
13 for my people have committed two evils: they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water.
14 “Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant? Why then has he become a prey?
15 The lions have roared against him; they have roared loudly. They have made his land a waste; his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
16 Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have shaved2 the crown of your head.
17 Have you not brought this upon yourself by forsaking the Lord your God, when he led you in the way?
18 And now what do you gain by going to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what do you gain by going to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates?3
19 Your evil will chastise you, and your apostasy will reprove you. Know and see that it is evil and bitter for you to forsake the Lord your God; the fear of me is not in you, declares the Lord God of hosts.
20 “For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore.
21 Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?
22 Though you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is still before me, declares the Lord God.
23 How can you say, ‘I am not unclean, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley; know what you have done— a restless young camel running here and there,
24 a wild donkey used to the wilderness, in her heat sniffing the wind! Who can restrain her lust? None who seek her need weary themselves; in her month they will find her.
25 Keep your feet from going unshod and your throat from thirst. But you said, ‘It is hopeless, for I have loved foreigners, and after them I will go.’
26 “As a thief is shamed when caught, so the house of Israel shall be shamed: they, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets,
27 who say to a tree, ‘You are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ For they have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their trouble they say, ‘Arise and save us!’
28 But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah.
29 “Why do you contend with me? You have all transgressed against me, declares the Lord.
30 In vain have I struck your children; they took no correction; your own sword devoured your prophets like a ravening lion.
31 And you, O generation, behold the word of the Lord. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, or a land of thick darkness? Why then do my people say, ‘We are free, we will come no more to you’?
32 Can a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
33 “How well you direct your course to seek love! So that even to wicked women you have taught your ways.
34 Also on your skirts is found the lifeblood of the guiltless poor; you did not find them breaking in. Yet in spite of all these things
35 you say, ‘I am innocent; surely his anger has turned from me.’ Behold, I will bring you to judgment for saying, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 How much you go about, changing your way! You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria.
37 From it too you will come away with your hands on your head, for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust, and you will not prosper by them.
1 Or rulers
2 Hebrew grazed
3 Hebrew the River

Israel Forsakes God

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem: “This is what the Lord says: “ ‘I remember the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved me and followed me through the wilderness, through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the Lord, the firstfruits of his harvest; all who devoured her were held guilty, and disaster overtook them,’ ” declares the Lord.
4 Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob, all you clans of Israel.
5 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 and became worthless themselves.
6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, a land of drought and utter darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
7 I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?’ Those who deal with the law did not know me; the leaders rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal, following worthless idols.
9 “Therefore I bring charges against you again,” declares the Lord. “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look, send to Kedar1 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 at all.) But my people have exchanged their glorious 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 me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth? Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared; they have growled at him. They have laid waste his land; his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves by forsaking the Lord your God when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt to drink water from the Nile2? And why go to Assyria to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you; your backsliding will rebuke you. Consider then and realize how evil and bitter it is for you when you forsake the Lord your God and have no awe of me,” declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.
20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke and tore off your bonds; you said, ‘I will not serve you!’ Indeed, on every high hill and under every spreading tree you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine of sound and reliable stock. How then did you turn against me into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap and use an abundance of cleansing powder, the stain of your guilt is still before me,” declares the Sovereign Lord.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? See how you behaved in the valley; consider what you have done. You are a swift she-camel running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert, 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! I love foreign gods, and I must go after them.’
26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught, so the people of Israel are disgraced— they, their kings and their officials, their priests and their prophets.
27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’ They have turned their backs to me and not their faces; yet when they are in trouble, they say, ‘Come and save us!’
28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come if they can save you when you are in trouble! For you, Judah, have as many gods as you have towns.
