The Lord’s Complaint
1 Now hear what the LORD says:
“Present your argument to the mountains.
Let the hills hear your story.*
2 The LORD has a complaint against his people.
Mountains, listen to the LORD’S complaint.
Foundations of the earth, hear the Lord.
He will prove that Israel is wrong!”
3 He says, “My people, tell me what I did!
Did I do something wrong against you?
Did I make life too hard for you?
4 I will tell you what I did.
I sent Moses, Aaron, and Miriam to you.
I brought you from the land of Egypt.
I freed you from slavery.
5 My people, remember the evil plans of Balak king of Moab.
Remember what Balaam son of Beor said to Balak.
Remember what happened from Acacia to Gilgal,†
and you will know the LORD is right!”
What Does God Want From Us?
6 What must I bring when I come to meet with the LORD?
What must I do when I bow down to God above?
Should I come to him with burnt offerings
and a year-old calf?
7 Will the LORD be pleased with a thousand rams
or with ten thousand rivers of oil?
Should I offer him my first child to pay for my wrongs?
Should I sacrifice my very own child for my sins?
8 Human, the LORD has told you what goodness is.
This is what he wants from you:
Be fair to other people.
Love kindness and loyalty,
and humbly obey your God.
What Were the Israelites Doing?
9 The LORD shouts to the city:
“A wise person respects the Lord’s name.‡
So pay attention to the punishing rod and to the one who uses it!§
10 Do the wicked still hide treasures
that they have stolen?
Do they still cheat people
with baskets that are too small?*
Yes, all of this is still happening!
11 Some people carry special weights
that they use to cheat people when they weigh their goods.
Should I pardon them?
12 The rich in that city are still cruel.
The people there still tell lies.
Yes, they tell their lies.
13 So I have begun to punish you.
I will destroy you because of your sins.
14 You will eat, but you will not become full.
You will still be hungry and empty.†
You will try to bring people to safety,
but people with swords will kill the people you rescued.
15 You will plant your seeds,
but you will not gather food.
You will try to squeeze oil from your olives,
but you will not get any oil.
You will crush your grapes,
but you will not get enough juice to have wine to drink.
This is because you obey the laws of Omri.‡
You do all the evil things that Ahab’s family does.
You follow their teachings,
so I will let you be destroyed.
People will whistle in amazement
when they see your destroyed city.
Then you will bear the shame
that the other nations bring to you.”§