The Lord’s Case Against Israel
1Listen to what the Lord says:
“Stand up, plead my case before the mountains;
let the hills hear what you have to say.
2“Hear, you mountains, the Lord’s accusation;
listen, you everlasting foundations of the earth.
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he is lodging a charge against Israel.
3“My people, what have I done to you?
How have I burdened you? Answer me.
4I brought you up out of Egypt
and redeemed you from the land of slavery.
I sent Moses to lead you,
also Aaron and Miriam.
5My people, remember
what Balak king of Moab plotted
and what Balaam son of Beor answered.
Remember your journey from Shittim to Gilgal,
that you may know the righteous acts of the Lord.”
6With what shall I come before the Lord
and bow down before the exalted God?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
with calves a year old?
7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
with ten thousand rivers of olive oil?
Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,
the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly6:8 Or prudently with your God.
Israel’s Guilt and Punishment
9Listen! The Lord is calling to the city—
and to fear your name is wisdom—
“Heed the rod and the One who appointed it.6:9 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
10Am I still to forget your ill-gotten treasures, you wicked house,
and the short ephah,6:10 An ephah was a dry measure. which is accursed?
11Shall I acquit someone with dishonest scales,
with a bag of false weights?
12Your rich people are violent;
your inhabitants are liars
and their tongues speak deceitfully.
13Therefore, I have begun to destroy you,
to ruin6:13 Or Therefore, I will make you ill and destroy you; / I will ruin you because of your sins.
14You will eat but not be satisfied;
your stomach will still be empty.6:14 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
You will store up but save nothing,
because what you save6:14 Or You will press toward birth but not give birth, / and what you bring to birth I will give to the sword.
15You will plant but not harvest;
you will press olives but not use the oil,
you will crush grapes but not drink the wine.
16You have observed the statutes of Omri
and all the practices of Ahab’s house;
you have followed their traditions.
Therefore I will give you over to ruin
and your people to derision;
you will bear the scorn of the nations.6:16 Septuagint; Hebrew scorn due my people”
The Lord Brings Charges Against Israel
1Israel, listen to the Lord’s message. He says to me,
“Stand up in court.
Let the mountains serve as witnesses.
Let the hills hear what you have to say.”
2Hear the Lord’s case, you mountains.
Listen, you age-old foundations of the earth.
The Lord has a case against his people Israel.
He is bringing charges against them.
3The Lord says,
“My people, what have I done to you?
Have I made things too hard for you? Answer me.
4I brought your people up out of Egypt.
I set them free from the land
where they were slaves.
I sent Moses to lead them.
Aaron and Miriam helped him.
5Remember how Balak, the king of Moab,
planned to put a curse on your people.
But Balaam, the son of Beor,
gave them a blessing instead.
Remember their journey from Shittim to Gilgal.
I want you to know
that I always do what is right.”
6The people of Israel say,
“What should we bring with us
when we go to worship the Lord?
What should we offer the God of heaven
when we bow down to him?
Should we take burnt offerings to him?
Should we sacrifice calves
that are a year old?
7Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams?
Will he take delight in 10,000 rivers of olive oil?
Should we offer our oldest sons
for the wrong things we’ve done?
Should we sacrifice our own children
to pay for our sins?”
8The Lord has shown you what is good.
He has told you what he requires of you.
You must act with justice.
You must love to show mercy.
And you must be humble as you live in the sight of your God.
The Lord Will Punish His Guilty People
9The Lord is calling out to Jerusalem.
And it would be wise to pay attention to him.
He says, “Listen, tribe of Judah
and you people who are gathered in the city.
10You sinful people, should I forget
that you got your treasures by stealing them?
You use dishonest measures to cheat others.
I have placed a curse on that practice.
11Should I forgive anyone who uses dishonest scales?
They use weights that weigh things heavier
or lighter than they really are.
12The rich people among you harm others.
You are always telling lies.
You try to fool others by what you say.
13So I have begun to strike you down.
I have begun to destroy you
because you have sinned so much.
14You will eat. But you will not be satisfied.
Your stomachs will still be empty.
You will try to save what you can.
But you will not be able to.
If you do save something,
it will be destroyed in battle.
15You will plant seeds.
But you will not harvest any crops.
You will press olives.
But you will not use the oil.
You will crush grapes.
But you will not drink the wine
that is made from them.
16You have followed the evil practices
of King Omri of Israel.
You have done what the family
of King Ahab did.
You have followed their bad example.
So I will let you be destroyed.
Others will make fun of you.
The nations will laugh at you.”