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Jeremiah 2-4

New American Standard Bible

Chapter 2

1 Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying,
2 'Go and proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, ‘This is what the LORD says: 'I remember regarding you the devotion of your youth, Your love when you were a bride, Your following after Me in the wilderness, Through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to the LORD, The first of His harvest. All who ate of it became guilty; Evil came upon them,' declares the LORD.’?'
4 Hear the word of the LORD, house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel.
5 This is what the LORD says: 'What injustice did your fathers find in Me, That they went far from Me, And walked after emptiness and became empty? 6 They did not say, ‘Where is the LORD Who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, Who led us through the wilderness, Through a land of deserts and of pits, Through a land of drought and of deep darkness, Through a land that no one crossed And where no person lived?’ 7 I brought you into the fruitful land To eat its fruit and its good things. But you came and defiled My land, And you made My inheritance an abomination. 8 The priests did not say, ‘Where is the LORD?’ And those who handle the Law did not know Me; The rulers also revolted against Me, And the prophets prophesied by Baal And walked after things that were of no benefit. 9 'Therefore I will still contend with you,' declares the LORD, 'And I will contend with your sons’ sons. 10 For cross to the coastlands of Kittim and see, And send to Kedar and observe closely, And see if there has been anything like this! 11 Has a nation changed gods, When they were not gods? But My people have exchanged their glory For that which is of no benefit. 12 Be appalled at this, you heavens, And shudder, be very desolate,' declares the LORD. 13 'For My people have committed two evils: They have abandoned Me, The fountain of living waters, To carve out for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns That do not hold water. 14 'Is Israel a slave? Or is he a servant born in the home? Why has he become plunder? 15 The young lions have roared at him, They have roared loudly. And they have made his land a waste; His cities have been destroyed, without inhabitant. 16 Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes Have shaved your head. 17 Have you not done this to yourself By your abandoning the LORD your God When He led you in the way? 18 But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt, Except to drink the waters of the Nile? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, Except to drink the waters of the Euphrates River? 19 Your own wickedness will correct you, And your apostasies will punish you; Know therefore and see that it is evil and bitter For you to abandon the LORD your God, And the fear of Me is not in you,' declares the Lord GOD of armies. 20 'For long ago I broke your yoke And tore off your restraints; But you said, ‘I will not serve!’ For on every high hill And under every leafy tree You have lain down as a prostitute. 21 Yet I planted you as a choice vine, A completely faithful seed. How then have you turned yourself before Me Into the degenerate shoots of a foreign vine? 22 Although you wash yourself with lye And use much soap, The stain of your guilt is before Me,' declares the Lord GOD. 23 'How can you say, ‘I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baals’? Look at your way in the valley! Know what you have done! You are a swift young camel running about senselessly on her ways, 24 A wild donkey accustomed to the wilderness, That sniffs the wind in her passion. Who can turn her away in her mating season? None who seek her will grow weary; In her month they will find her. 25 Keep your feet from being bare, And your throat from thirst; But you said, ‘It is hopeless! No! For I have loved strangers, And I will walk after them.’ 26 'Like the shame of a thief when he is discovered, So the house of Israel is shamed; They, their kings, their leaders, 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 backs to Me, And not their faces; But in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘Arise and save us!’ 28 But where are your gods Which you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you In the time of your trouble! For as many as the number of your cities Are your gods, Judah. 29 'Why do you contend with Me? You have all revolted against Me,' declares the LORD. 30 'In vain I have struck your sons; They did not accept discipline. Your sword has devoured your prophets Like a destroying lion. 31 You generation, look to the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness to Israel, Or a land of thick darkness? Why do My people say, ‘We are free to roam; We will no longer come to You’? 32 Can a virgin forget her jewelry, Or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me For days without number. 33 How well you prepare your way To seek love! Therefore even to the wicked women You have taught your ways. 34 Also on your skirts is found The lifeblood of the innocent poor; You did not find them breaking in. But in spite of all these things, 35 You said, ‘I am innocent; Surely His anger is turned away from me.’ Behold, I will enter into judgment with you Because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ 36 Why do you go around so much Changing your way? Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt, Just as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 From this place as well you will go out With your hands on your head; For the LORD has rejected those in whom you trust, And you will not prosper with them.'

