Death is Imminent
5:1 Listen to this funeral song I am ready to sing about you,1 family2 of Israel:
5:2 “The virgin3 Israel has fallen down and will not get up again.
She is abandoned on her own land
with no one to help her get up.”4
5:3 The sovereign
“The city that marches out with a thousand soldiers5 will have only a hundred left;
the town6 that marches out with a hundred soldiers7 will have only ten left for the family of Israel.”8
“Seek me10 so you can live!
5:5 Do not seek Bethel!11
Do not visit Gilgal!
Do not journey down12 to Beer Sheba!
For the people of Gilgal13 will certainly be carried into exile;14
and Bethel will become a place where disaster abounds.”15
5:6 Seek the
Otherwise he will break out16 like fire against Joseph’s17 family;18
the fire19 will consume
and no one will be able to quench it and save Bethel.20
5:7 The Israelites21 turn justice into bitterness;22
they throw what is fair and right23 to the ground.24
5:8 (But there is one who made the constellations Pleiades and Orion;
he can turn the darkness into morning
and daylight25 into night.
He summons the water of the seas
and pours it out on the earth’s surface.
5:9 He flashes26 destruction down upon the strong
so that destruction overwhelms27 the fortified places.)
5:10 The Israelites28 hate anyone who arbitrates at the city gate;29
they despise anyone who speaks honestly.
5:11 Therefore, because you make the poor pay taxes on their crops30
and exact a grain tax from them,
you will not live in the houses you built with chiseled stone,
nor will you drink the wine from the fine31 vineyards you planted.32
5:12 Certainly33 I am aware of34 your many rebellious acts35
and your numerous sins.
You36 torment the innocent, you take bribes,
and you deny justice to37 the needy at the city gate.38
5:13 For this reason whoever is smart39 keeps quiet40 in such a time,
for it is an evil41 time.
5:14 Seek good and not evil so you can live!
as you claim he is.
5:15 Hate what is wrong, love what is right!
Promote42 justice at the city gate!43
5:16 Because of Israel’s sins47 this is what the
“In all the squares there will be wailing,
in all the streets they will mourn the dead.49
They will tell the field workers50 to lament
and the professional mourners51 to wail.
5:17 In all the vineyards there will be wailing,
for I will pass through52 your midst,” says the
The Lord Demands Justice
5:18 Woe53 to those who wish for the day of the
Why do you want the
It will bring darkness, not light.
5:19 Disaster will be inescapable,54
as if a man ran from a lion only to meet a bear,
then escaped55 into a house,
leaned his hand against the wall,
and was bitten by a poisonous snake.
5:20 Don’t you realize the
gloomy blackness, not bright light?
5:21 “I absolutely despise57 your festivals!
I get no pleasure58 from your religious assemblies!
5:22 Even if you offer me burnt and grain offerings,59 I will not be satisfied;
I will not look with favor on your peace offerings of fattened calves.60
5:23 Take away from me your61 noisy songs;
I don’t want to hear the music of your stringed instruments.62
5:24 Justice must flow like torrents of water,
righteous actions63 like a stream that never dries up.
5:25 You did not bring me64 sacrifices and grain offerings during the forty years you spent in the wilderness, family65 of Israel.
5:26 You will pick up your images66 of Sikkuth,67 your king,68
and Kiyyun,69 your star god, which you made for yourselves,
5:27 and I will drive you into exile beyond Damascus,” says the
He is called the God who commands armies!