The Rebuke of Israel's Idolatry
8 1 Set the trumpet to your lips, for a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law. 2 To me they cry, My God, we Israel know thee. 3 Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him. 4 They made kings, but not through me. They set up princes, but without my knowledge. With their silver and gold they made idols for their own destruction. 5 I have spurned your calf, O Sama'ria. My anger burns against them. How long will it be till they are pure 6 in Israel? A workman made it; it is not God. The calf of Sama'ria shall be broken to pieces. 7 For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads, it shall yield no meal; if it were to yield, aliens would devour it.
8 Israel is swallowed up; already they are among the nations as a useless vessel. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild ass wandering alone; E'phraim has hired lovers. 10 Though they hire allies among the nations, I will soon gather them up. And they shall cease for a little while from anointing king and princes. 11 Because E'phraim has multiplied altars for sinning, they have become to him altars for sinning. 12 Were I to write for him my laws by ten thousands, they would be regarded as a strange thing. 13 They love sacrifice; they sacrifice flesh and eat it; but the Lord has no delight in them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. 14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and built palaces; and Judah has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his strongholds.
The Punishment for Israel's Persistent Unfaithfulness
9 1 Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved a harlot's hire upon all threshing floors. 2 Threshing floor and winevat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them. 3 They shall not remain in the land of the Lord; but E'phraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria. 4 They shall not pour libations of wine to the Lord; and they shall not please him with their sacrifices. Their bread shall be like mourners' bread; all who eat of it shall be defiled; for their bread shall be for their hunger only; it shall not come to the house of the Lord. 5 What will you do on the day of appointed festival, and on the day of the feast of the Lord? 6 For behold, they are going to Assyria; Egypt shall gather them, Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents.
7 The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it. The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad, because of your great iniquity and great hatred. 8 The prophet is the watchman of E'phraim, the people of my God, yet a fowler's snare is on all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gib'e-ah: he will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins. 10 Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree, in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Ba'al-pe'or, and consecrated themselves to Ba'al, and became detestable like the thing they loved.
11 E'phraim's glory shall fly away like a bird--no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12 Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them till none is left. Woe to them when I depart from them! 13 E'phraim's sons, as I have seen, are destined for a prey; E'phraim must lead forth his sons to slaughter. 14 Give them, O Lord--what wilt thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 15 Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels. 16 E'phraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. Even though they bring forth, I will slay their beloved children. 17 My God will cast them off, because they have not hearkened to him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.
10 1 Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased the more altars he built; as his country improved he improved his pillars. 2 Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars. 3 For now they will say: "We have no king, for we fear not the Lord, and a king, what could he do for us?" 4 They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. 5 The inhabitants of Sama'ria tremble for the calf of Beth-a'ven. Its people shall mourn for it, and its idolatrous priests shall wail over it, over its glory which has departed from it. 6 Yea, the thing itself shall be carried to Assyria, as tribute to the great king. E'phraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol. 7 Sama'ria's king shall perish, like a chip on the face of the waters. 8 The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall upon us.
9 From the days of Gib'e-ah, you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not war overtake them in Gib'e-ah? 10 I will come against the wayward people to chastise them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are chastised for their double iniquity. 11 E'phraim was a trained heifer that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will put E'phraim to the yoke, Judah must plow, Jacob must harrow for himself. 12 Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain salvation upon you. 13 You have plowed iniquity, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your chariots and in the multitude of your warriors, 14 therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-ar'bel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 15 Thus it shall be done to you, O house of Israel, because of your great wickedness. In the storm the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.
God Yearns for His Wayward People
11 1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. 2 The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Ba'als, and burning incense to idols. 3 Yet it was I who taught E'phraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them. 4 I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one, who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them. 5 They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me. 6 The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them in their fortresses. 7 My people are bent on turning away from me; so they are appointed to the yoke, and none shall remove it.
8 How can I give you up, O E'phraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! How can I make you like Admah! How can I treat you like Zeboi'im! My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender. 9 I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy E'phraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come to destroy. 10 They shall go after the Lord, he will roar like a lion; yea, he will roar, and his sons shall come trembling from the west; 11 they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord. 12 E'phraim has encompassed me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah is still known by God, and is faithful to the Holy One.
Ephraim Rebuked for Falsehood and Oppression
12 1 E'phraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a bargain with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt. 2 The Lord has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and requite him according to his deeds. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God. 4 He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor. He met God at Bethel, and there God spoke with him-- 5 the Lord the God of hosts, the Lord is his name: 6 "So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God."
7 A trader, in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress. 8 E'phraim has said, "Ah, but I am rich, I have gained wealth for myself": but all his riches can never offset the guilt he has incurred. 9 I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast. 10 I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables. 11 If there is iniquity in Gilead they shall surely come to nought; if in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, their altars also shall be like stone heaps on the furrows of the field. 12 (Jacob fled to the land of Aram, there Israel did service for a wife, and for a wife he herded sheep.) 13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt, and by a prophet he was preserved. 14 E'phraim has given bitter provocation; so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt upon him, and will turn back upon him his reproaches.
The Utter Destruction of Ephraim Foretold
13 1 When E'phraim spoke, men trembled; he was exalted in Israel; but he incurred guilt through Ba'al and died. 2 And now they sin more and more, and make for themselves molten images, idols skilfully made of their silver, all of them the work of craftsmen. Sacrifice to these, they say. Men kiss calves! 3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes early away, like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window. 4 I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.
5 It was I who knew you in the wilderness, in the land of drought; 6 but when they had fed to the full, they were filled, and their heart was lifted up; therefore they forgot me. 7 So I will be to them like a lion, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. 8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rend them.
9 I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you? 10 Where now is your king, to save you; where are all your princes, to defend you--those of whom you said, "Give me a king and princes"? 11 I have given you kings in my anger, and I have taken them away in my wrath. 12 The iniquity of E'phraim is bound up, his sin is kept in store. 13 The pangs of childbirth come for him, but he is an unwise son; for now he does not present himself at the mouth of the womb. 14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Compassion is hid from my eyes. 15 Though he may flourish as the reed plant, the east wind, the wind of the Lord, shall come, rising from the wilderness; and his fountain shall dry up, his spring shall be parched; it shall strip his treasury of every precious thing. 16 Sama'ria shall bear her guilt, because she has rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their little ones shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women ripped open.
Israel Entreated to Return to the LORD
14 1 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. 2 Take with you words and return to the Lord; say to him, "Take away all iniquity; accept that which is good and we will render the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us, we will not ride upon horses; and we will say no more, 'Our God,' to the work of our hands. In thee the orphan finds mercy."
4 I will heal their faithlessness; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. 5 I will be as the dew to Israel; he shall blossom as the lily, he shall strike root as the poplar; 6 his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon. 7 They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom as the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O E'phraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress, from me comes your fruit. 9 Whoever is wise, let him understand these things; whoever is discerning, let him know them; for the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.