Good News Translation (GNB)
16

Jerusalem the Unfaithful

161The LORD spoke to me again. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “point out to Jerusalem what disgusting things she has done. 3Tell Jerusalem what the Sovereign LORD is saying to her:

“You were born in the land of Canaan. Your father was an Amorite, and your mother was a Hittite.16.3 AmoriteHittite: The Israelites regarded these people as immoral and idolatrous. 4When you were born, no one cut your umbilical cord or washed you16.4 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear. or rubbed you with salt or wrapped you in cloth. 5No one took enough pity on you to do any of these things for you. When you were born, no one loved you. You were thrown out in an open field.

6“Then I passed by and saw you squirming in your own blood. You were covered with blood, but I wouldn't let you die. 7I made you grow like a healthy plant. You grew strong and tall and became a young woman.16.7 Probable text young woman; Hebrew unclear. Your breasts were well formed, and your hair had grown, but you were naked.

8“As I passed by again, I saw that the time had come for you to fall in love. I covered your naked body with my coat and promised to love you. Yes, I made a marriage covenant with you, and you became mine.” This is what the Sovereign LORD says.

9“Then I took water and washed the blood off you. I rubbed olive oil on your skin. 10I dressed you in embroidered gowns and gave you shoes of the best leather, a linen headband, and a silk cloak. 11I put jewels on you — bracelets and necklaces. 12I gave you a nose-ring and earrings and a beautiful crown to wear. 13You had ornaments of gold and silver, and you always wore clothes of embroidered linen and silk. You ate bread made from the best flour, and had honey and olive oil to eat. Your beauty was dazzling, and you became a queen. 14You became famous in every nation for your perfect beauty, because I was the one who made you so lovely.” This is what the Sovereign LORD says.

15“But you took advantage of your beauty and fame to sleep with everyone who came along.16.15 Hebrew has two additional words, the meaning of which is unclear. 16You used some of your clothes to decorate your places of worship, and just like a prostitute,16.16 Hebrew has four additional words, the meaning of which is unclear. you gave yourself to everyone. 17You took the silver and gold jewellery that I had given you, used it to make male images, and committed adultery with them. 18You took the embroidered clothes I gave you and put them on the images, and you offered to the images the olive oil and incense I had given you. 19I gave you food — the best flour, olive oil, and honey — but you offered it as a sacrifice to win the favour of idols.” This is what the Sovereign LORD says.

20“Then you took the sons and the daughters you had borne me and offered them as sacrifices to idols. Wasn't it bad enough to be unfaithful to me, 21without taking my children and sacrificing them to idols? 22During your disgusting life as a prostitute you never once remembered your childhood — when you were naked, squirming in your own blood.”

Jerusalem's Life as a Prostitute

23The Sovereign LORD said, “You are doomed! Doomed! You did all that evil, and then 24by the side of every road you built places to worship idols and practise prostitution. 25You dragged your beauty through the mud. You offered yourself to everyone who came by, and you were more of a prostitute every day. 26You let your lustful neighbours, the Egyptians, go to bed with you, and you used your prostitution to make me angry.

27“Now I have raised my hand to punish you and to take away your share of my blessing. I have handed you over to the Philistines, who hate you and are disgusted with your immoral actions.

28“Because you were not satisfied by the others, you went running after the Assyrians. You were their prostitute, but they didn't satisfy you either. 29You were also a prostitute for the Babylonians, that nation of merchants, but they didn't satisfy you either.”

3016.30 Verse 30 in Hebrew begins with three words, the meaning of which is unclear.This is what the Sovereign LORD is saying: “You have done all this like a shameless prostitute. 31On every street you built places to worship idols and practise prostitution. But you are not out for money like a common prostitute. 32You are like a woman who commits adultery with strangers instead of loving her husband. 33A prostitute is paid, but you gave presents to all your lovers and bribed them to come from everywhere to sleep with you. 34You are a special kind of prostitute. No one forced you to become one. You didn't get paid; you paid them! Yes, you are different.”

God's Judgement on Jerusalem

35Now then, Jerusalem, you whore! Hear what the LORD is saying.

36This is what the Sovereign LORD says: “You stripped off your clothes and, like a prostitute, you gave yourself to your lovers and to all your disgusting idols, and you killed your children as sacrifices to idols. 37Because of this I will bring all your former lovers together — the ones you liked and the ones you hated. I will bring them round you in a circle, and then I will strip off your clothes and let them see you naked. 38I will condemn you for adultery and murder, and in my anger and fury I will punish you with death. 39I will put you in their power, and they will tear down the places where you engage in prostitution and worship idols. They will take away your clothes and jewels and leave you completely naked.

