The Bible in Its Traditions

Jeremiah 2:1–37

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And the word of YHWH came to me, saying

And he said, Thus saith the Lord,

MOREOVER the word of the LORD came upon me, saying,

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Go, and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying: Thus saith YHWH: I remember for thee the affection of thy youth, the love of thine espousals; how thou wentest after Me in the wilderness, in a land that was not sown.

I remember the kindness of thy youth, and the love of thine espousals,

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Israel is YHWH'S hallowed portion, His first-fruits of the increase; all that devour him shall be held guilty, evil shall come upon them, saith the YHWH.

in following the Holy One of Israel, saith the Lord, Israel was the holy people to the Lord, and the first-fruits of his increase: al that devoured him shall offend; evils shall come upon them, saith the Lord.

Israel has sanctified to the LORD the first fruits of his crops; all those who embezzle them shall be condemned; evil shall come upon them, says the LORD.

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Hear ye the word of YHWH, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel;

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and every family of the house of Israel.

Listen to the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all you families of the house of Israel.

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Thus saith YHWH: What unrighteousness have your fathers found in Me, that they are gone far from Me, and have walked after things of nought, and are become nought?

Thus says the Lord: “What iniquity have your fathers found in me, that they would draw far away from me, and would walk after emptiness, and would become empty?

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Neither said they: 'Where is YHWH that brought us up out of the land of Egypt; that led us through the wilderness, through a land of deserts and of pits, through a land of drought and of the shadow of death, through a land that no man passed through, and where no man dwelt?'

And they said not, Where is the Lord, who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, who guided us in the wilderness, in an untried and trackless land, in a land which no man at all went through, and no man dwelt there?

And they have not said: ‘Where is the Lord, who caused us to ascend from the land of Egypt; who led us through the desert, through an uninhabited and impassable land, through a land of drought and of the image of death, through a land in which no one walked and in which no man lived?’

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And I brought you into a land of fruitful fields, to eat the fruit thereof and the good thereof; but when ye entered, ye defiled My land, and made My heritage an abomination.

And I led you into the land of Carmel, so that you would eat from its fruit and from its excellence. And having entered it, you defiled my land, and you turned my inheritance into an abomination.

The priests said not: 'Where is YHWH?' And they that handle the law knew Me not, and the rulers transgressed against Me; the prophets also prophesied by Baal, and walked after things that do not profit.

The priests have not sad: ‘Where is the Lord?’ And those who held the law did not know me. And the pastors betrayed me. And the prophets prophesied in Baal and followed idols.

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Wherefore I will yet plead with you, saith YHWH, and with your children's children will I plead.

Because of this, I will still contend in judgment against you, says the Lord, and I will dispute with your sons.

Therefore I will yet contend with you, says the LORD; and with your children's children I will contend.

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10  For pass over to the isles of the Kittites, and see, and send unto Kedar, and consider diligently, and see if there hath been such a thing.

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11  Hath a nation changed its gods, which yet are no gods? But My people hath changed its glory for that which doth not profit.

11  if the nations will change their gods, though they are not gods: but my people have changed their glory, for that from which they shall not be profited.

11  See if a nation has ever changed their gods, though certainly those are not gods. Yet truly, my people have exchanged their glory for an idol.

12  Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye exceeding amazed, saith YHWH.

12  The heaven is amazed at this, and is very exceedingly horror-struck, saith the Lord.

12  Be astonished at this, O heavens, and be utterly desolate, O gates of heaven, says the Lord.

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13  For My people have committed two evils: they have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.

14  Is Israel a servant? Is he a home-born slave? Why is he become a prey?

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15  The young lions have roared upon him, and let their voice resound; and they have made his land desolate, his cities are laid waste, without inhabitant.

15  The lions have roared over him, and they have uttered their voice. They have set his land in solitude; his cities have been burned up, and there is no one who lives in them.

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16  The children also of Noph and Tahpanhes feed upon the crown of thy head.

16  Also certain rulers of the inhabitants of Memphis and Tahapanes shall rule over you.

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17  Is it not this that doth cause it unto thee, that thou hast forsaken YHWH thy God, when He led thee by the way?

17  Has not thy forsaking me brought these things upon thee? saith the Lord thy God.

17  Has this not been done to you because you abandoned the Lord your God, in that time when he was leading you by the way?

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18  And now what hast thou to do in the way to Egypt, to drink the waters of Shihor? Or what hast thou to do in the way to Assyria, to drink the waters of the River?

18  And now, why is it that you go in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of Sihor? And why is it that you go in the way of Assyria, to drink the waters of the river (Euphrates)?

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19  Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil and a bitter thing, that thou hast forsaken YHWH thy God, neither is My fear in thee, saith YHWH GOD of hosts.

19  Your own malice will reprove you, and your own apostasy will rebuke you! But know and perceive this: it is an evil and bitter thing for you to forsake the Lord your God, and to be without my fear within you, says the Lord, the God of hosts.

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20  For of old time I have broken thy yoke, and burst thy bands, and thou saidst: 'I will not transgress'; upon every high hill and under every leafy tree thou didst recline, playing the harlot.

20  For of old thou hast broken thy yoke, and plucked asunder thy bands; and thou has said, I will not serve thee, but will go upon every high hill, and under every shady tree, there will I indulge in my fornication.

20  From ancient times, you have broken my yoke; you have torn apart my bonds, and you have said, ‘I will not serve.’ For on every high hill, and under every leafy tree, you have been debased, O harlot.

21  Yet I had planted thee a noble vine, wholly a right seed; how then art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?

21  Yet I planted thee a fruitful vine, entirely of the right sort: how art thou a strange vine turned to bitterness!

21  Yet I planted you as an elect vineyard, with only true seed. Then how have you been turned away from me, toward that which is depraved, O strange vineyard?

