A Message for Rebellious Judah2Listen, O heavens! Pay attention, earth! This is what the Lord says. “The children I raised and cared for have rebelled against me. 3Even an ox knows its owner, and a donkey recognizes its master’s care - but Israel doesn’t know its master. My people don’t recognize my care for them.” 4Oh, what a sinful nation they are - loaded down with a burden of guilt. They are evil people, corrupt children who have rejected the Lord. They have despised the Holy One of Israel and turned their backs on him. 5Why do you continue to invite punishment? Must you rebel forever? Your head is injured, and your heart is sick. 6You are battered from head to foot - covered with bruises, welts, and infected wounds - without any soothing ointments or bandages. 7Your country lies in ruins, and your towns are burned. Foreigners plunder your fields before your eyes and destroy everything they see. 8Beautiful Jerusalem stands abandoned like a watchman’s shelter in a vineyard, like a lean-to in a cucumber field after the harvest, like a helpless city under siege. 9If the Lord of Heaven’s Armies had not spared a few of us, we would have been wiped out like Sodom, destroyed like Gomorrah. 10Listen to the Lord, you leaders of “Sodom.” Listen to the law of our God, people of “Gomorrah.” 11“What makes you think I want all your sacrifices?” says the Lord. “I am sick of your burnt offerings of rams and the fat of fattened cattle. I get no pleasure from the blood of bulls and lambs and goats. 12When you come to worship me, who asked you to parade through my courts with all your ceremony? 13Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting - they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings. 14I hate your new moon celebrations and your annual festivals. They are a burden to me. I cannot stand them! 15When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. 16Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. 17Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. 18“Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool. 19If you will only obey me, you will have plenty to eat. 20But if you turn away and refuse to listen, you will be devoured by the sword of your enemies. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Unfaithful Jerusalem21See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. 22Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. 23Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows. 24Therefore, the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the Mighty One of Israel, says, “I will take revenge on my enemies and pay back my foes! 25I will raise my fist against you. I will melt you down and skim off your slag. I will remove all your impurities. 26Then I will give you good judges again and wise counselors like you used to have. Then Jerusalem will again be called the Home of Justice and the Faithful City.” 27Zion will be restored by justice; those who repent will be revived by righteousness. 28But rebels and sinners will be completely destroyed, and those who desert the Lord will be consumed. 29You will be ashamed of your idol worship in groves of sacred oaks. You will blush because you worshiped in gardens dedicated to idols. 30You will be like a great tree with withered leaves, like a garden without water. 31The strongest among you will disappear like straw; their evil deeds will be the spark that sets it on fire. They and their evil works will burn up together, and no one will be able to put out the fire.
New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.