December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 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.
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1  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  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  The honor I gave them: their dignity as free Israelites.
5  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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