3 People of Israel, I rescued you from Egypt. Now listen to my judgment against you. 2 Of all nations on earth, you are the only one I have chosen. That’s why I will punish you because of your sins.
The Work of a Prophet
3 Can two people walk together without agreeing to meet? 4 Does a lion roar in the forest unless it has caught a victim? Does it growl in its den unless it is eating? 5 How can anyone catch a bird without using a net? Does a trap spring shut unless something is caught?
6 Isn’t the whole city frightened when the trumpet signals an attack? Isn’t it the Lord who brings disaster on a city? 7 Whatever the Lord God plans to do, he tells his servants, the prophets. 8 Everyone is terrified when a lion roars— and ordinary people become prophets when the Lord God speaks.
Samaria Is Doomed
9 Here is a message for the leaders of Philistia[a] and Egypt— tell everyone to come together on the hills of Samaria. Let them see the injustice and the lawlessness in that city. 10 The Lord has said that they don’t even know how to do right. They have become rich from violence and robbery. 11 And so the Lord God has sworn that they will be surrounded. Enemies will break through their defenses and steal their treasures.
12 The Lord has promised that only a few from Samaria will escape with their lives and with some broken pieces of their beds and couches.[b] It will be like when a shepherd rescues two leg bones and part of a sheep’s ear from the jaws of a lion.[c]
The Altars at Bethel
13 The Lord God All-Powerful told me to speak this message against Jacob’s descendants: 14 When I, the Lord, punish Israel for their sins, I will destroy the altars at Bethel. Even the corners of the altar[d] will be left in the dirt. 15 I will tear down winter homes and summer homes. Houses decorated with ivory and all other mansions will be gone forever. I, the Lord, have spoken!
3.9Philistia: The Hebrew text has “Ashdod,” one of the leading cities of Philistia.
3.12some. . . couches: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
3.12lion: When a wild animal attacked and killed a sheep, the shepherd had to rescue part of the sheep and take it to the owner as proof that it had been killed by an animal. Otherwise, the shepherd had to pay the owner the cost of the sheep.
3.14altar: Altars were places of worship but also places of protection. People whose lives were in danger could grab hold of the corners of an altar, and no one was allowed to kill them.
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