“Come on! Let’s return to the Lord!
He himself has torn us to pieces,
but he will heal us!
He has injured us,
but he will bandage our wounds!
2 He will restore us in a very short time;
he will heal us in a little while,
so that we may live in his presence.
3 So let us acknowledge him!
Let us seek to acknowledge the Lord!
He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn,
as certainly as the winter rain comes,
as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.”
4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim?
What am I going to do with you, O Judah?
For your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist;
it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew!
5 Therefore, I will certainly cut you into pieces at the hands of the prophets;
I will certainly kill you in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment;
for my judgment will come forth like the light of the dawn.
6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice;
I delight in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings.
7 At Adam they broke the covenant;
Oh how they were unfaithful to me!
8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers;
its streets are stained with bloody footprints!
9 The company of priests is like a gang of robbers,
lying in ambush to pounce on a victim.
They commit murder on the road to Shechem;
they have done heinous crimes!
10 I have seen a disgusting thing in the temple of Israel:
there Ephraim practices temple prostitution
and Judah defiles itself.
11 I have appointed a time to reap judgment for you also, O Judah!
Whenever I want to restore the fortunes of my people,
whenever I want to heal Israel,
the sin of Ephraim is revealed,
and the evil deeds of Samaria are exposed.
For they do what is wrong;
thieves break into houses,
and gangs rob people out in the streets.
2 They do not realize
that I remember all of their wicked deeds.
Their evil deeds have now surrounded them;
their sinful deeds are always before me.
3 The royal advisers delight the king with their evil schemes,
the princes make him glad with their lies.
4 They are all like bakers,
they are like a smoldering oven;
they are like a baker who does not stoke the fire
until the kneaded dough is ready for baking.
5 At the celebration of their king,
his princes become inflamed with wine;
they conspire with evildoers.
6 They approach him, all the while plotting against him.
Their hearts are like an oven;
their anger smolders all night long,
but in the morning it bursts into a flaming fire.
7 All of them are blazing like an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All of their kings fall –
and none of them call on me!
8 Ephraim has mixed itself like flour among the nations;
Ephraim is like a ruined cake of bread that is scorched on one side.
9 Foreigners are consuming what his strenuous labor produced,
but he does not recognize it!
His head is filled with gray hair,
but he does not realize it!
10 The arrogance of Israel testifies against him,
yet they refuse to return to the Lord their God!
In spite of all this they refuse to seek him!
11 Ephraim has been like a dove,
easily deceived and lacking discernment.
They called to Egypt for help;
they turned to Assyria for protection.
12 I will throw my bird net over them while they are flying,
I will bring them down like birds in the sky;
I will discipline them when I hear them flocking together.
13 Woe to them! For they have fled from me!
Destruction to them! For they have rebelled against me!
I want to deliver them,
but they have lied to me.
14 They do not pray to me,
but howl in distress on their beds;
They slash themselves for grain and new wine,
but turn away from me.
15 Although I trained and strengthened them,
they plot evil against me!
16 They turn to Baal;
they are like an unreliable bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because their prayers to Baal have made me angry.
So people will disdain them in the land of Egypt.
Sound the alarm!
An eagle looms over the temple of the Lord!
For they have broken their covenant with me,
and have rebelled against my law.
2 Israel cries out to me,
“My God, we acknowledge you!”
3 But Israel has rejected what is morally good;
so an enemy will pursue him.
4 They enthroned kings without my consent!
They appointed princes without my approval!
They made idols out of their silver and gold,
but they will be destroyed!
5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol!
My anger burns against them!
They will not survive much longer without being punished,
even though they are Israelites!
6 That idol was made by a workman – it is not God!
The calf idol of Samaria will be broken to bits.
7 They sow the wind,
and so they will reap the whirlwind!
The stalk does not have any standing grain;
it will not produce any flour.
Even if it were to yield grain,
foreigners would swallow it all up.
8 Israel will be swallowed up among the nations;
they will be like a worthless piece of pottery.
9 They have gone up to Assyria,
like a wild donkey that wanders off.
Ephraim has hired prostitutes as lovers.
10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations,
I will soon gather them together for judgment.
