Hear this word, house of Israel, this lament1 I take up concerning you:
"Fallen is Virgin2 Israel, never to rise again, deserted in her own land, with no one to lift her up.3"
This is what the Sovereign LORD says to the house of Israel: "Your city that marches out a thousand strong will have only a hundred left; your town that marches out a hundred strong will have only ten left.4"
This is what the LORD says to the house of Israel: "Seek5 me and live;6
do not seek Bethel, do not go to Gilgal,7 do not journey to Beersheba.8 For Gilgal will surely go into exile, and Bethel will be reduced to nothing.9"
Seek10 the LORD and live,11 or he will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire;12 it will devour them, and Bethel13 will have no one to quench it.14
There are those who turn justice into bitterness15 and cast righteousness16 to the ground.17
He who made the Pleiades and Orion,18 who turns midnight into dawn19 and darkens day into night,20 who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land-- the LORD is his name.21
He flashes destruction on the stronghold and brings the fortified city to ruin.22
There are those who hate the one who reproves in court23 and detest the one who tells the truth.24
You levy a straw tax on the poor25 and impose a tax on their grain. Therefore, though you have built stone mansions,26 you will not live in them;27 though you have planted lush vineyards, you will not drink their wine.28
For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins.29 There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes30 and deprive the poor31 of justice in the courts.32
Therefore the prudent keep quiet33 in such times, for the times are evil.34
Seek good, not evil, that you may live.35 Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is.
Hate evil,36 love good;37 maintain justice in the courts.38 Perhaps39 the LORD God Almighty will have mercy40 on the remnant41 of Joseph.
Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says: "There will be wailing42 in all the streets43 and cries of anguish in every public square. The farmers44 will be summoned to weep and the mourners to wail.
There will be wailing45 in all the vineyards, for I will pass through46 your midst," says the LORD.47
Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD!48 Why do you long for the day of the LORD?49 That day will be darkness,50 not light.51
It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear,52 as though he entered his house and rested his hand on the wall only to have a snake bite him.53
Will not the day of the LORD be darkness,54 not light-- pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?55
"I hate,56 I despise your religious festivals;57 I cannot stand your assemblies.58
Even though you bring me burnt offerings59 and grain offerings, I will not accept them.6061 Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them.6263
Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.64
But let justice65 roll on like a river, righteousness66 like a never-failing stream!67
"Did you bring me sacrifices68 and offerings forty years69 in the wilderness, house of Israel?
You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols,70 the star of your god-- which you made for yourselves.
Therefore I will send you into exile71 beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.72