And this is the message[a] that I was given about Judah and Jerusalem when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were the kings of Judah:[b]
A Guilty Nation
2 The Lord has said, “Listen, heaven and earth! The children I raised have turned against me. 3 Oxen and donkeys know who owns and feeds them, but my people won’t ever learn.”
4 Israel, you are a sinful nation loaded down with guilt. You are wicked and corrupt and have turned from the Lord, the holy God of Israel. 5 Why be punished more? Why not give up your sin? Your head is badly bruised, and you are weak all over. 6 From your head to your toes there isn’t a healthy spot. Bruises, cuts, and open sores go without care or oil to ease the pain.
A Country in Ruins
7 Your country lies in ruins; your towns are in ashes. Foreigners and strangers take and destroy your land while you watch. 8 Enemies surround Jerusalem, alone like a hut in a vineyard[c] or in a cucumber field. 9 Zion would have disappeared like Sodom and Gomorrah,[d] if the Lord All-Powerful had not let a few of its people survive.
Justice, Not Sacrifices
10 You are no better than the leaders and people of Sodom and Gomorrah! So listen to the Lord God: 11 “Your sacrifices mean nothing to me. I am sick of your offerings of rams and choice cattle; I don’t like the blood of bulls or lambs or goats.
12 “Who asked you to bring all this when you come to worship me? Stay out of my temple! 13 Your sacrifices are worthless, and incense is disgusting. I can’t stand the evil you do on your New Moon Festivals or on your Sabbaths and other times of worship. 14 I hate your New Moon Festivals and all others as well. They are a heavy burden I am tired of carrying.
15 “No matter how much you pray, I won’t listen. You are too violent. 16 Wash yourselves clean! I am disgusted with your filthy deeds. Stop doing wrong 17 and learn to live right. See that justice is done. Defend widows and orphans and help those in need.”[e]
An Invitation from the Lord
18 I, the Lord, invite you to come and talk it over. Your sins are scarlet red, but they will be whiter than snow or wool. 19 If you willingly obey me, the best crops in the land will be yours. 20 But if you turn against me, your enemies will kill you. I, the Lord, have spoken.
The Lord Condemns Jerusalem
21 Jerusalem, you are like an unfaithful wife. Once your judges were honest and your people lived right; now you are a city full of murderers. 22 Your silver is fake, and your wine is watered down. 23 Your leaders have rejected me to become friends of crooks; your rulers are looking for gifts and bribes. Widows and orphans never get a fair trial.
24 I am the Lord All-Powerful, the mighty ruler of Israel, and I make you a promise: You are now my enemy, and I will show my anger by taking revenge on you. 25 I will punish you terribly and burn away everything that makes you unfit to worship me. 26 Jerusalem, I will choose judges and advisors like those you had before. Your new name will be “Justice and Faithfulness.”
The Lord Will Save Jerusalem
27 Jerusalem, you will be saved by showing justice;[f] Zion’s people who turn to me will be saved by doing right. 28 But those rebellious sinners who turn against me, the Lord, will all disappear.
29 You will be made ashamed of those groves of trees where you worshiped idols. 30 You will be like a grove of trees dying in a drought. 31 Your strongest leaders will be like dry wood set on fire by their idols.[g] No one will be able to help, as they all go up in flames.
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