Jeremiah 2 Expanded Bible (EXB)
Israel Turns from God
2 The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: 2 “Go and ·speak to the people of Jerusalem [L announce/proclaim in the ears of Jerusalem], saying: This is what the Lord says:
‘I remember ·how faithful you were to me when you were a young nation [L your loyalty/devotion as a youth/girl/child].
You loved me like a young bride.
You ·followed [L went after] me through the ·desert [wilderness; C as they traveled from Egypt to the Promised Land],
a land that had never been ·planted [sown].
3 The people of Israel were holy to the Lord,
like the firstfruits from his harvest [C both belonged to God; Ex. 23:19; Lev. 23:10–14; Num. 18:12–13; Deut. 26:1–11].
Those who tried to ·hurt Israel [L consume it] were judged guilty.
·Disasters [Troubles] ·struck [L came to] them,’” says the Lord.
4 Hear the word of the Lord, ·family [L house] of Jacob,
all you ·family groups [L clans of the house] of Israel.
5 This is what the Lord says:
“·I was fair to your ancestors,
so why did they turn away from me? [L What wrong did your ancestors/fathers find in me
that they removed themselves from me?]
Your ·ancestors [fathers] ·worshiped [L went after] ·useless idols [worthless/meaningless things]
and became ·useless [worthless; meaningless] themselves.
6 Your ·ancestors [fathers] didn’t say,
‘Where is the Lord who brought us out of Egypt?
He led us through the ·desert [wilderness],
through a ·dry [barren] and ·rocky [broken] land,
through a dangerous [parched] and dark land.
He led us where no one ·travels [passes through] or lives.’
7 I brought you into a ·fertile land [orchard; land of plenty]
so you could eat its fruit and produce.
But you came and made my land unclean [C in a ritual sense];
you made ·it [L my inheritance] a ·hateful place [abomination].
8 The priests didn’t ask,
‘Where is the Lord?’
The people who ·know [handle; deal with] the ·teachings [laws; instructions; L Torah] didn’t know me.
The ·leaders [L shepherds] turned against me.
The prophets prophesied in the name of Baal [Deut. 13:1–5]
and ·worshiped useless idols [L went after unprofitable things].
9 “So now I will ·again tell what I have against [accuse; charge] you,” says the Lord.
“And I will ·tell what I have against [accuse; charge] ·your grandchildren [L the sons of your sons].
10 ·Go across the sea [L Cross over] to the ·island [or coasts] of Cyprus [C to the west] and see.
Send someone to the land of Kedar [C eastern desert nomads; Gen. 25:13; Jer. 49:28–29; Song 1:5] to look closely.
See if there has ever been anything like this.
11 Has a nation ever exchanged its gods?
(·Of course, its gods are not really gods at all [L And they are not gods].)
But my people have exchanged their glory [C God]
for ·idols worth nothing [L unprofitable things].
12 ·Skies [Heavens], be shocked at the things that have happened
and ·shake [shudder] with great fear!” says the Lord.
13 “My people have done two evils:
They have ·turned away from [abandoned; forsaken] me,
the ·spring [fountain] of living water [17:13].
And they have dug their own ·wells [cisterns],
which are broken ·wells [cisterns] that cannot hold water [C the idols, like the wells, are useless].
14 Have the people of Israel become slaves?
Have they become like ·someone who was born a slave [a home-born servant; Ex. 21:4]?
Why ·were they taken captive [L have they become plunder]?
15 ·Enemies have roared like lions at Israel [L The lions roar against him];
they have ·growled at Israel [L given forth their voice].
They have ·destroyed [L made a desolation of] the land of Israel.
The cities of Israel lie in ruins,
·and all the people have left [and there are no inhabitants].
16 The ·men from the cities [L sons] of ·Memphis [L Noph] and Tahpanhes [C two important Egyptian cities]
have ·shaved [or broken] the top of your head [C disgracing them; Israel embarrassed itself by entering into alliances with Egypt; 41:5; 48:37; 2 Sam. 10:4; Is. 7:20; Ezek. 44:20].
17 ·Haven’t you brought this on yourselves [L Did you not do this to yourself]
by ·turning away from [abandoning; forsaking] the Lord your God
when he was leading you in the ·right way [or path]?
18 ·It did not help to go to [L Why would you go on the path to…?] Egypt
and drink from the Shihor River [C the Nile or one of its tributaries].
·It did not help to [L Why would you…?] go to Assyria
and drink from the River [C the Euphrates].
