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God Pleads with Israel to Repent

1The word of the Lord came to me, saying: 2Go 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 were held guilty;

disaster 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 ancestors find in me

that they went far from me,

and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?

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 no one passes through,

where no one lives?”

7I brought you into a plentiful land

to eat its fruits and its good things.

But when you entered 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 rulers transgressed against me;

the prophets prophesied by Baal,

and went after things that do not profit.

9Therefore once more I accuse you,

says the Lord,

and I accuse your children’s children.

10Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,

send to Kedar and examine with care;

see if there has ever been such a thing.

11Has a nation changed its gods,

even though they are no gods?

But my people have changed their glory

for something that 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 water,

and dug out cisterns for themselves,

cracked cisterns

that can hold no water.

14Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?

Why then has he become plunder?

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 people of Memphis and Tahpanhes

have broken the crown of your head.

17Have you not brought this upon yourself

by forsaking the Lord your God,

while he led you in the way?

18What then 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?

19Your wickedness will punish you,

and your apostasies will convict 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.

20For long ago you broke your yoke

and burst your bonds,

and you said, “I will not serve!”

On every high hill

and under every green tree

you sprawled and played the whore.

21Yet I planted you as a choice vine,

from the purest stock.

How then did you turn 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 Baals”?

Look at your way in the valley;

know what you have done—

a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,

24a wild ass at home in 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.”

26As a thief is shamed when caught,

so the house of Israel shall be shamed—

they, their kings, their officials,

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 backs to me,

and not their faces.

But in the time of their trouble they say,

“Come and save us!”

28But where are your gods

that you made for yourself?

Let them come, if they can save you,

in your time of trouble;

for you have as many gods

as you have towns, O Judah.

29Why do you complain against me?

You have all rebelled against me,

says the Lord.

30In vain I have struck down your children;

they accepted no correction.

Your own sword devoured your prophets

like a ravening lion.

31And 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 to you no more”?

32Can a girl forget her ornaments,

or a bride her attire?

Yet my people have forgotten me,

days without number.

33How 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 the innocent poor,

though you did not catch them breaking in.

Yet in spite of all these things

35you say, “I am innocent;

surely his anger has turned from me.”

Now I am bringing you to judgment

for saying, “I have not sinned.”

36How lightly you gad about,

changing your ways!

You shall be put to shame by Egypt

as you were put to shame by Assyria.

37From there also 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 through them.

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
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