- Israel, listen as the LORD accuses everyone in the land! No one is faithful or loyal or truly cares about God.
- Cursing, dishonesty, murder, robbery, unfaithfulness-- these happen all the time. Violence is everywhere.
- And so your land is a desert. Every living creature is dying-- people and wild animals, birds and fish.
- Don't accuse just anyone! Not everyone is at fault. My case is against you, the priests.
- You and the prophets will stumble day and night; I'll silence your mothers.
- You priests have rejected me, and my people are destroyed by refusing to obey. Now I'll reject you and forget your children, because you have forgotten my Law.
- By adding more of you priests, you multiply the number of people who sin. Now I'll change your pride into shame.
- You encourage others to sin, so you can stuff yourselves on their sin offerings.
- That's why I will punish the people for their deeds, just as I will punish you priests.
- Their food won't satisfy, and having sex at pagan shrines won't produce children. My people have rebelled
- and have been unfaithful to me, their LORD. My people, you are foolish because of too much pleasure and too much wine.
- You expect wooden idols and other objects of wood to give you advice. Lusting for sex at pagan shrines has made you unfaithful to me, your God.
- You offer sacrifices on mountaintops and hills, under oak trees, and wherever good shade is found. Your own daughters and daughters-in-law sell themselves for sex.
- But I won't punish them. You men are to blame, because you go to prostitutes and offer sacrifices with them at pagan shrines. Your own foolishness will lead to your ruin.
- Israel, you are unfaithful, but don't lead Judah to sin. Stop worshiping at Gilgal or at sinful Bethel. And quit making promises in my name-- the name of the living LORD.
- You are nothing more than a stubborn cow-- so stubborn that I, the LORD, cannot feed you like lambs in an open pasture.
- You people of Israel are charmed by idols. Leave them alone!
- You get drunk, then sleep with prostitutes; you would rather be vulgar than lead a decent life.
- And so you will be swept away in a whirlwind for sacrificing to idols.
The word message picks up this cycle at the point of Israel's unfaithfulness. Israel had already had a prosperous 'marriage' with God and then turned to prostitution with other gods. God was now laying before them their guilt. In this we see the inevitable results of turning away from God. Their lack of faithfulness to God resulted in a lack of faithfulness toward each other. A lack of truthfulness with God turned to untruthfulness with each other. From there they moved on to cursing (calling down a curse on another), murder, stealing, and adultery.
Sin impacts not only those who sin but everyone and everything around them. One of the results of Israel breaking her covenant with God was drought, and nothing escaped the drought, not the land, nor the people, guilty or not. Neither did the animals, birds, or fish escape the drought. All suffered.
Israel's guilt began with the priests who had not been faithful to teach and uphold the covenant. Because the priests willfully rejected knowledge of God's covenant with them and failed to teach the people, the people were destroyed. God was going to destroy their mother and forget their sons, thus eliminating their priestly line.
As the priests multiplied in number their sin increased. As their sin increased so did their appetite for transgressions, feeding on the sin of the people. Both priest and people would suffer the coming punishment. Both were guilty.
Israel would find that there was no satisfaction or prosperity in their sin. They would eat but not be satisfied and in their promiscuity they would not multiply.
Having delivered the message to Israel, Judah was then warned against acting as Israel. They were not to be obstinate or attached to idols as was Israel.