1-2“And when the time comes”—God’s Decree!—“I’ll see to it that they dig up the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of the princes and priests and prophets, and yes, even the bones of the common people. They’ll dig them up and spread them out like a congregation at worship before sun, moon, and stars, all those sky gods they’ve been so infatuated with all these years, following their ‘lucky stars’ in doglike devotion. The bones will be left scattered and exposed, to reenter the soil as fertilizer, like manure.
3“Everyone left—all from this evil generation unlucky enough to still be alive in whatever godforsaken place I will have driven them to—will wish they were dead.” Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
To Know Everything but God’s Word
4-7“Tell them this, God’s Message:
“‘Do people fall down and not get up?
Or take the wrong road and then just keep going?
So why does this people go backward,
and just keep on going—backward!
They stubbornly hold on to their illusions,
refuse to change direction.
I listened carefully
but heard not so much as a whisper.
No one expressed one word of regret.
Not a single “I’m sorry” did I hear.
They just kept at it, blindly and stupidly
banging their heads against a brick wall.
Cranes know when it’s time
to move south for winter.
And robins, warblers, and bluebirds
know when it’s time to come back again.
But my people? My people know nothing,
not the first thing of God and his rule.
8-9“‘How can you say, “We know the score.
We’re the proud owners of God’s revelation”?
Look where it’s gotten you—stuck in illusion.
Your religion experts have taken you for a ride!
Your know-it-alls will be unmasked,
caught and shown up for what they are.
Look at them! They know everything but God’s Word.
Do you call that “knowing”?
10-12“‘So here’s what will happen to the know-it-alls:
I’ll make them wifeless and homeless.
Everyone’s after the dishonest dollar,
little people and big people alike.
Prophets and priests and everyone in between
twist words and doctor truth.
My dear Daughter—my people—broken, shattered,
and yet they put on Band-Aids,
Saying, “It’s not so bad. You’ll be just fine.”
But things are not “just fine”!
Do you suppose they are embarrassed
over this outrage?
Not really. They have no shame.
They don’t even know how to blush.
There’s no hope for them. They’ve hit bottom
and there’s no getting up.
As far as I’m concerned,
they’re finished.’” God has spoken.
13“‘I went out to see if I could salvage anything’”
“‘but found nothing:
Not a grape, not a fig,
just a few withered leaves.
I’m taking back
everything I gave them.’”
14-16So why are we sitting here, doing nothing?
Let’s get organized.
Let’s go to the big city
and at least die fighting.
We’ve gotten God’s ultimatum:
We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t—
damned because of our sin against him.
We hoped things would turn out for the best,
but it didn’t happen that way.
We were waiting around for healing—
and terror showed up!
From Dan at the northern borders
we hear the hooves of horses,
Horses galloping, horses neighing.
The ground shudders and quakes.
They’re going to swallow up the whole country.
Towns and people alike—fodder for war.
17“‘What’s more, I’m dispatching
poisonous snakes among you,
Snakes that can’t be charmed,
snakes that will bite you and kill you.’”
Advancing from One Evil to the Next
18-22I drown in grief.
Oh, listen! Please listen! It’s the cry of my dear people
reverberating through the country.
Is God no longer in Zion?
Has the King gone away?
Can you tell me why they flaunt their plaything-gods,
their silly, imported no-gods before me?
The crops are in, the summer is over,
but for us nothing’s changed.
We’re still waiting to be rescued.
For my dear broken people, I’m heartbroken.
I weep, seized by grief.
Are there no healing ointments in Gilead?
Isn’t there a doctor in the house?
So why can’t something be done
to heal and save my dear, dear people?