The infidelities of Israel
1 A word of Yahweh came to me, 2 “Go and shout this in the hea ring of Jerusalem. This is Yah weh’s word:
2 I remember your kindness as a youth,
2 the love of your bridal days,
2 when you followed me in the wilderness,
2 through a land not sown.
3 Israel was holy to Yahweh,
3 the first-fruits of his harvest.
3 All who ate of it had to pay
3 and misfortune fell on them –
3 it is Yahweh who speaks.
4 Hear the word of Yahweh, people of Jacob,
4 all you families of the nation of Israel.
5 What wrong did your fathers find in me
5 that they strayed far from me?
5 Why did they pursue what is worthless
5 and become worthless themselves?
6 And they did not say: ‘Where is Yahweh
6 who brought us out of Egypt
6 and led us in the wilderness,
6 through a land of deserts and pits,
6 a land of drought and darkness,
6 a land still untrodden and without inhabitants?’
7 I brought you to a fertile land
7 to eat of the choicest fruit.
7 As soon as you came you defiled my land
7 and dishonored my heritage!
8 The priests did not ask, ‘Where is Yahweh?’
8 The masters of my teaching did not know me;
8 the pastors of my people betrayed me;
8 the prophets followed worthless idols
8 and spoke in the name of Baal.
9 Therefore I contend with you –
9 it is Yahweh who speaks –
9 and I will contend with your children’s children!
10 Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and see,
10 or send to Kedar and observe with care
10 if there has ever been such a thing!
11 Has a nation exchanged its gods,
11 false though they be?
11 But my people have exchanged their Glory
11 for what is worthless!
12 Be aghast at that, O heavens!
12 Shudder, be utterly appalled –
12 it is Yahweh who speaks –
13 for my people have done two evils:
13 they have forsaken me, the fountain of living water,
13 to dig for themselves leaking cisterns
13 that hold no water!
14 Did I make Israel a slave
14 or was he born in bondage?
14 How then did you become the spoil of others?
15 The lions have roared against you,
15 loudly indeed have they roared,
15 making your country a wasteland,
15 your cities a ruins without inhabitants.
16 Even the Egyptians of Memphis and Tahpanhes have humbled you!
17 Didn’t you bring this on yourself
17 by forsaking Yahweh, your God,
17 even as he led you in the way?
18 Now why call to Egypt?
18 Will the water of the Nile heal you?
18 And why go to Assyria?
18 What good will the water of the River do you?
19 Your own wickedness chastises you
19 and your own unfaithfulness punishes you!
19 Know, and see that it is bitter and evil
19 to forsake Yahweh your God
19 and no longer to fear me –
19 it is Yahweh, the God of hosts, who speaks!
20 It was long ago that you broke your yoke
20 and burst your bonds,
20 saying: ‘I will not serve!’
20 On every high hill
20 and under every green tree
20 you played the harlot!
21 I planted you a choice vine, a shoot of wholesome stock;
21 why have you become degenerate, a wild vine?
22 Even if you wash with soda
22 and use soap in abundance,
22 the stain of your sin is always before me –
22 it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks.
23 How do you dare say: ‘I am not defiled,
23 I have not gone after the Baals?’
23 See your footprints in the valley,
23 admit what you have done,
23 O restive young she-camel, running here and there.
24 Wild ass of the desert,
24 sniffing the wind in her desire,
24 who can restrain her lust?
24 Those who pursue her, need not tire themselves,
24 at mating time they will find her.
25 Run if you wish, until your feet are sore,
25 and your throat is dry!
25 But you say: ‘It’s no use,
25 I love foreign gods, it is them I follow.’
The crimes of Jerusalem
26 As a thief is shamed when caught,
26 so is the house of Israel,
26 they, their kings, their princes,
26 their priests and their prophets!
27 To a tree they say: ‘You are my father!’
27 and to a stone: ‘You gave me birth!’
27 For they have turned their back on me instead of their face!
27 In the day of misfortune
27 they will call me: ‘Rise and save us!’
28 Where, then, are the gods of your own making?
28 Let them rise and save you if they can,
28 in the time of your distress,
28 for your gods, O Judah! are as many
28 as your cities.
29 Why argue with me? You have all betrayed me – it is Yahweh who speaks.
30 In vain did I strike your children,
30 they did not learn a lesson!
30 And your sword, like a destroying lion
30 devoured your prophets!
31 All you of this generation, hear what Yahweh says:
31 Have I been a desert for Israel,
31 a land of darkness?
31 Why do my people say:
31 ‘We will depart from you
31 and no more return to you’?
32 Does a virgin forget her ornaments, or a bride her sash?
32 But my people have forgotten me
32 for days without number!
33 How well you direct your steps in your search for lovers,
33 even to walking along with crime!
34 Look at your garments
34 stained with the blood of the innocent poor, although you did not catch them breaking in!
35 I know you say: ‘I am innocent. Why does his anger not turn away from me?’
35 I will accuse you: Yes, you have sinned!
36 How lightly do you change your way!
36 You will be put to shame by Egypt as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place with your hands on your head,
37 for Yahweh has rejected those you trust, and they will not help you!