Jeremiah 2

Israel Accused of Apostasy

1The 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.

3Israel 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.

4Hear the word of the Lord, house of Jacob

and all families of the house of Israel.

5This 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?

6They 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?”

7I 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.

8The 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.

9Therefore, I will bring a case against you again.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

I will bring a case against your children’s children.

10Cross 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:

11Has a nation ever exchanged its gods?

(But they were not gods!)

Yet my people have exchanged their Glory

for useless idols.

12Be appalled at this, heavens;

be shocked and utterly desolated!

This is the Lord’s declaration.

13For 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.

Consequences of Apostasy

14Is Israel a slave?

Was he born into slavery?

Why else has he become a prey?

15The young lions have roared at him;

they have roared loudly.

They have laid waste his land.

His cities are in ruins, without inhabitants.

16The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes

have also broken your skull.

17Have you not brought this on yourself

by abandoning the Lord your God

while he was leading you along the way?

18Now 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?

19Your 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.

20For 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.

21I planted you, a choice vine

from the very best seed.

How then could you turn into

a degenerate, foreign vine?

22Even 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.

23How 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,

24a 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.

25Keep 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.”

26Like 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

27say 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!”

28But 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.

Judgment Deserved

29Why do you bring a case against me?

All of you have rebelled against me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

30I have struck down your children in vain;

they would not accept discipline.

Your own sword has devoured your prophets

like a ravaging lion.

31Evil 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”?

32Can a young woman forget her jewelry

or a bride her wedding sash?

Yet my people have forgotten me

for countless days.

33How skillfully you pursue love;

you also teach evil women your ways.

34Moreover, 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

35you 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.”

36How unstable you are,

constantly changing your ways!

You will be put to shame by Egypt

just as you were put to shame by Assyria.

37Moreover, 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.