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The Lord said, 1 “Announce 2 this in Judah and proclaim it in Jerusalem: 3 ‘Sound the trumpet 4 throughout the land!’ Shout out loudly, ‘Gather together! Let us flee into the fortified cities!’
They say, “How does God know what we do? Is the sovereign one aware of what goes on?” 1
When the Egyptians see you they will say, ‘This is his wife.’ Then they will kill me but will keep you alive. 1
Then they must proclaim, “Our hands have not spilled this blood, nor have we 1 witnessed the crime. 2
“The Levites will call out to every Israelite 1 with a loud voice:
But they just keep saying, ‘We do not care what you say! 1 We will do whatever we want to do! We will continue to behave wickedly and stubbornly!’” 2
The answer will come back, “It is because they broke their covenant with the Lord their God and worshiped and served other gods.”
“Yet your people 1 say, ‘The behavior 2 of the Lord is not right,’ 3 when it is their behavior that is not right.
Then the leaders of Judah will say to themselves, ‘The inhabitants of Jerusalem are a means of strength to us through their God, the Lord who rules over all.’
If you kill 1 this entire people at once, 2 then the nations that have heard of your fame will say,
They must declare to the elders 1 of his city, “Our son is stubborn and rebellious and pays no attention to what we say – he is a glutton and drunkard.”
‘Cursed is the one 1 who makes a carved or metal image – something abhorrent 2 to the Lord, the work of the craftsman 3 – and sets it up in a secret place.’ Then all the people will say, ‘Amen!’ 4
Then all the nations will ask, “Why has the Lord done all this to this land? What is this fierce, heated display of anger 1 all about?”
Then people will say, “Because they abandoned the covenant of the Lord, the God of their ancestors, which he made with them when he brought them out of the land of Egypt.
Say this prayer: 1 “Deliver us, O God who delivers us! Gather us! Rescue us from the nations! Then we will give thanks 2 to your holy name, and boast about your praiseworthy deeds.” 3
“‘People from other nations will pass by this city. They will ask one another, “Why has the Lord done such a thing to this great city?”
Hear what the Lord has to say, O nations. Proclaim it in the faraway lands along the sea. Say, “The one who scattered Israel will regather them. He will watch over his people like a shepherd watches over his flock.”
Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The Lord’s conduct is unjust!’ Is my conduct unjust, O house of Israel? Is it not your conduct that is unjust?
They will say, “This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; the ruined, desolate, and destroyed cities are now fortified and inhabited.”
The high places of the “House 1 of Wickedness” 2 will be destroyed; it is the place where Israel sins. Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”