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God Pleads with Israel to Repent


The word of the L ord came to me, saying: 2Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the L ord:

I remember the devotion of your youth,

your love as a bride,

how you followed me in the wilderness,

in a land not sown.


Israel was holy to the L ord,

the first fruits of his harvest.

All who ate of it were held guilty;

disaster came upon them,

says the L ord.


4 Hear the word of the L ord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. 5Thus says the L ord:

What wrong did your ancestors find in me

that they went far from me,

and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?


They did not say, “Where is the L ord

who brought us up from the land of Egypt,

who led us in the wilderness,

in a land of deserts and pits,

in a land of drought and deep darkness,

in a land that no one passes through,

where no one lives?”


I brought you into a plentiful land

to eat its fruits and its good things.

But when you entered you defiled my land,

and made my heritage an abomination.


The priests did not say, “Where is the L ord?”

Those who handle the law did not know me;

the rulers transgressed against me;

the prophets prophesied by Baal,

and went after things that do not profit.



Therefore once more I accuse you,

says the L ord,

and I accuse your children’s children.


Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,

send to Kedar and examine with care;

see if there has ever been such a thing.


Has a nation changed its gods,

even though they are no gods?

But my people have changed their glory

for something that does not profit.


Be appalled, O heavens, at this,

be shocked, be utterly desolate,

says the L ord,


for my people have committed two evils:

they have forsaken me,

the fountain of living water,

and dug out cisterns for themselves,

cracked cisterns

that can hold no water.



Is Israel a slave? Is he a homeborn servant?

Why then has he become plunder?


The lions have roared against him,

they have roared loudly.

They have made his land a waste;

his cities are in ruins, without inhabitant.


Moreover, the people of Memphis and Tahpanhes

have broken the crown of your head.


Have you not brought this upon yourself

by forsaking the L ord your God,

while he led you in the way?


What then do you gain by going to Egypt,

to drink the waters of the Nile?

Or what do you gain by going to Assyria,

to drink the waters of the Euphrates?


Your wickedness will punish you,

and your apostasies will convict you.

Know and see that it is evil and bitter

for you to forsake the L ord your God;

the fear of me is not in you,

says the Lord G od of hosts.



For long ago you broke your yoke

and burst your bonds,

and you said, “I will not serve!”

On every high hill

and under every green tree

you sprawled and played the whore.


Yet I planted you as a choice vine,

from the purest stock.

How then did you turn degenerate

and become a wild vine?


Though you wash yourself with lye

and use much soap,

the stain of your guilt is still before me,

says the Lord G od.


How can you say, “I am not defiled,

I have not gone after the Baals”?

Look at your way in the valley;

know what you have done—

a restive young camel interlacing her tracks,


a wild ass at home in the wilderness,

in her heat sniffing the wind!

Who can restrain her lust?

None who seek her need weary themselves;

in her month they will find her.


Keep your feet from going unshod

and your throat from thirst.

But you said, “It is hopeless,

for I have loved strangers,

and after them I will go.”



As a thief is shamed when caught,

so the house of Israel shall be shamed—

they, their kings, their officials,

their priests, and their prophets,


who say to a tree, “You are my father,”

and to a stone, “You gave me birth.”

For they have turned their backs to me,

and not their faces.

But in the time of their trouble they say,

“Come and save us!”


But where are your gods

that you made for yourself?

Let them come, if they can save you,

in your time of trouble;

for you have as many gods

as you have towns, O Judah.



Why do you complain against me?

You have all rebelled against me,

says the L ord.


In vain I have struck down your children;

they accepted no correction.

Your own sword devoured your prophets

like a ravening lion.


And you, O generation, behold the word of the L ord!

Have I been a wilderness to Israel,

or a land of thick darkness?

Why then do my people say, “We are free,

we will come to you no more”?


Can a girl forget her ornaments,

or a bride her attire?

Yet my people have forgotten me,

days without number.



How well you direct your course

to seek lovers!

So that even to wicked women

you have taught your ways.


Also on your skirts is found

the lifeblood of the innocent poor,

though you did not catch them breaking in.

Yet in spite of all these things


you say, “I am innocent;

surely his anger has turned from me.”

Now I am bringing you to judgment

for saying, “I have not sinned.”


How lightly you gad about,

changing your ways!

You shall be put to shame by Egypt

as you were put to shame by Assyria.


From there also you will come away

with your hands on your head;

for the L ord has rejected those in whom you trust,

and you will not prosper through them.


Here, by a comparison, he amplifies the wickedness and ingratitude of his own nation, — that they had surpassed in levity all heathen nations; for he says that all nations so agreed in one religion, that each nation followed what it had received from its ancestors. How then was it that the God of Israel was repudiated and rejected by his own people? If there was such persistency in error, why did not truth secure credit among them who had been taught by the mouth of God himself, as though they had been even in heaven? This is the drift of the Prophet’s meaning, when he says, Go into the islands of Chittim, and send into Kedar

He mentions Greece on one side, and the East on the other, and states a part for the whole. The Hebrews, as we have seen in Daniel, called the Greeks Chittim, though they indeed thought that the term belonged properly to the Macedonians; but the Prophet no doubt included in that term not only the whole of Greece and the islands of the Mediterranean, but also the whole of Europe, so as to take in those parts, the whole of France and Spain. There is indeed some difference made in the use of the word; but when taken generally, it was understood by the Hebrews, as I have said, to include France, Spain, Germany, as well as Greece; and they called those countries islands, though distant from the sea, because they carried on no commerce with remote nations: hence they thought the countries beyond the sea to be islands; and the Prophet spoke according to what was customary. 3737     Parkhurst doubts whether the word איים, rendered islands, has ever strictly that meaning. He renders the singular, אי, a settlement, a habitation, and refers to Job 22:30; Isaiah 20:6; and says, that the plural, in Isaiah 42:15, ought to be rendered “habitable places,” and not “islands,” as in our version. It may be rendered here, “countries,” as by Blarney. — Ed

He then bids them to pass into the islands, southward as well as northward; and then he bids them, on the other hand, to send to explore the state of the East, Arabia as well as India, Persia, and other countries; for under the word Kedar he includes all the nations of the East; and as that people were more barbarous than others, he mentions them rather than the Persians or the Medes, or any other more celebrated nation, in order more fully to expose the disgraceful conduct of the Jews. Go then, or send, to all parts of the world, and see and diligently consider, see and see again; as though he said, that so great was the stupidity of the Jews, that they could not be awakened by a single word, or by one admonition. This then is the reason why he bids them carefully to inquire, though the thing itself was very plain and obvious. But this careful inquiry, as I have said, was enforced not on account of the obscurity of the subject, but for the purpose of reproving the sottishness of that perverse nation, which must have been conscious of its gross impiety, and yet indulged itself in its own vices.

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