29 “Why do you bring charges against me? You have all rebelled against me,” declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I punished your people; they did not respond to correction. Your sword has devoured your prophets 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? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam; we will come to you no more’?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry, a bride her wedding ornaments? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing love! Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found the lifeblood of the innocent poor, though you did not catch them breaking in. Yet in spite of all this
35 you say, ‘I am innocent; he is not angry with me.’ But I will pass judgment on you because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you go about so much, changing your ways? You will be disappointed by Egypt as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place with your hands on your head, for the Lord has rejected those you trust; you will not be helped by them.
1 In the Syro-Arabian desert
2 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile
3 Hebrew the River
1 Moreover the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.
3 Israel was holiness unto the LORD, and the firstfruits of his increase: all that devour him shall offend; evil shall come upon them, saith the LORD.
4 Hear ye the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel:
5 Thus saith the LORD, What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they are gone far from me, and have walked after vanity, and are become vain?
6 Neither said they, Where is the LORD that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought, and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?
7 And I brought you into a plentiful country, to eat the fruit thereof and the goodness thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled my land, and made mine heritage an abomination.
8 The priests said not, Where is the LORD? and they that handle the law knew me not: the pastors also transgressed against me, and the prophets prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.
9 Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith the LORD, and with your children' children will I plead.
10 For pass over the isles of Chittim, and see; and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there be such a thing.
11 Hath a nation changed their gods, which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit.
12 Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD.
13 For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
14 Is Israel a servant? is he a homeborn slave ? why is he spoiled?
15 The young lions roared upon him, and yelled, and they made his land waste: his cities are burned without inhabitant.
16 Also the children of Noph and Tahapanes have broken the crown of thy head.
17 Hast thou not procured this unto thyself, in that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, when he led thee by the way?
18 And now what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river?
19 Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.
20 For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands; and thou saidst, I will not transgress; when upon every high hill and under every green tree thou wanderest, playing the harlot.
21 Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed: how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto me?
22 For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before me, saith the Lord GOD.
23 How canst thou say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after Baalim? see thy way in the valley, know what thou hast done: thou art a swift dromedary traversing her ways;
24 A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind at her pleasure; in her occasion who can turn her away? all they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.
25 Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst: but thou saidst, There is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.
26 As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets,
27 Saying to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou hast brought me forth: for they have turned their back unto me, and not their face: but in the time of their trouble they will say, Arise, and save us.
28 But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble: for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.
29 Wherefore will ye plead with me? ye all have transgressed against me, saith the LORD.
30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.
31 O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?
32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.
33 Why trimmest thou thy way to seek love? therefore hast thou also taught the wicked ones thy ways.
34 Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents: I have not found it by secret search, but upon all these.
35 Yet thou sayest, Because I am innocent, surely his anger shall turn from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, because thou sayest, I have not sinned.
36 Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way? thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of Assyria.
37 Yea, thou shalt go forth from him, and thine hands upon thine head: for the LORD hath rejected thy confidences, and thou shalt not prosper in them.
1 In the Syro-Arabian desert
2 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile
3 Hebrew the River

Israel Deserts the Lord

1 A message came to me from the Lord. He said,
2 “Go. Announce my message to the people in Jerusalem. I want everyone to hear it. Tell them, “ ‘I remember how faithful you were to me when you were young. You loved me as if you were my bride. You followed me through the desert. Nothing had been planted there.
3 Your people were holy to me. They were the first share of my harvest. All those who destroyed them were held guilty. And trouble came to their enemies,’ ” announces the Lord.
4 People of Jacob, hear the Lord's message. Listen, all you tribes of Israel.
5 The Lord says, “What did your people find wrong with me? Why did they wander so far away from me? They worshiped worthless statues of gods. Then they themselves became worthless.
6 They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord? He brought us up out of Egypt. He led us through a dry and empty land. He guided us through deserts and deep valleys. It was a land of darkness where there wasn't any rain. No one lived or traveled there.’
7 But I brought you into a land that has rich soil. I gave you its fruit and its finest food. In spite of that, you polluted my land. You turned it into something I hate.
8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord?' Those who taught my law did not know me. The leaders refused to obey me. The prophets prophesied in the name of Baal. They worshiped worthless statues of gods.
