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People of Israel,
    I rescued you from Egypt.
Now listen to my judgment
    against you.
Of all nations on earth,
you are the only one
    I have chosen.
That’s why I will punish you
    because of your sins.

The Work of a Prophet

Can two people walk together
    without agreeing to meet?
Does a lion roar in the forest
unless it has caught
    a victim?
Does it growl in its den
    unless it is eating?
How can anyone catch a bird
    without using a net?
Does a trap spring shut
    unless something is caught?

Isn’t the whole city frightened
when the trumpet
    signals an attack?
Isn’t it the Lord who brings
    disaster on a city?
Whatever the Lord God
    plans to do,
he tells his servants,
    the prophets.
Everyone is terrified
    when a lion roars—
and ordinary people
become prophets
    when the Lord God speaks.

Samaria Is Doomed

Here is a message
for the leaders
    of Philistia[a] and Egypt—
tell everyone to come together
    on the hills of Samaria.
Let them see the injustice
and the lawlessness
    in that city.
10 The Lord has said
that they don’t even know how
    to do right.
They have become rich
    from violence and robbery.
11 And so the Lord God has sworn
    that they will be surrounded.
Enemies will break through
their defenses
    and steal their treasures.

12 The Lord has promised
that only a few from Samaria
    will escape with their lives
and with some broken pieces
    of their beds and couches.[b]
It will be like when a shepherd
    rescues two leg bones
and part of a sheep’s ear
    from the jaws of a lion.[c]

The Altars at Bethel

13 The Lord God All-Powerful
told me to speak this message
    against Jacob’s descendants:
14 When I, the Lord, punish Israel
    for their sins,
I will destroy the altars
    at Bethel.
Even the corners of the altar[d]
    will be left in the dirt.
15 I will tear down winter homes
    and summer homes.
Houses decorated with ivory
and all other mansions
    will be gone forever.
I, the Lord, have spoken!

Footnotes

  1. 3.9 Philistia: The Hebrew text has “Ashdod,” one of the leading cities of Philistia.
  2. 3.12 some. . . couches: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 3.12 lion: When a wild animal attacked and killed a sheep, the shepherd had to rescue part of the sheep and take it to the owner as proof that it had been killed by an animal. Otherwise, the shepherd had to pay the owner the cost of the sheep.
  4. 3.14 altar: Altars were places of worship but also places of protection. People whose lives were in danger could grab hold of the corners of an altar, and no one was allowed to kill them.

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