40“They will stir up a crowd to stone you, and they will cut you to pieces with their swords. 41They will burn your houses down and let crowds of women see your punishment. I will make you stop being a prostitute and make you stop giving gifts to your lovers. 42Then my anger will be over, and I will be calm. I will not be angry or jealous any more. 43You have forgotten how I treated you when you were young, and you have made me angry by all the things you did. That is why I have made you pay for them all. Why did you add sexual immorality to all the other disgusting things you did?” The Sovereign LORD has spoken.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

44The LORD said, “People will use this proverb about you, Jerusalem: ‘Like mother, like daughter.’ 45You really are your mother's daughter. She detested her husband and her children. You are like your sisters, who hated their husbands and their children. You and your sister cities had a Hittite mother and an Amorite16.45 HittiteAmorite: See 16.3. father.

46“Your elder sister is Samaria, in the north, with her villages. Your younger sister, with her villages, is Sodom, in the south. 47Were you content to follow in their footsteps and copy their disgusting actions? No, in only a little while you were behaving worse than they were in everything you did.

48“As surely as I am the living God,” the Sovereign LORD says, “your sister Sodom and her villages never did the evil that you and your villages have done. 49She and her daughters were proud because they had plenty to eat and lived in peace and quiet, but they did not take care of the poor and the underprivileged. 50They were proud and stubborn and did the things that I hate, so I destroyed them, as you well know.

51“Samaria did not sin half as much as you have. You have acted more disgustingly than she ever did. Your corruption makes your sisters look innocent by comparison. 52And now you will have to endure your disgrace. Your sins are so much worse than those of your sisters that they look innocent beside you. Now blush and bear your shame, because you make your sisters look pure.”

Sodom and Samaria will be Restored

53The LORD said to Jerusalem, “I will make them prosperous again — Sodom and her villages and Samaria and her villages. Yes, I will make you prosperous too. 54You will be ashamed of yourself, and your disgrace will show your sisters how well off they are. 55They will become prosperous again, and you and your villages will also be restored. 56Didn't you joke about Sodom in those days when you were proud 57and before the evil you did had been exposed? Now you are just like her — a joke to the Edomites, the Philistines, and your other neighbours who hate you. 58You must suffer for the obscene, disgusting things you have done.” The LORD has spoken.

A Covenant that Lasts for Ever

59The Sovereign LORD says, “I will treat you as you deserve, because you ignored your promises and broke the covenant. 60But I will honour the covenant I made with you when you were young, and I will make a covenant with you that will last for ever. 61You will remember how you have acted, and be ashamed of it when you get your elder sister and your younger sister back. I will let them be like daughters to you, even though this was not part of my covenant with you. 62I will renew my covenant with you, and you will know that I am the LORD. 63I will forgive all the wrongs you have done, but you will remember them and be too ashamed to open your mouth.” The Sovereign LORD has spoken.

17

The Parable of the Eagles and the Vine

171The LORD spoke to me. 2“Mortal man,” he said, “tell the Israelites a parable 3to let them know what I, the Sovereign LORD, am saying to them: there was a giant eagle with beautiful feathers and huge wings, spread wide. He flew to the Lebanon Mountains and broke off the top of a cedar tree, 4which he carried to a land of commerce, and placed in a city of merchants. 5Then he took a young plant from the land of Israel and planted it in a fertile field,17.5 Hebrew has an additional word, the meaning of which is unclear. where there was always water to make it grow. 6The plant sprouted and became a low, wide-spreading grapevine. The branches grew upward towards the eagle, and the roots grew deep. The vine was covered with branches and leaves.

7“There was another giant eagle with huge wings and thick plumage. And now the vine sent its roots towards him and turned its leaves towards him, in the hope that he would give it more water than there was in the garden where it was growing.17.7 And now the vinegrowing; or And now the vine turned away from the garden where it was growing and sent its roots towards him and turned its leaves towards him, in the hope that he would give it water. 8But the vine had already been planted in a fertile, well-watered field so that it could grow leaves and bear grapes and be a magnificent vine.

9“So I, the Sovereign LORD, ask: will this vine live and grow? Won't the first eagle pull it up by its roots, pull off the grapes, and break off the branches and let them wither? It will not take much strength or a mighty nation to pull it up. 10Yes, it is planted, but will it live and grow? Won't it wither when the east wind strikes it? Won't it wither there where it is growing?”

The Parable is Explained

11The LORD said to me, 12

17.12–15:
2 Kgs 24.15–20
2 Chr 36.10–13
“Ask these rebels if they know what the parable means. Tell them that the king of Babylonia came to Jerusalem and took the king and his officials back with him to Babylonia. 13He took one of the king's family, made a treaty with him, and made him swear to be loyal. He took important men as hostages 14to keep the nation from rising again and to make sure that the treaty would be kept. 15But the king of Judah rebelled and sent agents to Egypt to get horses and a large army. Will he succeed? Can he get away with that? He cannot break the treaty and go unpunished!

