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Jeremiah 3:1-15 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 3

If a man divorces his wife
    and she leaves him
    and then becomes the wife of another,
Can she return to the first?[a]
    Would not this land be wholly defiled?
But you have played the prostitute with many lovers,
    and yet you would return to me!—oracle of the Lord.
Raise your eyes to the heights, and look,
    where have men not lain with you?
Along the roadways you waited for them
    like an Arabian[b] in the wilderness.
You defiled the land
    by your wicked prostitution.
Therefore the showers were withheld,
    the spring rain did not fall.
But because you have a prostitute’s brow,
    you refused to be ashamed.
Even now do you not call me, “My father,
    you are the bridegroom of my youth?
Will he keep his wrath forever,
    will he hold his grudge to the end?”
This is what you say; yet you do
    all the evil you can.

Judah and Israel. The Lord said to me in the days of King Josiah: Do you see what rebellious Israel has done? She has gone up every high mountain, and under every green tree she has played the prostitute. And I thought: After she has done all this, she will return to me. But she did not return. Then, even though that traitor her sister Judah, saw that, in response to all the adulteries rebel Israel had committed, I sent her away and gave her a bill of divorce, nevertheless Judah, the traitor, her sister, was not frightened; she too went off and played the prostitute. With her casual prostitution, she polluted the land, committing adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, Judah, the traitor, her sister, did not return to me wholeheartedly, but insincerely—oracle of the Lord.

Restoration of Israel. 11 Then the Lord said to me: Rebel Israel is more just than traitor Judah. 12 Go, proclaim these words toward the north, and say:

Return, rebel Israel—oracle of the Lord
    I will not remain angry with you;
For I am merciful, oracle of the Lord,
    I will not keep my anger forever.
13 Only admit your guilt:
    how you have rebelled against the Lord, your God,
How you ran here and there to strangers
    under every green tree
    and would not listen to my voice—oracle of the Lord.
14 Return, rebellious children—oracle of the Lord[c]
    for I am your master;
I will take you, one from a city, two from a clan,
    and bring you to Zion.
15 I will appoint for you shepherds after my own heart,
    who will shepherd you wisely and prudently.


  1. 3:1 Can she return to the first?: i.e., her first husband. Here the Hebrew is emended in light of the Septuagint and Dt 24:1–4, which forbids a man to take back a woman once he has divorced her. The prophet uses this analogy to illustrate the presumption of Judah, the unfaithful wife, who assumes she can easily return to the Lord after worshiping other gods.
  2. 3:2 An Arabian: here depicted as a marauder lying in wait for caravans.
  3. 3:14–18 A remnant of Israel (v. 14) will reunite with Judah (v. 18). The former Israelite community, represented by the ark of the covenant, will be replaced by a universal alliance, symbolized by Jerusalem, the Lord’s throne, to which all nations will be gathered (v. 17).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Jeremiah 3:1-15 New International Version (NIV)

“If a man divorces his wife
    and she leaves him and marries another man,
should he return to her again?
    Would not the land be completely defiled?
But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers
    would you now return to me?”
declares the Lord.
“Look up to the barren heights and see.
    Is there any place where you have not been ravished?
By the roadside you sat waiting for lovers,
    sat like a nomad in the desert.
You have defiled the land
    with your prostitution and wickedness.
Therefore the showers have been withheld,
    and no spring rains have fallen.
Yet you have the brazen look of a prostitute;
    you refuse to blush with shame.
Have you not just called to me:
    ‘My Father, my friend from my youth,
will you always be angry?
    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, the Lord said to me, “Have you seen what faithless Israel has done? She has gone up on every high hill and under every spreading tree and has committed adultery there. I thought that after she had done all this she would return to me but she did not, and her unfaithful sister Judah saw it. I gave faithless Israel her certificate of divorce and sent her away because of all her adulteries. Yet I saw that her unfaithful sister Judah had no fear; she also went out and committed adultery. Because Israel’s immorality mattered so little to her, she defiled the land and committed adultery with stone and wood. 10 In spite of all this, her unfaithful sister Judah did not return to me with all her heart, but only in pretense,” declares the Lord.

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

“‘Return, faithless Israel,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘I will frown on you no longer,
for I am faithful,’ declares the Lord,
    ‘I will not be angry forever.
13 Only acknowledge your guilt—
    you have rebelled against the Lord your God,
you have scattered your favors to foreign gods
    under every spreading tree,
    and have not obeyed me,’”
declares the Lord.

14 “Return, faithless people,” declares the Lord, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. 15 Then I will give you shepherds after my own heart, who will lead you with knowledge and understanding.

New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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