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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 2


Woe to those who plan iniquity, and work out evil on their couches; In the morning light they accomplish it when it lies within their power.


1 They covet fields, and seize them; houses, and they take them; They cheat an owner of his house, a man of his inheritance.


Therefore thus says the LORD: Behold, I am planning against this race an evil from which you shall not withdraw your necks; Nor shall you walk with head high, for it will be a time of evil.


On that day a satire shall be sung over you, and there shall be a plaintive chant: "Our ruin is complete, our fields are portioned out among our captors, The fields of my people are measured out, and no one can get them back!"


2 Thus you shall have no one to mark out boundaries by lot in the assembly of the LORD.


3 "Preach not," they preach, "let them not preach of these things!" The shame will not withdraw.


How can it be said, O house of Jacob, "Is the LORD short of patience, or are such his deeds?" Do not my words promise good to him who walks uprightly?


But of late my people has risen up as an enemy: you have stripped off the mantle covering the tunic Of those who go their way in confidence, as though it were spoils of war.


4 The women of my people you drive out from their pleasant houses; From their children you take away forever the honor I gave them.


5 "Up! Be off, this is no place to rest"; For any trifle you exact a crippling pledge.


If one, acting on impulse, should make the futile claim: "I pour you wine and strong drink as my prophecy," then he would be the prophet of this people.


6 I will gather you, O Jacob, each and every one, I will assemble all the remnant of Israel; I will group them like a flock in the fold, like a herd in the midst of its corral; they shall not be thrown into panic by men.


With a leader to break the path they shall burst open the gate and go out through it; Their king shall go through before them, and the LORD at their head.



1 [2] Land monopoly, also denounced by Isaiah, was a chronic vice in Judah. To protect the poor against it, a man's inheritance, his ancestral property, was supposed to be inviolate; cf 1 Kings 21:1-4; but the wealthy in their greed were enslaving men for their debts and depriving them of their land.

2 [5] To mark our boundaries by lot: an allusion to the initial distribution of the land of Palestine among the Israelites; cf Joshua 13-21. The appropriate punishment of those greedy for land will be the loss of their land to their enemies ( Micah 2:4), a loss that will be irrevocable.

3 [6-7] The words in quotation marks are the protestations of the people against the prophet's predictions of doom.

4 [9] The honor I gave them: their dignity as free Israelites.

5 [10] A crippling pledge: Israelite law forbade exacting pledges for loans that would work hardship on the borrower ( Exodus 22:25-26; Deut 24:6, 10-13, 17); but the law was habitually violated.

6 [12-13] The messianic passage concerning the restoration after the Babylonian exile seems out of place here and is probably a later addition.

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