1People of Israel, listen to the LORD’s message. Hear my song of sadness about you. I say,2‘The people of Israel have fallen. They will never get up again. They are deserted in their own land. No one can lift them up.’3Here is what the LORD and King says to Israel. ‘A thousand soldiers will march out from a city. But only a hundred will return. A hundred soldiers will march out from a town. But only ten will come back.’4The LORD speaks to the people of Israel. He says, ‘Look to me and live.5Do not look to Bethel. Do not go to Gilgal. Do not travel to Beersheba. The people of Gilgal will be taken away as prisoners. Nothing will be left of Bethel.’6Israel, look to the LORD and live. If you don’t, he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire. It will burn everything up. And Bethel won’t have anyone to put it out.7There are people among you who turn what is fair into something bitter. They throw down to the ground what is right.8The LORD made the Pleiades and Orion. He turns midnight into sunrise. He makes the day fade into night. He sends for the waters in the clouds. Then he pours them out on the surface of the land. His name is the LORD.9With a flash of light he destroys places of safety. He tears down cities that have high walls around them.10There are people among you who hate anyone who stands for justice in court. They hate those who tell the truth.11You make poor people pay tax on their straw. You also tax their corn. So, even though you have built stone houses, you won’t live in them. You have planted fruitful vineyards. But you won’t drink the wine they produce.12I know how many crimes you have committed. You have sinned far too much. Among you are people who crush those who have done no wrong. They accept money from people who want special favours. They take away the rights of poor people in the courts.13So those who are wise keep quiet in times like these. That’s because the times are evil.14Look to what is good, not to what is evil. Then you will live. And the LORD God who rules over all will be with you, just as you say he is.15Hate evil and love good. Do what is fair in the courts. Perhaps the LORD God who rules over all will have mercy on you. After all, you are the only ones left in the family line of Joseph.16The LORD God rules over all. The Lord says, ‘People will weep in all the streets. They will be very sad in every market-place. Even farmers will be told to cry loudly. People will mourn for the dead.17Workers will cry in all the vineyards. That’s because I will punish you,’ says the LORD.
The day of the Lord is coming
18How terrible it will be for you who long for the day of the LORD! Why do you want it to come? That day will be dark, not light.19It will be like a man running away from a lion only to meet a bear. He enters his house and rests his hand on a wall only to be bitten by a snake.20The day of the LORD will be dark, not light. It will be very black. There won’t be a ray of sunlight anywhere.21The LORD says, ‘I hate your holy feasts. I can’t stand them. Your gatherings stink.22You bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings. But I will not accept them. You bring your best friendship offerings. But I will not even look at them.23Take the noise of your songs away! I will not listen to the music of your harps.24I want you to treat others fairly. So let fair treatment roll on just as a river does! Always do what is right. Let right living flow along like a stream that never runs dry!25‘People of Israel, did you bring me sacrifices and offerings for 40 years in the desert?26Yes. But you have honoured the place where your king worshipped other gods. You have carried the stands the statues of your gods were on. You have lifted up the banners of the stars you worship as gods. You made all those things for yourselves.27So I will send you away as prisoners beyond Damascus,’ says the LORD. His name is God Who Rules Over All.
English Standard Version
Seek the Lord and Live
1Hear this word that I take up over you in lamentation, O house of Israel: (Eze 19:1)2“Fallen, no more to rise, is the virgin Israel; forsaken on her land, with none to raise her up.” (Isa 47:1; La 2:1)3For thus says the Lord God: “The city that went out a thousand shall have a hundred left, and that which went out a hundred shall have ten left to the house of Israel.”4For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel: “Seek me and live; (2Ch 15:2; Isa 55:6; Zep 2:3)5but do not seek Bethel, and do not enter into Gilgal or cross over to Beersheba; for Gilgal shall surely go into exile, and Bethel shall come to nothing.” (Am 4:4; Am 8:14)6Seek the Lord and live, lest he break out like fire in the house of Joseph, and it devour, with none to quench it for Bethel, (Isa 9:18; Am 5:4; Am 5:5)7O you who turn justice to wormwood and cast down righteousness to the earth! (Am 6:12)8He who made the Pleiades and Orion, and turns deep darkness into the morning and darkens the day into night, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out on the surface of the earth, the Lord is his name; (Ge 6:17; Job 9:9; Job 38:31; Ps 104:6; Ps 104:20; Am 4:13; Am 8:9; Am 9:6)9who makes destruction flash forth against the strong, so that destruction comes upon the fortress. (Jer 50:32)10They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth. (Ru 4:1; 1Ki 22:8; Pr 15:5; Pr 15:10; Isa 29:21)11Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. (De 28:30; De 28:39; Mic 6:15; Zep 1:13; Jas 2:6)12For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate. (1Sa 8:3; 1Sa 12:3; Ps 26:10; Isa 29:21; Am 2:7; Am 5:10)13Therefore he who is prudent will keep silent in such a time, for it is an evil time. (Ec 3:7; Mic 2:3)14Seek good, and not evil, that you may live; and so the Lord, the God of hosts, will be with you, as you have said. (De 30:15; De 30:19; Am 3:13; Zep 2:3)15Hate evil, and love good, and establish justice in the gate; it may be that the Lord, the God of hosts, will be gracious to the remnant of Joseph. (Ex 32:30; Ps 97:10; Joe 2:14; Am 5:10; Ro 12:9)16Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts, the Lord: “In all the squares there shall be wailing, and in all the streets they shall say, ‘Alas! Alas!’ They shall call the farmers to mourning and to wailing those who are skilled in lamentation, (Jer 9:17; Am 5:14)17and in all vineyards there shall be wailing, for I will pass through your midst,” says the Lord. (Ex 12:12)
Let Justice Roll Down
18Woe to you who desire the day of the Lord! Why would you have the day of the Lord? It is darkness, and not light, (Joe 1:15; Joe 2:1)19as if a man fled from a lion, and a bear met him, or went into the house and leaned his hand against the wall, and a serpent bit him. (Isa 24:18; Jer 48:44)20Is not the day of the Lord darkness, and not light, and gloom with no brightness in it? (Am 5:18)21“I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. (Isa 1:14; Jer 6:20)22Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. (Ps 51:16; Isa 1:11)23Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. (Isa 5:12; Am 6:5; Am 8:3)24But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.25“Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, O house of Israel? (Ac 7:42)26You shall take up Sikkuth your king, and Kiyyun your star-god—your images that you made for yourselves, (De 32:17; Isa 46:7; Eze 20:16; Eze 20:24)27and I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts. (2Ki 17:6; Am 5:14)