The Lord Judges His Chosen People
1People of Israel, listen to the Lord's message. It is against you. It is against the whole family he brought up out of Egypt. He says,
2"Out of all of the families on earth
I have chosen only you.
So I will punish you
because you have committed so many sins."
3Do two people walk together
unless they've agreed to do so?
4Does a lion roar in the bushes
when it doesn't have any food?
Does it growl in its den
when it hasn't caught anything?
5Does a bird fall into a trap on the ground
where no one has set a trap for it?
Does a net spring up from the earth
when there isn't anything for it to catch?
6When someone blows a trumpet in a city,
don't the people tremble with fear?
When trouble comes to a city,
hasn't the Lord caused it?
7The Lord and King never does anything
without telling his servants the prophets about it.
8A lion has roared.
Who isn't afraid?
The Lord and King has spoken.
Who can do anything but prophesy?
9Speak to the people in the forts of Ashdod and Egypt.
Tell them, "Gather together
on the mountains of Samaria.
Look at the great trouble in that city.
Its people are committing many crimes."
10"They do not know how to do what is right,"
announces the Lord.
"They pile up stolen goods in their forts."
11So the Lord and King says, "Enemies will take over your land.
They will pull down your places of safety.
They will rob your forts."
12The Lord says, "Suppose a shepherd saves only two leg bones
from a lion's mouth.
Or he might save only a piece of an ear.
That is how the Israelites will be saved.
They sit in Samaria
on the edge of their beds.
They lie down in Damascus
on their couches."
13"Listen to me," announces the Lord. "Witness against the people of Jacob," says the Lord God who rules over all.
14"I will punish Israel for their sins.
When I do, I will destroy their altars at Bethel.
The horns that stick out from the upper corners
of their main altar will be cut off.
They will fall to the ground.
15I will tear their winter houses down.
I will also pull down their summer houses.
The houses they have decorated with ivory will be destroyed.
And their princely houses will be torn down,"
announces the Lord.