The Israelis sinned in spite of God's care for them
1 Yahweh gave me another message
2 to proclaim to everyone in Jerusalem. He said that I should tell them this: [MET]
“I, Yahweh, remember that you very much wanted to please me long ago.
You tried to please me like a bride tries to please her husband;
You loved me,
and you followed me through the desert [DOU].
3 At that time you Israelis ◄were set apart/belonged only► to me;
you belonged to me like the first part of the harvests belong to me [MET].
I promised to punish all those who harmed you, my people,
and truly I did send disasters on them.
That happened because I, Yahweh, said that it would happen.”
4 So, you descendants of [MTY] Jacob, all you people of [MTY] Israel,
5 listen to what Yahweh says:
“◄What sin did I commit [RHQ] that caused your ancestors to turn far away from me?/Though your ancestors found no fault in me, they turned far away from me.►
They worshiped worthless idols,
and they themselves became worthless.
6 They did not say, ‘Yahweh brought us safely out of Egypt,
and he led us through a desert
where there were a lot of pits;
he led us where there was no water and where it was very dangerous,
through a land where no one lives, and no one even travels.
◄So where is Yahweh now?/So he should be helping us now!► [RHQ]’
7 And when I brought you into a very fertile land,
in order that you could enjoy all the fruit and other good things that you would harvest,
you caused the land that I promised to give to you to be unfit for me
and to become disgusting/detestable to me.
8 Your priests also did not say,
‘◄Where is Yahweh now?/Yahweh should be helping us now!►’ [RHQ]
Those who teach/explain God's laws do not want to know me,
and your leaders have rebelled against me.
Your prophets gave you messages from their god Baal,
and they worship worthless idols.”
Yahweh accused the Israeli people
9 “So, I will accuse you in court.
In future years, I will say what your children and your grandchildren have done that is wrong.
That will happen because I, Yahweh, have said that it will happen.
10 If you go west to the island of Cyprus,
or if you go east to Kedar land,
and if you ask people in those places,
they will tell you that no people from their countries have ever done the wicked things that you people have done!
11 The people of no nation have ever [RHQ] abandoned their gods that they thought were glorious
and started to worship gods that are not really gods,
but you people have abandoned me, your glorious God,
and are worshiping gods that are useless.
12 It is as though everything in the sky is surprised and dismayed/appalled about what you have done;
it is as though they tremble because they are very horrified.
13 You, my people, have done two evil things:
You have rejected me, the one who is like [MET] a fountain where you can obtain fresh water,
and you are worshiping gods that are like [MET] pits in the ground
that are cracked and which are not able to hold any water.
14 You Israeli people, you were certainly not [RHQ] slaves when you were born;
you were captured by your enemies.
15 Your enemies [MET] roared like lions,
and they destroyed your land.
Now your towns have been burned,
and no one lives in them.
16 Soldiers from Memphis and Tahpenes, cities in Egypt, have defeated you
and shaved your heads to show that you are their slaves.
17 But it is [RHQ] because you abandoned me, Yahweh,
that these disasters have happened to you.
18 So ◄why are you trying to make an alliance with [MET] the rulers of Egypt?/it certainly will not help you to make an alliance with the rulers of Egypt.► [RHQ]
Why are you trying to make an alliance with [MET] the rulers of Assyria who live near the Euphrates River?
19 It is because you have been very wicked that I [PRS] will punish you.
It is because you have turned away from me that I [PRS] will condemn you.
When I do that, you will realize that bitter and evil [DOU] things will happen to you because you have forsaken me, Yahweh, your God,
and you no longer have an awesome respect for me.
That will certainly happen because I, Yahweh, the commander of the armies of angels in heaven, have said it.
20 Long ago, you stopped obeying me [MET], and you would not allow me to lead you [MET];
you refused to worship me.
Instead, you worship idols that are under trees on the top of every hill,
and your young women have sex with [EUP] men at those places.
21 It is as though [MET] you were a grapevine that I planted
when it was a cutting from a very good vine.
So now it is disgusting that [RHQ] you have become like a rotten worthless vine.
22 Your guilt from your sins is like [MET] very bad stains on a cloth,
and you cannot get rid of those stains even by using very strong soap.
This is true because I, Yahweh, have said it.
23 You say that you have not sinned.
You say ‘We have not become unacceptable to God;
we have not worshiped Baal.’
But think about the disgusting things that you do very eagerly in Hinnom Valley outside Jerusalem.
You are like desperate female camels, running here and there to find male camels to have sex with.
24 You are like wild female donkeys in the desert.
They sniff the air to find where the male donkeys are,
and no one can [RHQ] restrain them.
The male donkeys that want them do not become tired searching for them,
because at mating time they find them easily.
25 You constantly run here and there to find idols to worship, with the result that your sandals are worn out,
and your throats have become dry.
I told you to stop doing that
but you said, ‘We cannot stop, because we love foreign gods,
and we must worship them.’ ”
26 Yahweh says this:
“A robber is disgraced when he is caught.
And all of you, including your kings and priests and prophets, are similarly disgraced.
27 You say to a piece of wood that is carved to become a sacred idol, ‘You are our father!’
And you say to a stone that you have set up, ‘You are our mother!’
You have rejected [IDI] me,
but when you experience troubles,
you cry out to me to rescue you.
28 Why do you not [RHQ] cry out to the gods that you made?
You have as many gods as you have cities and towns in Judah.
So why do you not plead with them to rescue you
when you experience disasters?
29 You complain that it was wrong for me not to have rescued you,
but you have all rebelled against me.
30 I punished some of you,
but you did not learn anything from my doing that.
You have killed many of the prophets that I sent to you,
like [SIM] fierce lions kill other animals.
31 You people of Israel, pay attention to what I say.
I have certainly [RHQ] never abandoned you in a desert;
I have never left you in a very dark land.
So, why do you, my people, say ‘We are free from God's control;
we will not return to worship God anymore’?
32 A young woman would certainly never [RHQ] forget to wear her jewelry,
and a bride would never [RHQ] forget to wear her wedding dress,
but you my people have forgotten me for many years.
33 You know how to easily find gods from other countries whom you can love.
You can find them as easily as a prostitute can find men to sleep with.
34 Although you have on your clothes the blood of poor people whom you have murdered,
people who ◄were innocent/had not done things that are wrong►,
35 you say ‘We have not done anything that is wrong;
so surely Yahweh is not angry with us.’
But I will punish [MTY] you severely
for saying ‘We have not sinned.’
36 Previously you requested the army of Assyria to help you,
but they were not able to help you.
Now you have requested the army Egypt to help you,
but they will not be able to help you, either.
37 They will capture you, and you will be their prisoners [MTY],
led to Egypt, very ashamed with your hands on your heads.
That will happen because I, Yahweh, have rejected those nations that you are relying on,
and they will not be able to help you at all.”