God’s Indictment of His People
1Hear now what the Lord is saying,
“Arise, plead your case before the mountains,
And let the hills [as witnesses] hear your voice.
2Hear, O mountains, the indictment of the Lord,
And you enduring foundations of the earth,
For the Lord has a case (a legal complaint) against His people,
And He will dispute (challenge) Israel.
3O My people, what have I done to you [since you have turned away from Me]?
And how have I wearied you? Answer Me.
4For I brought you up from the land of Egypt
And ransomed you from the house of slavery,
And I sent before you Moses [to lead you], Aaron [the high priest], and Miriam [the prophetess].
5My people, remember now
What Balak king of Moab devised [with his evil plan against Israel]
And what Balaam the son of Beor answered him [turning the curse into blessing for Israel],
[Remember what the Lord did for you] from Shittim to Gilgal,
So that you may know the righteous and saving acts [displaying the power] of the Lord.”
What God Requires of Man
6With what shall I come before the Lord [to honor Him]
And bow myself before God on high?
Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings,
With yearling calves?
7Will the Lord be delighted with thousands of rams,
Or with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Shall I present my firstborn for my acts of rebellion,
The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
8He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
Except to be just, and to love [and to diligently practice] kindness (compassion),
And to walk humbly with your God [setting aside any overblown sense of importance or self-righteousness]?
9The voice of the Lord shall call to the city [of Jerusalem]—
And it is sound wisdom to heed [solemnly] and fear Your name [with awe-filled reverence];
“Hear, O tribe [the rod of punishment]. Who has appointed its time?
10Are there not still treasures gained by wickedness
In the house of the wicked,
And a short (inaccurate) measure [for grain] that is cursed?
11Can I [be guiltless and] justify deceptive scales
And a bag of dishonest weights?
12For the rich men of the city are full of violence [of every kind];
Her inhabitants speak lies
And their tongue is deceitful in their mouth.
13So also I will make you sick, striking you down,
Desolating and devastating you, because of your sins.
14You shall eat, but you will not be satisfied,
And your emptiness shall be among you;
You will [try to] remove [your goods and those you love] for safekeeping
But you will fail to save anything,
And what you do save I shall give to the sword.
15You shall sow but you shall not reap;
You shall tread olives, but shall not anoint yourself with oil,
And [you will extract juice from] the grapes, but you shall not drink the wine.
16For [you have kept] the statutes of Omri [the idolatrous king],
And all the works of the [wicked] house (dynasty) of Ahab;
And you walk in their counsels and policies.
Therefore, I shall hand you over for destruction and horror
And your [city’s] inhabitants for ridicule,
And you shall bear the rebuke and scorn of My people.”