5 1 But now slash yourself, 2 daughter surrounded by soldiers! 3
We are besieged!
With a scepter 4 they strike Israel’s ruler 5
on the side of his face.
2 As for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, 6
seemingly insignificant 7 among the clans of Judah –
from you a king will emerge who will rule over Israel on my behalf, 8
one whose origins 9 are in the distant past. 10
3 So the Lord 11 will hand the people of Israel 12 over to their enemies 13
until the time when the woman in labor 14 gives birth. 15
Then the rest of the king’s 16 countrymen will return
to be reunited with the people of Israel. 17
4 He will assume his post 18 and shepherd the people 19 by the Lord’s strength,
by the sovereign authority of the Lord his God. 20
They will live securely, 21 for at that time he will be honored 22
even in the distant regions of 23 the earth.
5 He will give us peace. 24
Should the Assyrians try to invade our land
and attempt to set foot in our fortresses, 25
we will send 26 against them seven 27 shepherd-rulers, 28
make that eight commanders. 29
6 They will rule 30 the land of Assyria with the sword,
the land of Nimrod 31 with a drawn sword. 32
Our king 33 will rescue us from the Assyrians
should they attempt to invade our land
and try to set foot in our territory.
7 Those survivors from 34 Jacob will live 35
in the midst of many nations. 36
They will be like the dew the Lord sends,
like the rain on the grass,
that does not hope for men to come
or wait around for humans to arrive. 37
8 Those survivors from Jacob will live among the nations,
in the midst of many peoples.
They will be like a lion among the animals of the forest,
like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,
which attacks when it passes through;
it rips its prey 38 and there is no one to stop it. 39
9 Lift your hand triumphantly against your adversaries; 40
may all your enemies be destroyed! 41
10 “In that day,” says the Lord,
“I will destroy 42 your horses from your midst,
and smash your chariots.
11 I will destroy the cities of your land,
and tear down all your fortresses.
12 I will remove the sorcery 43 that you practice, 44
and you will no longer have omen readers living among you. 45
13 I will remove your idols and sacred pillars from your midst;
you will no longer worship what your own hands made.
14 I will uproot your images of Asherah 46 from your midst,
and destroy your idols. 47
15 I will angrily seek vengeance
on the nations that do not obey me.” 48
6 Listen to what the Lord says:
“Get up! Defend yourself 1 before the mountains! 2
Present your case before the hills!” 3
2 Hear the Lord’s accusation, you mountains,
you enduring foundations of the earth!
For the Lord has a case against his people;
he has a dispute with Israel! 4
3 “My people, how have I wronged you? 5
How have I wearied you? Answer me!
4 In fact, I brought you up from the land of Egypt,
I delivered you from that place of slavery.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to lead you. 6
5 My people, recall how King Balak of Moab planned to harm you, 7
how Balaam son of Beor responded to him.
Recall how you journeyed from Shittim to Gilgal,
so you might acknowledge that the Lord has treated you fairly.” 8
6 With what should I 9 enter the Lord’s presence?
With what 10 should I bow before the sovereign God? 11
Should I enter his presence with burnt offerings,
with year-old calves?
7 Will the Lord accept a thousand rams,
or ten thousand streams of olive oil?
Should I give him my firstborn child as payment for my rebellion,
my offspring – my own flesh and blood – for my sin? 12
8 He has told you, O man, what is good,
and what the Lord really wants from you: 13
He wants you to 14 promote 15 justice, to be faithful, 16
and to live obediently before 17 your God.
9 Listen! The Lord is calling 18 to the city!
It is wise to respect your authority, O Lord! 19
Listen, O nation, and those assembled in the city! 20
10 “I will not overlook, 21 O sinful house, the dishonest gain you have hoarded away, 22
or the smaller-than-standard measure I hate so much. 23
11 I do not condone the use of rigged scales,
or a bag of deceptive weights. 24
12 The city’s rich men think nothing of resorting to violence; 25
her inhabitants lie, 26
their tongues speak deceptive words. 27
13 I will strike you brutally 28
and destroy you because of your sin.
