The Lord is kind and full of pity, not quickly made angry, but ever ready to have mercy. His feeling will no longer be bitter; he will not keep his wrath for ever.
The land was dark with the wrath of the Lord of armies: the people were like those who take men's flesh for food. On the right a man was cutting off bits and was still in need; on the left a man took a meal but had not enough; no man had pity on his brother; every man was making a meal of the flesh of his neighbour. Manasseh was making a meal of Ephraim, and Ephraim of Manasseh; and together they were attacking Judah. For all this his wrath is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
And in that day you will say I will give praise to you, O Lord; for though you were angry with me, your wrath is turned away, and I am comforted.
And the Lord said to me, Israel in her turning away is seen to be more upright than false Judah. Go, and give out these words to the north, and say, Come back, O Israel, though you have been turned away from me, says the Lord; my face will not be against you in wrath: for I am full of mercy, says the Lord, I will not be angry for ever.
But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and an eternal king: when he is angry, the earth is shaking with fear, and the nations give way before his wrath.
For which of them has knowledge of the secret of the Lord, and has seen him, and given ear to his word? which of them has taken note of his word and given attention to it? See, the storm-wind of the Lord, even the heat of his wrath, has gone out, a rolling storm, bursting on the heads of the evil-doers The wrath of the Lord will not be turned back till he has done, till he has put into effect, the purposes of his heart: in days to come you will have full knowledge of this.
See, the storm-wind of the Lord, even the heat of his wrath, has gone out, a rolling storm, bursting on the heads of the evil-doers. The wrath of the Lord will not be turned back till he has done, till he has put into effect, the purposes of his heart: in days to come you will have full knowledge of this.
Who is a God like you, offering forgiveness for evil-doing and overlooking the sins of the rest of his heritage? he does not keep his wrath for ever, because his delight is in mercy. He will again have pity on us; he will put our sins under his feet: and you will send all our sins down into the heart of the sea. You will make clear your good faith to Jacob and your mercy to Abraham, as you gave your oath to our fathers from times long past.
But they were hard-hearted, and went against your authority, turning their backs on your law, and putting to death your prophets, who gave witness against them with the purpose of turning them back again to you, and they did much to make you angry.
Even now they are turned away from the rule I gave them, and have made themselves a metal ox and given worship to it and offerings, saying, This is your god, O Israel, who took you up out of the land of Egypt.
And the Lord said to me, Israel in her turning away is seen to be more upright than false Judah.
For Israel is uncontrolled, like a cow which may not be controlled; now will the Lord give them food like a lamb in a wide place.
Put forward your cause, says the Lord; let your strong argument come out, says the King of Jacob. Let the future be made clear to us: give us news of the past things, so that we may give thought to them; or of the things to come, so that we may see if they are true. Give us word of what will be after this, so that we may be certain that you are gods: yes, do good or do evil, so that we may all see it and be surprised. read more.
But you are nothing, and your work is of no value: foolish is he who takes you for his gods.
But now, says the Lord your Maker, O Jacob, and your life-giver, O Israel: have no fear, for I have taken up your cause; naming you by your name, I have made you mine. When you go through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not go over you: when you go through the fire, you will not be burned; and the flame will have no power over you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your saviour; I have given Egypt as a price for you, Ethiopia and Seba for you. read more.
Because of your value in my eyes, you have been honoured, and loved by me; so I will give men for you, and peoples for your life. Have no fear, for I am with you: I will take your seed from the east, and get you together from the west; I will say to the north, Give them up; and to the south, Do not keep them back; send back my sons from far, and my daughters from the end of the earth; Every one who is named by my name, and whom I have made for my glory, who has been formed and designed by me. Send out the blind people who have eyes, and those who have ears, but they are shut. Let all the nations come together, and let the peoples be present: who among them is able to make this clear, and give us word of earlier things? let their witnesses come forward, so that they may be seen to be true, and that they may give ear, and say, It is true. You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have taken for myself: so that you may see and have faith in me, and that it may be clear to you that I am he; before me there was no God formed, and there will not be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and there is no saviour but me. I gave the word, and made it clear, and there was no strange god among you: for this reason you are my witnesses, says the Lord. From time long past I am God, and from this day I am he: there is no one who is able to take you out of my hand: when I undertake a thing, by whom will my purpose be changed? The Lord, who has taken up your cause, the Holy One of Israel, says, Because of you I have sent to Babylon, and made all their seers come south, and the Chaldaeans whose cry is in the ships. I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Maker of Israel, your King. This is the word of the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a road through the deep waters; Who sends out the war-carriages and the horses, the army with all its force; they have come down, they will not get up again; like a feebly burning light they are put out. Give no thought to the things which are past; let the early times go out of your minds. See, I am doing a new thing; now it is starting; will you not take note of it? I will even make a way in the waste land, and rivers in the dry country.