19 Your evil will ·bring punishment to [instruct; discipline] you,
and ·the wrong you have done [your apostasy/infidelity] will ·teach you a lesson [reprove/convict/rebuke you].
·Think about it and understand [L Know and see]
that it is ·a terrible evil [L evil and bitter] to ·turn away from [abandon; forsake] the Lord your God.
It is wrong not to fear me,”
says the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].
20 “Long ago you broke your yoke [C abandoning God].
You snapped off your ropes [C rejecting their dependence on God]
and said, ‘I will not serve you!’
In fact, on every high hill
and under every green tree
you lay down as a prostitute [C worshiping at pagan altars in the hills; Deut. 12:2; 1 Kin. 14:13; 2 Kin. 17:10; Is. 57:5; 65:7; Ezek. 6:12; 20:28; Hos. 4:13].
21 But I planted you as a ·special [choice] vine [Is. 5:1–7],
·as a very good seed [from good stock].
How then did you turn
into a wild vine [C growing bad fruit]?
22 Although you wash yourself with ·cleanser [lye]
and use much soap [Mal. 3:2],
I can still see the stain of your guilt,” says the Lord God.
23 “How can you say to me, ‘I am not ·guilty [L defiled].
I have not ·worshiped [L gone after] the Baals [C idols]’?
Look at ·the things you did [L your way/path] in the valley.
·Think about [Know] what you have done.
You are like a she-camel
that runs from place to place [C as if in heat].
24 You are like a wild donkey that lives in the ·desert [wilderness]
and sniffs the wind ·at mating time [when in heat].
At that time who can hold ·her back [back her lust]?
None who ·chase [seek] her ·will easily catch her [L need to exert themselves];
·at mating time [L in her month], it is easy to find her.
25 Stop before your feet are bare
or your throat is dry [C from running after her].
But you say, ‘It’s no use!
I love those strangers [C other gods],
and I must ·chase [L go after] them!’
26 “A thief is ·ashamed [humiliated] when someone ·catches [discovers] him.
In the same way, the ·family [L house] of Israel is ·ashamed [humiliated]—
they, their kings, their ·officers [princes],
their priests, and their prophets.
27 They say to ·things of wood [L a tree], ‘You are my father,’
and to a stone, ‘You gave birth to me [C idols were made out of wood and stone].’
Those people have turned their backs to me,
not their faces.
But when they get into trouble, they say,
‘·Come [L Rise up] and ·save [rescue] us!’
28 Where are the gods you made for yourselves [C idols]?
Let them ·come [L rise up] and ·save [rescue] you
when you are in trouble [Deut. 32:37–38; Is. 43:8–13; 44:6–23]!
People of Judah, you have as many gods [C idols]
as you have towns!
29 “Why do you ·complain to [charge; accuse] me?
All of you have ·turned [rebelled; transgressed] against me,” says the Lord.
30 “I ·punished [L struck] your ·people [L children], ·but it did not help [L in vain].
They didn’t ·come back when they were punished [L accept instruction/discipline].
With your swords you ·killed [devoured] your prophets
like a ·hungry [ravenous] lion [Ps. 7:2; 10:9; Is. 5:29].
31 “·People of Judah [L Oh generation], ·pay attention [L look] to the word of the Lord:
Have I been a ·desert [wilderness] to the people of Israel
or a dark land [C useless or even dangerous]?
Why do my people say, ‘We are ·free to wander [our own masters].
We won’t come to you anymore’?
32 ·A young woman does not [L Does a virgin…?] forget her ·jewelry [ornaments],
and ·a bride does not [L does a bride…?] forget the decorations for her dress.
But my people have forgotten me
for more days than can be counted.
33 ·You really know how to chase after love [L How well you know the path to seek lovers!].
Even ·the worst [evil] women can learn ·evil ways from you [L your ways/paths].
34 Even on your clothes you have the blood
of poor and innocent people,
but ·they weren’t thieves you caught breaking in [L you did not find them breaking in; C in which case they could have killed them in self-defense; Ex. 22:2].
You do all these things,
35 but you say, ‘I am innocent.
·God is not angry with me [L His anger has turned from me].’
But I will judge you [C guilty of lying],
because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 It is so easy for you to change your ·mind [L way; path].
Even Egypt will ·let you down [L shame/embarrass you],
as Assyria ·let you down [L shamed/embarrassed you].
37 You will eventually ·leave that place [L go out]
with your hands on your head [C like captives].
·You trusted those countries [L For the Lord has rejected these in whom you had confidence],
and you will not ·be helped by [find success with] them.