4 Hear the word of the Lord, You children of Israel, For the Lordbrings a charge[a] against the inhabitants of the land:
“There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land. 2 By swearing and lying, Killing and stealing and committing adultery, They break all restraint, With bloodshed [b]upon bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land will mourn; And everyone who dwells there will waste away With the beasts of the field And the birds of the air; Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.
4 “Now let no man contend, or rebuke another; For your people are like those who contend with the priest. 5 Therefore you shall stumble in the day; The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night; And I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
7 “The more they increased, The more they sinned against Me; I[c] will change [d]their glory into shame. 8 They eat up the sin of My people; They set their [e]heart on their iniquity. 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest. So I will punish them for their ways, And [f]reward them for their deeds. 10 For they shall eat, but not have enough; They shall commit harlotry, but not increase; Because they have ceased obeying the Lord.
The Idolatry of Israel
11 “Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart. 12 My people ask counsel from their wooden idols, And their [g]staff informs them. For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray, And they have played the harlot against their God. 13 They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops, And burn incense on the hills, Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, Because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, And your brides commit adultery.
14 “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry, Nor your brides when they commit adultery; For the men themselves go apart with harlots, And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot. Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.
15 “Though you, Israel, play the harlot, Let not Judah offend. Do not come up to Gilgal, Nor go up to Beth[h] Aven, Nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the Lord lives’—
16 “For Israel is stubborn Like a stubborn calf; Now the Lord will let them forage Like a lamb in [i]open country.
17 “Ephraim is joined to idols, Let him alone. 18 Their drink [j]is rebellion, They commit harlotry continually. Her [k]rulers [l]dearly love dishonor. 19 The wind has wrapped her up in its wings, And they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
Impending Judgment on Israel and Judah
5 “Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For [m]yours is the judgment, Because you have been a snare to Mizpah And a net spread on Tabor. 2 The revolters are deeply involved in slaughter, Though I rebuke them all. 3 I know Ephraim, And Israel is not hidden from Me; For now, O Ephraim, you commit harlotry; Israel is defiled.
4 “They[n] do not direct their deeds Toward turning to their God, For the spirit of harlotry is in their midst, And they do not know the Lord. 5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face; Therefore Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also stumbles with them.
6 “With their flocks and herds They shall go to seek the Lord, But they will not find Him; He has withdrawn Himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously with the Lord, For they have begotten [o]pagan children. Now a New Moon shall devour them and their heritage.
8 “Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah, The trumpet in Ramah! Cry aloud atBeth Aven, ‘Look behind you, O Benjamin!’ 9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke; Among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure.
10 “The princes of Judah are like those who remove a landmark; I will pour out My wrath on them like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, Because he willingly walked by human precept. 12 Therefore I will be to Ephraim like a moth, And to the house of Judah like rottenness.
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness, And Judah saw his wound, Then Ephraim went to Assyria And sent to King Jareb; Yet he cannot cure you, Nor heal you of your wound. 14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, And like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear them and go away; I will take them away, and no one shall rescue. 15 I will return again to My place Till they [p]acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.”
To the [a]elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all those who have known the truth, 2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with [b]you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
Walk in Christ’s Commandments
4 I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father. 5 And now I plead with you, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment to you, but that which we have had from the beginning: that we love one another. 6 This is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, that as you have heard from the beginning, you should walk in it.
Beware of Antichrist Deceivers
7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. 8 Look to yourselves, that [c]we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward.
9 Whoever [d]transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.
John’s Farewell Greeting
12 Having many things to write to you, I did not wish to do so with paper and ink; but I hope to come to you and speak face to face, that our joy may be full.
13 The children of your elect sister greet you. Amen.
125 Those who trust in the Lord Are like Mount Zion, Which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, So the Lord surrounds His people From this time forth and forever.
3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest On the land allotted to the righteous, Lest the righteous reach out their hands to iniquity.
4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, And to those who are upright in their hearts.
5 As for such as turn aside to their crooked ways, The Lord shall lead them away With the workers of iniquity.
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