and say to the scrub land of the Negev, ‘Hear the word of the Lord: This is what the sovereign Lord says: Look here, 1 I am about to start a fire in you, 2 and it will devour every green tree and every dry tree in you. The flaming fire will not be extinguished, and the whole surface of the ground from the Negev to the north will be scorched by it.
“Then I wanted to know the meaning 1 of the fourth beast, which was different from all the others. It was very dreadful, with two rows of iron teeth and bronze claws, and it devoured, crushed, and trampled anything that was left with its feet.
He will confirm a covenant with many for one week. 1 But in the middle of that week he will bring sacrifices and offerings to a halt. On the wing 2 of abominations will come 3 one who destroys, until the decreed end is poured out on the one who destroys.”
Twist and strain, 1 Daughter Zion, as if you were in labor! For you will leave the city and live in the open field. You will go to Babylon, but there you will be rescued. There the Lord will deliver 2 you from the power 3 of your enemies.
Lord, you have been active from ancient times; 1 my sovereign God, 2 you are immortal. 3 Lord, you have made them 4 your instrument of judgment. 5 Protector, 6 you have appointed them as your instrument of punishment. 7
“There will be harsh condemnation for the hypocrite who has a valuable male animal in his flock but vows and sacrifices something inferior to the Lord. For I am a great king,” 1 says the Lord who rules over all, “and my name is awesome among the nations.”
If you do not listen and take seriously 1 the need to honor my name,” says the Lord who rules over all, “I will send judgment 2 on you and turn your blessings into curses – indeed, I have already done so because you are not taking it to heart.
“Woe to you, experts in the law 1 and you Pharisees, hypocrites! You give a tenth 2 of mint, dill, and cumin, 3 yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness! You 4 should have done these things without neglecting the others.
Did that which is good, then, become death to me? Absolutely not! But sin, so that it would be shown to be sin, produced death in me through what is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
Take care not to refuse the one who is speaking! For if they did not escape when they refused the one who warned them on earth, how much less shall we, if we reject the one who warns from heaven?
But false prophets arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. 1 These false teachers 2 will 3 infiltrate your midst 4 with destructive heresies, 5 even to the point of 6 denying the Master who bought them. As a result, they will bring 7 swift destruction on themselves.
Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?” Saul replied, “I am terribly troubled! The Philistines are fighting against me and God has turned away from me. He does not answer me – not by the prophets nor by dreams. So I have called on you to tell me what I should do.”