6 Israel, 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.”
2 Hear 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.
3 The Lord says,
“My people, what have I done to you? Have I made things too hard for you? Answer me. 4 I 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. 5 Remember 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.”
6 The 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? 7 Will 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?”
8 The 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
9 The 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. 10 You 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. 11 Should I forgive anyone who uses dishonest scales? They use weights that weigh things heavier or lighter than they really are. 12 The rich people among you harm others. You are always telling lies. You try to fool others by what you say. 13 So I have begun to strike you down. I have begun to destroy you because you have sinned so much. 14 You 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. 15 You 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. 16 You 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.”
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