“Seek Me that You May Live”
1Hear this word which I take up for you as a dirge, O house of Israel:
2 She has fallen, she will not rise again—
The virgin Israel.
She lies neglected on her land;
There is none to raise her up.
3 For thus says the Lord [a]God,
“The city which goes forth a thousand strong
Will have a hundred left,
And the one which goes forth a hundred strong
Will have ten left to the house of Israel.”
4 For thus says the Lord to the house of Israel,
“Seek Me that you may live.
5 “But do not [b]resort to Bethel
And do not come to Gilgal,
Nor cross over to Beersheba;
For Gilgal will certainly go into captivity
And Bethel will [c]come to trouble.
6 “Seek the Lord that you may live,
Or He will break forth like a fire, [d]O house of Joseph,
And it will consume with none to quench it for Bethel,
7 For those who turn justice into wormwood
And [e]cast righteousness down to the earth.”
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion
And changes deep darkness into morning,
[f]Who also darkens 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.
9 It is He who flashes forth with destruction upon the strong,
So that destruction comes upon the fortress.
10 They hate him who reproves in the [g]gate,
And they abhor him who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore because you [h]impose heavy rent on the poor
And exact a tribute of grain from them,
Though you have built houses of well-hewn stone,
Yet you will not live in them;
You have planted pleasant vineyards, yet you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know your transgressions are many and your sins are great,
You who distress the righteous and accept bribes
And [i]turn aside the poor in the [j]gate.
13 Therefore at [k]such a time the prudent person keeps silent, for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good and not evil, that you may live;
And thus may the Lord God of hosts be with you,
Just as you have said!
15 Hate evil, love good,
And establish justice in the [l]gate!
Perhaps the Lord God of hosts
May be gracious to the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts, the Lord,
“There is wailing in all the plazas,
And in all the streets they say, ‘Alas! Alas!’
They also call the farmer to mourning
And [m]professional mourners to lamentation.
17 “And in all the vineyards there is wailing,
Because I will pass through the midst of you,” says the Lord.
18 Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord,
For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?
It will be darkness and not light;
19 As when a man flees from a lion
And a bear meets him,
[n]Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall
And a snake bites him.
20 Will not the day of the Lord be darkness instead of light,
Even gloom with no brightness in it?
21 “I hate, I reject your festivals,
Nor do I [o]delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 “Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings.
23 “Take away from Me the noise of your songs;
I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.
24 “But let justice roll down like waters
And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.
25 “[p]Did you present Me with sacrifices and grain offerings in the wilderness for forty years, O house of Israel? 26 You also carried along [q]Sikkuth your king and [r]Kiyyun, your images, [s]the star of your gods which you made for yourselves. 27 Therefore, I will make you go into exile beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of hosts.