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God’s Case against His People
1 Hear the word of the LORD,
O children of Israel,
for the LORD has a case
against the people of the land:
“There is no truth, no loving devotion,
and no knowledge of God in the land!
2 Cursing and lying,
murder and stealing,
and adultery are rampant;
one act of bloodshed follows another.
3 Therefore the land mourns,
and all who dwell in it will waste away
with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air;
even the fish of the sea disappear.
4 But let no man contend;
let no man offer reproof;
for your people are like those
who contend with a priest. a
5 You will stumble by day,
and the prophet will stumble with you by night;
so I will destroy your mother—
6 My people are destroyed
for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I will also reject you as My priests.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God,
I will also forget your children.
7 The more they multiplied,
the more they sinned against Me;
they exchanged their Glory b
for a thing of disgrace.
8 They feed on the sins c of My people
and set their hearts on iniquity.
9 And it shall be
like people, like priest.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They will eat but not be satisfied;
they will be promiscuous but not multiply.
For they have stopped obeying the LORD.
11 Promiscuity, wine, and new wine
take away understanding.
12 My people consult their wooden idols,
and their divining rods inform them.
For a spirit of prostitution leads them astray
and they have played the harlot against their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is pleasant.
And so your daughters turn to prostitution
and your daughters-in-law to adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters
when they prostitute themselves,
nor your daughters-in-law
when they commit adultery.
For the men themselves go off with prostitutes
and offer sacrifices with shrine prostitutes.
So a people without understanding
15 Though you prostitute yourself, O Israel,
may Judah avoid such guilt!
Do not journey to Gilgal,
do not go up to Beth-aven, d
and do not swear on oath,
‘As surely as the LORD lives!’
16 For Israel is as obstinate
as a stubborn heifer.
Can the LORD now shepherd them
like lambs in an open meadow?
17 Ephraim e is joined to idols;
leave him alone!
18 When their liquor is gone,
they turn to prostitution;
their rulers f dearly love disgrace.
19 The whirlwind has wrapped them g in its wings,
and their sacrifices will bring them shame.
4 a Or for My case is against you, O priests
7 b Or they exchanged their glorious God (Syriac); MT I will exchange their glory
8 c Or the sin offerings
15 d Beth-aven means house of wickedness . This is a derogatory term for Bethel, which means house of God ; see 1 Kings 12:28–29.
17 e That is, the northern kingdom of Israel
18 f Hebrew her shields
19 g Hebrew has wrapped her