1Listen to this, you women of Samaria, who grow fat like the well-fed cows of Bashan, who ill-treat the weak, oppress the poor, and demand that your husbands keep you supplied with liquor! 2As the Sovereign LORD is holy, he has promised, “The days will come when they will drag you away with hooks; every one of you will be like a fish on a hook. 3You will be dragged to the nearest break in the wall and thrown out.”
Israel's Failure to Learn
4The Sovereign LORD says, “People of Israel, go to the holy place in Bethel and sin, if you must! Go to Gilgal and sin with all your might! Go ahead and bring animals to be sacrificed morning after morning, and bring your tithes every third day. 5Go ahead and offer your bread in thanksgiving to God, and boast about the extra offerings you bring! This is the kind of thing you love to do.
6“I was the one who brought famine to all your cities, yet you did not come back to me. 7I held back the rain when your crops needed it most. I sent rain on one city, but not on another. Rain fell on one field, but another field dried up. 8Weak with thirst, the people of several cities went to a city where they hoped to find water, but there was not enough to drink. Still you did not come back to me.
9“I sent a scorching wind to dry up your crops. The locusts ate up all your gardens and vineyards, your fig trees and olive trees. Still you did not come back to me.
10“I sent a plague on you like the one I sent on Egypt. I killed your young men in battle and took your horses away. I filled your nostrils with the stink of dead bodies in your camps. Still you did not come back to me.
11“I destroyed some of you as I destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. Those of you who survived were like a burning stick saved from a fire. Still you did not come back to me,” says the LORD. 12“So then, people of Israel, I am going to punish you. And because I am going to do this, get ready to face my judgement!”
13God is the one who made the mountains
and created the winds.
He makes his thoughts known to people;
he changes day into night.
He walks on the heights of the earth.
This is his name: the LORD God Almighty!
A Call to Repentance
1Listen, people of Israel, to this funeral song which I sing over you:
2Virgin Israel has fallen,
Never to rise again!
She lies abandoned on the ground,
And no one helps her up.
3The Sovereign LORD says, “A city in Israel sends out a thousand soldiers, but only a hundred return; another city sends out a hundred, but only ten come back.”
4The LORD says to the people of Israel, “Come to me, and you will live. 5Do not go to Beersheba to worship. Do not try to find me at Bethel — Bethel will come to nothing. Do not go to Gilgal — her people are doomed to exile.”
6Go to the LORD, and you will live. If you do not go, he will sweep down like fire on the people of Israel. The fire will burn up the people of Bethel, and no one will be able to put it out. 7You are doomed, you that twist justice and cheat people out of their rights!
8The LORD made the stars,
the Pleiades and Orion.
He turns darkness into daylight,
and day into night.
He calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the earth.
His name is the LORD.
9He brings destruction on the mighty and their strongholds.
10You people hate anyone who challenges injustice and speaks the whole truth in court. 11You have oppressed the poor and robbed them of their grain. And so you will not live in the fine stone houses you build or drink wine from the beautiful vineyards you plant. 12I know how terrible your sins are and how many crimes you have committed. You persecute good people, take bribes, and prevent the poor from getting justice in the courts. 13And so, keeping quiet in such evil times is the clever thing to do!
14Make it your aim to do what is right, not what is evil, so that you may live. Then the LORD God Almighty really will be with you, as you claim he is. 15Hate what is evil, love what is right, and see that justice prevails in the courts. Perhaps the LORD will be merciful to the people of this nation who are still left alive.
16And so the Sovereign LORD Almighty says, “There will be wailing and cries of sorrow in the city streets. Even farmers will be called to mourn the dead along with those who are paid to mourn. 17There will be wailing in all the vineyards. All this will take place because I am coming to punish you.” The LORD has spoken.
18How terrible it will be for you who long for the day of the LORD! What good will that day do you? For you it will be a day of darkness and not of light. 19It will be like someone who runs from a lion and meets a bear! Or like someone who comes home and puts his hand on the wall — only to be bitten by a snake! 20The day of the LORD will bring darkness and not light; it will be a day of gloom, without any brightness.
21The LORD says, “I hate your religious festivals; I cannot stand them! 22When you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; I will not accept the animals you have fattened to bring me as offerings. 23Stop your noisy songs; I do not want to listen to your harps. 24Instead, let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry.
25“People of Israel, I did not demand sacrifices and offerings during those forty years that I led you through the desert. 26But now, because you have worshipped images of Sakkuth, your king god, and of Kaiwan, your star god, you will have to carry those images 27when I take you into exile in a land beyond Damascus,” says the LORD, whose name is Almighty God.
The Destruction of Israel
1How terrible it will be for you that have such an easy life in Zion and for you that feel safe in Samaria — you great leaders of this great nation Israel, you to whom the people go for help! 2Go and look at the city of Calneh. Then go on to the great city of Hamath and on down to the Philistine city of Gath. Were they any better than the kingdoms of Judah and Israel? Was their territory larger than yours? 3You refuse to admit that a day of disaster is coming, but what you do only brings that day closer. 4How terrible it will be for you that stretch out on your luxurious couches, feasting on veal and lamb! 5You like to compose songs, as David did, and play them on harps. 6You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest perfumes, but you do not mourn over the ruin of Israel. 7So you will be the first to go into exile. Your feasts and banquets will come to an end.
8The Sovereign LORD Almighty has given this solemn warning: “I hate the pride of the people of Israel; I despise their luxurious mansions. I will give their capital city and everything in it to the enemy.”
9If there are ten men left in a family, they will die. 10The dead man's relative, the one in charge of the funeral, will take the body out of the house. The relative will call to whoever is still left in the house, “Is anyone else there with you?”
A voice will answer, “No!”
Then the relative will say, “Be quiet! We must be careful not even to mention the LORD's name.”
11When the LORD gives the command, houses large and small will be smashed to pieces. 12Do horses gallop on rocks? Does anyone plough the sea with oxen? Yet you have turned justice into poison, and right into wrong.
13You boast about capturing the town of Lodebar. You boast, “We were strong enough to take Karnaim.”
14The LORD God Almighty himself says, “People of Israel, I am going to send a foreign army to occupy your country. It will oppress you from Hamath Pass in the north to the brook of the Arabah in the south.”