The Rebuke of Israel's Idolatry
81 Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law. 2 Israel cries to me, "My God, we-Israel-know you!" 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 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6 For it is from Israel, an artisan made it; it is not God. The calf of Samaria 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, foreigners would devour it.
8 Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the nations as a useless vessel. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild ass wandering alone; Ephraim has bargained for lovers. 10 Though they bargain with the nations, I will now gather them up. They shall soon writhe under the burden of kings and princes. 11 When Ephraim multiplied altars to expiate sin, they became to him altars for sinning. 12 Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions, they are regarded as a strange thing. 13 Though they offer choice sacrifices, though they eat flesh, the Lord does not accept them. Now he will remember their iniquity, and punish their sins; they shall return to Egypt. 14 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
91 Do not rejoice, O Israel! Do not exult as other nations do; for you have played the whore, departing from your God. You have loved a prostitute's pay on all threshing floors. 2 Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them. 3 They shall not remain in the land of the Lord; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food. 4 They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord, and their sacrifices shall not please him. Such sacrifices 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 festival of the Lord? 6 For even if they escape destruction, 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 cries, "The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad!" Because of your great iniquity, your hostility is great. 8 The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim, yet a fowler's snare is on all his ways, and hostility in the house of his God. 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah; 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 ancestors. But they came to Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves to a thing of shame, and became detestable like the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim'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 until no one is left. Woe to them indeed when I depart from them! 13 Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow, but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter. 14 Give them, O Lord- what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 15 Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal; there I came 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 officials are rebels. 16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. Even though they give birth, I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb. 17 Because they have not listened to him, my God will reject them; they shall become wanderers among the nations.
101 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 do not fear the Lord, and a king-what could he do for us?" 4 They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. 5 The inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the calf of Beth-aven. Its people shall mourn for it, and its idolatrous priests shall wail over it, over its glory that has departed from it. 6 The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria as tribute to the great king. Ephraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol. 7 Samaria'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. They shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall on us.
9 Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not war overtake them in Gibeah? 10 I will come against the wayward people to punish them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are punished for their double iniquity. 11 Ephraim was a trained heifer that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will make Ephraim break the ground; Judah must plow; Jacob must harrow for himself. 12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you. 13 You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your power and in the multitude of your warriors, 14 therefore the tumult of war shall rise against your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.
God Yearns for His Wayward People
111 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 Baals, and offering incense to idols. 3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim 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 human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. 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 rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes. 7 My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all.
8 How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart recoils within me; my compassion grows warm and tender. 9 I will not execute my fierce anger; I will not again destroy Ephraim; for I am God and no mortal, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come in wrath. 10 They shall go after the Lord, who roars like a lion; when he roars, his children 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 Ephraim has surrounded me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah still walks with God, and is faithful to the Holy One.
Ephraim Rebuked for Falsehood and Oppression
121 Ephraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a treaty 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 repay him according to his deeds. 3 In the womb he tried to supplant his brother, and in his manhood he strove with God. 4 He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor; he met him at Bethel, and there he spoke with him. 5 The Lord the God of hosts, the Lord is his name! 6 But as for you, return to your God, 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 Ephraim has said, "Ah, I am rich, I have gained wealth for myself; in all of my gain no offense has been found in me that would be sin." 9 I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, as in the days of the appointed festival. 10 I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets I will bring destruction. 11 In Gilead there is iniquity, they shall surely come to nothing. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, so their altars shall be like stone heaps on the furrows of the field. 12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram, there Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he guarded sheep. 13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt, and by a prophet he was guarded. 14 Ephraim has given bitter offense, so his Lord will bring his crimes down on him and pay him back for his insults.
The Utter Destruction of Ephraim Foretold
131 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling; he was exalted in Israel; but he incurred guilt through Baal and died. 2 And now they keep on sinning and make a cast image for themselves, idols of silver made according to their understanding, all of them the work of artisans. "Sacrifice to these," they say. People are kissing calves! 3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes away early, like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window. 4 Yet I have been the Lord your God ever since the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.
5 It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought. 6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; they were satisfied, and their heart was proud; therefore they forgot me. 7 So I will become like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way. 8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs, and will tear open the covering of their heart; there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild animal would mangle them.
9 I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you? 10 Where now is your king, that he may save you? Where in all your cities are your rulers, of whom you said, "Give me a king and rulers"? 11 I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath. 12 Ephraim's iniquity is bound up; his sin is kept in store. 13 The pangs of childbirth come for him, but he is an unwise son; for at the proper time 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 hidden from my eyes. 15 Although he may flourish among rushes, the east wind shall come, a blast from the Lord, 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 Samaria 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
141 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity. 2 Take words with you and return to the Lord; say to him, "Take away all guilt; accept that which is good, and we will offer the fruit of our lips. 3 Assyria shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses; we will say no more, "Our God,' to the work of our hands. In you the orphan finds mercy."
4 I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely, for my anger has turned from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily, he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon. 6 His shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive tree, and his fragrance like that of Lebanon. 7 They shall again live beneath my shadow, they shall flourish as a garden; they shall blossom like the vine, their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; your faithfulness comes from me. 9 Those who are wise understand these things; those who are discerning know them. For the ways of the Lord are right, and the upright walk in them, but transgressors stumble in them.