Israel Rejected the Lord’s Promise
Let’s return to the Lord.
Even though he has torn us to pieces,
he will heal us.
Even though he has wounded us,
he will bandage our wounds.
2 After two days he will revive us.
On the third day he will raise us
so that we may live in his presence.
3 Let’s learn about the Lord.
Let’s get to know the Lord.
He will come to us as sure as the morning comes.
He will come to us like the autumn rains and the spring rains
that water the ground.
4 “What should I do with you, Ephraim?
What should I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like fog in the morning.
It disappears as quickly as the morning dew.
5 That is why I cut you down by sending the prophets.
I killed you with the words from my mouth.
My judgments shined on you like light.
6 I want your loyalty, not your sacrifices.
I want you to know me, not to give me burnt offerings.
7 “Like Adam, you rejected the promise.
You were unfaithful to me.
8 Gilead is a city filled with troublemakers.
It is stained with bloody footprints.
9 The priests are like gangs of robbers who lie in ambush for a person.
They murder on the road to Shechem.
Certainly, they have committed a crime.
10 “I have seen horrible things in the nation of Israel.
Ephraim is acting like a prostitute,
and Israel is unclean.
11 “Yet, Judah, I have set a harvest time for you
when I bring my people back from captivity.
“Whenever I want to heal Israel,
all I can see is Ephraim’s sin and Samaria’s wickedness.
People cheat each other.
They break into houses and steal.
They rob people in the streets.
2 They don’t realize that I remember
all the evil things they’ve done.
Now their sins surround them.
Their sins are in my presence.
3 “They make kings happy with the wicked things they do.
They make officials happy with the lies they tell.
4 They all commit adultery.
They are like a heated oven,
an oven so hot that a baker doesn’t have to fan its flames
when he makes bread.
5 On the day of the king’s celebration,
the officials become drunk from wine,
and the king joins mockers.
6 They become hot like an oven while they lie in ambush.
All night long their anger smolders,
but in the morning it burns like a raging fire.
7 They are all as hot as an oven.
They consume their judges like a fire.
All their kings die in battle, and none of them calls to me.
Israel Turns to Other Nations for Help
8 “Ephraim mixes with other nations.
Ephraim, you are like a half-baked loaf of bread.
9 Foreigners are using up your strength, but you don’t realize it.
You have become a gray-haired, old man, but you don’t realize it.
10 Israel, your arrogance testifies against you,
but even after all this, you don’t turn to the Lord your God
or look to him for help.
11 Ephraim, you are like a silly, senseless dove.
You call for Egypt and run to Assyria for help.
12 When you go, I will spread my net over you.
I will snatch you out of the air like a bird.
I will punish you for all the evil things you have done.
13 “How horrible it will be for these people.
They have run away from me.
They must be destroyed because they’ve rebelled against me.
I want to reclaim them, but they tell lies about me.
14 They don’t pray to me sincerely,
even though they cry in their beds
and make cuts on their bodies
while praying for grain and new wine.
They have turned against me.
15 I trained them and made them strong.
Yet, they plan evil against me.
16 They don’t return to the Most High.
They are like a defective bow.
Their officials will die in battle
because they curse.
The people in Egypt will ridicule them for this.
The Lord Will Punish Israel for Its Rebellion
“Sound the alarm on the ram’s horn.
The enemy swoops down on the Lord’s temple like an eagle.
The people of Israel have rejected my promise
and rebelled against my teachings.
2 They cry out to me, ‘We acknowledge you as our God.’
3 However, they have rejected what is good.
The enemy will persecute them.
4 “They chose their own kings, kings I didn’t approve.
They chose their own princes, princes I didn’t know.
They chose to make idols with their own silver and gold.
Because of this, they will be destroyed.
5 Get rid of your calf-shaped idol, Samaria.
My anger burns against these people.
How long will they remain unclean?
6 Samaria’s calf-shaped idol was made in Israel.
Skilled workers made it.
It is not a god.
It will be smashed to pieces.
7 “The people of Israel plant the wind, but they harvest a storm.
A field of grain that doesn’t ripen will never produce any grain.
Even if it did produce grain, foreigners would eat it all.
8 Israel will be swallowed up.
It has already mixed in with the other nations.
It has become worthless.
9 “The people of Israel went to Assyria.
They were like wild donkeys wandering off alone.
The people of Ephraim sold themselves to their lovers.
10 Even though they sold themselves among the nations,
I will gather them now.
They will suffer for a while under the burdens of kings and princes.
11 “The more altars that the people of Ephraim build
to make offerings to pay for their sins,
the more places they have for sinning.
12 I have written many things for them in my teachings,
but they consider these things strange and foreign.
13 They offer sacrifices to me and eat the meat of sacrifices,
but I, the Lord, do not accept these sacrifices.
Now I will remember their wickedness
and punish them because of their sins.
They will go back to Egypt.
14 The people of Israel have built palaces,
and they have forgotten their maker.
The people of Judah have built many fortified cities.
I will send a fire on their cities and burn down their palaces.”
Israel, don’t rejoice.
Don’t celebrate as other nations do.
You have been unfaithful to your God.
You have sold sex on every threshing floor.
2 There won’t be enough grain to feed people.
There won’t be enough wine to go around.
3 The people of Ephraim won’t stay in the Lord’s land.
They will return to Egypt,
and they will eat unclean food in Assyria.
4 They won’t pour wine offerings to the Lord,
and their sacrifices won’t please him.
Their sacrifices will be like the food that mourners eat.
All who eat this food will be unclean.
Their food will only satisfy their hunger.
It will not be brought as an offering to the Lord’s temple.
5 What will they do on the day of an appointed festival
or on the Lord’s festival days?
6 Even if they escape without being destroyed,
Egypt will capture them
and Memphis will bury them.
Weeds will grow over their silver treasures.
Thorns will grow over their tents.
7 The time for them to be punished will come.
The time for them to pay for their sins will come.
When this happens, Israel will know it.
They think that prophets are fools
and that spiritual people are crazy.
They have sinned a lot, and they are very hostile.
8 Prophets are God’s watchmen over Ephraim.
Yet, traps are set on every prophet’s path,
and people are hostile in the temple of their God.
9 People have deeply corrupted themselves as they once did at Gibeah.
God will remember their wickedness
and punish them because of their sins.
Israel Is Like Rotten Grapes or Rotten Figs
10 The Lord said, “When I found Israel,
it was like finding grapes in the desert.
When I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the first figs of the harvest.
But they went to Baal Peor and worshiped shameful idols.
They became as disgusting as the things they worshiped.
11 “Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird.
There will be no more pregnancies, births, or babies.
12 Even if they bring up children,
I will take those children away before they grow up.
Yes, how horrible it will be for them when I leave them.
13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place.
But the people of Ephraim will bring out their children
to be killed.”
14 Lord, give them what they deserve.
Make the women miscarry,
or else make them unable to nurse their babies.
15 “All Ephraim’s wickedness began in Gilgal; I hated the people there.
I will force them out of my temple because of their wickedness,
and I won’t love them anymore.
All their officials are rebellious.
16 “The people of Ephraim are like sick plants.
Their roots are dried up.
They have no fruit.
Even if they were to have children,
I would kill their dear children.”
17 My God will reject them
because they refused to listen to him.
They will wander among the nations.