14 You will eat, but not be satisfied.
Even if you have the strength 29 to overtake some prey, 30
you will not be able to carry it away; 31
if you do happen to carry away something,
I will deliver it over to the sword.
15 You will plant crops, but will not harvest them;
you will squeeze oil from the olives, 32 but you will have no oil to rub on your bodies; 33
you will squeeze juice from the grapes, but you will have no wine to drink. 34
16 You implement the regulations of Omri,
and all the practices of Ahab’s dynasty; 35
you follow their policies. 36
Therefore I will make you an appalling sight, 37
the city’s 38 inhabitants will be taunted derisively, 39
and nations will mock all of you.” 40
7 I am depressed! 1
Indeed, 2 it is as if the summer fruit has been gathered,
and the grapes have been harvested. 3
There is no grape cluster to eat,
no fresh figs that I crave so much. 4
2 Faithful men have disappeared 5 from the land;
there are no godly men left. 6
They all wait in ambush so they can shed blood; 7
they hunt their own brother with a net. 8
3 They are determined to be experts at doing evil; 9
government officials and judges take bribes, 10
prominent men make demands,
and they all do what is necessary to satisfy them. 11
4 The best of them is like a thorn;
the most godly among them are more dangerous than a row of thorn bushes. 12
The day you try to avoid by posting watchmen –
your appointed time of punishment – is on the way, 13
and then you will experience confusion. 14
5 Do not rely on a friend;
do not trust a companion!
Don’t even share secrets with the one who lies in your arms! 15
6 For a son thinks his father is a fool,
a daughter challenges 16 her mother,
and a daughter-in-law her mother-in-law;
a man’s enemies are his own servants. 17
7 But I will keep watching for the Lord;
I will wait for the God who delivers me.
My God will hear my lament. 18
8 My enemies, 19 do not gloat 20 over me!
Though I have fallen, I will get up.
Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light. 21
9 I must endure 22 the Lord’s anger,
for I have sinned against him.
But then 23 he will defend my cause, 24
and accomplish justice on my behalf.
He will lead me out into the light;
I will experience firsthand 25 his deliverance. 26
10 When my enemies see this, they will be covered with shame.
They say 27 to me, “Where is the Lord your God?”
I will gloat over them. 28
Then they will be trampled down 29
like mud in the streets.
11 It will be a day for rebuilding your walls;
in that day your boundary will be extended. 30
12 In that day people 31 will come to you 32
from Assyria as far as 33 Egypt,
from Egypt as far as the Euphrates River, 34
from the seacoasts 35 and the mountains. 36
13 The earth will become desolate 37
because of what its inhabitants have done. 38
14 Shepherd your people with your shepherd’s rod, 39
the flock that belongs to you, 40
the one that lives alone in a thicket,
in the midst of a pastureland. 41
Allow them to graze in Bashan and Gilead, 42
as they did in the old days. 43
15 “As in the days when you departed from the land of Egypt,
I will show you 44 miraculous deeds.” 45
16 Nations will see this and be disappointed by 46 all their strength,
they will put their hands over their mouths,
and act as if they were deaf. 47
17 They will lick the dust like a snake,
like serpents crawling on the ground. 48
They will come trembling from their strongholds
to the Lord our God; 49
they will be terrified 50 of you. 51
18 There is no other God like you! 52
You 53 forgive sin
and pardon 54 the rebellion
of those who remain among your people. 55
You do not remain angry forever, 56
but delight in showing loyal love.
19 You will once again 57 have mercy on us;
you will conquer 58 our evil deeds;
you will hurl our 59 sins into the depths of the sea. 60
20 You will be loyal to Jacob
and extend your loyal love to Abraham, 61
which you promised on oath to our ancestors 62
in ancient times. 63