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God Challenges Israel

Hear what the Lord says:
    Rise, plead your case before the mountains,
    and let the hills hear your voice.(A)
Hear, you mountains, the case of the Lord,
    and you enduring foundations of the earth,
for the Lord has a case against his people,
    and he will contend with Israel.(B)

“O my people, what have I done to you?
    In what have I wearied you? Answer me!(C)
For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
    and redeemed you from the house of slavery,
and I sent before you Moses,
    Aaron, and Miriam.(D)
O my people, remember now what King Balak of Moab devised,
    what Balaam son of Beor answered him,
and what happened from Shittim to Gilgal,
    that you may know the saving acts of the Lord.”(E)

What God Requires

“With what shall I come before the Lord
    and bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”(F)
He has told you, O mortal, what is good,
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice and to love kindness
    and to walk humbly with your God?(G)

Cheating and Violence to Be Punished

The voice of the Lord cries to the city
    (and he shall save those who fear his name[a]):
Hear, O tribe and assembly of the city![b]
10     Can I forget[c] the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked
    and the despicable false measure?(H)
11 Can I tolerate wicked scales
    and a bag of dishonest weights?(I)
12 Your[d] wealthy are full of violence;
    your[e] inhabitants speak lies
    with tongues of deceit in their mouths.
13 Therefore I have begun[f] to strike you down,
    making you desolate because of your sins.(J)
14 You shall eat but not be satisfied,
    and there shall be a gnawing hunger within you;
you shall put away but not save,
    and what you save, I will hand over to the sword.(K)
15 You shall sow but not reap;
    you shall tread olives but not anoint yourselves with oil;
    you shall tread grapes but not drink wine.(L)
16 For you have kept the statutes of Omri[g]
    and all the works of the house of Ahab,
    and you have followed their counsels.
Therefore I will make you a desolation and your[h] inhabitants an object of hissing,
    so you shall bear the scorn of my people.(M)

The Total Corruption of the People

Woe is me! For I have become like one who,
    after the summer fruit has been gathered,
    after the vintage has been gleaned,
finds no cluster to eat;
    there is no first-ripe fig for which I hunger.(N)
The faithful have disappeared from the land,
    and there is no one left who is upright;
they all lie in wait for blood,
    and they hunt each other with nets.(O)
Their hands are skilled to do evil;
    the official and the judge ask for a bribe,
and the powerful dictate what they desire;
    thus they pervert justice.[i](P)
The best of them is like a brier,
    the most upright of them a thorn hedge.
The day of their[j] sentinels, of their[k] punishment, has come;
    now their confusion is at hand.(Q)
Put no trust in a friend;
    have no confidence in a loved one;
guard the doors of your mouth
    from her who lies in your embrace,
for the son treats the father with contempt,
    the daughter rises up against her mother,
the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;
    your enemies are members of your own household.(R)
But as for me, I will look to the Lord;
    I will wait for the God of my salvation;
    my God will hear me.(S)

Penitence and Trust in God

Do not rejoice over me, my enemies;[l]
    when I fall, I shall rise;
when I sit in darkness,
    the Lord will be a light to me.(T)
I must bear the indignation of the Lord
    because I have sinned against him,
until he takes my side
    and executes judgment for me.
He will bring me out to the light;
    I shall see his vindication.(U)
10 Then my enemies[m] will see,
    and shame will cover those[n] who said to me,
    “Where is the Lord your God?”
My eyes will see their[o] downfall;[p]
    now they[q] will be trodden down
    like the mire of the streets.(V)

A Prophecy of Restoration

11 A day for the building of your walls!
    On that day the boundary shall be far extended.(W)
12 On that day they will come to you
    from Assyria to[r] Egypt
and from Egypt to the River,
    from sea to sea and from mountain to mountain.(X)
13 But the earth will be desolate
    because of its inhabitants,
    for the fruit of their doings.(Y)

14 Shepherd your people with your staff,
    the flock that belongs to you,
which lives alone in a forest
    in the midst of a garden land;
let them feed in Bashan and Gilead
    as in the days of old.
15 As in the days when you came out of the land of Egypt,
    show us[s] marvelous things.(Z)
16 The nations shall see and be ashamed
    of all their might;
they shall lay their hands on their mouths;
    their ears shall be deaf;(AA)
17 they shall lick dust like a snake,
    like the crawling things of the earth;
they shall come trembling out of their fortresses;
    they shall turn in dread to the Lord our God,
    and they shall stand in fear of you.(AB)

God’s Compassion and Steadfast Love

18 Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity
    and passing over the transgression
    of the remnant of his possession?
He does not retain his anger forever
    because he delights in showing steadfast love.(AC)
19 He will again have compassion upon us;
    he will tread our iniquities under foot.
You will cast all our[t] sins
    into the depths of the sea.(AD)
20 You will show faithfulness to Jacob
    and steadfast love to Abraham,
as you have sworn to our ancestors
    from the days of old.(AE)


  1. 6.9 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. 6.9 Cn Compare Gk: Heb tribe, and who has appointed it yet?
  3. 6.10 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. 6.12 Heb Whose
  5. 6.12 Heb whose
  6. 6.13 Gk Syr Vg: Heb have made sick
  7. 6.16 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb the statutes of Omri are kept
  8. 6.16 Heb its
  9. 7.3 Cn: Heb they weave it
  10. 7.4 Heb your
  11. 7.4 Heb your
  12. 7.8 Heb enemy
  13. 7.10 Heb enemy
  14. 7.10 Heb she
  15. 7.10 Heb her
  16. 7.10 Heb lacks downfall
  17. 7.10 Heb she
  18. 7.12 Heb ms: MT Assyria and cities of
  19. 7.15 Cn: Heb I will show him
  20. 7.19 Gk Syr Vg Tg: Heb their