Israel's Unfaithfulness
1 The Lord told me 2 to go to Jerusalem and tell everyone that he had said:

When you were my young bride,
you loved me and followed me
through the barren desert.
3 You belonged to me alone,
like the first part of the harvest,
and I severely punished
those who mistreated you.

4 Listen, people of Israel,
5 and I, the Lord, will speak.
I was never unfair
to your ancestors,
but they left me
and became worthless
by following worthless idols.
6 Your ancestors refused
to ask for my help,
though I had rescued them
from Egypt
and led them through
a treacherous, barren desert,
where no one lives
or dares to travel.

7 I brought you here to my land,
where food is abundant,
but you made my land filthy
with your sins.
8 The priests who teach my laws
don't care to know me.
Your leaders rebel against me;
your prophets
give messages from Baal
and worship false gods.
The Lord Accuses His People
9 I will take you to court
and accuse you
and your descendants
* 10 of a crime that no nation
has ever committed before.
Just ask anyone, anywhere,
from the eastern deserts
to the islands in the west.
11 You will find that no nation
has ever abandoned its gods
even though they were false.
I am the true and glorious God,
but you have rejected me
to worship idols.
12 Tell the heavens
to tremble with fear!
13 You, my people, have sinned
in two ways—
you have rejected me, the source
of life-giving water,
and you've tried to collect water
in cracked and leaking pits
dug in the ground.

14 People of Israel,
you weren't born slaves;
you were captured in war.
15 Enemies roared like lions
and destroyed your land;
towns lie burned and empty.
16 Soldiers from the Egyptian towns
of Memphis and Tahpanhes
have cracked your skulls.
17 It's all your own fault!
You stopped following me,
the Lord your God,
18 and you trusted the power
of Egypt and Assyria.
19 Your own sins will punish you,
because it was a bitter mistake
for you to reject me
without fear of punishment.
I, the Lord All-Powerful,
have spoken.

20 Long ago you left me
and broke all ties between us,
refusing to be my servant.
Now you worship other gods
by having sex
on hilltops or in the shade
of large trees.
21 You were a choice grapevine,
but you have become
a wild, useless vine.
Israel Is Stained with Guilt
22 The Lord said:

People of Israel,
you are stained with guilt,
and no soap or bleach
can wash it away.
23 You deny your sins
and say, “We aren't unclean.
We haven't worshiped Baal.”
But think about what you do
in Hinnom Valley.
You run back and forth
like young camels,
as you rush to worship one idol
after another.
24 You are a female donkey
sniffing the desert air,
wanting to mate
with just anyone.
You are an easy catch!
25 Your shoes are worn out,
and your throat is parched
from running here and there
to worship foreign gods.
“Stop!” I shouted,
but you replied, “No!
I love those gods too much.”

26 You and your leaders
are more disgraceful
than thieves—
you and your kings,
your priests and prophets
27 worship stone idols
and sacred poles
as if they had created you
and had given you life.
You have rejected me,
but when you're in trouble,
you cry to me for help.
28 Go cry to the gods you made!
There should be enough of them
to save you,
because Judah has as many gods
as it has towns.
Israel Rebels against the Lord
29 The Lord said to Israel:

You accuse me of not saving you,
but I say you have rebelled.
30 I tried punishing you,
but you refused
to come back to me,
and like fierce lions
you killed my prophets.

31 Now listen to what I say!
Did I abandon you in the desert
or surround you with darkness?
You are my people,
yet you have told me,
“We'll do what we want,
and we refuse
to worship you!”
32 A bride could not forget
to wear her jewelry
to her wedding,
but you have forgotten me
day after day.
33 You are so clever
at finding lovers
that you could give lessons
to a prostitute.
34 You killed innocent people
for no reason at all.
And even though their blood
can be seen on your clothes,
35 you claim to be innocent,
and you want me to stop
being angry with you.
So I'll take you to court,
and we'll see who is right.

36 When Assyria let you down,
you quickly ran to Egypt,
but you'll find no help there,
37 and you will leave
in great sadness.
I won't let you find help
from those you trust.