New English Translation
1 "If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and becomes another man's wife, he may not take her back again. Doing that would utterly defile the land. But you, Israel, have given yourself as a prostitute to many gods. So what makes you think you can return to me?" says the LORD.
2 "Look up at the hilltops and consider this. You have had sex with other gods on every one of them. You waited for those gods like a thief lying in wait in the desert. You defiled the land by your wicked prostitution to other gods.
3 That is why the rains have been withheld, and the spring rains have not come. Yet in spite of this you are obstinate as a prostitute. You refuse to be ashamed of what you have done.
4 Even now you say to me, 'You are my father! You have been my faithful companion ever since I was young.
5 You will not always be angry with me, will you? You will not be mad at me forever, will you?' That is what you say, but you continually do all the evil that you can."
6 When Josiah was king of Judah, the LORD said to me, "Jeremiah, you have no doubt seen what wayward Israel has done. You have seen how she went up to every high hill and under every green tree to give herself like a prostitute to other gods. 7 Yet even after she had done all that, I thought that she might come back to me. But she did not. Her sister, unfaithful Judah, saw what she did. 8 She also saw that I gave wayward Israel her divorce papers and sent her away because of her adulterous worship of other gods. Even after her unfaithful sister Judah had seen this, she still was not afraid, and she too went and gave herself like a prostitute to other gods. 9 Because she took her prostitution so lightly, she defiled the land through her adulterous worship of gods made of wood and stone. 10 In spite of all this, Israel's sister, unfaithful Judah, has not turned back to me with any sincerity; she has only pretended to do so," says the LORD. 11 Then the LORD said to me, "Under the circumstances, wayward Israel could even be considered less guilty than unfaithful Judah.
The LORD Calls on Israel and Judah to Repent
12 "Go and shout this message to my people in the countries in the north. Tell them, 'Come back to me, wayward Israel,' says the LORD. 'I will not continue to look on you with displeasure. For I am merciful,' says the LORD. 'I will not be angry with you forever.
13 However, you must confess that you have done wrong, and that you have rebelled against the LORD your God. You must confess that you have given yourself to foreign gods under every green tree, and have not obeyed my commands,' says the LORD.
14 "Come back to me, my wayward sons," says the LORD, "for I am your true master. If you do, I will take one of you from each town and two of you from each family group, and I will bring you back to Zion. 15 I will give you leaders who will be faithful to me. They will lead you with knowledge and insight. 16 In those days, your population will greatly increase in the land. At that time," says the LORD, "people will no longer talk about having the ark that contains the LORD's covenant with us. They will not call it to mind, remember it, or miss it. No, that will not be done any more! 17 At that time the city of Jerusalem will be called the LORD's throne. All nations will gather there in Jerusalem to honor the LORD's name. They will no longer follow the stubborn inclinations of their own evil hearts. 18 At that time the nation of Judah and the nation of Israel will be reunited. Together they will come back from a land in the north to the land that I gave to your ancestors as a permanent possession."
19 "I thought to myself, 'Oh what a joy it would be for me to treat you like a son! What a joy it would be for me to give you a pleasant land, the most beautiful piece of property there is in all the world!' I thought you would call me, 'Father' and would never cease being loyal to me.
20 But, you have been unfaithful to me, nation of Israel, like an unfaithful wife who has left her husband," says the LORD.
21 "A noise is heard on the hilltops. It is the sound of the people of Israel crying and pleading to their gods. Indeed they have followed sinful ways; they have forgotten to be true to the LORD their God.
22 Come back to me, you wayward people. I want to cure your waywardness. Say, 'Here we are. We come to you because you are the LORD our God.
23 We know our noisy worship of false gods on the hills and mountains did not help us. We know that the LORD our God is the only one who can deliver Israel.
24 From earliest times our worship of that shameful god, Baal, has taken away all that our ancestors worked for. It has taken away our flocks and our herds, and even our sons and daughters.
25 Let us acknowledge our shame. Let us bear the disgrace that we deserve. For we have sinned against the LORD our God, both we and our ancestors. From earliest times to this very day we have not obeyed the LORD our God.'
King James Version
1 They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD.
2 Lift up thine eyes unto the high places, and see where thou hast not been lien with. In the ways hast thou sat for them, as the Arabian in the wilderness; and thou hast polluted the land with thy whoredoms and with thy wickedness.
3 Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
4 Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My father, thou art the guide of my youth?
5 Will he reserve his anger for ever? will he keep it to the end? Behold, thou hast spoken and done evil things as thou couldest.
6 ¶ The LORD said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
8 And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the LORD.
11 And the LORD said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
12 ¶ Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the LORD; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the LORD, and I will not keep anger for ever.
13 Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the LORD thy God, and hast scattered thy ways to the strangers under every green tree, and ye have not obeyed my voice, saith the LORD.
14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
15 And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.
16 And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, saith the LORD, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the LORD: neither shall it come to mind: neither shall they remember it; neither shall they visit it; neither shall that be done any more.
17 At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.
18 In those days the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
19 But I said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.
20 ¶ Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.
21 A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the LORD their God.
22 Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.
23 Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills, and from the multitude of mountains: truly in the LORD our God is the salvation of Israel.
24 For shame hath devoured the labour of our fathers from our youth; their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters.
25 We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the LORD our God.