Then they will begin to waste away
under the oppression of a mighty king.
11 Although Ephraim has built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning!
12 I spelled out my law for him in great detail,
but they regard it as something totally unknown to them!
13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me,
and eat the meat,
but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices.
Soon he will remember their wrongdoing,
he will punish their sins,
and they will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten his Maker and built royal palaces,
and Judah has built many fortified cities.
But I will send fire on their cities;
it will consume their royal citadels.
O Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly like the nations,
for you are unfaithful to your God.
You love to receive a prostitute's wages
on all the floors where you thresh your grain.
2 Threshing floors and wine vats will not feed the people,
and new wine only deceives them.
3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land.
Ephraim will return to Egypt;
they will eat ritually unclean food in Assyria.
4 They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the Lord;
they will not please him with their sacrifices.
Their sacrifices will be like bread eaten while in mourning;
all those who eat them will make themselves ritually unclean.
For their bread will be only to satisfy their appetite;
it will not come into the temple of the Lord.
5 So what will you do on the festival day,
on the festival days of the Lord?
6 Look! Even if they flee from the destruction,
Egypt will take hold of them,
and Memphis will bury them.
The weeds will inherit the silver they treasure –
thorn bushes will occupy their homes.
7 The time of judgment is about to arrive!
The time of retribution is imminent!
Let Israel know!
The prophet is considered a fool –
the inspired man is viewed as a madman –
because of the multitude of your sins
and your intense animosity.
8 The prophet is a watchman over Ephraim on behalf of God,
yet traps are laid for him along all of his paths;
animosity rages against him in the land of his God.
9 They have sunk deep into corruption
as in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their wrongdoing.
He will repay them for their sins.
10 When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the wilderness.
I viewed your ancestors like an early fig on a fig tree in its first season.
Then they came to Baal-Peor and they dedicated themselves to shame –
they became as detestable as what they loved.
11 Ephraim will be like a bird;
what they value will fly away.
They will not bear children –
they will not enjoy pregnancy –
they will not even conceive!
12 Even if they raise their children,
I will take away every last one of them.
Woe to them!
For I will turn away from them.
13 Just as lion cubs are born predators,
so Ephraim will bear his sons for slaughter.
14 Give them, O Lord –
what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry,
and breasts that cannot nurse!
15 Because of all their evil in Gilgal,
I hate them there.
On account of their evil deeds,
I will drive them out of my land.
I will no longer love them;
all their rulers are rebels.
16 Ephraim will be struck down –
their root will be dried up;
they will not yield any fruit.
Even if they do bear children,
I will kill their precious offspring.
17 My God will reject them,
for they have not obeyed him;
so they will be fugitives among the nations.
Israel was a fertile vine
that yielded fruit.
As his fruit multiplied,
he multiplied altars to Baal.
As his land prospered,
they adorned the fertility pillars.
2 Their heart is slipping;
soon they will be punished for their guilt.
The Lord will break their altars;
he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.
3 Very soon they will say, “We have no king
since we did not fear the Lord.
But what can a king do for us anyway?”
4 They utter empty words,
taking false oaths and making empty agreements.
Therefore legal disputes sprout up
like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a plowed field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria will lament over the calf idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it;
its idolatrous priests will wail over it,
because its splendor will be taken from them into exile.
6 Even the calf idol will be carried to Assyria,
as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
Israel will be put to shame because of its wooden idol.
7 Samaria and its king will be carried off
like a twig on the surface of the waters.
8 The high places of the “House of Wickedness” will be destroyed;
it is the place where Israel sins.
Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 O Israel, you have sinned since the time of Gibeah,
and there you have remained.
Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will discipline them;
I will gather nations together to attack them,
to bind them in chains for their two sins.
11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;
I myself put a fine yokeon her neck.
I will harness Ephraim.
Let Judah plow!
Let Jacob break up the unplowed ground for himself!
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap unfailing love.
Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,
for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes and showers deliverance on you.
13 But you have plowed wickedness;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your chariots;
you have relied on your many warriors.
14 The roar of battle will rise against your people;
all your fortresses will be devastated,
just as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, O Bethel,
because of your great wickedness!
When that day dawns,
the king of Israel will be destroyed.