Jeremiah 3
Contemporary English Version

Sin and Shame

1The Lord said to the people of Israel:

If a divorced woman marries,

can her first husband

ever marry her again?

No, because this

would pollute the land.

But you have more gods

than a prostitute has lovers.

Why should I take you back?

2Just try to find one hilltop

where you haven't gone

to worship other gods

by having sex.+

You sat beside the road

like a robber in ambush,

except you offered yourself

to every passerby.

Your sins of unfaithfulness

have polluted the land.

3So I, the Lord, refused

to let the spring rains fall.

But just like a prostitute,

you still have no shame

for what you have done.

4You call me your father

or your long-lost friend;

5you beg me to stop being angry,

but you won't stop sinning.

The Lord Asks Israel To Come Back to Him

6 When Josiah+ was king, the Lord said:

Jeremiah, the kingdom of Israel+ was like an unfaithful wife who became a prostitute on the hilltops and in the shade of large trees.+ 7-8I knew that the kingdom of Israel had been unfaithful and committed many sins, yet I still hoped she might come back to me. But she didn't, so I divorced her and sent her away.

Her sister, the kingdom of Judah, saw what happened, but she wasn't worried in the least, and I watched her become unfaithful like her sister. 9The kingdom of Judah wasn't sorry for being a prostitute, and she didn't care that she had made both herself and the land unclean by worshiping idols of stone and wood. 10And worst of all, the people of Judah pretended to come back to me. 11Even the people of Israel were honest enough not to pretend.

12Jeremiah, shout toward the north:

Israel, I am your Lord

come back to me!

You were unfaithful

and made me furious,

but I am merciful,

and so I will forgive you.

13Just admit that you rebelled

and worshiped foreign gods

under large trees everywhere.

14You are unfaithful children,

but you belong to me.

Come home!

I'll take one or two of you

from each town and clan

and bring you to Zion.

15Then I'll appoint wise rulers

who will obey me,

and they will care for you

like shepherds.

16You will increase in numbers,

and there will be no need

to remember the sacred chest

or to make a new one.+

17The whole city of Jerusalem

will be my throne.+

All nations will come here

to worship me,

and they will no longer follow

their stubborn, evil hearts.

18Then, in countries to the north,

you people of Judah and Israel

will be reunited,

and you will return to the land

I gave your ancestors.

19I have always wanted

to treat you as my children

and give you the best land,

the most beautiful on earth.

I wanted you to call me “Father”

and not turn from me.

20But instead, you are like a wife

who broke her wedding vows.

You have been unfaithful to me.

I, the Lord, have spoken.

The People Confess Their Sins

The Lord said:

21Listen to the noise

on the hilltops!

It's the people of Israel,

weeping and begging me

to answer their prayers.

They forgot about me

and chose the wrong path.

22I will tell them, “Come back,

and I will cure you

of your unfaithfulness.”

They will answer,

“We will come back, because you

are the Lord our God.

23On hilltops, we worshiped idols

and made loud noises,

but it was all for nothing—

only you can save us.

24Since the days of our ancestors

when our nation was young,

that shameful god Baal+ has taken

our crops and livestock,

our sons and daughters.

25We have rebelled against you

just like our ancestors,

and we are ashamed of our sins.”


3.2 hilltop … sex: See the note at 2.20.
3.6 Josiah: Ruled 640–609 b.c.
3.6 Israel: The northern kingdom (see the note at 2.4).
3.6 prostitute … trees: See the note at 2.20.
3.16 make a new one: The sacred chest was probably destroyed or taken away by the Babylonians when they captured Jerusalem in 586 b.c.
3.16,17 sacred chest … throne: The sacred chest was thought to be God's throne on earth.
3.24 that shameful god Baal: The Hebrew text has “The Shame,” which was sometimes used as a way of making fun of the Canaanite god Baal.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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