The Lord’s Case against Israel
1Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel!
The Lord has brought charges against you, saying:
“There is no faithfulness, no kindness,
no knowledge of God in your land.
2You make vows and break them;
you kill and steal and commit adultery.
There is violence everywhere—
one murder after another.
3That is why your land is in mourning,
and everyone is wasting away.
Even the wild animals, the birds of the sky,
and the fish of the sea are disappearing.
4“Don’t point your finger at someone else
and try to pass the blame!
My complaint, you priests,
is with you.*4:4 Hebrew Your people are like those with a complaint against the priests.
5So you will stumble in broad daylight,
and your false prophets will fall with you in the night.
And I will destroy Israel, your mother.
6My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children.
7The more priests there are,
the more they sin against me.
They have exchanged the glory of God
for the shame of idols.*4:7 As in Syriac version and an ancient Hebrew tradition; Masoretic Text reads I will turn their glory into shame.
8“When the people bring their sin offerings, the priests get fed.
So the priests are glad when the people sin!
9‘And what the priests do, the people also do.’
So now I will punish both priests and people
for their wicked deeds.
10They will eat and still be hungry.
They will play the prostitute and gain nothing from it,
for they have deserted the Lord
11to worship other gods.
“Wine has robbed my people
of their understanding.
12They ask a piece of wood for advice!
They think a stick can tell them the future!
Longing after idols
has made them foolish.
They have played the prostitute,
serving other gods and deserting their God.
13They offer sacrifices to idols on the mountaintops.
They go up into the hills to burn incense
in the pleasant shade of oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees.
“That is why your daughters turn to prostitution,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14But why should I punish them
for their prostitution and adultery?
For your men are doing the same thing,
sinning with whores and shrine prostitutes.
O foolish people! You refuse to understand,
so you will be destroyed.
15“Though you, Israel, are a prostitute,
may Judah not be guilty of such things.
Do not join the false worship at Gilgal or Beth-aven,*4:15 Beth-aven means “house of wickedness”; it is being used as another name for Bethel, which means “house of God.”
and do not take oaths there in the Lord’s name.
16Israel is stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
So should the Lord feed her
like a lamb in a lush pasture?
17Leave Israel*4:17 Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel. alone,
because she is married to idolatry.
18When the rulers of Israel finish their drinking,
off they go to find some prostitutes.
They love shame more than honor.*4:18 As in Greek version; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
19So a mighty wind will sweep them away.
Their sacrifices to idols will bring them shame.