Israel Accused of Apostasy 2 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 fathers 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,[B] 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[C] 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 Cyprus[D] 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[E] Glory for useless idols. 12Be horrified at this, heavens; be shocked and utterly appalled. 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?[F] 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 waters of the Nile?[G] What will you gain by traveling along the way to Assyria to drink the waters of the Euphrates? 19Your own evil will discipline you; your own apostasies will reprimand you. Think it over and see 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 Hosts.   20For long ago I[H] broke your yoke; I[I] tore off your chains. You insisted, “I will not serve!” On every high hill and under every green tree you lie 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 soap, the stain of your sin 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[J] 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 tired; they will find her in her mating season.[K] 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;[L] 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.[M]
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