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The New International Version

Jeremiah 3:4–20

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Have you not just called to me:

‘My Father,p my friend from my youth,q

will you always be angry?r

Will your wrath continue forever?’

This is how you talk,

but you do all the evil you can.”

Unfaithful Israel

During the reign of King Josiah,s the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithlesst Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading treeu and has committed adulteryv there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sisterw Judah saw it.x I gave faithless Israely her certificate of divorcez and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear;a she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the landb and committed adulteryc with stoned and wood.e 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not returnf to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,g” declares the Lord.h

11 The Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel is more righteousi than unfaithfulj Judah.k 12 Go, proclaim this message toward the north:l

“ ‘Return,m faithlessn Israel,’ declares the Lord,

‘I will frown on you no longer,

for I am faithful,’o declares the Lord,

‘I will not be angryp forever.

13 Only acknowledgeq your guilt—

you have rebelled against the Lord your God,

you have scattered your favors to foreign godsr

under every spreading tree,s

and have not obeyedt me,’ ”

declares the Lord.

14 “Return,u faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband.v I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherdsw after my own heart,x who will lead you with knowledge and understanding. 16 In those days, when your numbers have increased greatly in the land,” declares the Lord, “people will no longer say, ‘The arky of the covenant of the Lord.’ It will never enter their minds or be remembered;z it will not be missed, nor will another one be made. 17 At that time they will call Jerusalem The Thronea of the Lord, and all nationsb will gather in Jerusalem to honorc the name of the Lord. No longer will they follow the stubbornness of their evil hearts.d 18 In those days the people of Judah will join the people of Israel,e and togetherf they will come from a northerng land to the landh I gave your ancestors as an inheritance.

19 “I myself said,

“ ‘How gladly would I treat you like my children

and give you a pleasant land,i

the most beautiful inheritancej of any nation.’

I thought you would call me ‘Father’k

and not turn away from following me.

20 But like a woman unfaithful to her husband,

so you, Israel, have been unfaithfull to me,”

declares the Lord.

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