The Lord’s Legal Case against Israel
1 Listen to the word of the Lord, you Israelites. The Lord has brought these charges against those who live in the land:
“There is no faith, no love, and no knowledge of God in the land.
2 There is cursing, lying, murdering, stealing, and adultery.
People break ⌊my laws⌋, and there is one murder after another.
3 That is why the land is drying up,
and everyone who lives in it is passing away.
Wild animals, birds, and fish are dying.
4 “No one should accuse other people or bring charges against them.
My case is against you priests.
5 During the day you stumble,
and during the night the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother, ⌊the nation of Israel⌋.
6 I will destroy my people because they are ignorant.
You have refused to learn,
so I will refuse to let you be my priests.
You have forgotten the teachings of your God,
so I will forget your children.
7 The more priests there are,
the more they sin against me.
So I will turn their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sins of my people,
and they want them to do wicked things.
9 So the priests will be punished like the people.
I will punish them for their wicked ways
and pay them back for what they have done.
10 “They will eat, but they’ll never be full.
They will have sex with prostitutes, but they’ll never have children.
They have abandoned the Lord.
11 Prostitutes, old wine, and new wine have robbed them of their senses.
12 My people ask their wooden idols for help.
A piece of wood tells them what to do.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray.
They commit adultery
by giving themselves to other gods.
13 They offer sacrifices on mountaintops,
and they burn incense on the hills
under oaks, poplars, and other trees.
They think that these trees provide good shade.
“That is why your daughters become prostitutes,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 Yet, I will not punish your daughters when they become prostitutes
or your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.
The men go to prostitutes
and offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes.
These foolish people will be trampled.
15 “Israel, you act like a prostitute.
Don’t let Judah become guilty too.
Don’t go to Gilgal.
Don’t go to Beth Aven.
Don’t take the oath, ‘As the Lord lives. . . .’
16 “The people of Israel are as stubborn as a bull.
How can the Lord feed them like lambs in an open pasture?
17 The people of Ephraim have chosen to worship idols. Leave them alone!
18 When they’re done drinking their wine,
they continue to have sex with the prostitutes.
Their rulers dearly love to act shamefully.
19 The wind will carry them away in its wings,
and their sacrifices will bring them shame.