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Jeremiah 2 Expanded Bible (EXB)

Israel Turns from God

The Lord spoke his word to me, saying: “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].
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.

Hear the word of the Lord, ·family [L house] of Jacob,
all you ·family groups [L clans of the house] of Israel.

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.
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.’
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].
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].

“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.

Expanded Bible (EXB)

The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.

Jeremiah 2 New International Version (NIV)

Israel Forsakes God

The word of the Lord came to me: “Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem:

“This is what the Lord says:

“‘I remember the devotion of your youth,
    how as a bride you loved me
and followed me through the wilderness,
    through a land not sown.
Israel was holy to the Lord,
    the firstfruits of his harvest;
all who devoured her were held guilty,
    and disaster overtook them,’”
declares the Lord.

Hear the word of the Lord, you descendants of Jacob,
    all you clans of Israel.

This is what the Lord says:

“What fault did your ancestors find in me,
    that they strayed so far from me?
They followed worthless idols
    and became worthless themselves.
They did not ask, ‘Where is the Lord,
    who brought us up out of Egypt
and led us through the barren wilderness,
    through a land of deserts and ravines,
a land of drought and utter darkness,
    a land where no one travels and no one lives?’
I brought you into a fertile land
    to eat its fruit and rich produce.
But you came and defiled my land
    and made my inheritance detestable.
The priests did not ask,
    ‘Where is the Lord?’
Those who deal with the law did not know me;
    the leaders rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
    following worthless idols.

“Therefore I bring charges against you again,”
declares the Lord.
    “And I will bring charges against your children’s children.
10 Cross over to the coasts of Cyprus and look,
    send to Kedar[a] and observe closely;
    see if there has ever been anything like this:
11 Has a nation ever changed its gods?
    (Yet they are not gods at all.)
But my people have exchanged their glorious God
    for worthless idols.
12 Be appalled at this, you heavens,
    and shudder with great horror,”
declares the Lord.
13 “My people have committed two sins:
They have forsaken me,
    the spring of living water,
and have dug their own cisterns,
    broken cisterns that cannot hold water.
14 Is Israel a servant, a slave by birth?
    Why then has he become plunder?
15 Lions have roared;
    they have growled at him.
They have laid waste his land;
    his towns are burned and deserted.
16 Also, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes
    have cracked your skull.
17 Have you not brought this on yourselves
    by forsaking the Lord your God
    when he led you in the way?
18 Now why go to Egypt
    to drink water from the Nile[b]?
And why go to Assyria
    to drink water from the Euphrates?
19 Your wickedness will punish you;
    your backsliding will rebuke you.
Consider then and realize
    how evil and bitter it is for you
when you forsake the Lord your God
    and have no awe of me,”
declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

20 “Long ago you broke off your yoke
    and tore off your bonds;
    you said, ‘I will not serve you!’
Indeed, on every high hill
    and under every spreading tree
    you lay down as a prostitute.
21 I had planted you like a choice vine
    of sound and reliable stock.
How then did you turn against me
    into a corrupt, wild vine?
22 Although you wash yourself with soap
    and use an abundance of cleansing powder,
    the stain of your guilt is still before me,”
declares the Sovereign Lord.
23 “How can you say, ‘I am not defiled;
    I have not run after the Baals’?
See how you behaved in the valley;
    consider what you have done.
You are a swift she-camel
    running here and there,
24 a wild donkey accustomed to the desert,
    sniffing the wind in her craving—
    in her heat who can restrain her?
Any males that pursue her need not tire themselves;
    at mating time they will find her.
25 Do not run until your feet are bare
    and your throat is dry.
But you said, ‘It’s no use!
    I love foreign gods,
    and I must go after them.’

26 “As a thief is disgraced when he is caught,
    so the people of Israel are disgraced—
they, their kings and their officials,
    their priests and their prophets.
27 They say to wood, ‘You are my father,’
    and to stone, ‘You gave me birth.’
They have turned their backs to me
    and not their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say,
    ‘Come and save us!’
28 Where then are the gods you made for yourselves?
    Let them come if they can save you
    when you are in trouble!
For you, Judah, have as many gods
    as you have towns.

29 “Why do you bring charges against me?
    You have all rebelled against me,”
declares the Lord.
30 “In vain I punished your people;
    they did not respond to correction.
Your sword has devoured your prophets
    like a ravenous lion.

31 “You of this generation, consider the word of the Lord:

“Have I been a desert to Israel
    or a land of great darkness?
Why do my people say, ‘We are free to roam;
    we will come to you no more’?
32 Does a young woman forget her jewelry,
    a bride her wedding ornaments?
Yet my people have forgotten me,
    days without number.
33 How skilled you are at pursuing love!
    Even the worst of women can learn from your ways.
34 On your clothes is found
    the lifeblood of the innocent poor,
    though you did not catch them breaking in.
Yet in spite of all this
35     you say, ‘I am innocent;
    he is not angry with me.’
But I will pass judgment on you
    because you say, ‘I have not sinned.’
36 Why do you go about so much,
    changing your ways?
You will be disappointed by Egypt
    as you were by Assyria.
37 You will also leave that place
    with your hands on your head,
for the Lord has rejected those you trust;
    you will not be helped by them.


  1. Jeremiah 2:10 In the Syro-Arabian desert
  2. Jeremiah 2:18 Hebrew Shihor; that is, a branch of the Nile
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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