Chapter 3

1 God says, 'If a husband divorces his wife And she leaves him And becomes another man’s wife, Will he return to her again? Would that land not be completely defiled? But you are a prostitute with many lovers; Yet you turn to Me,' declares the LORD. 2 'Raise your eyes to the bare heights and see; Where have you not been violated? You have sat for them by the roads Like an Arab in the desert, And you have defiled a land With your prostitution and your wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, And there has been no spring rain. Yet you had a prostitute’s forehead; You refused to be ashamed. 4 Have you not just now called to Me, ‘My Father, You are the friend of my youth?
5 Will He be angry forever, Or keep His anger to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken And have done evil things, And you have had your own way.'
6 Then the LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah, 'Have you seen what faithless Israel did? She went up on every high hill and under every leafy tree, and she prostituted herself there. 7 Yet I thought, ‘After she has done all these things she will return to Me’; but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw that for all the adulteries of faithless Israel, I had sent her away and given her a certificate of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear; but she went and prostituted herself also. 9 And because of the thoughtlessness of her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. 10 Yet in spite of all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to Me with all her heart, but rather in deception,' declares the LORD.
11 And the LORD said to me, 'Faithless Israel has proved herself to be more righteous than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north and say, ‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not look at you in anger. For I am gracious,’ declares the LORD; ‘I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your wrongdoing, That you have revolted against the LORD your God, And have scattered your favors to the strangers under every leafy tree, And you have not obeyed My voice,’ declares the LORD.
14 ‘Return, you faithless sons,’ declares the LORD; ‘For I am a master to you, And I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, And bring you to Zion.’
15 'Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall be in those days when you become numerous and are fruitful in the land,' declares the LORD, 'they will no longer say, ‘The ark of the covenant of the LORD.’ And it will not come to mind, nor will they remember it, nor miss it, nor will it be made again. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem ‘The Throne of the LORD,’ and all the nations will assemble at it, at Jerusalem, for the name of the LORD; and they will no longer follow the stubbornness of their evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah will walk with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers as an inheritance.
19 'Then I said, ‘How I would set you among My sons And give you a pleasant land, The most beautiful inheritance of the nations!’ And I said, ‘You shall call Me, My Father, And not turn away from following Me.’
20 However, as a woman treacherously leaves her lover, So you have dealt treacherously with Me, House of Israel,' declares the LORD. 21 A voice is heard on the bare heights, The weeping, the pleading of the sons of Israel. Because they have perverted their way, They have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 'Return, you faithless sons, I will heal your faithlessness.' 'Behold, we come to You; For You are the LORD our God.
23 Certainly the hills are a deception, Commotion on the mountains. Certainly in the LORD our God Is the salvation of Israel.
24 'But the shame has consumed the product of our fathers’ labor since our youth—their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our humiliation 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 obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.'

Chapter 4

1 'If you will return, Israel,' declares the LORD, 'Then you should return to Me. And if you will put away your detestable things from My presence, And will not waver,
2 And if you will swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ In truth, in justice, and in righteousness; Then the nations will bless themselves in Him, And in Him they will boast.'
3 For this is what the LORD says to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem: 'Break up your uncultivated ground, And do not sow among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD And remove the foreskins of your hearts, Men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, Or else My wrath will spread like fire And burn with no one to quench it, Because of the evil of your deeds.' 5 Declare in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, 'Blow the trumpet in the land; Cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble, and let’s go Into the fortified cities.’ 6 Raise a flag toward Zion! Take refuge, do not stand still, For I am bringing evil from the north, And great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, And a destroyer of nations has set out; He has gone out from his place To make your land a waste. Your cities will be ruins, Without an inhabitant.
8 For this, put on sackcloth, Mourn and wail; For the fierce anger of the LORD Has not turned away from us.'
9 'And it shall come about on that day,' declares the LORD, 'that the heart of the king and the hearts of the leaders will fail; and the priests will tremble, and the prophets will be astonished.'
10 Then I said, 'Oh, Lord GOD! Surely You have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘You will have peace’; yet a sword touches the throat.'
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, 'A scorching wind from the bare heights in the wilderness, in the direction of the daughter of My people—not to winnow and not to cleanse, 12 a wind too strong for this—will come at My command; now I will also pronounce judgments against them.'
13 'Behold, he goes up like clouds, And his chariots like the whirlwind; His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined!' 14 Wash your heart from evil, Jerusalem, So that you may be saved. How long will your wicked thoughts Lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan, And proclaims wickedness from Mount Ephraim. 16 'Report it to the nations, now! Proclaim to Jerusalem, ‘Enemies are coming from a remote country, And they raise their voices against the cities of Judah. 17 Like watchmen of a field they are against her all around, Because she has rebelled against Me,’ declares the LORD. 18 Your ways and your deeds Have brought these things upon you. This is your evil. How bitter! How it has touched your heart!' 19 My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot keep silent, Because, my soul, you have heard The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war. 20 Disaster upon disaster is proclaimed, For the whole land is devastated; Suddenly my tents are devastated, And my curtains in an instant. 21 How long must I see the flag And hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 'For My people are foolish, They do not know Me; They are foolish children And have no understanding. They are skillful at doing evil, But they do not know how to do good.' 23 I looked at the earth, and behold, it was a formless and desolate emptiness; And to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, And all the hills jolted back and forth. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no human, And all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a wilderness, And all its cities were pulled down Before the LORD, before His fierce anger. 27 For this is what the LORD says: 'The whole land shall be a desolation, Yet I will not execute a complete destruction. 28 For this the earth will mourn, And the heavens above will become dark, Because I have spoken, I have purposed, And I have not changed My mind, nor will I turn from it.' 29 At the sound of the horseman and archer every city flees; They go into the thickets and climb among the rocks; Every city is abandoned, And no one lives in them. 30 And you, desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you adorn yourself with jewelry of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with makeup, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your lovers despise you; They seek your life. 31 For I heard a voice cry as of a woman in labor, The anguish as of one giving birth to her first child. The voice of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, Stretching out her hands, saying, 'Ah, woe to me, for I faint before murderers.'
King James Version

Chapter 2

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's 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.

