Shall we once again break your commandments and intermarry with these abominable peoples? Would you not be so angered by us that you would wipe us out, with no survivor or remnant?
And on that day they offered great sacrifices and rejoiced, for God had given them great joy. The women and children also rejoiced. The rejoicing in Jerusalem could be heard from far away.
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
For the land is full of people unfaithful to him. 1 They live wicked lives and they misuse their power. 2 So the land is dried up 3 because it is under his curse. 4 The pastures in the wilderness are withered.
Adulterers, do you not know that friendship with the world means hostility toward God? 1 So whoever decides to be the world’s friend makes himself God’s enemy.
Therefore do not give your daughters in marriage to their sons, and do not take their daughters in marriage for your sons. Do not ever seek their peace or welfare, so that you may be strong and may eat the good of the land and may leave it as an inheritance for your children 1 forever.’
He sent letters throughout all the royal provinces, to each province according to its own script and to each people according to its own language, 1 that every man should be ruling his family 2 and should be speaking the language of his own people. 3
The king thereby allowed the Jews who were in every city to assemble and to stand up for themselves – to destroy, to kill, and to annihilate any army of whatever people or province that should become their adversaries, including their women and children, 1 and to confiscate their property.
But she is unique! 1 My dove, my perfect one! She is the special daughter 2 of her mother, she is the favorite 3 of the one who bore her. The maidens 4 saw her and complimented her; 5 the queens and concubines praised her:
But I see the prophets of Jerusalem 1 doing something just as shocking. They are unfaithful to me and continually prophesy lies. 2 So they give encouragement to people who are doing evil, with the result that they do not stop their evildoing. 3 I consider all of them as bad as the people of Sodom, and the citizens of Jerusalem as bad as the people of Gomorrah. 4
The women added, 1 “We did indeed sacrifice and pour out drink offerings to the Queen of Heaven. But it was with the full knowledge and approval of our husbands that we made cakes in her image and poured out drink offerings to her.” 2
I will not punish your daughters when they commit prostitution, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery. For the men consort with harlots, they sacrifice with temple prostitutes. It is true: 1 “A people that lacks understanding will come to ruin!”