The word of Yahweh came to me, saying,
‘Go and shout this in Jerusalem’s ears: ‘Yahweh says this: “I remember your faithful love, the affection of your bridal days, when you followed me through the desert, through a land unsown.
Israel was sacred to Yahweh; the first-fruits of his harvest; all who ate this incurred guilt, disaster befell them, Yahweh declares.” ‘
Listen to Yahweh’s word, House of Jacob and all the families of the House of Israel.
Yahweh says this, ‘What did your ancestors find wrong in me for them to have deserted me so far as to follow Futility and become futile themselves?
They never said, “Where is Yahweh, who brought us out of Egypt and led us through the desert, through a land of plains and ravines, through a land of drought, of shadow dark as death, a land through which no one passes and where no human being lives?”
I brought you to a country of plenty, to enjoy its produce and good things; but when you entered you defiled my country and made my heritage loathsome.
The priests never asked, “Where is Yahweh?” Those skilled in the Law did not know me, the shepherds too rebelled against me and the prophets prophesied by Baal and followed the Useless Ones.
So I must state my case against you once more, Yahweh declares, and state my case against your children’s children:
Cross to the isles of the Kittim and look, send to Kedar and carefully observe, see if anything like this has happened before!
Does a nation change its gods? – and these are not gods at all! Yet my people have exchanged their Glory for the Useless One!
You heavens, stand aghast at this, horrified, utterly appalled, Yahweh declares.
For my people have committed two crimes: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug water-tanks for themselves, cracked water-tanks that hold no water.
‘Is Israel a slave? Was he born into serfdom, for him to be preyed on like this?
Lions have roared at him, they have made their voices heard. They have left this country a desert, his towns lie burnt and uninhabited.
The people of Noph and Tahpanhes have shaved your skull!
Have you not brought this on yourself, by abandoning Yahweh your God, when he was guiding you on your way?
What is the good of going to Egypt now to drink the water of the Nile? What is the good of going to Assyria to drink the water of the River?
Your wickedness will bring its own punishment, your infidelities will bring you to book, so give thought and see how evil and bitter it is to abandon Yahweh your God and not to stand in awe of me, the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth declares.
‘It is long ago now since you broke your yoke, burst your bonds and said, “I will not serve!” Yet on every high hill and under every green tree you have sprawled and played the whore.
Yet I had planted you, a red vine of completely sound stock. How is it you have turned into seedlings of a vine that is alien to me?
Even though you scrub yourself with soda and put in quantities of soap, the stain of your guilt would still be visible to me, the Lord Yahweh declares.
How dare you say, “I am not defiled, I have not run after the Baals?” Look at your behaviour in the Valley, realise what you have done.
A wild she-donkey, at home in the desert, snuffing the breeze in desire; who can control her when she is on heat? Males need not trouble to look for her, they will find her in her month.
Beware! Your own foot will go unshod, your own throat grow dry! But you said, “It is no use! No! For I love the Strangers and they are the ones I shall follow.”
‘Like a thief ashamed at being caught, so will the House of Israel be: they, their kings, their chief men, their priests and their prophets,
who say to a piece of wood, “You are my father,” and to a stone, “You gave birth to me.” For they turn to me their backs, never their faces; yet when trouble comes they shout, “Get up! Save us!”
Where are your gods you made for yourself? Let them get up if they can save you when trouble comes! For you have as many gods as you have towns, Judah!
Why make out a case against me? You have all rebelled against me, Yahweh declares.
In vain I have struck your children, they have not accepted correction; your own sword has devoured your prophets like a marauding lion.
Now you of this generation, listen to what Yahweh says: Have I been a desert for Israel, or a land of gloom? Why do my people say, “We are our own masters, we will come to you no more”?
Does a girl forget her ornaments, a bride her sash? And yet my people have forgotten me, days beyond number.
‘How well you set your course in pursuit of love! And so you have schooled your ways to wicked deeds.
The very skirts of your robe are stained with the blood of the poor, of innocent men you never caught breaking and entering! And in spite of all this,
you say, “I am innocent, let his anger turn from me!” Now I pass sentence on you for saying, “I have not sinned.”
‘How frivolously you undertake a change of course! But you will be disappointed by Egypt just as you were by Assyria.
You will have to leave there too with your hands on your head, for Yahweh has rejected those that you rely on, you will come to no good with them.’