All the Families Are Guilty
1Hear this word that the Lord has spoken against you, O children of Israel, against the whole family which I brought up from the land of Egypt:
2“I have known [chosen, cared for, and loved] only you of all the families of the earth;
Therefore I shall punish you for all your wickedness.”
3Do two men walk together unless they have made an appointment?
4Does a lion roar in the forest when he has no prey?
Does a young lion growl from his den if he has not captured something?
5Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground when there is no bait in it?
Does a trap spring up from the ground when it has caught nothing at all? [Of course not! So it is that Israel has earned her impending judgment.]
6If a trumpet is blown in a city [warning of danger] will not the people tremble?
If a disaster or misfortune occurs in a city has not the Lord caused it?
7Surely the Lord God does nothing
# God has always warned of coming judgment in order that people may choose to change their behavior and avoid it. He warned Noah of the coming flood (Gen 6:13ff); Abraham and Lot of the future destruction of Sodom (Gen 18:17; 19:14); Joseph of the seven-year famine (Gen 41:30); Moses of the ten plagues on Egypt (Ex 7:1ff); Jonah of the destruction of Nineveh (Jon 1:2; 3:4); Amos of the downfall of Aram (Syria), Philistia, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah, and Israel (Amos 1 and 2). Various prophets were told in advance about the captivities of the chosen people, and they came to pass because the warnings were disregarded. Jonah announced the destruction of Nineveh, but judgment was postponed following repentance. When later generations of Ninevites reverted to paganism and wickedness, the warning of Nahum was carried out against them. Without revealing His secret plan [of the judgment to come]
To His servants the prophets.
8The lion has roared! Who will not fear?
The Lord God has spoken [to the prophets]! Who can but prophesy?
9Proclaim on the fortresses in Ashdod (Philistia) and on the citadels in the land of Egypt, and say, “Assemble yourselves on the mountains of Samaria, and see the great confusion within her and the oppressions and abuse of authority in her midst. 10For they do not know how to do right,” says the Lord, “these who store up violence and devastation [like treasures] in their strongholds.”
11Therefore, thus says the Lord God,
“An adversary (Assyria), even one surrounding the land,
Shall pull down your strength from you
And your fortresses will be looted.”
12Thus says the Lord,
“Just as the shepherd snatches from the mouth of the lion a couple of legs or a piece of the [sheep’s] ear [to prove to the owner that he has not stolen the animal],
So will the [remaining] children of Israel living in Samaria be snatched away
With the corner of a bed and [part of] the damask covering of a couch.
13Hear and testify against the house of Jacob,”
Says the Lord God, the God of hosts,
14“On that day when I punish Israel’s transgressions,
I shall also punish the altars of Bethel [with their golden calves];
And the horns of the altar shall be cut off
And fall to the ground.
15And I shall tear down the winter house with the summer house;
And the houses of ivory shall also perish
And the great houses shall come to an end,”
Says the Lord.