Listen, people - all of you. Listen, earth, and everyone in it: The Master, God, takes the witness stand against you, the Master from his Holy Temple.
Look, here he comes! God, from his place! He comes down and strides across mountains and hills.
Mountains sink under his feet, valleys split apart; The rock mountains crumble into gravel, the river valleys leak like sieves.
All this because of Jacob's sin, because Israel's family did wrong. You ask, "So what is Jacob's sin?" Just look at Samaria - isn't it obvious? And all the sex-and-religion shrines in Judah - isn't Jerusalem responsible?
"I'm turning Samaria into a heap of rubble, a vacant lot littered with garbage. I'll dump the stones from her buildings in the valley and leave her abandoned foundations exposed.
All her carved and cast gods and goddesses will be sold for stove wood and scrap metal, All her sacred fertility groves burned to the ground, All the sticks and stones she worshiped as gods, destroyed. These were her earnings from her life as a whore. This is what happens to the fees of a whore."
This is why I lament and mourn. This is why I go around in rags and barefoot. This is why I howl like a pack of coyotes, and moan like a mournful owl in the night.
God has inflicted punishing wounds; Judah has been wounded with no healing in sight. Judgment has marched through the city gates. Jerusalem must face the charges.
Don't gossip about this in Telltown. Don't waste your tears. In Dustville, roll in the dust.
In Alarmtown, the alarm is sounded. The citizens of Exitburgh will never get out alive. Lament, Last-Stand City: There's nothing in you left standing.
The villagers of Bittertown wait in vain for sweet peace. Harsh judgment has come from God and entered Peace City.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)