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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

13 And I saw a beast rising out of the sea, with ten horns and seven heads, and on its horns were ten diadems, and on its heads were blasphemous names.(A) And the beast that I saw was like a leopard, its feet were like a bear’s, and its mouth was like a lion’s mouth. And the dragon gave it his power and his throne and great authority.(B) One of its heads seemed to have received a death blow, but its fatal wound[a] had been healed. In amazement the whole earth followed the beast.(C) They worshiped the dragon, for he had given his authority to the beast, and they worshiped the beast, saying, “Who is like the beast, and who can fight against it?”(D)

The beast was given a mouth speaking arrogant and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months.(E) It opened its mouth to speak blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also, it was allowed to wage war on the saints and to conquer them.[b] It was given authority over every tribe and people and language and nation,(F) and all the inhabitants of the earth will worship it, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered.[c](G)

Let anyone who has an ear listen:

10 If you are to be taken captive,
    into captivity you go;
if you kill with the sword,
    with the sword you must be killed.

Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.(H)

The Second Beast

11 Then I saw another beast that rose out of the earth; it had two horns like a lamb, and it spoke like a dragon. 12 It exercises all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and it makes the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound[d] had been healed. 13 It performs great signs, even making fire come down from heaven to earth in the sight of all,(I) 14 and by the signs that it is allowed to perform on behalf of the beast it deceives the inhabitants of earth, telling them to make an image for the beast that had been wounded by the sword[e] and yet lived,(J) 15 and it was allowed to give breath[f] to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast could even speak and cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. 16 Also, it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be given a brand on the right hand or the forehead,(K) 17 so that no one can buy or sell who does not have the brand, that is, the name of the beast or the number for its name.(L) 18 This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number for a person. Its number is six hundred sixty-six.[g](M)


  1. 13.3 Gk the plague of its death
  2. 13.7 Other ancient authorities lack this sentence
  3. 13.8 Or written in the book of life of the Lamb that was slaughtered from the foundation of the world
  4. 13.12 Gk whose plague of its death
  5. 13.14 Or that had received the plague of the sword
  6. 13.15 Or spirit
  7. 13.18 Other ancient authorities read six hundred sixteen