Israel Accused of Apostasy

The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and announce directly to Jerusalem that this is what the Lord says:

I remember the loyalty of your youth,

your love as a bride—

how you followed Me in the wilderness,

in a land not sown.

Israel was holy to the Lord,

the firstfruits of His harvest.

All who ate of it found themselves guilty;

disaster came on them.”

This is the Lord’s declaration.

Hear the word of the Lord, house of Jacob

and all families of the house of Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

What fault did your fathers find in Me

that they went so far from Me,

followed worthless idols,

and became worthless themselves?

They stopped asking, “Where is the Lord

who brought us from the land of Egypt,

who led us through the wilderness,

through a land of deserts and ravines,

through a land of drought and darkness,[a]

a land no one traveled through

and where no one lived?”

I brought you to a fertile land

to eat its fruit and bounty,

but after you entered, you defiled My land;

you made My inheritance detestable.

The priests quit asking, “Where is the Lord?”

The experts in the law no longer knew Me,

and the rulers rebelled against Me.

The prophets prophesied by[b] Baal

and followed useless idols.

Therefore, I will bring a case against you again.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

I will bring a case against your children’s children.

10 Cross over to Cyprus[c] and take a look.

Send someone to Kedar and consider carefully;

see if there has ever been anything like this:

11 Has a nation ever exchanged its gods?

(But they were not gods!)

Yet My people have exchanged their[d] Glory

for useless idols.

12 Be horrified at this, heavens;

be shocked and utterly appalled.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

13 For My people have committed a double evil:

They have abandoned Me,

the fountain of living water,

and dug cisterns for themselves,

cracked cisterns that cannot hold water.

Consequences of Apostasy

14 Is Israel a slave?

Was he born into slavery?[e]

Why else has he become a prey?

15 The young lions have roared at him;

they have roared loudly.

They have laid waste his land.

His cities are in ruins, without inhabitants.

16 The men of Memphis and Tahpanhes

have also broken your skull.

17 Have you not brought this on yourself

by abandoning the Lord your God

while He was leading you along the way?

18 Now what will you gain

by traveling along the way to Egypt

to drink the waters of the Nile?[f]

What will you gain

by traveling along the way to Assyria

to drink the waters of the Euphrates?

19 Your own evil will discipline you;

your own apostasies will reprimand you.

Think it over and see how evil and bitter it is

for you to abandon the Lord your God

and to have no fear of Me.

This is the declaration

of the Lord God of Hosts.

20 For long ago I[g] broke your yoke;

I[h] tore off your chains.

You insisted, “I will not serve!”

On every high hill

and under every green tree

you lie down like a prostitute.

21 I planted you, a choice vine

from the very best seed.

How then could you turn into

a degenerate, foreign vine?

22 Even if you wash with lye

and use a great amount of soap,

the stain of your sin is still in front of Me.

This is the Lord God’s declaration.

23 How can you protest, “I am not defiled;

I have not followed the Baals”?

Look at your behavior in the valley;

acknowledge what you have done.

You are a swift young camel

twisting and turning on her way,

24 a wild donkey at home[i] in the wilderness.

She sniffs the wind in the heat of her desire.

Who can control her passion?

All who look for her will not become tired;

they will find her in her mating season.[j]

25 Keep your feet from going bare

and your throat from thirst.

But you say, “It’s hopeless;

I love strangers,

and I will continue to follow them.”

26 Like the shame of a thief when he is caught,

so the house of Israel has been put to shame.

They, their kings, their officials,

their priests, and their prophets

27 say to a tree, “You are my father,”

and to a stone, “You gave birth to me.”

For they have turned their back to Me

and not their face,

yet in their time of disaster they beg,

“Rise up and save us!”

28 But where are your gods you made for yourself?

Let them rise up and save you

in your time of disaster if they can,

for your gods are as numerous as your cities, Judah.

Judgment Deserved

29 Why do you bring a case against Me?

All of you have rebelled against Me.

This is the Lord’s declaration.

30 I have struck down your children in vain;

they would not accept discipline.

Your own sword has devoured your prophets

like a ravaging lion.

31 Evil generation,

pay attention to the word of the Lord!

Have I been a wilderness to Israel

or a land of dense darkness?

Why do My people claim,

“We will go where we want;[k]

we will no longer come to You”?

32 Can a young woman forget her jewelry

or a bride her wedding sash?

Yet My people have forgotten Me

for countless days.

33 How skillfully you pursue love;

you also teach evil women your ways.

34 Moreover, your skirts are stained

with the blood of the innocent poor.

You did not catch them breaking and entering.

But in spite of all these things

35 you claim, “I am innocent.

His anger is sure to turn away from me.”

But I will certainly judge you

because you have said, “I have not sinned.”

36 How unstable you are,

constantly changing your ways!

You will be put to shame by Egypt

just as you were put to shame by Assyria.

37 Moreover, you will be led out from here

with your hands on your head

since the Lord has rejected those you trust;

you will not succeed even with their help.[l]


  1. Jeremiah 2:6 Or shadow of death
  2. Jeremiah 2:8 = in the name of
  3. Jeremiah 2:10 Lit to the islands of Kittim
  4. Jeremiah 2:11 Ancient Jewish tradition reads My
  5. Jeremiah 2:14 Lit born of a house
  6. Jeremiah 2:18 Lit of Shihor
  7. Jeremiah 2:20 LXX reads you
  8. Jeremiah 2:20 LXX reads you
  9. Jeremiah 2:24 Lit donkey taught
  10. Jeremiah 2:24 Lit her month
  11. Jeremiah 2:31 Or We have taken control, or We can roam
  12. Jeremiah 2:37 Lit with them