Jeremiah 3:6-25 NIV

Unfaithful Israel

6 During the reign of King Josiah,1 the LORD said to me, "Have you seen what faithless2 Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree3 and has committed adultery4 there.

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7 I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister5 Judah saw it.6

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8 I gave faithless Israel7 her certificate of divorce8 and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;9 she also went out and committed adultery.

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9 Because Israel's immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land10 and committed adultery11 with stone12 and wood.13

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      10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return14 to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,15" declares the LORD.16

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      11 The LORD said to me, "Faithless Israel is more righteous17 than unfaithful18 Judah.19

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      12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:20 " 'Return,21 faithless22 Israel,' declares the LORD, 'I will frown on you no longer, for I am merciful,'23 declares the LORD, 'I will not be angry24 forever.

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          13 Only acknowledge25 your guilt-- you have rebelled against the LORD your God, you have scattered your favors to foreign gods26 under every spreading tree,27 and have not obeyed28 me,' " declares the LORD.

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          14 "Return,29 faithless people," declares the LORD, "for I am your husband.30 I will choose you--one from a town and two from a clan--and bring you to Zion.

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          15 Then I will give you shepherds31 after my own heart,32 who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

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          16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land," declares the LORD, "men will no longer say, 'The ark33 of the covenant of the LORD.' It will never enter their minds or be remembered;34 it will not be missed, nor will another one be made.

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          17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Throne35 of the LORD, and all nations36 will gather in Jerusalem to honor37 the name of the LORD. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.38

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          18 In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel,39 and together40 they will come from a northern41 land to the land42 I gave your forefathers as an inheritance.

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          19 "I myself said, " 'How gladly would I treat you like sons and give you a desirable land,43 the most beautiful inheritance44 of any nation.' I thought you would call me 'Father'45 and not turn away from following me.

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          20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband, so you have been unfaithful46 to me, O house of Israel," declares the LORD.

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          21 A cry is heard on the barren heights,47 the weeping48 and pleading of the people of Israel, because they have perverted their ways and have forgotten49 the LORD their God.

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          22 "Return,50 faithless people; I will cure51 you of backsliding."52 "Yes, we will come to you, for you are the LORD our God.

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          23 Surely the [idolatrous] commotion on the hills53 and mountains is a deception; surely in the LORD our God is the salvation54 of Israel.

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          24 From our youth shameful55 gods have consumed the fruits of our fathers' labor-- their flocks and herds, their sons and daughters.

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          25 Let us lie down in our shame,56 and let our disgrace cover us. We have sinned57 against the LORD our God, both we and our fathers;58 from our youth59 till this day we have not obeyed60 the LORD our God."

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