Jeremiah 2

Israel has Forsaken God

Now the word of the LORD came to me, saying: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem that this is what the LORD says: I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed Me in the wilderness, in a land not sown. Israel was holy to the LORD, the firstfruits of His harvest. All who devoured her found themselves guilty; disaster came upon them, declares the LORD.” Hear the word of the LORD, O house of Jacob, and all you families of the house of Israel. This is what the LORD says: “What fault did your fathers find in Me that they strayed so far from Me, and followed worthless idols, and became worthless themselves? They did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD who brought us from the land of Egypt, who led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and pits, through a land of drought and darkness, a land where no one travels and no one lives?’ I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and bounty, but you came and defiled My land, and made My inheritance detestable. The priests did not ask, ‘Where is the LORD?’ The experts in the law no longer knew Me, and the leaders rebelled against Me. The prophets prophesied by Baal and followed useless idols. Therefore, I will contend with you again, declares the LORD, and I will bring a case against your children’s children. 10  Cross over to Cyprus
Hebrew Kittim
and take a look; send to Kedar
In the Syro-Arabian desert
and consider carefully; see if there has ever been anything like this:
11  Has a nation ever changed its gods? (though they were no gods [at all] !) Yet My people have exchanged their Glory for idols [that are] useless. 12  Be stunned by this, O heavens, be shocked and utterly appalled, declares the LORD. 13  “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living water, and they have dug cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

The Consequences of Israel's Sin

14  Is Israel a slave? Was he born into slavery? Why then has he become prey? 15  The young lions have roared at him; they have growled with a loud voice. They have laid waste his land; his cities lie in ruins, without inhabitants. 16  The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have shaved the crown of your head. 17  Have you not brought this on yourself by forsaking the LORD your God when He led you in the way? 18  Now what will you gain on your way to Egypt to drink the waters of the Nile? What will you gain on your way to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates?
Hebrew the River
19  Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Consider and realize how evil and bitter it is for you to forsake the LORD your God and to have no fear of Me,” declares the Lord GOD of Hosts. 20  “For long ago you broke your yoke and tore off your chains, saying, “I will not serve!” Indeed, on every high hill and under every green tree you lay down as a prostitute. 21  I had planted you like a choice vine from the very best seed. How could you turn yourself before me, into a rotten wild vine? 22  Although you wash with lye and use an abundance of soap, the stain of your guilt is still before Me,” declares the Lord GOD.

Israel's Unfaithfulness

23  “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled; I have not run after the Baals’? Look at your behavior in the valley; acknowledge what you have done. You are a swift young she-camel galloping here and there, 24  a wild donkey at home in the wilderness, sniffing the wind in the heat of her desire. Who can restrain her passion? All who seek her need not weary themselves; in mating season they will find her. 25  Keep your feet from being unshod and your throat from thirst. But you say, ‘It is hopeless! I love foreign [gods] , and I must go after them.’ 26  As the thief is ashamed when he is caught, so the house of Israel is disgraced. 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 backs to Me and not their faces, yet in the time of trouble they beg, ‘Rise up and save us!’ 28  But where are the gods you made for yourself? Let them rise up and save you if they can in your time of trouble; for your gods are as numerous as your cities, O Judah. 29  Why do you bring a case against Me? You have all rebelled against Me,” declares the LORD. 30  “I have struck your sons in vain; they accepted no discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets like a voracious lion. 31  You [people] of this generation, consider the word of the LORD: Have I been a wilderness to Israel or a land of dense darkness? Why do My people say, ‘We [are free to] roam; we will come to You no more’? 32  Does a maiden forget her jewelry or a bride her wedding sash? Yet My people have forgotten Me for days without number. 33  How skillfully you pursue love; even the most immoral of women could learn from your ways. 34  Moreover, your skirts are stained with the blood of the innocent poor, though you did not find them breaking in. But in spite of all these things 35  you say, ‘I am innocent. Surely His anger will turn from me.’ But I will certainly judge you, because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’ 36  How unstable you are, constantly changing your ways! You will be disappointed by Egypt just as you [were] by Assyria. 37  Moreover, you will leave that place with your hands on your head, for the LORD has rejected those you trust; you will not prosper by their help.”
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