1Listen to this word that I take up for a lamentation over you, O house of Israel.
2 “The Virgin, Israel, is fallen,
no more to rise;
she lies abandoned on her land,
there is no one to raise her up.”
3For this is what the Lord Yahweh says:
“The city that went out 1,000
will have 100 left,
and that which went out 100
will have ten left to the house of Israel.”
4For this is what Yahweh says to the house of Israel:
“Seek me, and you will live;
5 but do not seek Bethel,
nor enter into Gilgal,
and do not pass to Beer-sheba;
for Gilgal will surely go into captivity,
and Bethel will come to nothing.”
6 Seek Yahweh, and you will live;
lest he break out like fire
in the house of Joseph,
and it devour,
and there be no one to quench it in Bethel.
7 You who turn justice into wormwooda
and cast down righteousness to the ground,
8 seek him who made the Pleiades and Orion,
and turns the shadow of death into the morning,
and makes the day dark with night,
who calls for the waters of the sea
and pours them out on the surface of the earth,
Yahweh is his name;
9 who brings sudden destruction on the strong,
so that destruction comes on the fortress.
10 They hate him who reproves at the gate,
and they abhor him who speaks with integrity.
11 Therefore, because you trample on the poor
and take taxes of grain from him,
you have built houses of cut stone
but you will not live in them;
you have planted pleasant vineyards
but you will not drink their wine.
12 For I know how many are your transgressions,
and how great are your sins—
you who afflict the just, who take a bribe,
and who turn aside the needy in the courts.
13 Therefore a prudent person keeps silent
in such a time,
for it is an evil time.
14 Seek good, and not evil,
that you may live;
and so Yahweh, the God of Armies,
will be with you, just as you have said he is.
15 Hate evil, love good,
and establish justice in the courts.
It may be that Yahweh, the God of Armies, will be gracious
to the remnant of Joseph.
16Therefore this is what Yahweh, the God of Armies, the Lord, says:
“Wailing will be in all the town squares;
and they will say in all the streets, ‘Alas! Alas!’
and they will call the farmer to mourning,
and those who are skillful in lamentation to wailing.
17 In all the vineyards there will be wailing,
for I will pass through the midst of you,”
18 Woe to you who desire the day of Yahweh!
Why do you long for the day of Yahweh?
It is darkness and not light,
19 as if a man fled from a lion
and a bear met him,
or he went into the house and leaned his hand on the wall,
and a snake bit him.
20 Will not the day of Yahweh
be darkness, and not light?
Even very dark, and no brightness in it?
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I cannot stand your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer up to me
your burnt offerings and your grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and I will not look at
the choice fellowship offerings of your fat animals.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
24 But let justice roll on like rivers,
and righteousness like a mighty stream.
25Did you bring to me sacrifices and offerings in the wilderness forty years, O house of Israel?
26You also carried the tent of your king and the shrine of your images, the star of your god that you made for yourselves.
27Therefore will I cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus,” says Yahweh, whose name is the God of Armies.