The Holy Bible – Knox Translation
The Prophecy of Jeremias
Chapter 3
What is the law of common life? Let wife that has been put away by her husband marry a second, can she afterwards return to the first? That were shame and defilement. And thou with many lovers hast played the wanton; yet come back to me, the Lord says, and thou shalt find welcome.
Lift up thy eyes to the bare hills, and tell me, which of them has not been the scene of thy shame? Like a highway robber thou didst lurk by the road-side, waiting for thy lovers; by thy heartless wantonness the whole land was defiled.
I called thee to account for it; heaven’s dews were stanched, and the late rains did not fall, and still never a blush on thy harlot’s brow!
Little wonder thou shouldst have been crying out to me, since then, calling me father, calling me the loved friend of thy girlhood’s days;
was there no quenching my anger? Would it smoulder on for ever? Ay, all this thou saidst, but still wouldst go on sinning, still wouldst have thy way.

It was in the days of king Josias the Lord said to me: Israel’s apostasy thou hast seen, how she ever betook herself to the nearest high hill or leafy wood, to play the wanton there;
and how, when I called her back to me in spite of it, she would not come. Now mark the treachery of her sister Juda.
She too had seen it all, how I had bidden apostate Israel begone, and given her a writ of separation; and now treacherous Juda, unabashed, went off in her turn to play the wanton.
So wayward, so wanton, she defiled all that land of hers, giving herself to lovers made of wood and stone!
After all the warnings I had given, Juda, the treacherous, would never come back to me in good earnest, only with lying professions, the Lord says.

And the Lord told me: Better than Juda’s treachery, the apostasy of Israel deserves to be acquitted.
Carry this message of mine to the north country: Come back to me, apostate Israel, the Lord says, and there shall be no frown of mine awaiting you; I am merciful, the Lord says, and vengeance shall not last for ever.
Only acknowledge thy fault, he tells thee, in deserting the Lord thy God and betaking thyself to the bowers of strange lovers, deaf to my call.
Wandering hearts, the Lord bids you come back to him, and renew your troth; by ones and twos, from this city or that, from this clan or that, he will claim you for his own and bring you back to Sion;
and you shall have shepherds of his own choice to guide you well and prudently.
After that, the Lord says, when all is growth and fertility, no longer shall you have the Ark of the Lord’s Covenant for your rallying-cry; from thought and memory it will have passed away, nor any care shall be bestowed on the fashioning of it.
It is Jerusalem men will speak of as the Lord’s throne; there at Jerusalem all the nations of the world will meet in the Lord’s name, the false aims of their perverse hearts forgotten.
When that time comes, Juda and Israel will be united; together they will come back from the north country to the land I gave your fathers for their home.

Must I ever be offering thee sonship, and a land so fair that all the peoples of the world might envy thee its possession? Must I ever be pleading with thee to acknowledge me as thy father, and forsake my guidance no more?
Hitherto, the Lord says, nothing could I win from Israel but a false jade’s contempt.
Now, from yonder hill-passes, another cry is heard; a cry of mourning and lament from the sons of Israel, over the wrong path they have chosen in forgetting the Lord their God.
Wandering hearts, come back to me, and all your rebel acts shall be pardoned.

See, we come to thee; art thou not the Lord our God?
The many gods of hill-side and mountain-side have played us false; we know it now; we know now that Israel must look to the Lord our God for deliverance.
Ever since the days of our youth all the hopes our fathers had, of flock and herd, of son and daughter, are lost; the worship of shame has cheated us.
Lie we down with shame for our bed, and let reproach be all our covering; sinners from our youth upwards, we and our fathers before us, against the Lord our God; the Lord our God, and we would not listen to his voice!