16“As surely as I am the living God,” says the Sovereign LORD, “this king will die in Babylonia because he broke his oath and the treaty he had made with the king of Babylonia, who put him on the throne. 17Even the powerful army of the king of Egypt will not be able to help him fight when the Babylonians build earthworks and dig trenches in order to kill many people. 18He broke his oath and the treaty he had made. He did all these things, and now he will not escape.”

19The Sovereign LORD says, “As surely as I am the living God, I will punish him for breaking the treaty which he swore in my name to keep. 20I will spread out a hunter's net and catch him in it. I will take him to Babylonia and punish him there, because he was unfaithful to me. 21His best soldiers will be killed in battle, and the survivors will be scattered in every direction. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken.”

God's Promise of Hope

22This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“I will take the top of a tall cedar

and break off a tender sprout;

I will plant it on a high mountain,

23on Israel's highest mountain.

It will grow branches and bear seed

and become a magnificent cedar.

Birds of every kind will live there

and find shelter in its shade.

24All the trees in the land will know

that I am the LORD.

I cut down the tall trees

and make the small trees grow tall.

I wither up the green trees

and make the dry trees become green.

I, the LORD, have spoken. I will do what I have said I would do.”
18

Individual Responsibility

181The LORD spoke to me 2

18.2:
Jer 31.29
and said, “What is this proverb people keep repeating in the land of Israel?

‘The parents ate the sour grapes,

But the children got the sour taste.’

3“As surely as I am the living God,” says the Sovereign LORD, “you will not repeat this proverb in Israel any more. 4The life of every person belongs to me, the life of the parent as well as that of the child. The person who sins is the one who will die.

5“Suppose there is a truly good man, righteous and honest. 6He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife or have intercourse with a woman during her period. 7He doesn't cheat or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security; he feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 8He doesn't lend money for profit. He refuses to do evil and gives an honest decision in any dispute. 9

18.9:
Lev 18.5
Such a man obeys my commands and carefully keeps my laws. He is righteous, and he will live,” says the Sovereign LORD.

10“Then suppose this man has a son who robs and kills, who does any18.10 Some ancient translations who does any; Hebrew unclear. of these things 11that the father never did. He eats sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines and seduces other men's wives. 12He cheats the poor, he robs, he keeps what a borrower gives him as security. He goes to pagan shrines, worships disgusting idols, 13and lends money for profit. Will he live? No, he will not. He has done all these disgusting things, and so he will die. He will be to blame for his own death.

14“Now suppose this second man has a son. He sees all the sins his father practised, but does not follow his example. 15He doesn't worship the idols of the Israelites or eat the sacrifices offered at forbidden shrines. He doesn't seduce another man's wife 16or oppress anyone or rob anyone. He returns what a borrower gives him as security. He feeds the hungry and gives clothing to the naked. 17He refuses to do evil18.17 Some ancient translations (see also verse 8) to do evil; Hebrew from the poor. and doesn't lend money for profit. He keeps my laws and obeys my commands. He will not die because of his father's sins, but he will certainly live. 18His father, on the other hand, cheated and robbed,18.18 Some ancient translations robbed; Hebrew unclear. and always did evil to everyone. And so he died because of the sins he himself had committed.

19“But you ask, ‘Why shouldn't the son suffer because of his father's sins?’ The answer is that the son did what was right and good. He kept my laws and followed them carefully, and so he will certainly live. 20

18.20:
Deut 24.16
It is the one who sins who will die. A son is not to suffer because of his father's sins, nor a father because of the sins of his son. A good person will be rewarded for doing good, and an evil person will suffer for the evil he does.

21“If an evil person stops sinning and keeps my laws, if he does what is right and good, he will not die; he will certainly live. 22All his sins will be forgiven, and he will live, because he did what is right. 23Do you think I enjoy seeing an evil person die?” asks the Sovereign LORD. “No, I would rather see him repent and live.

24“But if a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing all the evil, disgusting things that evil people do, will he go on living? No! None of the good he did will be remembered. He will die because of his unfaithfulness and his sins.

25“But you say, ‘What the Lord does isn't right.’ Listen to me, you Israelites. Do you think my way of doing things isn't right? It is your way that isn't right. 26When a righteous person stops doing good and starts doing evil and then dies, he dies because of the evil he has done. 27When someone evil stops sinning and does what is right and good, he saves his life. 28He realizes what he is doing and stops sinning, so he will certainly not die, but go on living. 29And you Israelites say, ‘What the Lord does isn't right.’ You think my way isn't right, do you? It is your way that isn't right.

30“Now I, the Sovereign LORD, am telling you Israelites that I will judge each of you by what you have done. Turn away from all the evil you are doing, and don't let your sin destroy you. 31Give up all the evil you have been doing, and get yourselves new minds and hearts. Why do you Israelites want to die? 32I do not want anyone to die,” says the Sovereign LORD. “Turn away from your sins and live.”