1 Hear this word, Israel, this lament I take up concerning you:
2 "Fallen is Virgin 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 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 Israel: ¶ "Seek me and live;
5 do not seek Bethel, ¶ do not go to Gilgal, ¶ do not journey to Beersheba. ¶ For Gilgal will surely go into exile, ¶ and Bethel will be reduced to nothing. [^1] "
6 Seek the LORD and live, or he will sweep through the tribes of Joseph like a fire; ¶ it will devour them, ¶ and Bethel will have no one to quench it.
7 There are those who turn justice into bitterness ¶ and cast righteousness to the ground.
8 He who made the Pleiades and Orion, ¶ who turns midnight into dawn ¶ and darkens day into night, ¶ who calls for the waters of the sea ¶ and pours them out over the face of the land — ¶ the LORD is his name.
9 With a blinding flash he destroys the stronghold and brings the fortified city to ruin.
10 There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court ¶ and detest the one who tells the truth.
11 You levy a straw tax on the poor ¶ and impose a tax on their grain. ¶ Therefore, though you have built stone mansions, ¶ you will not live in them; ¶ though you have planted lush vineyards, ¶ you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your offenses and how great your sins. ¶ There are those who oppress the innocent and take bribes ¶ and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
13 Therefore the prudent keep quiet in such times, for the times are evil.
14 Seek good, not evil, ¶ that you may live. ¶ Then the LORD God Almighty will be with you, ¶ just as you say he is.
15 Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. ¶ Perhaps the LORD God Almighty will have mercy ¶ on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore this is what the Lord, the LORD God Almighty, says: ¶ "There will be wailing in all the streets ¶ and cries of anguish in every public square. ¶ The farmers will be summoned to weep ¶ and the mourners to wail.
17 There will be wailing in all the vineyards, for I will pass through your midst," ¶ says the LORD.
18 Woe to you who long ¶ for the day of the LORD! ¶ Why do you long for the day of the LORD? ¶ That day will be darkness, not light.
19 It will be as though a man fled from a lion only to meet a bear, ¶ as though he entered his house ¶ and rested his hand on the wall ¶ only to have a snake bite him.
20 Will not the day of the LORD be darkness, not light — pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?
21 "I hate, I despise your religious festivals; ¶ your assemblies are a stench to me.
22 Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. ¶ Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, ¶ I will have no regard for them.
23 Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream!
25 "Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings ¶ forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel?
26 You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, ¶ the star of your god [^2] — ¶ which you made for yourselves.
27 Therefore I will send you into exile beyond Damascus," says the LORD, whose name is God Almighty.