22  For though thou wash thee with nitre, and take thee much soap, yet thine iniquity is marked before Me, saith YHWH GOD.

22  Though thou shouldest wash thyself with nitre, and multiply to thyself soap, still thou art stained by thine iniquities before me, saith the Lord.

22  Even if you wash yourself with soap, and increase your use of herbal soaps, you are still stained by your iniquity in my sight, says the Lord God.

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23  How canst thou say: 'I am not defiled, I have not gone after the Baalim'? See thy way in the Valley, know what thou hast done; thou art a swift young camel traversing her ways;

23  How can you say: ‘I have not been polluted. I have not walked after Baal?’ Consider your ways in the steep valley. Acknowledge what you have done, so that you may be like a swift runner, following his course.

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24  A wild ass used to the wilderness, that snuffeth up the wind in her desire; her lust, who can hinder it? All they that seek her will not weary themselves; in her month they shall find her.

24  You are like a wild ass which is untrained in the wilderness and follows her own will; you have snuffed up the wind, who can bring you back? Whoever seeks her shall weary himself, he shall find her only by means of her footprints.

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25  Withhold thy foot from being unshod, and thy throat from thirst; but thou saidst: 'There is no hope; no, for I have loved strangers, and after them will I go.'

25  You should keep your foot from being naked, and your throat from being thirsty. But you have said: ‘I have lost hope. I will not do it. For certainly, I have loved strangers, and I will walk after them.’

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26  As the thief is ashamed when he is found, so is the house of Israel ashamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets;

26  As is the shame of a thief when he is caught, so shall the children of Israel be ashamed; they, and their kings, and their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.

26  In the same way that a thief is confounded when he has been apprehended, so the house of Israel has been confounded, they and their kings, their leaders and priests and prophets.

27  Who say to a stock: 'Thou art my father', and to a stone: 'Thou hast brought us forth', for they have turned their back unto Me, and not their face; but in the time of their trouble they will say: 'Arise, and save us.'

27  They said to a stock, Thou art my father; and to a stone, Thou has begotten me: and they have turned their backs to me, and not their faces: yet in the time of their afflictions they will say, Arise, and save us.

27  For they say to a piece of wood, ‘You are my father,’ and to a stone, ‘You have conceived me.’ They have turned their back to me, and not their face. But in the time of their affliction, they will say: ‘Rise up and deliver us.’

28  But where are thy gods that thou hast made thee? Let them arise, if they can save thee in the time of thy trouble; for according to the number of thy cities are thy gods, O Judah.

28  And where are thy gods, which thou madest for thyself? will they arise and save in the time of thine affliction? for according to the number of thy cities were thy gods, O Juda; and according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem they sacrificed to Baal.

28  Where are your gods that you made for yourselves? Let them rise up and deliver you in the time of your affliction. For certainly, your gods were like the number of your cities, O Judah.

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29  Wherefore will ye contend with Me? Ye all have transgressed against Me, saith YHWH.

29  Wherefore do ye speak unto me? ye all have been ungodly, and ye all have transgressed against me, saith the Lord.

29  Why do you want to contend against me in judgment? You have all forsaken me, says the Lord.

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30  In vain have I smitten your children--they received no correction; your sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.

30  I have struck your children to no effect; they have not accepted discipline. Your own sword has devoured your prophets. Your generation is like a raging lion.

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31  O generation, see ye the word of YHWH: have I been a wilderness unto Israel? or a land of thick darkness? Wherefore say My people: 'We roam at large; we will come no more unto Thee'?

31  Hear ye the word of the Lord: thus saith the Lord, Have I been a wilderness or a dry land to Israel? wherefore has my people said, We will not be ruled over, and will not come to thee any more?

31  Consider the word of the Lord. Have I become like a wilderness to Israel, or like a land late to bear fruit? Then why have my people said, ‘We are withdrawing; we will no longer approach you’?

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32  Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? Yet My people have forgotten Me days without number.

32  Can a virgin forget her ornament, or a bride the covering across her breast? Yet truly, my people have forgotten me, for innumerable days.

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33  How trimmest thou thy way to seek love! Therefore--even the wicked women hast thou taught thy ways;

33  What fair device wilt thou yet employ in thy ways, so as to seek love? it shall not be so; moreover thou has done wickedly in corrupting thy ways;

33  Why do you deck yourself to induce love? For behold you have also learned evil by means of your conduct.

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34  Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the innocent poor; thou didst not find them breaking in; yet for all these things

34  and in thine hands has been found the blood of innocent souls; I have not found them in holes, but on every oak.

34  and in your armpits there is found the blood of poor and innocent souls? I have found them, not in ditches, but everywhere that I mentioned previously.

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35  Thou saidst: 'I am innocent; surely His anger is turned away from me'--behold, I will enter into judgment with thee, because thou sayest: 'I have not sinned.'

35  Yet thou saidst, I am innocent: only let his wrath be turned away from me. Behold, I will plead with thee, whereas thou sayest, I have not sinned.

35  And you have said: ‘I am innocent and without sin. And because of this, let your fury be turned away from me.’ Behold, I will contend with you in judgment, because you have said: ‘I have not sinned.’

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36  How greatly dost thou cheapen thyself to change thy way? Thou shalt be ashamed of Egypt also, as thou wast ashamed of Asshur.

36  How exceedingly vile you have become, repeating your ways again and again! And so, you will be ashamed of Egypt, just as you were ashamed of Assur.

37  From him also shalt thou go forth, with thy hands upon thy head; for YHWH hath rejected them in whom thou didst trust, and thou shalt not prosper in them.

37  For you will also depart from that place, and your hand will be upon your head. For the Lord has crushed your confidence, and you will have nothing prosperous by it.”