Chapter 3

1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD. 2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed. 4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth? 5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
6 The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot. 7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. 9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD. 11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
12 Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever. 13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD. 14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: 15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more. 17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart. 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 for an inheritance unto your fathers. 19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
20 Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD. 21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art 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 hath devoured the labour 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 confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.

Chapter 4

1 If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the LORD, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove. 2 And thou shalt swear, The LORD liveth, in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
3 For thus saith the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem, Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart, ye men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my fury come forth like fire, and burn that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
5 Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities. 6 Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction. 7 The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. 8 For this gird you with sackcloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the LORD is not turned back from us. 9 And it shall come to pass at that day, saith the LORD, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes; and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. 10 Then said I, Ah, Lord GOD! surely thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, Ye shall have peace; whereas the sword reacheth unto the soul. 11 At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, 12 Even a full wind from those places shall come unto me: now also will I give sentence against them. 13 Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled. 14 O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? 15 For a voice declareth from Dan, and publisheth affliction from mount Ephraim. 16 Make ye mention to the nations; behold, publish against Jerusalem, that watchers come from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. 17 As keepers of a field, are they against her round about; because she hath been rebellious against me, saith the LORD. 18 Thy way and thy doings have procured these things unto thee; this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reacheth unto thine heart.
19 My bowels, my bowels! I am pained at my very heart; my heart maketh a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Destruction upon destruction is cried; for the whole land is spoiled: suddenly are my tents spoiled, and my curtains in a moment. 21 How long shall I see the standard, and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 For my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are sottish children, and they have none understanding: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge. 23 I beheld the earth, and, lo, it was without form, and void; and the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I beheld the mountains, and, lo, they trembled, and all the hills moved lightly. 25 I beheld, and, lo, there was no man, and all the birds of the heavens were fled. 26 I beheld, and, lo, the fruitful place was a wilderness, and all the cities thereof were broken down at the presence of the LORD, and by his fierce anger. 27 For thus hath the LORD said, The whole land shall be desolate; yet will I not make a full end. 28 For this shall the earth mourn, and the heavens above be black: because I have spoken it, I have purposed it, and will not repent, neither will I turn back from it. 29 The whole city shall flee for the noise of the horsemen and bowmen; they shall go into thickets, and climb up upon the rocks: every city shall be forsaken, and not a man dwell therein. 30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life. 31 For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, and the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands, saying, Woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers.
Christian Standard Bible

Chapter 2

1 The word of the Lord came to me:
2 "Go and announce directly to Jerusalem that this is what the Lord says: I remember the loyalty 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 found themselves guilty; disaster came on them." This is the Lord's declaration. 4 Hear the word of the Lord, house of Jacob and all families of the house of Israel. 5 This is what the Lord says: What fault did your ancestors find in me that they went so far from me, followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves? 6 They stopped asking, "Where is the Lord who brought us from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and ravines, through a land of drought and darkness, a land no one traveled through and where no one lived? " 7 I brought you to a fertile land to eat its fruit and bounty, but after you entered, you defiled my land; you made my inheritance detestable.
8 The priests quit asking, "Where is the Lord? " The experts in the law no longer knew me, and the rulers rebelled against me. The prophets prophesied by Baal and followed useless idols.
9 Therefore, I will bring a case against you again. This is the Lord's declaration. I will bring a case against your children's children. 10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and take a look. Send someone to Kedar and consider carefully; see if there has ever been anything like this: 11 Has a nation ever exchanged its gods? (But they were not gods!) Yet my people have exchanged their Glory for useless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly desolated! This is the Lord's declaration. 13 For my people have committed a double evil: They have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves-- cracked cisterns that cannot hold water. 14 Is Israel a slave? Was he born into slavery? Why else has he become a prey? 15 The young lions have roared at him; they have roared loudly. They have laid waste his land. His cities are in ruins, without inhabitants. 16 The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have also broken your skull. 17 Have you not brought this on yourself by abandoning the Lord your God while he was leading you along the way? 18 Now what will you gain by traveling along the way to Egypt to drink the water of the Nile? What will you gain by traveling along the way to Assyria to drink the water of the Euphrates?
19 Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Recognize how evil and bitter it is for you to abandon the Lord your God and to have no fear of me. This is the declaration of the Lord God of Armies.
20 For long ago I broke your yoke; I tore off your chains. You insisted, "I will not serve! " On every high hill and under every green tree you lay down like a prostitute.
21 I planted you, a choice vine from the very best seed. How then could you turn into a degenerate, foreign vine?
22 Even if you wash with lye and use a great amount of bleach, the stain of your iniquity is still in front of me. This is the Lord God's declaration. 23 How can you protest, "I am not defiled; I have not followed the Baals"? Look at your behavior in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. You are a swift young camel twisting and turning on her way, 24 a wild donkey at home in the wilderness. She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire. Who can control her passion? All who look for her will not become weary; they will find her in her mating season.
25 Keep your feet from going bare and your throat from thirst. But you say, "It's hopeless; I love strangers, and I will continue to follow them." 26 Like the shame of a thief when he is caught, so the house of Israel has been put to shame. They, their kings, their officials, their priests, and their prophets 27 say to a tree, "You are my father," and to a stone, "You gave birth to me." For they have turned their back to me and not their face, yet in their time of disaster they beg, "Rise up and save us! " 28 But where are your gods you made for yourself? Let them rise up and save you in your time of disaster if they can, for your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.
29 Why do you bring a case against me? All of you have rebelled against me. This is the Lord's declaration. 30 I have struck down your children in vain; they would not accept discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets like a ravaging lion. 31 Evil generation, pay attention to the word of the Lord! Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why do my people claim, "We will go where we want; we will no longer come to you"? 32 Can a young woman forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding sash? Yet my people have forgotten me for countless days. 33 How skillfully you pursue love; you also teach evil women your ways. 34 Moreover, your skirts are stained with the blood of the innocent poor. You did not catch them breaking and entering. But in spite of all these things 35 you claim, "I am innocent. His anger is sure to turn away from me." But I will certainly judge you because you have said, "I have not sinned." 36 How unstable you are, constantly changing your ways! You will be put to shame by Egypt just as you were put to shame by Assyria. 37 Moreover, you will be led out from here with your hands on your head since the Lord has rejected those you trust; you will not succeed even with their help.

