Wages of Apostasy
1 If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him to marry another, can he ever return to her? Wouldn't such a land become totally defiled? But you! You have played the prostitute with many partners- can you return to Me? [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. 2 Look to the barren heights and see. Where have you not been immoral? You sat waiting for them beside the highways like a nomad in the desert. You have defiled the land with your prostitution and wickedness. 3 This is why the showers haven't come- why there has been no spring rain. You have the brazen look of a prostitute and refuse to be ashamed. 4 Have you not lately called Me: My Father, my youthful companion? 5 Will He bear a grudge forever? Will He be endlessly infuriated? This is what you have spoken and done, the evil you are capable of.
Unfaithful Israel, Treacherous Judah
6 In the days of King Josiah the Lord asked me, "Have you seen what unfaithful Israel has done? She has ascended every high hill and gone under every green tree to prostitute herself there. 7 I thought: After she has done all these things, she will return to Me. But she didn't return, and her treacherous sister Judah saw it. 8 I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself. 9 Indifferent to her prostitution, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and tree. 10 Yet in spite of all this, her treacherous sister Judah didn't return to Me with all her heart-only in pretense." [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration.
11 The Lord announced to me, "Unfaithful Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah. 12 Go, proclaim these words to the north, and say: Return, unfaithful Israel. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. I will not look on you with anger, for I am unfailing in My love. [This is]*The bracketed text has been added for clarity. the Lord's declaration. I will not be angry forever. 13 Only acknowledge your guilt- you have rebelled against the Lord your God. You have scattered your favors to strangers under every green tree and have not obeyed My voice. [This is] the Lord's declaration.
14 "Return, you faithless children"-[this is] the Lord's declaration-"for I am your master, and I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion. 15 I will give you shepherds who are loyal to Me,and they will shepherd you with knowledge and skill. 16 When you multiply and increase in the land, in those days"-the Lord's declaration-"no one will say any longer: The ark of the Lord's covenant. It will never come to mind, and no one will remember or miss it. It will never again be made. 17 At that time Jerusalem will be called, The Lord's Throne, and all the nations will be gathered to it, to the name of the Lord in Jerusalem. They will cease to follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts. 18 In those days the house of Judah will join with the house of Israel, and they will come together from the land of the north to the land I have given your ancestors to inherit."
19 I thought: How I long to make you [My] sons and give you a desirable land, the most beautiful inheritance of all the nations. I thought: You will call Me, my Father, and never turn away from Me. 20 However, as a woman may betray her lover, so you have betrayed Me, house of Israel. [This is] the Lord's declaration.
21 A sound is heard on the barren heights, the children of Israel weeping and begging for mercy, for they have perverted their way; they have forgotten the Lord their God. 22 Return, you faithless children. I will heal your unfaithfulness. "Here we are, coming to You, for You are the Lord our God. 23 Surely, falsehood comes from the hills, commotion from the mountains, but the salvation of Israel is only in the Lord our God. 24 From the time of our youth the shameful one has consumed what our fathers have worked for- their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. 25 Let us lie down in our shame; let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned against the Lord our God, both we and our fathers, from the time of our youth even to this day. We have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God."