God Pleads with Israel to Repent
1The 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.
3Israel was holy to the Lord,
the first fruits of his harvest.
All who ate of it became guilty;
evil came upon them,
says the Lord."
4Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5Thus says the Lord:
"What wrong did your fathers find in me
that they went far from me,
and went after worthlessness, and became worthless?
6They 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?'
7And 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.
8The priests did not say, 'Where is the Lord?'
Those who handle the law did not know me;
the rulersa transgressed against me;
the prophets prophesied by Ba'al,
and went after things that do not profit.
9"Therefore I still contend with you,
says the Lord,
and with your children's children I will contend.
10For cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
or send to Kedar and examine with care;
see if there has been such a thing.
11Has a nation changed its gods,
even though they are no gods?
But my people have changed their glory
for that which does not profit.
12Be appalled, O heavens, at this,
be shocked, be utterly desolate,
says the Lord,
13for my people have committed two evils:
they have forsaken me,
the fountain of living waters,
and hewed out cisterns for themselves,
that can hold no water.
14"Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?
Why then has he become a prey?
15The lions have roared against him,
they have roared loudly.
They have made his land a waste;
his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.
16Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tah'panhes
have broken the crown of your head.
17Have you not brought this upon yourself
by forsaking the Lord your God,
when he led you in the way?
18And 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 Euphra'tes?
19Your wickedness will chasten 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,
says the Lord God of hosts.
20"For long ago you broke your yoke
and burst your bonds;
and you said, 'I will not serve.'
Yea, upon every high hill
and under every green tree
you bowed down as a harlot.
21Yet I planted you a choice vine,
wholly of pure seed.
How then have you turned degenerate
and become a wild vine?
22Though you wash yourself with lye
and use much soap,
the stain of your guilt is still before me,
says the Lord God.
23How can you say, 'I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Ba'als'?
Look at your way in the valley;
know what you have done-
a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,
24a wild ass 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.
25Keep your feet from going unshod
and your throat from thirst.
But you said, 'It is hopeless,
for I have loved strangers,
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 princes,
their priests, and their prophets,
27who 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!'
28But 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 complain against me?
You have all rebelled against me,
says the Lord.
30In vain have I smitten your children,
they took no correction;
your own sword devoured your prophets
like a ravening lion.
31And you, O generation, heed 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 thee'?
32Can a maiden 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 lovers!
So that even to wicked women
you have taught your ways.
34Also on your skirts is found
the lifeblood of guiltless poor;
you did not find them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all these things
35you say, 'I am innocent;
surely his anger has turned from me.'
Behold, I will bring you to judgment
for saying, 'I have not sinned.'
36How lightly you gad about,
changing your way!
You shall be put to shame by Egypt
as you were put to shame by Assyria.
37From it too you will come away
with your hands upon your head,
for the Lord has rejected those in whom you trust,
and you will not prosper by them.