1 "Listen, O heavens, and I will speak! Hear, O earth, the words that I say!
2 My teaching will fall on you like rain; my speech will settle like dew. My words will fall like rain on tender grass, like gentle showers on young plants.
3 I will proclaim the name of the LORD; how glorious is our God!
4 He is the Rock; his work is perfect. Everything he does is just and fair. He is a faithful God who does no wrong; how just and upright he is!
5 "But they have acted corruptly toward him; when they act like that, are they really his children?* They are a deceitful and twisted generation.1
6 Is this the way you repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Isn't he your Father who created you? Has he not made you and established you?
7 Remember the days of long ago; think about the generations past. Ask your father and he will inform you. Inquire of your elders, and they will tell you.
8 When the Most High assigned lands to the nations, when he divided up the human race, he established the boundaries of the peoples according to the number of angelic beings.*2
9 For the people of Israel belong to the LORD; Jacob is his special possession.
10 "He found them in a desert land, in an empty, howling wasteland. He surrounded them and watched over them; he guarded them as his most precious possession.*3
11 Like an eagle that rouses her chicks and hovers over her young, so he spread his wings to take them in and carried them aloft on his pinions.
12 The LORD alone guided them; they lived without any foreign gods.
13 He made them ride over the highlands; he let them feast on the crops of the fields. He nourished them with honey from the cliffs, with olive oil from the hard rock.
14 He fed them curds from the herd and milk from the flock, together with the fat of lambs and goats. He gave them choice rams and goats from Bashan, together with the choicest wheat. You drank the finest wine, made from the juice of grapes.
15 But Israel* soon became fat and unruly; the people grew heavy, plump, and stuffed! Then they abandoned the God who had made them; they made light of the Rock of their salvation.4
16 They stirred up his jealousy by worshiping foreign gods; they provoked his fury with detestable acts.
17 They offered sacrifices to demons, non-gods, to gods they had not known before, to gods only recently arrived, to gods their ancestors had never feared.
18 You neglected the Rock who had fathered you; you forgot the God who had given you birth.
19 "The LORD saw this and was filled with loathing. He was provoked to anger by his own sons and daughters.
20 He said, `I will abandon them; I will see to their end! For they are a twisted generation, children without integrity.
21 They have roused my jealousy by worshiping non-gods; they have provoked my fury with useless idols. Now I will rouse their jealousy by blessing other nations; I will provoke their fury by blessing the foolish Gentiles.
22 For my anger blazes forth like fire and burns to the depths of the grave.* It devours the earth and all its crops and ignites the foundations of the mountains.5
23 I will heap disasters upon them and shoot them down with my arrows.
24 I will send against them wasting famine, burning fever, and deadly disease. They will be troubled by the fangs of wild beasts, by poisonous snakes that glide in the dust.
25 Outside, the sword will bring death, and inside, terror will strike both young men and young women, both infants and the aged.
26 I decided to scatter them,* so even the memory of them would disappear.6
27 But I feared the taunt of the enemy, that their adversaries might misunderstand and say, "Our power has triumphed! It was not the LORD who did this!" '
28 "Israel is a nation that lacks sense; the people are foolish, without understanding.
29 Oh, that they were wise and could understand this! Oh, that they might know their fate!
30 How could one person chase a thousand of them, and two people put ten thousand to flight, unless their Rock had sold them, unless the LORD had given them up?