Chapter 3

1 If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn't such a land become totally defiled? But you! You have prostituted yourself with many partners -- can you return to me? This is the Lord's declaration. 2 Look to the barren heights and see. Where have you not been immoral? You sat waiting for them beside the highways like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. 3 This is why the showers haven't come -- why there has been no spring rain. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to be ashamed. 4 Haven't you recently called to me, "My Father! You were my friend in my youth. 5 Will he bear a grudge forever? Will he be endlessly infuriated? " This is what you have said, but you have done the evil things you are capable of.
6 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. 7 I thought, 'After she has done all these things, she will return to me.' But she didn't return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself. 9 Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees.
10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn't return to me with all her heart--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.
12 Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say, 'Return, unfaithful Israel. This is the Lord's declaration. I will not look on you with anger, for I am unfailing in my love. This is the Lord's declaration. I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt -- you have rebelled against the Lord your God. You have scattered your favors to strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed me. This is the Lord's declaration.
14 " 'Return, you faithless children--this is the Lord's declaration--for I am your master, and I will take you, 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, and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. 16 When you multiply and increase in the land, in those days--this is the Lord's declaration--no one will say again, "The ark of the Lord's covenant." It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. Another one will not be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem will be called The Lord's Throne, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord in Jerusalem. 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, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit.' "
19 I thought, "How I long to make you my sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance 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, so you have betrayed 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.
22 Return, you faithless children. I will heal your unfaithfulness. "Here we are, coming to you, for you are the Lord our God. 23 Surely, falsehood comes from the hills, commotion from the mountains, but the salvation of Israel is only in the Lord our God. 24 From the time of our youth the shameful one has consumed what our ancestors 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. We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our ancestors, from the time of our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the Lord our God."

Chapter 4

1 If you return, Israel -- this is the Lord's declaration -- you will return to me, if you remove your abhorrent idols from my presence and do not waver, 2 then you can swear, "As the Lord lives," in truth, justice, and righteousness, and then the nations will be blessed by him and will boast in him.
3 For this is what the Lord says to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up the unplowed ground; do not sow among the thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the Lord; remove the foreskin of your hearts, men of Judah and residents of Jerusalem. Otherwise, my wrath will break out like fire and burn with no one to extinguish it because of your evil deeds.
5 Declare in Judah, proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, Blow the ram's horn throughout the land. Cry out loudly and say, "Assemble yourselves, and let's flee to the fortified cities." 6 Lift up a signal flag toward Zion. Run for cover! Don't stand still! For I am bringing disaster from the north -- a crushing blow. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his lair to make your land a waste. Your cities will be reduced to uninhabited ruins. 8 Because of this, put on sackcloth; mourn and wail, for the Lord's burning anger has not turned away from us.
9 "On that day"--this is the Lord's declaration--"the king and the officials will lose their courage. The priests will tremble in fear, and the prophets will be scared speechless."
10 I said, "Oh no, Lord God, you have certainly deceived this people and Jerusalem, by announcing, 'You will have peace,' while a sword is at our throats."
11 "At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, 'A searing wind blows from the barren heights in the wilderness on the way to my dear people. It comes not to winnow or to sift; 12 a wind too strong for this comes at my call. Now I will also pronounce judgments against them.' "
13 Look, he advances like clouds; his chariots are like a storm. His horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 Wash the evil from your heart, Jerusalem, so that you will be delivered. How long will you harbor malicious thoughts? 15 For a voice announces from Dan, proclaiming malice from Mount Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations: Look! Proclaim to Jerusalem: Those who besiege are coming from a distant land; they raise their voices against the cities of Judah.
17 They have her surrounded like those who guard a field, because she has rebelled against me. This is the Lord's declaration. 18 Your way and your actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. It is very bitter, because it has reached your heart! 19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in agony! Oh, the pain in my heart! My heart pounds; I cannot be silent. For you, my soul, have heard the sound of the ram's horn -- the shout of battle. 20 Disaster after disaster is reported because the whole land is destroyed. Suddenly my tents are destroyed, my tent curtains, in a moment. 21 How long must I see the signal flag and hear the sound of the ram's horn? 22 "For my people are fools; they do not know me. They are foolish children, without understanding. They are skilled in doing what is evil, but they do not know how to do what is good." 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty. I looked to the heavens, and their light was gone. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills shook. 25 I looked, and there was no human being, and all the birds of the sky had fled. 26 I looked, and the fertile field was a wilderness. All its cities were torn down because of the Lord and his burning anger.
27 For this is what the Lord says: "The whole land will be a desolation, but I will not finish it off.
28 Because of this, the earth will mourn; the skies above will grow dark. I have spoken; I have planned, and I will not relent or turn back from it." 29 Every city flees at the sound of the horseman and the archer. They enter the thickets and climb among the rocks. Every city is abandoned; no inhabitant is left. 30 And you, devastated one, what are you doing that you dress yourself in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with gold jewelry, that you enhance your eyes with makeup? You beautify yourself for nothing. Your lovers reject you; they intend to take your life. 31 I hear a cry like a woman in labor, a cry of anguish like one bearing her first child. The cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands: "Woe is me, for my life is weary because of the murderers! "
New Living Translation

