Third Woe

1Woe to those who are complacent in Zion,

secure on the mount of Samaria,

Leaders of the first among nations,

to whom the people of Israel turn.

2Pass over to Calneh and see,

go from there to Hamath the great,

and down to Gath* of the Philistines.

Are you better than these kingdoms,

or is your territory greater than theirs?

3You who would put off the day of disaster,

yet hasten the time of violence!

4Those who lie on beds of ivory,

and lounge upon their couches;

Eating lambs taken from the flock,

and calves from the stall;

5Who improvise to the music of the harp,

composing on musical instruments like David,

6Who drink wine from bowls,

and anoint themselves with the best oils,

but are not made ill by the collapse of Joseph;

7Therefore, now they shall be the first to go into exile,

and the carousing of those who lounged shall cease.

8The Lord GOD has sworn by his very self—

an oracle of the LORD, the God of hosts:

I abhor the pride of Jacob,

I hate his strongholds,

and I will hand over the city with everything in it;a

9Should there remain ten people

in a single house, these shall die.

10When a relative or one who prepares the body picks up the remains

to carry them out of the house,

If he says to someone in the recesses of the house,

“Is anyone with you?” and the answer is, “No one,”

Then he shall say, “Silence!”

for no one must mention the name of the LORD.* b

11Indeed, the LORD has given the command

to shatter the great house to bits,

and reduce the small house to rubble.

12Can horses run over rock,

or can one plow the sea with oxen?

Yet you have turned justice into gall,

and the fruit of righteousness into wormwood,c

13You who rejoice in Lodebar,

and say, “Have we not, by our own strength,

seized Karnaim* for ourselves?”

14Look, I am raising up against you, house of Israel—

oracle of the LORD, the God of hosts—

A nation* that shall oppress you

from Lebo-hamath even to the Wadi Arabah.

* [6:2] Calneh…Hamath…Gath: city-states overcome by the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C., whose fate should be a lesson to the Israelites. The prophet castigates the leaders for being more intent on pursuing a luxurious lifestyle (vv. 1, 46) than reading the signs of the times.

* [6:10] In this desperate situation there seems to be a profound fear of the Lord, who is the cause of the deaths (cf. 3:6).

* [6:13] Lodebar…Karnaim: two towns recaptured from Judah by Israelite forces during the reign of Jeroboam II (see 2 Kgs 14:25). Some mockery of at least the first of these victories is probably intended by the prophet here, as Lodebar can be translated “nothing.”

* [6:14] A nation: Assyria. Lebo-hamath…Wadi Arabah: the territorial limits of Solomon’s kingdom, north and south respectively, as re-established by Jeroboam II (see 2 Kgs 14:25).

a. [6:8] Is 28:14; Jer 51:14.

b. [6:10] Zep 1:7.

c. [6:12] Am 5:7.


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