O people of Israel, do not rejoice as others do. For you have been unfaithful to your God, hiring yourselves out like prostitutes, offering sacrifices to other gods on every threshing floor.
So now your harvests will be too small to feed you. The grapes you gather will not quench your thirst.
You may no longer stay here in this land of the LORD. You will be carried off to Egypt and Assyria, where you will live on food that is ceremonially unclean.
There, far from home, you will not be allowed to pour out wine as a sacrifice to the LORD. None of the sacrifices you offer there will please him. Such sacrifices will be unclean, just as food touched by a person in mourning is unclean. All who present such sacrifices will be defiled. They may eat this food to feed themselves, but they may not offer it to the LORD.
What then will you do on festival days? What will you do on days of feasting in the LORD's presence?
Even if you escape destruction from Assyria, you will be conquered by Egypt. Memphis a will bury you. Briers will take over your treasures of silver; brambles will fill your homes.
The time of Israel's punishment has come; the day of payment is almost here. Soon Israel will know this all too well. "The prophets are crazy!" the people shout. "The inspired men are mad!" So they taunt, for the nation is burdened with sin and shows only hatred for those who love God.
The prophet is a watchman for my God over Israel, b yet traps are laid in front of him wherever he goes. He faces hostility even in the house of God.
The things my people do are as depraved as what they did in Gibeah long ago. God will not forget. He will surely punish them for their sins.
The LORD says, "O Israel, when I first found you, it was like finding fresh grapes in the desert! When I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the first ripe figs of the season! But then they deserted me for Baal-peor, giving themselves to that shameful idol. Soon they became as vile as the god they worshiped.
The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will die at birth or perish in the womb or never even be conceived.
Even if your children do survive to grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone.
I have watched Israel become as beautiful and pleasant as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children to be slaughtered."
O LORD, what should I request for your people? I will ask for wombs that don't give birth and breasts that give no milk.
The LORD says, "All their wickedness began at Gilgal; there I began to hate them. I will drive them from my land because of their evil actions. I will love them no more because all their leaders are rebels.
The people of Israel are stricken. Their roots are dried up; they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children."
My God will reject the people of Israel because they will not listen or obey. They will be wanderers, homeless among the nations.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)