Chapter 2

1 The LORD gave me another message. He said,
2 'Go and shout this message to Jerusalem. This is what the LORD says: 'I remember how eager you were to please me as a young bride long ago, how you loved me and followed me even through the barren wilderness. 3 In those days Israel was holy to the LORD, the first of his children. All who harmed his people were declared guilty, and disaster fell on them. I, the LORD, have spoken!'
4 Listen to the word of the LORD, people of Jacob--all you families of Israel!
5 This is what the LORD says: 'What did your ancestors find wrong with me that led them to stray so far from me? They worshiped worthless idols, only to become worthless themselves. 6 They did not ask, 'Where is the LORD who brought us safely out of Egypt and led us through the barren wilderness--a land of deserts and pits, a land of drought and death, where no one lives or even travels?'
7 'And when I brought you into a fruitful land to enjoy its bounty and goodness, you defiled my land and corrupted the possession I had promised you. 8 The priests did not ask, 'Where is the LORD?' Those who taught my word ignored me, the rulers turned against me, and the prophets spoke in the name of Baal, wasting their time on worthless idols. 9 Therefore, I will bring my case against you,' says the LORD. 'I will even bring charges against your children's children in the years to come.
10 'Go west and look in the land of Cyprus; go east and search through the land of Kedar. Has anyone ever heard of anything as strange as this? 11 Has any nation ever traded its gods for new ones, even though they are not gods at all? Yet my people have exchanged their glorious God for worthless idols! 12 The heavens are shocked at such a thing and shrink back in horror and dismay,' says the LORD. 13 'For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me--the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!
14 'Why has Israel become a slave? Why has he been carried away as plunder? 15 Strong lions have roared against him, and the land has been destroyed. The towns are now in ruins, and no one lives in them anymore. 16 Egyptians, marching from their cities of Memphis and Tahpanhes, have destroyed Israel's glory and power. 17 And you have brought this upon yourselves by rebelling against the LORD your God, even though he was leading you on the way!
18 'What have you gained by your alliances with Egypt and your covenants with Assyria? What good to you are the streams of the Nile or the waters of the Euphrates River? 19 Your wickedness will bring its own punishment. Your turning from me will shame you. You will see what an evil, bitter thing it is to abandon the LORD your God and not to fear him. I, the Lord, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, have spoken!
20 'Long ago I broke the yoke that oppressed you and tore away the chains of your slavery, but still you said, 'I will not serve you.' On every hill and under every green tree, you have prostituted yourselves by bowing down to idols. 21 But I was the one who planted you, choosing a vine of the purest stock--the very best. How did you grow into this corrupt wild vine? 22 No amount of soap or lye can make you clean. I still see the stain of your guilt. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!
23 'You say, 'That's not true! I haven't worshiped the images of Baal!' But how can you say that? Go and look in any valley in the land! Face the awful sins you have done. You are like a restless female camel desperately searching for a mate. 24 You are like a wild donkey, sniffing the wind at mating time. Who can restrain her lust? Those who desire her don't need to search, for she goes running to them! 25 When will you stop running? When will you stop panting after other gods? But you say, 'Save your breath. I'm in love with these foreign gods, and I can't stop loving them now!'
26 'Israel is like a thief who feels shame only when he gets caught. They, their kings, officials, priests, and prophets--all are alike in this. 27 To an image carved from a piece of wood they say, 'You are my father.' To an idol chiseled from a block of stone they say, 'You are my mother.' They turn their backs on me, but in times of trouble they cry out to me, 'Come and save us!' 28 But why not call on these gods you have made? When trouble comes, let them save you if they can! For you have as many gods as there are towns in Judah. 29 Why do you accuse me of doing wrong? You are the ones who have rebelled,' says the LORD. 30 'I have punished your children, but they did not respond to my discipline. You yourselves have killed your prophets as a lion kills its prey.
31 'O my people, listen to the words of the LORD! Have I been like a desert to Israel? Have I been to them a land of darkness? Why then do my people say, 'At last we are free from God! We don't need him anymore!' 32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry? Does a bride hide her wedding dress? Yet for years on end my people have forgotten me.
33 'How you plot and scheme to win your lovers. Even an experienced prostitute could learn from you! 34 Your clothing is stained with the blood of the innocent and the poor, though you didn't catch them breaking into your houses! 35 And yet you say, 'I have done nothing wrong. Surely God isn't angry with me!' But now I will punish you severely because you claim you have not sinned. 36 First here, then there--you flit from one ally to another asking for help. But your new friends in Egypt will let you down, just as Assyria did before. 37 In despair, you will be led into exile with your hands on your heads, for the LORD has rejected the nations you trust. They will not help you at all.

