A lamentation for Israel: an exhortation to return to God.
1 Hear ye this word, which I take up concerning you for a lamentation. The house of Israel is fallen, and it shall rise no more.
2 The virgin of Israel is cast down upon her land, there is none to raise her up.
3 For thus saith the Lord God: The city, out of which came forth a thousand, there shall be left in it a hundred: and out of which there came a hundred, there shall be left in it ten, in the house of Israel.
4 For thus saith the Lord to the house of Israel: Seek ye me, and you shall live.
5 But seek not Bethel, and go not into Galgal, neither shall you pass over to Bersabee: for Galgal shall go into captivity, and Bethel shall be unprofitable.
 "But seek not Bethel": Bethel, Galgal, Bersabee: the places where they worshipped their idols.
6 Seek ye the Lord, and live: lest the house of Joseph be burnt with fire, and it shall devour, and there shall be none to quench Bethel.
7 You that turn judgment into wormwood, and forsake justice in the land,
8 Seek him that maketh Arcturus, and Orion, and that turneth darkness into morning, and that changeth day into night: that calleth the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The Lord is his name.
9 He that with a smile bringeth destruction upon the strong, and waste upon the mighty.
10 They have hated him that rebuketh in the gate: and have abhorred him that speaketh perfectly.
 "Arcturus and Orion": Arcturus is a bright star in the north: Orion a beautiful constellation in the south.
 "With a smile": That is, with all ease, and without making any effort.
11 Therefore because you robbed the poor, and took the choice prey from him: you shall build houses with square stone, and shall not dwell in them: you shall plant most delightful vineyards, and shall not drink the wine of them.
12 Because I know your manifold crimes, and your grievous sins: enemies of the just, taking bribes, and oppressing the poor in the gate.
13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence at that time, for it is an evil time.
14 Seek ye good, and not evil, that you may live: and the Lord the God of hosts will be with you, as you have said.
15 Hate evil, and love good, and establish judgment in the gate: it may be the Lord the God of hosts may have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.
16 Therefore thus saith the Lord the God of hosts the sovereign Lord: In every street there shall be wailing: and in all places that are without, they shall say: Alas, alas! and they shall call the husbandman to mourning, and such as are skillful in lamentation to lament.
17 And in all vineyards there shall be wailing: because I will pass through in the midst of thee, saith the Lord.
18 Woe to them that desire the day of the Lord: to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light.
19 As if a man should flee from the face of a lion, and a bear should meet him: or enter into the house, and lean with his hand upon the wall, and a serpent should bite him.
20 Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light: and obscurity, and no brightness in it?
21 I hate, and have rejected your festivities: and I will not receive the odour of your assemblies.
22 And if you offer me holocausts, and your gifts, I will not receive them: neither will I regard the vows of your fat beasts.
23 Take away from me the tumult of thy songs: and I will not hear the canticles of thy harp.
24 But judgment shall be revealed as water, and justice as a mighty torrent.
25 Did you offer victims and sacrifices to me in the desert for forty years, O house of Israel?
 "Did you offer": Except the sacrifices that were offered at the first, in the dedication of the tabernacle, the Israelites offered no sacrifices in the desert.
26 But you carried a tabernacle for your Moloch, and the image of your idols, the star of your god, which you made to yourselves.
27 And I will cause you to go into captivity beyond Damascus, saith the Lord, the God of hosts is his name.
 "A tabernacle": All this alludes to the idolatry which they committed, when they were drawn away by the daughters of Moab to the worship of their gods. Num. 25.