AUGUST 24 (Year One)
How terrible it will be for you men
who are so contented on Mount Zion!
How terrible for you who feel secure
on the hill of Samaria!
You are famous men from the greatest nation.
The people of Israel come to you
for help and advice.
Go and look at the city of Kalneh.
Go from there to the great city of Hamath.
Then go down to Gath in Philistia.
Are those places better off than your two kingdoms?
Is their land larger than yours?
You are trying to avoid the time
when trouble will come.
But you are only bringing closer
the Assyrian rule of terror.
You lie down on beds
that are decorated with ivory.
You rest on your couches.
You eat the best lambs
and the fattest calves.
You pluck away on your harps as David did.
You play new songs on musical instruments.
You drink wine by the bowlful.
You use the finest lotions.
But Joseph’s people will soon be destroyed.
And you aren’t even sad about it.
So you will be among the first
to be taken away as prisoners.
You won’t be able to enjoy good food.
You won’t lie around on couches anymore.
The Lord and King has made a promise in his own name. He is the Lord God who rules over all. He announces,
“I hate the pride of Jacob’s people.
I can’t stand their forts.
I will hand the city of Samaria
and everything in it over to their enemies.”
Ten people might be left in one house. If they are, they will die there. Relatives might come to burn the dead bodies. If they do, they’ll have to carry them out of the house first. They might ask someone still hiding there, “Is anyone else here with you?” If the answer is no, the relatives will go on to say, “Be quiet! We must not pray in the Lord’s name.”
That’s because the Lord has already given an order.
He will smash large houses to pieces.
He will crush small houses to bits.
Horses don’t run on rocky ground.
People don’t plow the sea with oxen.
But you have turned fair treatment into poison.
You have turned the fruit of right living into bitterness.
You are happy because you captured the town of Lo Debar.
You say, “We were strong enough to take Karnaim too.”
But the Lord God rules over all. He announces, “People of Israel,
I will stir up a nation against you.
They will crush you from Lebo Hamath
all the way down to the Arabah Valley.”