Chapter 3

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. 3 That's why even the spring rains have failed. For you are a brazen prostitute and completely shameless. 4 Yet you say to me, 'Father, you have been my guide since my youth. 5 Surely 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.'
6 During 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. 7 I thought, 'After she has done all this, she will return to me.' But she did not return, and her faithless sister Judah saw this. 8 She 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. 9 Israel 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. 10 But 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!'
11 Then the LORD said to me, 'Even faithless Israel is less guilty than treacherous Judah!
12 Therefore, go and give this message to Israel. 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. 13 Only 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--one from this town and two from that family--from wherever you are scattered. 15 And 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. 17 In 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. 18 In those days the people of Judah and Israel will return together from exile in the north. They will return to the land I gave their 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. 20 But 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.'
21 Voices 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. 23 Our 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. 24 From childhood we have watched as everything our ancestors worked for--their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters--was squandered on a delusion. 25 Let 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.'

Chapter 4

1 'O Israel,' says the LORD, 'if you wanted to return to me, you could. You could throw away your detestable idols and stray away no more. 2 Then when you swear by my name, saying, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' you could do so with truth, justice, and righteousness. Then you would be a blessing to the nations of the world, and all people would come and praise my name.'
3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: 'Plow up the hard ground of your hearts! Do not waste your good seed among thorns. 4 O people of Judah and Jerusalem, surrender your pride and power. Change your hearts before the LORD, or my anger will burn like an unquenchable fire because of all your sins.
5 'Shout to Judah, and broadcast to Jerusalem! Tell them to sound the alarm throughout the land: 'Run for your lives! Flee to the fortified cities!' 6 Raise a signal flag as a warning for Jerusalem: 'Flee now! Do not delay!' For I am bringing terrible destruction upon you from the north.'
7 A lion stalks from its den, a destroyer of nations. It has left its lair and is headed your way. It's going to devastate your land! Your towns will lie in ruins, with no one living in them anymore. 8 So put on clothes of mourning and weep with broken hearts, for the fierce anger of the LORD is still upon us.
9 'In that day,' says the LORD, 'the king and the officials will tremble in fear. The priests will be struck with horror, and the prophets will be appalled.'
10 Then I said, 'O Sovereign LORD, the people have been deceived by what you said, for you promised peace for Jerusalem. But the sword is held at their throats!'
11 The time is coming when the LORD will say to the people of Jerusalem, 'My dear people, a burning wind is blowing in from the desert, and it's not a gentle breeze useful for winnowing grain. 12 It is a roaring blast sent by me! Now I will pronounce your destruction!'
13 Our enemy rushes down on us like storm clouds! His chariots are like whirlwinds. His horses are swifter than eagles. How terrible it will be, for we are doomed! 14 O Jerusalem, cleanse your heart that you may be saved. How long will you harbor your evil thoughts? 15 Your destruction has been announced from Dan and the hill country of Ephraim.
16 'Warn the surrounding nations and announce this to Jerusalem: The enemy is coming from a distant land, raising a battle cry against the towns of Judah. 17 They surround Jerusalem like watchmen around a field, for my people have rebelled against me,' says the LORD. 18 'Your own actions have brought this upon you. This punishment is bitter, piercing you to the heart!'
19 My heart, my heart--I writhe in pain! My heart pounds within me! I cannot be still. For I have heard the blast of enemy trumpets and the roar of their battle cries. 20 Waves of destruction roll over the land, until it lies in complete desolation. Suddenly my tents are destroyed; in a moment my shelters are crushed. 21 How long must I see the battle flags and hear the trumpets of war?
22 'My people are foolish and do not know me,' says the LORD. 'They are stupid children who have no understanding. They are clever enough at doing wrong, but they have no idea how to do right!'
23 I looked at the earth, and it was empty and formless. I looked at the heavens, and there was no light. 24 I looked at the mountains and hills, and they trembled and shook. 25 I looked, and all the people were gone. All the birds of the sky had flown away. 26 I looked, and the fertile fields had become a wilderness. The towns lay in ruins, crushed by the LORD's fierce anger.
27 This is what the LORD says: 'The whole land will be ruined, but I will not destroy it completely. 28 The earth will mourn and the heavens will be draped in black because of my decree against my people. I have made up my mind and will not change it.'
29 At the noise of charioteers and archers, the people flee in terror. They hide in the bushes and run for the mountains. All the towns have been abandoned--not a person remains! 30 What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in beautiful clothing and put on gold jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? Your primping will do you no good! The allies who were your lovers despise you and seek to kill you.
31 I hear a cry, like that of a woman in labor, the groans of a woman giving birth to her first child. It is beautiful Jerusalem gasping for breath and crying out, 'Help! I'm being murdered!'
English Standard Version

Chapter 2

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 shepherds 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 shaved 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? 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.

