1 O people of Israel, do not rejoice as other nations do. For you have been unfaithful to your God, hiring yourselves out like prostitutes, worshiping other gods on every threshing floor. 2 So now your harvests will be too small to feed you. There will be no grapes for making new wine. 3 You may no longer stay here in the LORD ’s land. Instead, you will return to Egypt, and in Assyria you will eat food that is ceremonially unclean. 4 There you will make no offerings of wine to the LORD . None of your sacrifices there will please him. They will be unclean, like food touched by a person in mourning. All who present such sacrifices will be defiled. They may eat this food themselves, but they may not offer it to the LORD . 5 What then will you do on festival days? How will you observe the LORD ’s festivals? 6 Even if you escape destruction from Assyria, Egypt will conquer you, and Memphis will bury you. Nettles will take over your treasures of silver; thistles will invade your ruined homes. 7 The time of Israel’s punishment has come; the day of payment is here. Soon Israel will know this all too well. Because of your great sin and hostility, you say, “The prophets are crazy and the inspired men are fools!” 8 The prophet is a watchman over Israel for my God, yet traps are laid for him wherever he goes. He faces hostility even in the house of God. 9 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. 10 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 vile, as vile as the god they worshiped. 11 The glory of Israel will fly away like a bird, for your children will not be born or grow in the womb or even be conceived. 12 Even if you do have children who grow up, I will take them from you. It will be a terrible day when I turn away and leave you alone. 13 I have watched Israel become as beautiful as Tyre. But now Israel will bring out her children for slaughter.” 14 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. 15 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. 16 The people of Israel are struck down. Their roots are dried up, and they will bear no more fruit. And if they give birth, I will slaughter their beloved children.” 17 My God will reject the people of Israel because they will not listen or obey. They will be wanderers, homeless among the nations.
1 How prosperous Israel is— a luxuriant vine loaded with fruit. But the richer the people get, the more pagan altars they build. The more bountiful their harvests, the more beautiful their sacred pillars. 2 The hearts of the people are fickle; they are guilty and must be punished. The LORD will break down their altars and smash their sacred pillars. 3 Then they will say, “We have no king because we didn’t fear the LORD . But even if we had a king, what could he do for us anyway?” 4 They spout empty words and make covenants they don’t intend to keep. So injustice springs up among them like poisonous weeds in a farmer’s field. 5 The people of Samaria tremble in fear for their calf idol at Beth-aven, and they mourn for it. Though its priests rejoice over it, its glory will be stripped away. 6 This idol will be carted away to Assyria, a gift to the great king there. Ephraim will be ridiculed and Israel will be shamed, because its people have trusted in this idol. 7 Samaria and its king will be cut off; they will float away like driftwood on an ocean wave. 8 And the pagan shrines of Aven, the place of Israel’s sin, will crumble. Thorns and thistles will grow up around their altars. They will beg the mountains, “Bury us!” and plead with the hills, “Fall on us!” 9 The LORD says, “O Israel, ever since Gibeah, there has been only sin and more sin! You have made no progress whatsoever. Was it not right that the wicked men of Gibeah were attacked? 10 Now whenever it fits my plan, I will attack you, too. I will call out the armies of the nations to punish you for your multiplied sins. 11 “Israel is like a trained heifer treading out the grain— an easy job she loves. But I will put a heavy yoke on her tender neck. I will force Judah to pull the plow and Israel to break up the hard ground. 12 I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’ 13 “But you have cultivated wickedness and harvested a thriving crop of sins. You have eaten the fruit of lies— trusting in your military might, believing that great armies could make your nation safe. 14 Now the terrors of war will rise among your people. All your fortifications will fall, just as when Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel. Even mothers and children were dashed to death there. 15 You will share that fate, Bethel, because of your great wickedness. When the day of judgment dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.
1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt. 2 But the more I called to him, the farther he moved from me, offering sacrifices to the images of Baal and burning incense to idols. 3 I myself taught Israel how to walk, leading him along by the hand. But he doesn’t know or even care that it was I who took care of him. 4 I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. 5 “But since my people refuse to return to me, they will return to Egypt and will be forced to serve Assyria. 6 War will swirl through their cities; their enemies will crash through their gates. They will destroy them, trapping them in their own evil plans. 7 For my people are determined to desert me. They call me the Most High, but they don’t truly honor me. 8 “Oh, how can I give you up, Israel? How can I let you go? How can I destroy you like Admah or demolish you like Zeboiim? My heart is torn within me, and my compassion overflows. 9 No, I will not unleash my fierce anger. I will not completely destroy Israel, for I am God and not a mere mortal. I am the Holy One living among you, and I will not come to destroy. 10 For someday the people will follow me. I, the LORD, will roar like a lion. And when I roar, my people will return trembling from the west. 11 Like a flock of birds, they will come from Egypt. Trembling like doves, they will return from Assyria. And I will bring them home again,” says the LORD . 12 Israel surrounds me with lies and deceit, but Judah still obeys God and is faithful to the Holy One.
1 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Sardis. This is the message from the one who has the sevenfold Spirit of God and the seven stars: “I know all the things you do, and that you have a reputation for being alive—but you are dead. 2 Wake up! Strengthen what little remains, for even what is left is almost dead. I find that your actions do not meet the requirements of my God. 3 Go back to what you heard and believed at first; hold to it firmly. Repent and turn to me again. If you don’t wake up, I will come to you suddenly, as unexpected as a thief. 4 “Yet there are some in the church in Sardis who have not soiled their clothes with evil. They will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5 All who are victorious will be clothed in white. I will never erase their names from the Book of Life, but I will announce before my Father and his angels that they are mine. 6 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. 7 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Philadelphia. This is the message from the one who is holy and true, the one who has the key of David. What he opens, no one can close; and what he closes, no one can open: 8 “I know all the things you do, and I have opened a door for you that no one can close. You have little strength, yet you obeyed my word and did not deny me. 9 Look, I will force those who belong to Satan’s synagogue—those liars who say they are Jews but are not—to come and bow down at your feet. They will acknowledge that you are the ones I love. 10 “Because you have obeyed my command to persevere, I will protect you from the great time of testing that will come upon the whole world to test those who belong to this world. 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take away your crown. 12 All who are victorious will become pillars in the Temple of my God, and they will never have to leave it. And I will write on them the name of my God, and they will be citizens in the city of my God—the new Jerusalem that comes down from heaven from my God. And I will also write on them my new name. 13 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches. 14 “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s new creation: 15 “I know all the things you do, that you are neither hot nor cold. I wish that you were one or the other! 16 But since you are like lukewarm water, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth! 17 You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. 18 So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see. 19 I correct and discipline everyone I love. So be diligent and turn from your indifference. 20 “Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends. 21 Those who are victorious will sit with me on my throne, just as I was victorious and sat with my Father on his throne. 22 “Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.”