The Lord has decided what he will do
1 You Israelites, listen to this message that the Lord has spoken against you. This message is to all you people that he saved from Egypt. 2 He says, ‘There are many groups of people on Earth. But I chose you for myself. You have done wrong things, so I have not been very happy with you. Now I will send trouble to you because of that.’
The prophet's work
3 If two people travel together, they have first agreed to travel. 4 If a lion (a wild animal) makes a loud noise in the forest, it is happy. It is happy because it has attacked an animal to eat. (If it has not caught anything, it is quiet. It looks quietly for something to eat.) If a young lion (a wild animal) makes a happy noise in his home, he has caught an animal. He has caught it to eat. (If he has not caught anything, he will be quiet.)
5 If there is no food in a trap, a bird will not fly into it. If there is no bird inside, the door of the trap will not shut. 6 If the people in a city hear a trumpet's sound, they are very afraid. And they may see soldiers go away to fight. Then, too, they are very afraid. Trouble may come to a city. Then we can know that the Lord has sent it.
7 Before the Lord God decides to send trouble, he first tells someone. He tells those that speak his message to all the people. They speak because God wants them to do it. This is true.
8 We are afraid now, because the lion has made a loud noise. The Lord God has spoken, so we must tell his message.
9 Go to Ashdod city and go to Egypt. Tell this to the people who live in beautiful buildings. ‘Come to the mountains in Samaria. Look at the people there. They are hurting each other and they are afraid of each other.’ 10 The Lord says, ‘People take things from other people. They keep those things for themselves in their strong buildings. They become rich from those things. That is wrong.’
11 So the Lord God says, ‘Enemies will come all round your country and they will destroy your strong buildings. They will take all your good things from you.’
12 The Lord says, ‘A wild animal might attack a young sheep. The worker that watches the sheep might try to save them. He might save two legs and a small part of the ear. But he does not save the whole sheep. In the same way, the Lord will not save all the Israelites that live in Samaria and Damascus. The ones in Samaria lie on beautiful beds. And the ones in Damascus sit on comfortable chairs. But God will only save a few of those people.’ 13 The Lord God Almighty said to me, ‘Hear all this. And tell the Israelites that they have done wrong things.’ 14 ‘I will punish them. And I will destroy the altars at Bethel at the same time. You will not be able to hold their tall corners. Their corners will break off and the corners will fall to the ground. 15 I will destroy all the big houses. Rich people live in special houses when it is cold. And they live in special houses when it is hot. I will destroy all those houses. There are houses with beautiful things that people have made from elephants' tusks. I will destroy those houses too,’ says the Lord.