Chapter 3

1 “If a man divorces his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man’s wife, will he return to her? Would not that land be greatly polluted? You have played the whore with many lovers; and would you return to me? declares the LORD. 2 Lift up your eyes to the bare heights, and see! Where have you not been ravished? By the waysides you have sat awaiting lovers like an Arab in the wilderness. You have polluted the land with your vile whoredom. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and the spring rain has not come; yet you have the forehead of a whore; you refuse to be ashamed. 4 Have you not just now called to me, ‘My father, you are the friend of my youth— 5 will he be angry forever, will he be indignant to the end?’ Behold, you have spoken, but you have done all the evil that you could.” 6 The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: “Have you seen what she did, that faithless one, Israel, how she went up on every high hill and under every green tree, and there played the whore? 7 And I thought, ‘After she has done all this she will return to me,’ but she did not return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 She saw that for all the adulteries of that faithless one, Israel, I had sent her away with a decree of divorce. Yet her treacherous sister Judah did not fear, but she too went and played the whore. 9 Because she took her whoredom lightly, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah did not return to me with her whole heart, but in pretense, declares the LORD.”
11 And the LORD said to me, “Faithless Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, “‘Return, faithless Israel, declares the LORD. I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful, declares the LORD; I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt, that you rebelled against the LORD your God and scattered your favors among foreigners under every green tree, and that you have not obeyed my voice, declares the LORD. 14 Return, O faithless children, declares the LORD; for I am your master; 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 after my own heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding. 16 And when you have multiplied and been fruitful in the land, in those days, declares the LORD, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD.” It shall not come to mind or be remembered or missed; it shall not be made again. 17 At that time Jerusalem shall be called the throne of the LORD, and all nations shall gather to it, to the presence of the LORD in Jerusalem, and they shall no more stubbornly follow their own evil heart. 18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
19 “‘I said, How I would set you among my sons, and give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beautiful of all nations. And I thought you would call me, My Father, and would not turn from following me. 20 Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband, so have you been treacherous to me, O house of Israel, declares the LORD.’” 21 A voice on the bare heights is heard, the weeping and pleading of Israel’s sons because they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the LORD their God. 22 “Return, O faithless sons; I will heal your faithlessness.” “Behold, we come to you, for you are the LORD our God. 23 Truly the hills are a delusion, the orgies on the mountains. Truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 “But from our youth the shameful thing has devoured all for which our fathers labored, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame, and let our dishonor 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 obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.”

Chapter 4

1 “If you return, O Israel, declares the LORD, to me you should return. If you remove your detestable things from my presence, and do not waver, 2 and if you swear, ‘As the LORD lives,’ in truth, in justice, and in righteousness, then nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.” 3 For thus says the LORD to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: “Break up your fallow ground, and sow not among thorns.
4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD; remove the foreskin of your hearts, O men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem; lest my wrath go forth like fire, and burn with none to quench it, because of the evil of your deeds.” 5 Declare in Judah, and proclaim in Jerusalem, and say, “Blow the trumpet through the land; cry aloud and say, ‘Assemble, and let us go into the fortified cities!’
6 Raise a standard toward Zion, flee for safety, stay not, for I bring disaster from the north, and great destruction. 7 A lion has gone up from his thicket, a destroyer of nations has set out; he has gone out from his place to make your land a waste; your cities will be ruins without inhabitant. 8 For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us.” 9 “In that day, declares the LORD, courage shall fail both king and officials. The priests shall be appalled and the prophets astounded.” 10 Then I said, “Ah, Lord GOD, surely you have utterly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ whereas the sword has reached their very life.”
11 At that time it will be said to this people and to Jerusalem, “A hot wind from the bare heights in the desert toward the daughter of my people, not to winnow or cleanse, 12 a wind too full for this comes for me. Now it is I who speak in judgment upon them.”
13 Behold, he comes up like clouds; his chariots like the whirlwind; his horses are swifter than eagles— woe to us, for we are ruined! 14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you? 15 For a voice declares from Dan and proclaims trouble from Mount Ephraim. 16 Warn the nations that he is coming; announce to Jerusalem, “Besiegers come from a distant land; they shout against the cities of Judah. 17 Like keepers of a field are they against her all around, because she has rebelled against me, declares the LORD. 18 Your ways and your deeds have brought this upon you. This is your doom, and it is bitter; it has reached your very heart.” 19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. 20 Crash follows hard on crash; the whole land is laid waste. Suddenly my tents are laid waste, my curtains in a moment. 21 How long must I see the standard and hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 “For my people are foolish; they know me not; they are stupid children; they have no understanding. They are ‘wise’—in doing evil! But how to do good they know not.” 23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light. 24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro. 25 I looked, and behold, there was no man, and all the birds of the air had fled. 26 I looked, and behold, the fruitful land was a desert, and all its cities were laid in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger. 27 For thus says the LORD, “The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.
28 “For this the earth shall mourn, and the heavens above be dark; for I have spoken; I have purposed; I have not relented, nor will I turn back.” 29 At the noise of horseman and archer every city takes to flight; they enter thickets; they climb among rocks; all the cities are forsaken, and no man dwells in them. 30 And you, O desolate one, what do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain you beautify yourself. Your lovers despise you; they seek your life. 31 For I heard a cry as of a woman in labor, anguish as of one giving birth to her first child, the cry of the daughter of Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands, “Woe is me! I am fainting before murderers.”
New International Version

Chapter 2

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 Kedar 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 Nile? 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.

