Judgment against Wealthy Oppressors
1What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night,
thinking up evil plans.
You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out,
simply because you have the power to do so.
2When you want a piece of land,
you find a way to seize it.
When you want someone’s house,
you take it by fraud and violence.
You cheat a man of his property,
stealing his family’s inheritance.
3But this is what the lord says:
“I will reward your evil with evil;
you won’t be able to pull your neck out of the noose.
You will no longer walk around proudly,
for it will be a terrible time.”
4In that day your enemies will make fun of you
by singing this song of despair about you:
“We are finished,
God has confiscated our land,
taking it from us.
He has given our fields
to those who betrayed us.# Or to those who took us captive.”
5Others will set your boundaries then,
and the lord’s people will have no say
in how the land is divided.
True and False Prophets
6“Don’t say such things,”
the people respond.# Or the prophets respond; Hebrew reads they prophesy.
“Don’t prophesy like that.
Such disasters will never come our way!”
7Should you talk that way, O family of Israel?# Hebrew O house of Jacob? See note on 1:5a.
Will the lord’s Spirit have patience with such behavior?
If you would do what is right,
you would find my words comforting.
8Yet to this very hour
my people rise against me like an enemy!
You steal the shirts right off the backs
of those who trusted you,
making them as ragged as men
returning from battle.
9You have evicted women from their pleasant homes
and forever stripped their children of all that God would give them.
This is no longer your land and home,
for you have filled it with sin
and ruined it completely.
11Suppose a prophet full of lies would say to you,
“I’ll preach to you the joys of wine and alcohol!”
That’s just the kind of prophet you would like!
Hope for Restoration
12“Someday, O Israel, I will gather you;
I will gather the remnant who are left.
I will bring you together again like sheep in a pen,
like a flock in its pasture.
Yes, your land will again
be filled with noisy crowds!
13Your leader will break out
and lead you out of exile,
out through the gates of the enemy cities,
back to your own land.
Your king will lead you;
the lord himself will guide you.”