I have been ready to give an answer to those who did not make prayer to me; I have been offering myself to those who were not searching for me; I said, Here am I, here am I, to a nation which gave no respect to my name. All day my hands have been stretched out to an uncontrolled people, who go in an evil way, after the purposes of their hearts; A people who make me angry every day, making offerings in gardens, and burning perfumes on bricks. read more.
Who are seated in the resting-places of the dead, and by night are in the secret places; who take pig's flesh for food, and have the liquid of disgusting things in their vessels. Who say, Keep away, do not come near me, for fear that I make you holy: these are a smoke in my nose, a fire burning all day. See, it is recorded before me, says the Lord: I will not keep back my hand, till I have sent punishment, For their sins and the sins of their fathers, who were burning perfumes on the mountains, and saying evil things against me on the hills: so I will take the measure of their sins, and will send the punishment for them into their breast. This is the word of the Lord: As the new wine is seen in the grapes, and they say, Do not send destruction on it, for a blessing is in it: so will I do for my servants, in order that I may not put an end to them all. And I will take a seed out of Jacob, and out of Judah one who will have my mountains for a heritage: and the people I have taken to be mine will have it for themselves, and my servants will have their resting-place there. And Sharon will be a grass-land for the flocks, and the valley of Achor a resting-place for the herds: for my people whose hearts have been turned back to me. But as for you who have given up the Lord, who have no care for my holy mountain, who get ready a table for Chance, and make offerings of mixed wine to Fate; Your fate will be the sword, and you will all go down to death: because when my voice came to you, you made no answer; you did not give ear to my word; but you did what was evil in my eyes, desiring what was not pleasing to me. For this cause says the Lord God, My servants will have food, but you will be in need of food: my servants will have drink, but you will be dry: my servants will have joy, but you will be shamed: My servants will make songs in the joy of their hearts, but you will be crying for sorrow, and making sounds of grief from a broken spirit. And your name will become a curse to my people, and the Lord God will put you to death, and give his servants another name: So that he who is requesting a blessing will make use of the name of the true God, and he who takes an oath will do so by the true God; because the past troubles are gone out of mind, and because they are covered from my eyes.
They say, If a man puts away his wife and she goes from him and becomes another man's, will he go back to her again? will not that land have been made unclean? but though you have been acting like a loose woman with a number of lovers, will you now come back to me? says the Lord. Let your eyes be lifted up to the open hilltops, and see; where have you not been taken by your lovers? You have been seated waiting for them by the wayside like an Arabian in the waste land; you have made the land unclean with your loose ways and your evil-doing. So the showers have been kept back, and there has been no spring rain; still your brow is the brow of a loose woman, you will not let yourself be shamed. read more.
Will you not, from this time, make your prayer to me, crying, My father, you are the friend of my early years? Will he be angry for ever? will he keep his wrath to the end? These things you have said, and have done evil and have had your way. And the Lord said to me in the days of Josiah the king, Have you seen what Israel, turning away from me, has done? She has gone up on every high mountain and under every branching tree, acting like a loose woman there. And I said, After she has done all these things she will come back to me; but she did not. And her false sister Judah saw it. And though she saw that, because Israel, turning away from me, had been untrue to me, I had put her away and given her a statement in writing ending the relation between us, still Judah, her false sister, had no fear, but went and did the same. So that through all her loose behaviour the land became unclean, and she was untrue, giving herself to stones and trees. But for all this, her false sister Judah has not come back to me with all her heart, but with deceit, says the Lord. And the Lord said to me, Israel in her turning away is seen to be more upright than false Judah. Go, and give out these words to the north, and say, Come back, O Israel, though you have been turned away from me, says the Lord; my face will not be against you in wrath: for I am full of mercy, says the Lord, I will not be angry for ever. Only be conscious of your sin, the evil you have done against the Lord your God; you have gone with strange men under every branching tree, giving no attention to my voice, says the Lord. Come back, O children who are turned away, says the Lord; for I am a husband to you, and I will take you, one from a town and two from a family, and will make you come to Zion; And I will give you keepers, pleasing to my heart, who will give you your food with knowledge and wisdom.
