Jeremiah 2

Israel's people have turned against the Lord

1 The Lord spoke to me again. 2 He said, ‘Go and tell this to the people in Jerusalem:

“This is what the Lord says:

I remember how you used to love me when you were young.

You loved me as a young wife loves her husband.

You followed me through the wilderness,

where no crops were growing.

3 At that time, Israel belonged to me as my special people.

They were like the first crops that grew on my land.

I promised to punish anyone who tried to hurt them.

I sent great trouble to those who attacked you.

That is what I, the Lord, have said.” ’

4 Listen to what the Lord says, you descendants of Jacob, all you families in Israel. 5 This is the Lord's message to you:

‘I had done nothing wrong against your ancestors,

but they turned away from me.

Instead, they worshipped useless idols.

So they themselves became useless.

6 They did not think to themselves,

“Where is the Lord?

We should ask him to help us.

He brought us safely out of Egypt.

He led us through the wilderness.

It was a place with dry sand and deep holes.

There was no water there and it was dangerous.

Nobody lives in that desert,

and nobody even travels through it.”

7 But I, the Lord, brought you to a good land.

It was a place where fruit grew on trees.

You could eat all those good things,

as well as the crops that you grew there.

You came into the land that I had promised to give to you.

But you spoiled it with your sins.

You made it a disgusting place.

8 Your priests did not ask, “Where is the Lord?”

The people who taught my laws did not know me.

Your leaders turned against me.

Your prophets spoke messages from Baal.

They worshipped useless idols.’

9 So the Lord says this:

‘Because of your sins, I will speak against you in court.

I will show that you are guilty,

as well as your children and your grandchildren.

10 No other nation has done what you have done!

Send people across the sea to islands in the west.

Or send them to the deserts in the east.

Let them find out if any other people have done this terrible thing.

11 Have any other nations turned against their gods?

No! They have not done that, even to their false gods!

But my people have turned against me,

the true God who makes them great.’

12 The Lord says,

‘The whole universe should see how terrible this is.

Yes, everything should shake with fear!

13 My people have done two evil things:

I give them life, like a spring of fresh water,

but they have turned away from me.

Instead, they have tried to get water for themselves.

They have dug holes in the ground to store it.

But those holes cannot hold the water.

It quickly runs away.

14 Israel's people are surely not slaves.

They were not born as slaves.

But their enemies have taken them away as prisoners.

15 Their enemies have attacked them like lions.

They have destroyed my people's land.

They have destroyed your cities with fire.

Nobody lives in them any more.

16 Soldiers from Memphis and Tahpanhes have broken your skulls!

2:16‘Memphis’ and ‘Tahpanhes’ were cities in Egypt.

17 You Israelites have caused this to happen.

The Lord your God was leading you on the right way.

But you decided not to follow him any longer.

18 So what help will you get from Egypt?

If you drink water from the Nile river,

will that make you strong? No!

And what help will you get from Assyria?

If you drink water from the Euphrates river,

will that make you strong? No!

19 The wicked things that you have done will punish you.

You are guilty because you have turned away from me.

You have brought terrible trouble on yourselves,

because you have turned against me, the Lord your God.

Because you no longer respect me,

you will realize that you are in great trouble.’

That is what the Lord God Almighty says.

20 ‘A long time ago, you stopped obeying me.

You refused to accept my authority.

You said, “I will not serve you!”

Instead, you go up on the hills to worship other gods.

You lie down under the green trees,

and you live like prostitutes.

21 I planted you in my land,

like the very good seed of a vine.

But see how you have changed!

You have become like a wild vine.

Your grapes are bad and useless.

22 You may use strong soap to make yourselves clean.

But I still see the dirt of your sins.’

That is what the Almighty Lord says.

23 ‘You say, “We have not made ourselves unclean.

We do not worship the idols of Baal.”

But remember what you have done in the valleys.

2:23They worshipped false gods in the valleys. See Jeremiah 7:31-32; 19:1-6.

You hurry to find another idol that you can worship.

Like a female camel, you cannot control yourselves.

24 You are like a wild female donkey that lives in the wilderness.

She lifts her nose to smell the air.

She wants to find a male donkey.

Nobody can control her.

Male donkeys do not have to chase her.

She will come to them to have sex with them.

You are like that as you chase after false gods.

25 Stop running after them!

Your feet will hurt and you will become very thirsty.

You say, “Do not try to stop us! We cannot turn back.

We love foreign gods and we must serve them!”

26 A robber is ashamed when people catch him.

The people of Israel will become ashamed like that.

They will all be ashamed of their sins.

Their kings, their officers, their priests and their prophets are all guilty.

27 They worship a piece of wood,

and they say, “You are my father.”

They say to a stone, “You gave birth to me.”

They have not turned to come to me.

Instead, they have turned away from me.

But when trouble comes to them,

they call out to me to rescue them.

28 But where are the gods that you made for yourselves?

Ask them to save you when trouble comes!

You have enough gods to give you help.

Yes, people of Judah,

your gods are as many as your towns!

29 You cannot argue against me.

You have all turned against me.’

That is what the Lord says.

30 ‘When I punished your people,

they did not change how they lived.

When I sent my prophets to you,

you killed them as if you were a hungry lion.’

31 Listen to the Lord's message, you people who are alive today:

‘People of Israel, why do you not trust me?

Have I become like a desert for you?

Have I become a dark and dangerous land for you to live in?

No! But you say, “We are free to go where we like.

We do not need to serve you any more.”

32 A young woman does not forget to wear her jewels.

When a woman marries,

she does not forget to wear her special dress.

But for many years, my people have forgotten me.

33 You are very clever. You can always find someone to love.

Even prostitutes could learn something from you!

34 You have been cruel to poor people for no reason.

Your clothes have their blood on them!

They had not robbed you,

but you still killed them.

You have done all these bad things, but still you say,

35 “We have not done anything that is wrong.

God cannot be angry with us!”

Be careful! I will surely punish you,

because you say, “I am not guilty of any sin.”

36 You try to get help from other nations.

You run here and there to make new friends.

You hoped for help from Assyria,

but no help came.

And you will get no help from Egypt either.

37 You will come away from Egypt with your hands on your heads.

You will be ashamed and upset.

The Lord has turned away from those nations.

You have trusted them to help you,

But you will not receive any help from them.’