9 “So I am bringing charges against you again,” announces the Lord. “And I will bring charges against your children's children.
10 Go over to the coasts of the western nations and look. Send people to the land of Kedar and have them look closely. See if there has ever been anything like this.
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods? Actually, they are not even gods at all. But my people have traded away their glorious God. They have traded me for worthless statues of gods.
12 Sky above, be shocked over that. Tremble with horror,” announces the Lord.
13 “My people have sinned twice. They have deserted me, even though I am the spring of water that gives life. And they have dug their own wells. But those wells are broken. They can't hold any water.
14 Are you people of Israel servants? You were not born as slaves, were you? Then why have you been carried off like stolen goods?
15 Lions have roared. They have growled at you. They have destroyed your land. Your towns are burned and deserted.
16 The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have shaved your heads to dishonor you.
17 Haven't you brought that on yourselves? I am the Lord your God, but you deserted me. You left me even while I was leading you.
18 Why do you go to Egypt to drink water from the Shihor River? Why do you go to Assyria to drink from the Euphrates River?
19 You will be punished because you have sinned. You will be corrected for turning away from me. I am the Lord your God. If you desert me, bad things will happen to you. If you do not respect me, you will suffer bitterly. I want you to understand that,” announces the Lord who rules over all.
20 “Long ago you broke off the yoke I put on you. You tore off the ropes I tied you up with. You said, ‘I won't serve you!’ In fact, on every high hill you lay down like a prostitute. You worshiped other gods under every green tree.
21 You were like a good vine when I planted you. You were a healthy plant. Then how did you turn against me? How did you become a bad, wild vine?
22 You might wash yourself with baking soda. You might use plenty of soap. But I can still see the stains your guilt covers you with,” announces the Lord and King.
23 “You say, ‘I am “clean.” I haven't followed the gods that are named after Baal.’ How can you say that? Remember how you acted in the valley. Consider what you have done. You are like a female camel running quickly here and there.
24 You are like a wild donkey that lives in the desert. She smells the wind when she longs for a mate. Who can hold her back? The males that run after her do not need to wear themselves out. At mating time they will easily find her.
25 Do not run after other gods until your sandals are worn out and your throat is dry. But you said, ‘It's no use! I love those gods. I must go after them.’
26 “A thief is dishonored when he is caught. And you people of Israel are filled with shame. Your kings and officials are dishonored. So are your priests and your prophets.
27 You say to a piece of wood, ‘You are my father.’ You say to a stone, ‘You are my mother.’ You have turned your backs to me. You refuse to look at me. But when you are in trouble, you say, ‘Come and save us!’
28 So where are the gods you made for yourselves? Let them come when you are in trouble! Let them save you if they can! Judah, you have as many gods as you have towns.
29 “Why do you bring charges against me? All of you have refused to obey me,” announces the Lord.
30 “I punished your people. But it did not do them any good. They did not pay attention when they were corrected. You have killed your prophets with swords. You have swallowed them up like a hungry lion.
31 “You who are now living, consider my message. I am saying, “Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been like a land of deep darkness? Why do my people say, ‘We are free to wander. We won't come to you anymore’?
32 Does a young woman forget all about her jewelry? Does a bride forget her wedding jewels? But my people have forgotten me more days than anyone can count.
33 You are very skilled at chasing after love! Even the worst of women can learn from how you act.
34 The blood of those you have killed is on your clothes. You have destroyed poor people who were not guilty. You did not catch them in the act of breaking in. In spite of all of that,
35 you say, ‘I'm not guilty of doing anything wrong. The Lord isn't angry with me.’ But I will judge you. That is because you say, ‘I haven't sinned.’
36 Why do you keep on changing your ways so much? Assyria did not help you. And Egypt will not help you either.
37 So you will also leave Egypt with your hands tied together above your heads. I have turned my back on those you trust. They will not help you.
1 In the Syro-Arabian desert
2 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile
3 Hebrew the River
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