Chapter 3

1 If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers-- would you now return to me?' declares the LORD. 2 Look up to the barren heights and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. 3 Therefore the showers have been withheld, and no spring rains have fallen. Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame. 4 Have you not just called to me: 'My Father, my friend from my youth, 5 will you always be angry? Will your wrath continue forever?' This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can.'
6 During the reign of King Josiah, the LORD said to me, 'Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. 7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. 8 I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. 9 Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,' declares the LORD.
11 The LORD said to me, 'Faithless Israel is more righteous than unfaithful Judah.
12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north: ''Return, faithless Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am faithful,' declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods under every spreading tree, and have not obeyed me,'' declares the LORD.
14 Return, faithless people,' declares the LORD, 'for I am your husband. 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 after my own heart, 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 of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered; it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne of the LORD, and all nations will gather in Jerusalem to honor the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel, and together they will come from a northern land to the land 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, the most beautiful inheritance of any nation.' I thought you would call me 'Father' and not turn away from following me.
20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you, Israel, have been unfaithful to me,' declares the LORD.
21 A cry is heard on the barren heights, the weeping and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten the LORD their God.
22 Return, faithless people; I will cure you of backsliding.' 'Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God. 23 Surely the idolatrous commotion on the hills and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel. 24 From our youth shameful 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, and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our ancestors; from our youth till this day we have not obeyed the LORD our God.'

Chapter 4

1 If you, Israel, will return, then return to me,' declares the LORD. 'If you put your detestable idols out of my sight and no longer go astray, 2 and if in a truthful, just and righteous way you swear, 'As surely as the LORD lives,' then the nations will invoke blessings by him and in him they will boast.'
3 This is what the LORD says to the people of Judah and to Jerusalem: 'Break up your unplowed ground and do not sow among thorns. 4 Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, circumcise your hearts, you people of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, or my wrath will flare up and burn like fire because of the evil you have done-- burn with no one to quench it. 5 Announce in Judah and proclaim in Jerusalem and say: 'Sound the trumpet throughout the land!' Cry aloud and say: 'Gather together! Let us flee to the fortified cities!'
6 Raise the signal to go to Zion! Flee for safety without delay! For I am bringing disaster from the north, even terrible destruction.' 7 A lion has come out of his lair; a destroyer of nations has set out. He has left his place to lay waste your land. Your towns will lie in ruins without inhabitant.
8 So put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned away from us. 9 In that day,' declares the LORD, 'the king and the officials will lose heart, the priests will be horrified, and the prophets will be appalled.'
10 Then I said, 'Alas, Sovereign LORD! How completely you have deceived this people and Jerusalem by saying, 'You will have peace,' when the sword is at our throats!'
11 At that time this people and Jerusalem will be told, 'A scorching wind from the barren heights in the desert blows toward my people, but not to winnow or cleanse; 12 a wind too strong for that comes from me. Now I pronounce my judgments against them.'
13 Look! He advances like the clouds, his chariots come like a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe to us! We are ruined! 14 Jerusalem, wash the evil from your heart and be saved. How long will you harbor wicked thoughts? 15 A voice is announcing from Dan, proclaiming disaster from the hills of Ephraim. 16 Tell this to the nations, proclaim concerning Jerusalem: 'A besieging army is coming from a distant land, raising a war cry against the cities of Judah. 17 They surround her like men guarding a field, because she has rebelled against me,'' declares the LORD.
18 Your own conduct and actions have brought this on you. This is your punishment. How bitter it is! How it pierces to the heart!' 19 Oh, my anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain. Oh, the agony of my heart! My heart pounds within me, I cannot keep silent. For I have heard the sound of the trumpet; I have heard the battle cry. 20 Disaster follows disaster; the whole land lies in ruins. In an instant my tents are destroyed, my shelter in a moment.
21 How long must I see the battle standard and hear the sound of the trumpet?
22 My people are fools; they do not know me. They are senseless children; they have no understanding. They are skilled in doing evil; they know not how to do good.' 23 I looked at the earth, and it was formless and empty; and at the heavens, and their light was gone. 24 I looked at the mountains, and they were quaking; all the hills were swaying. 25 I looked, and there were no people; every bird in the sky had flown away. 26 I looked, and the fruitful land was a desert; all its towns lay in ruins before the LORD, before his fierce anger.
27 This is what the LORD says: 'The whole land will be ruined, though I will not destroy it completely.
28 Therefore the earth will mourn and the heavens above grow dark, because I have spoken and will not relent, I have decided and will not turn back.'
29 At the sound of horsemen and archers every town takes to flight. Some go into the thickets; some climb up among the rocks. All the towns are deserted; no one lives in them.
30 What are you doing, you devastated one? Why dress yourself in scarlet and put on jewels of gold? Why highlight your eyes with makeup? You adorn yourself in vain. Your lovers despise you; they want to kill you. 31 I hear a cry as of a woman in labor, a groan as of one bearing her first child-- the cry of Daughter Zion gasping for breath, stretching out her hands and saying, 'Alas! I am fainting; my life is given over to murderers.'