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A Sad Song for Israel

1People of Israel, listen to this song. This funeral song is about you.

2The virgin of Israel has fallen. She will not get up anymore. She was left alone, lying in the dirt. There is no one to lift her up.

3This is what the Lord GOD says: “Officers leaving the city with 1000 men will return with only 100 men. Officers leaving the city with 100 men will return with only ten men.”

The Lord Encourages Israel to Come Back

4The LORD says this to the nation of Israel: “Come looking for me and live.

5But don’t look in Bethel. Don’t go to Gilgal. Don’t cross the border and go down to Beersheba. The people of Gilgal will be taken away as prisoners, and Bethel will be destroyed.

6Come to the LORD and live. If you don’t go to him, a fire will start at Joseph’s house, and no one in Bethel can stop it.

7You should go to the Lord for help. He is the one who made the Pleiades and Orion. He changes darkness into the morning light. He changes the day into the dark night. He calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the earth. His name is YAHWEH! He keeps one strong city safe, and he lets another strong city be destroyed.”

The Evil Things That the Israelites Did

You change justice to poison. You throw away fairness like trash.

8(5:7)

9(5:7)

10You hate those prophets, who go to public places and speak against evil, even though they teach good, simple truths.

11You take unfair taxes from the poor. You take loads of wheat from them. You build fancy houses with cut stone, but you will not live in them. You plant beautiful vineyards, but you will not drink the wine from them.

12This is because I know about your many sins. You have done some very bad things: You hurt people who do right, you accept money to do wrong, and you keep the poor from receiving justice in court.

13At that time wise teachers will be quiet, because it is a bad time.

14You say that God is with you, so you should do good things, not evil. Then you will live, and the LORD God All-Powerful will be with you.

15Hate evil and love goodness. Bring justice back into the courts. Maybe then the LORD God All-Powerful will be kind to the survivors from Joseph’s family.

A Time of Great Sadness Is Coming

16The Lord, the LORD God All-Powerful says, “People will be crying in the public places. They will be crying in the streets. They will hire the professional criers.

17People will be crying in the vineyards, because I will pass through and punish you.” This is what the LORD said.

18Some of you want to see the LORD'S special day of judgment. Why do you want to see that day of the LORD? His special day will bring darkness, not light.

19You will be like someone who escapes from a lion only to be attacked by a bear, or like someone who goes into the safety of his house, leans against the wall, and is bitten by a snake.

20The LORD'S special day will be a day of darkness, not light—a day of gloom, without a ray of light.

The Lord Rejects Israel’s Worship

21“I hate your festivals; I will not accept them. I don’t enjoy your religious meetings.

22Even if you offer me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. I will not even look at the fat animals you give as fellowship offerings.

23Take your noisy songs away from here. I will not listen to the music from your harps.

24But let justice flow like a river, and let goodness flow like a stream that never becomes dry.

25Israel, you offered me sacrifices and offerings in the desert for 40 years.

26But you also carried statues of Sakkuth, your king, and Kaiwan. There was also that star god that you made for yourselves.

27So I will send you as captives, far beyond Damascus.” This is what the LORD says. His name is God All-Powerful.


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