The Lord’s Case against Israel
1Listen to what the Lord is saying:
“Stand up and state your case against me.
Let the mountains and hills be called to witness your complaints.
2And now, O mountains,
listen to the Lord’s complaint!
He has a case against his people.
He will bring charges against Israel.
3“O my people, what have I done to you?
What have I done to make you tired of me?
4For I brought you out of Egypt
and redeemed you from slavery.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to help you.
5Don’t you remember, my people,
how King Balak of Moab tried to have you cursed
and how Balaam son of Beor blessed you instead?
And remember your journey from Acacia Grove*6:5 Hebrew Shittim. to Gilgal,
when I, the Lord, did everything I could
to teach you about my faithfulness.”
6What can we bring to the Lord?
Should we bring him burnt offerings?
Should we bow before God Most High
with offerings of yearling calves?
7Should we offer him thousands of rams
and ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Should we sacrifice our firstborn children
to pay for our sins?
8No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
Israel’s Guilt and Punishment
9Fear the Lord if you are wise!
His voice calls to everyone in Jerusalem:
“The armies of destruction are coming;
the Lord is sending them.*6:9 Hebrew “Listen to the rod. / Who appointed it?”
10What shall I say about the homes of the wicked
filled with treasures gained by cheating?
What about the disgusting practice
of measuring out grain with dishonest measures?*6:10 Hebrew of using the short ephah? The ephah was a unit for measuring grain.
11How can I tolerate your merchants
who use dishonest scales and weights?
12The rich among you have become wealthy
through extortion and violence.
Your citizens are so used to lying
that their tongues can no longer tell the truth.
13“Therefore, I will wound you!
I will bring you to ruin for all your sins.
14You will eat but never have enough.
Your hunger pangs and emptiness will remain.
And though you try to save your money,
it will come to nothing in the end.
You will save a little,
but I will give it to those who conquer you.
15You will plant crops
but not harvest them.
You will press your olives
but not get enough oil to anoint yourselves.
You will trample the grapes
but get no juice to make your wine.
16You keep only the laws of evil King Omri;
you follow only the example of wicked King Ahab!
Therefore, I will make an example of you,
bringing you to complete ruin.
You will be treated with contempt,
mocked by all who see you.”