"If a man divorces1 his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled?2 But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers3-- would you now return to me?"4 declares the LORD.
"Look up to the barren heights5 and see. Is there any place where you have not been ravished? By the roadside6 you sat waiting for lovers, sat like a nomada in the desert. You have defiled the land7 with your prostitution8 and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,9 and no spring rains10 have fallen. Yet you have the brazen11 look of a prostitute; you refuse to blush with shame.124
Have you not just called to me: 'My Father,13 my friend from my youth,145
will you always be angry?15 Will your wrath continue forever?' This is how you talk, but you do all the evil you can."
During the reign of King Josiah,16 the LORD said to me, "Have you seen what faithless17 Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree18 and has committed adultery19 there.
I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister20 Judah saw it.218
I gave faithless Israel22 her certificate of divorce23 and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;24 she also went out and committed adultery.
Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land25 and committed adultery26 with stone27 and wood.2810
In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return29 to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,30" declares the LORD.3111
The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous32 than unfaithful33 Judah.3412
Go, proclaim this message toward the north:35 " 'Return,36 faithless37 Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,'38 declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry39 forever.
Only acknowledge40 your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods41 under every spreading tree,42 and have not obeyed43 me,' " declares the LORD.
"Return,44 faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband.45 I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion.
Then I will give you shepherds46 after my own heart,47 who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.
In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark48 of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered;49 it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.
At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne50 of the LORD, and all nations51 will gather in Jerusalem to honor52 the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.5318
In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel,54 and together55 they will come from a northern56 land to the land57 I gave your forefathers as an inheritance.
"I myself said, " 'How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land,58 the most beautiful inheritance59 of any nation.' I thought you would call me 'Father'60 and not turn away from following me.
But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful61 to me, O house of Israel," declares the LORD.
A cry is heard on the barren heights,62 the weeping63 and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten64 the LORD their God.
"Return,65 faithless people; I will cure66 you of backsliding."67 "Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.
Surely the [idolatrous] commotion on the hills68 and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation69 of Israel.
From our youth shameful70 gods have consumed the fruits of our fathers' labor-- their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters.
Let us lie down in our shame,71 and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned72 against the LORD our God, both we and our fathers;73 from our youth74 till this day we have not obeyed75 the LORD our God."