5 Listen to this ·funeral song [dirge; word of lamentation] that I ·sing about [or take up against] you, ·people [L house] of Israel.
2 “The ·young girl [virgin] Israel has fallen, and she will not rise up again. She was ·left alone [abandoned; forsaken] in her own land, and there is no one to ·help [raise; lift] her up.”
3 This is what the Lord God says:
“If a thousand soldiers leave a city, only a hundred will ·return [or remain]; if a hundred soldiers leave a city, only ten will ·return [or remain].”
4 This is what the Lord says to the ·nation [L house] of Israel:
“·Come to [Seek] me and live. 5 But do not ·look in [seek] Bethel [C ironic, since Bethel means “house of God”; 4:4] or go to Gilgal, and do not go down to Beersheba [C important centers of worship in Israel; 4:4]. The people of Gilgal will ·be taken away as captives [surely go into exile], and Bethel will become nothing.” 6 ·Come to [Seek] the Lord and live, or he will ·move [sweep through; L rush] like fire against the ·descendants [L house] of Joseph. The fire will ·burn [consume; devour] Bethel [4:4], and there will be no one to ·put it out [quench it]. 7 You turn justice ·upside down [L into bitterness/or wormwood; C a bitter plant; 6:12], and you throw on the ground ·what is right [rightousness; justice].
8 ·God is the one [L He] who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion; he changes darkness into the morning light, and the day into dark night. He calls for the waters of the sea to pour out on the ·earth [L surface/face of the earth]. The Lord is his name. 9 He ·destroys [brings ruin upon; flashes destruction on] the protected city; he ·ruins [destroys] the strong, walled city.
10 ·You [L They] hate those who ·speak in court against evil [L rebuke/reprove at the gate; C where court was held], and ·you [L they] ·can’t stand [despise; detest] those who tell the truth. 11 You ·walk [trample; or levy a tax] on poor people, ·forcing them to give you [imposing a tax on their] grain. You have built fancy houses of cut stone, but you will not live in them. You have planted ·beautiful [pleasant] vineyards, but you will not drink the wine from them [Deut. 28:30]. 12 I know your many ·crimes [trangressions], your ·terrible [numerous; great] sins. You ·hurt [oppress] ·people who do right [the righteous/innocent], you take ·money to do wrong [bribes], and you keep the poor from getting justice in ·court [L the gate; v. 10]. 13 In such times the wise person will keep quiet, because it is a ·bad [evil] time.
14 ·Try to do [Seek] good, not evil, so that you will live, and the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] will be with you just as you ·say [claim] he is. 15 Hate evil and love good; ·be fair in the courts [L establish justice in the gate; v. 10]. Maybe the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts] will ·be kind to [have mercy on; be gracious to] the ·people of Joseph who are left alive [remnant of Joseph; C a reference to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh (Joseph’s sons), representing the northern kingdom]. 16 This is what the Lord, the Lord God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts], says: “People will be ·crying [wailing] in all the streets; they will be saying, ‘Oh, no!’ in the public places. They will call the farmers to ·come and weep [mourning] and ·will pay people [L those who know lamentation; C professional mourners paid to weep] to ·cry out loud [wail] for them. 17 People will be ·crying [wailing] in all the vineyards, because I will pass ·among you to punish you [L through your midst; C as the angel of death passed through Egypt (Ex. 12:12)],” says the Lord.
The Lord’s Day of Judging
18 ·How terrible it will be for [L Woe to] you who want the ·Lord’s day of judging [L day of the Lord] to come. Why do you want that day to come? It will bring darkness for you, not light. 19 It will be like someone who runs from a lion and meets a bear, or like someone who goes into his house and ·puts [leans] his hand on the wall, and then is bitten by a snake. 20 So the ·Lord’s day of judging [L day of the Lord] will bring darkness, not light; it will be ·very dark [deep gloom], not ·light at all [brightness].
21 The Lord says, “I ·hate and reject [despise] your ·feasts [religious festivals]; I ·cannot stand [take no delight in] your ·religious meetings [sacred assemblies]. 22 If you offer me burnt offerings [Lev. 1:1–17] and ·grain [L gift; tribute] offerings [Lev. 2:1], I won’t accept them. You bring your best ·fellowship [or peace; well-being] offerings [Lev. 3:1] of fattened cattle, but I will ·ignore [have no regard for] them [Is. 1:11]. 23 Take ·the noise of your songs [or your noisy songs] away from me! I won’t listen to the music of your ·harps [stringed instruments]. 24 But let justice ·flow [roll] like a river, and let ·goodness [righteousness; justice] flow like a ·never-ending [ever-flowing] stream.
25 “·People [L House] of Israel, you did not bring me sacrifices and offerings while you traveled in the desert for forty years. 26 You have ·carried with you [lifted up] ·your king, the god Sakkuth [or the shrine of your idol-king], ·and Kaiwan your idol [or the pedestal of your idols; C either names of Mesopotamian star gods, or general terms for idols], the star gods you have made for yourselves. 27 So I will send you ·away as captives [into exile] beyond Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God ·All-Powerful [Almighty; of Heaven’s Armies; T of hosts].
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