1If a man sends away his wife f Dt 24, 1–4 . and, after leaving him, she marries another man, Does the first husband come back to her? Would not the land be wholly defiled? But you have sinned with many lovers, and yet you would return to me! says the LORD.*
2Lift your eyes to the heights, and see, where have men not lain with you? By the waysides you waited for them like an Arab* in the desert. You defiled the land by your wicked harlotry. g Ex 16, 24f . 3Therefore the showers were withheld, the spring rain failed. But because you have a harlot's brow, you refused to blush. h Jer 6, 15; 8, 12 .
4Even now do you not call me, “My father, you who are the bridegroom of my youth”? 5“Will he keep his wrath forever, will he hold his grudge to the end?” This is what you say; yet you do all the evil you can.
Judah and Israel. 6The LORD said to me in the days of King Josiah: See now what rebellious Israel has done! She has gone up every high mountain, and under every green tree she has played the harlot. i Jer 2, 20; Dt 12, 2 . 7And I thought, after she has done all this she will return to me. But she did not return. Then, even though her traitor sister Judah saw 8that for all the adulteries rebellious Israel had committed, I put her away and gave her a bill of divorce, nevertheless her traitor sister Judah was not frightened; she too went off and played the harlot. j 2 Kgs 17, 6. 18–23; Ez 23, 11 . 9Eager to sin, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and wood. k Jer 2, 27 . 10With all this, the traitor sister Judah did not return to me wholeheartedly, but insincerely, says the LORD.
Restoration of Israel. 11Then the LORD said to me: Rebel Israel is inwardly more just than traitorous Judah. l Ez 16, 51; 23, 11 . 12Go, proclaim these words toward the north, and say:
Return, rebel Israel, says the LORD, I will not remain angry with you; For I am merciful, says the LORD, I will not continue my wrath forever. m Dt 4, 29ff . 13Only know your guilt: how you rebelled against the LORD, your God, How you ran hither and yon to strangers [under every green tree] and would not listen to my voice, says the LORD. n Jer 2, 20. 25; Lv 26, 40 . 14Return, rebellious children, says the LORD,* for I am your Master; I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan, and bring you to Zion. o Jer 23, 3; Is 10, 21f . 15I will appoint over you shepherds after my own heart, who will shepherd you wisely and prudently. p Ez 34, 23; Jn 21, 15 . 16When you multiply and become fruitful in the land, says the LORD, They will in those days no longer say, “The ark of the covenant of the LORD!” They will no longer think of it, or remember it, or miss it, or make another.
17At that time they will call Jerusalem the O LORD’s throne; there all nations will be gathered together to honor the name of the LORD at Jerusalem, and they will walk no longer in their hardhearted wickedness. q Is 2, 2 . 18In those days the house of Judah will join the house of Israel; together they will come from the land of the north to the land which I gave to your fathers as a heritage. r Jer 30, 3; 31, 8 .
Conditions for Forgiveness
19I had thought: How I should like to treat you as sons, And give you a pleasant land, a heritage most beautiful among the nations! You would call me, “My Father,” I thought, and never cease following me. s Jer 31, 9. 20; Is 63, 16 . 20But like a woman faithless to her lover, even so have you been faithless to me, O house of Israel, says the LORD. t Jer 5, 11 . 21A cry is heard on the heights! the plaintive weeping of Israel's children, Because they have perverted their ways and forgotten the LORD, their God. 22Return, rebellious children, and I will cure you of your rebelling. “Here we are, we now come to you because you are the LORD, our God. u Hos 3, 5 . 23Deceptive indeed are the hills, the thronging mountains; In the LORD, our God, alone is the salvation of Israel. v Jer 14, 8 . 24The shame-god* has devoured our fathers’ toil from our youth, Their sheep and their cattle, their sons and their daughters. 25Let us lie down in our shame, let our disgrace cover us, for we have sinned against the LORD, our God, From our youth to this day, we and our fathers also; we listened not to the voice of the LORD, our God.” w Jer 16, 11f; 22, 21 .