New Life Version
God Speaks against Israel
4 Listen to the Word of the Lord, O people of Israel, because He has something against the people of the land. “They are not faithful or kind, and no one in the land knows God. 2 There is swearing, lying, killing, stealing, and sex sins. They are always hurting others, and there is one killing after another. 3 The land is filled with sorrow. Everyone who lives on it wastes away, together with the animals of the field and the birds of the sky. Even the fish of the sea are taken away.
4 “Yet let no one put blame or guilt upon another. For your people are like those who argue with the religious leader. 5 You will fall during the day, and the religious leaders will fall with you during the night. And I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed because they have not learned. You were not willing to learn. So I am not willing to have you be My religious leader. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I also will forget your children.
7 “The more there were, the more they sinned against Me. I will change their shining-greatness into shame. 8 They feed on the sin of My people, and so they want them to sin more. 9 The religious leaders will be punished the same as the people. I will punish them for what they have done. 10 They will eat, but not have enough. They will do sex sins, but the number of their children will not grow because they have not been faithful to the Lord.
The Worship of False Gods
11 “Their sinful ways and both old and new wine take away My people’s understanding. 12 They ask things of a wooden god and are answered by a stick of wood. A false spirit has led them the wrong way. They have not been faithful, and they have left their God. 13 They give gifts in worship on the tops of the mountains and burn special perfume on the hills. They do this under oak, poplar and terebinth trees, because their shadow is pleasing. So your daughters are like women who sell the use of their bodies, and your brides do sex sins. 14 I will not punish your daughters when they are like women who sell the use of their bodies, or your brides when they do sex sins. For the men themselves go with the sinful women to give gifts in worship to false gods. And people without understanding will be destroyed.
15 “Even if you, Israel, are like women who sell the use of their bodies, do not let Judah become guilty. Do not go to Gilgal or up to Beth-aven. And do not swear, ‘As the Lord lives!’ 16 The people of Israel are strong-willed like a young cow. How then can the Lord feed them like a lamb in a large field? 17 Ephraim is joined to false gods. Let him alone. 18 Their strong drink is gone. They are like women who sell the use of their bodies all the time. Their rulers love shame. 19 The wind will carry them away, and they will be ashamed because they gave gifts to false gods.