But you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. Give ear, now, O children of Israel; is my way not equal? are not your ways unequal? When the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, death will overtake him; in the evil which he has done death will overtake him. Again, when the evil-doer, turning away from the evil he has done, does what is ordered and right, he will have life for his soul. read more.
Because he had fear and was turned away from all the wrong which he had done, life will certainly be his, death will not be his fate. But still the children of Israel say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O children of Israel, are my ways not equal? are not your ways unequal? For this cause I will be your judge, O children of Israel, judging every man by his ways, says the Lord. Come back and be turned from all your sins; so that they may not be the cause of your falling into evil. Put away all your evil-doing in which you have done sin; and make for yourselves a new heart and a new spirit: why are you desiring death, O children of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him on whom death comes, says the Lord: be turned back then, and have life.
And you, son of man, say to the children of Israel, You say, Our wrongdoing and our sins are on us and we are wasting away in them; how then may we have life? Say to them, By my life, says the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the evil-doer; it is more pleasing to me if he is turned from his way and has life: be turned, be turned from your evil ways; why are you looking for death, O children of Israel? And you, son of man, say to the children of your people, The righteousness of the upright man will not make him safe in the day when he does wrong; and the evil-doing of the evil man will not be the cause of his fall in the day when he is turned from his evil-doing; and the upright man will not have life because of his righteousness in the day when he does evil. read more.
When I say to the upright that life will certainly be his; if he puts his faith in his righteousness and does evil, not one of his upright acts will be kept in memory; but in the evil he has done, death will overtake him. And when I say to the evil-doer, Death will certainly be your fate; if he is turned from his sin and does what is ordered and right; If the evil-doer lets one who is in his debt have back what is his, and gives back what he had taken by force, and is guided by the rules of life, doing no evil; life will certainly be his, death will not overtake him. Not one of the sins which he has done will be kept in mind against him: he has done what is ordered and right, life will certainly be his. But the children of your people say, The way of the Lord is not equal: when it is they whose way is not equal. When the upright man, turning away from his righteousness, does evil, death will overtake him in it. And when the evil man, turning away from his evil-doing, does what is ordered and right, he will get life by it. And still you say, The way of the Lord is not equal. O children of Israel, I will be your judge, giving to everyone the reward of his ways.
Give ear now to the words of the Lord: Up! put forward your cause before the mountains, let your voice be sounding among the hills. Give ear, O you mountains, to the Lord's cause, and take note, you bases of the earth: for the Lord has a cause against his people, and he will take it up with Israel. O my people, what have I done to you? how have I been a weariness to you? give answer against me. read more.
For I took you up out of the land of Egypt and made you free from the prison-house; I sent before you Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. O my people, keep in mind now what was designed by Balak, king of Moab, and the answer which Balaam, son of Beor, gave him; the events, from Shittim to Gilgal, so that you may be certain of the upright acts of the Lord. With what am I to come before the Lord and go with bent head before the high God? am I to come before him with burned offerings, with young oxen a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of sheep or with ten thousand rivers of oil? am I to give my first child for my wrongdoing, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has made clear to you, O man, what is good; and what is desired from you by the Lord; only doing what is right, and loving mercy, and walking without pride before your God. The voice of the Lord is crying out to the town: Give ear, you tribes and the meeting of the town.
From the days of your fathers you have been turned away from my rules and have not kept them. Come back to me, and I will come back to you, says the Lord of armies. But you say, How are we to come back? Will a man keep back from God what is right? But you have kept back what is mine. But you say, What have we kept back from you? Tenths and offerings. You are cursed with a curse; for you have kept back from me what is mine, even all this nation. read more.
Let your tenths come into the store-house so that there may be food in my house, and put me to the test by doing so, says the Lord of armies, and see if I do not make the windows of heaven open and send down such a blessing on you that there is no room for it. And on your account I will keep back the locusts from wasting the fruits of your land; and the fruit of your vine will not be dropped on the field before its time, says the Lord of armies And you will be named happy by all nations: for you will be a land of delight, says the Lord of armies. Your words have been strong against me, says the Lord. And still you say, What have we said against you? You have said, It is no use worshipping God: what profit have we had from keeping his orders, and going in clothing of sorrow before the Lord of armies? And now to us the men of pride seem happy; yes, the evil-doers are doing well; they put God to the test and are safe.