Chapter 2

  1. The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen that which backsliding Israel has done? She is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree and there has played the harlot. And I said after she had done all these things, Turn unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it. And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also. And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. And yet for all this, her treacherous sister Judah has not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, says the Lord. And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel has justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
  2. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, you backsliding Israel, says the Lord, and I will not cause my anger to fall upon you. For I am merciful, says the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge your iniquity — that you have transgressed against the Lord your God, and have scattered your ways to the strangers under every green tree, and you have not obeyed my voice, says the Lord.
  3. Turn, O backsliding children, says the Lord, for I am married unto you. And I will take you one of a city and two of a family and I will bring you to Zion. And I will give you shepherds according to my heart, who shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when you have multiplied and increased in the land in those days, says the Lord, they shall say no more, The ark of the covenant of the Lord — neither shall it come to mind, neither shall they remember it, neither shall they visit it, neither shall that be done anymore. At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the Lord and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem; neither shall they walk anymore after the imagination of their evil heart. In those days, the house of Judah shall walk with the house of Israel, and they shall come together out of the land of the north to the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers.
  4. But I said, How shall I put you among the children and give you a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? And I said, You shall call me, My father — and shall not turn away from me. Surely as a wife treacherously departs from her husband, so have you dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, says the Lord. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel, for they have perverted their way and they have forgotten the Lord their God. Return, you backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto you, for you are the Lord our God. Truly in vain is salvation hoped for from the hills and from the multitude of mountains; truly in the Lord our God is the salvation of Israel. For shame has devoured the labor of our fathers from our youth, their flocks and their herds, their sons and their daughters. We lie down in our shame and our confusion covers us, for we have sinned against the Lord our God, we and our fathers, from our youth even unto this day, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God.
  5. If you will return O Israel, says the Lord, return unto me; and if you will put away your abominations out of my sight, then shall you not remove. And you shall swear, The Lord lives in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness — and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory. For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and Jerusalem: Break up your fallow ground and sow not among thorns. Circumcise yourselves to the Lord and take away the foreskins of your heart, you men of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, lest my fury come forth like fire and burn, that none can quench it, because of the evil of your doings.
  6. Declare in Judah and publish in Jerusalem, and say, Blow the trumpet in the land, cry, gather together and say, Assemble yourselves and let us go into the fortified cities. Set up the standard toward Zion; retire, stay not, for I will bring evil from the north and a great destruction. The lion has come up from his thicket and the destroyer of the gentiles is on his way. He is gone forth from his place to make your land desolate and your cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant. For this, gird yourself with sackcloth, lament and howl, for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned back from us. And it shall come to pass at that day, says the Lord, that the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall wonder. Then said I, Ah, Lord God, surely you have greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, You shall have peace — whereas the sword reaches unto the soul.
  7. At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness, toward the daughter of my people — not to winnow, nor to cleanse — even a full wind from those places shall come unto me; now also will I give sentence against them. Behold, he shall come up as clouds and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind, his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us, for we are spoiled. O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness, that you may be saved. How long shall your vain thoughts lodge within you? For a voice declares from Dan and publishes affliction from Mount Ephraim. Make mention to the nations, behold, publish against Jerusalem that watchers come from a far country and give out their voice against the cities of Judah. As keepers of a field are they against her round about, because she has been rebellious against me, says the Lord. Your way and your doings have procured these things unto you; this is your wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches unto your heart.