Seek me and you shall live
1 Listen to these words, this lament I pronounce over you, nation of Israel, 2 “Virgin Israel is fallen, never to rise again! With none to help her up, abandoned, she lies upon her own land.”
3 For Yahweh says this, “The city that went forth to war a thousand strong shall be left with a hundred, and that which went forth with a hundred shall be left with ten in Israel.”
4 For Yahweh says this to the nation of Israel, “Seek me, that you may live, 5 but not in Bethel nor come to Gilgal, nor pass through to Beersheba. For Gilgal shall be led into exile and Bethel brought to nothing.”
6 Seek Yahweh, that you may live, or he will rush like fire on the nation of Joseph and no one will be at Bethel to quench the blaze.
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion, who turns dusk to dawn and darkens the day into night, who summons the waters of the sea and pours them out upon the earth – Yahweh is his name. 9 He makes destruction flash forth against the strong, and brings ruin upon the fortified city.
7 Woe to those whose decrees are bitterness, not justice, who trample on the rights!
10 You hate him who reproves in court; you despise him who speaks the truth.
11 Because you have tram pled on the poor and ex torted levies on their grain, though you have built mansions of hewn stones you will not dwell in them; though you have planted choice grapevines, you shall not drink of their wine.
12 For I know the number of your crimes and how grievous are your sins: persecuting the just, taking bribes, turning away the needy at the gates. 13 See, how the prudent keep silent at this time, for it is an evil time.
The day of the Lord will be darkness
14 Seek good and shun evil, that you may live. Then Yahweh, the God of hosts, as you have claimed, will be with you.
15 Hate wickedness and love virtue, and let justice prevail in the courts; perhaps Yahweh, the God of hosts, will take pity on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Yahweh, God of hosts thus says: “In every square, wailing will be heard, in every street, cries of anguish. Farmers will be summoned to lament and professional mourners to weep noisily. 17 There will be lamentation in every vineyard, for I will pass through your midst, says the Lord.”
18 Woe to you who long for Yah weh’s day! Why should you long for that day? It is a day of darkness, not of dawn, 19 as if a man fled from a lion only to run into a bear; or as if he entered his home, rested his hand against the wall, only to be bitten by a viper.
20 The day of Yahweh will be darkness, not light, gloom without a glow of brightness.
21 “I hate, I reject your feasts, I take no pleasure when you assemble 22 to offer me your burnt offerings. Your cereal offerings, I will not accept! Your offerings of fattened beasts, I will not look upon!
23 Away with the noise of your chanting, away with your strumming on harps. 24 But let justice run its course like water, and righteousness be like an ever-flowing river.
25 Did you, Israel, bring me offerings and sacrifices for forty years, in the wilderness?
26 Yet now you lift up King Sik kuth and Kiyun, your idols, which you made yourselves. 27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus,” says Yahweh whose name is God of hosts.