Yes, 1 the Lord has this to say to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: “Like a farmer breaking up hard unplowed ground, you must break your rebellious will and make a new beginning; just as a farmer must clear away thorns lest the seed is wasted, you must get rid of the sin that is ruining your lives. 2
The Lord answered, 1 “This will happen 2 because my people are foolish. They do not know me. They are like children who have no sense. 3 They have no understanding. They are skilled at doing evil. They do not know how to do good.”
The Lord asked, 1 “How can I leave you unpunished, Jerusalem? 2 Your people 3 have rejected me and have worshiped gods that are not gods at all. 4 Even though I supplied all their needs, 5 they were like an unfaithful wife to me. 6 They went flocking 7 to the houses of prostitutes. 8
This is what the Lord who rules over all 1 said to me: 2 “Those who remain in Israel will be like the grapes thoroughly gleaned 3 from a vine. So go over them again, as though you were a grape harvester passing your hand over the branches one last time.” 4
Are they ashamed because they have done such shameful things? No, they are not at all ashamed. They do not even know how to blush! So they will die, just like others have died. 1 They will be brought to ruin when I punish them,” says the Lord.
They will be spread out and exposed to the sun, the moon and the stars. 1 These are things they 2 adored and served, things to which they paid allegiance, 3 from which they sought guidance, and worshiped. The bones of these people 4 will never be regathered and reburied. They will be like manure used to fertilize the ground. 5
I have listened to them very carefully, 1 but they do not speak honestly. None of them regrets the evil he has done. None of them says, “I have done wrong!” 2 All of them persist in their own wayward course 3 like a horse charging recklessly into battle.
Are they ashamed because they have done such disgusting things? No, they are not at all ashamed! They do not even know how to blush! So they will die just like others have died. 1 They will be brought to ruin when I punish them, says the Lord.
(9:1) I wish I had a lodging place in the desert where I could spend some time like a weary traveler. 1 Then I would desert my people and walk away from them because they are all unfaithful to God, a congregation 2 of people that has been disloyal to him. 3
The Lord says, 1 “These people are like soldiers who have readied their bows. Their tongues are always ready to shoot out lies. 2 They have become powerful in the land, but they have not done so by honest means. 3 Indeed, they do one evil thing after another 4 and do not pay attention to me. 5
Such idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field. They cannot talk. They must be carried because they cannot walk. Do not be afraid of them because they cannot hurt you. And they do not have any power to help you.” 1
The Lord, who is the inheritance 1 of Jacob’s descendants, 2 is not like them. He is the one who created everything. And the people of Israel are those he claims as his own. 3 He is known as the Lord who rules over all.” 4
Those are the terms that I charged your ancestors 1 to keep 2 when I brought them out of Egypt, that place which was like an iron-smelting furnace. 3 I said at that time, 4 “Obey me and carry out the terms of the agreement 5 exactly as I commanded you. If you do, 6 you will be my people and I will be your God. 7
These wicked people refuse to obey what I have said. 1 They follow the stubborn inclinations of their own hearts and pay allegiance 2 to other gods by worshiping and serving them. So 3 they will become just like these linen shorts which are good for nothing.
Show the Lord your God the respect that is due him. 1 Do it before he brings the darkness of disaster. 2 Do it before you stumble 3 into distress like a traveler on the mountains at twilight. 4 Do it before he turns the light of deliverance you hope for into the darkness and gloom of exile. 5
The Lord continued, 1 “In every town in the land I will purge them like straw blown away by the wind. 2 I will destroy my people. I will kill off their children. I will do so because they did not change their behavior. 3
Because of this, the Lord said, 1 “You must repent of such words and thoughts! If you do, I will restore you to the privilege of serving me. 2 If you say what is worthwhile instead of what is worthless, I will again allow you to be my spokesman. 3 They must become as you have been. You must not become like them. 4
They will die of deadly diseases. No one will mourn for them. They will not be buried. Their dead bodies will lie like manure spread on the ground. They will be killed in war or die of starvation. Their corpses will be food for the birds and wild animals.
You will lose your hold on the land 1 which I gave to you as a permanent possession. I will make you serve your enemies in a land that you know nothing about. For you have made my anger burn like a fire that will never be put out.” 2
They will be like a tree planted near a stream whose roots spread out toward the water. It has nothing to fear when the heat comes. Its leaves are always green. It has no need to be concerned in a year of drought. It does not stop bearing fruit.