4 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites! 1
For the Lord has a covenant lawsuit 2 against the people of Israel. 3
For there is neither faithfulness nor loyalty in the land,
nor do they acknowledge God. 4
2 There is only cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery.
They resort to violence and bloodshed. 5
3 Therefore the land will mourn,
and all its inhabitants will perish. 6
The wild animals, 7 the birds of the sky,
and even the fish in the sea will perish.
4 Do not let anyone accuse or contend against anyone else: 8
for my case is against you priests! 9
5 You stumble day and night,
and the false prophets stumble with you;
You have destroyed your own people! 10
6 You have destroyed 11 my people
by failing to acknowledge me!
Because you refuse to acknowledge me, 12
I will reject you as my priests.
Because you reject 13 the law of your God,
I will reject 14 your descendants.
7 The more the priests increased in numbers,
the more they rebelled against me.
They have turned 15 their glorious calling
into a shameful disgrace!
8 They feed on the sin offerings of my people;
their appetites long for their iniquity!
9 I will deal with the people and priests together: 16
I will punish them both for their ways,
and I will repay them for their deeds.
10 They will eat, but not be satisfied;
they will engage in prostitution, but not increase in numbers;
because they have abandoned the Lord
by pursuing other gods. 17
11 Old and new wine
take away the understanding of my people. 18
12 They consult their wooden idols,
and their diviner’s staff answers with an oracle.
The wind of prostitution blows them astray;
they commit spiritual adultery 19 against their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops,
and burn offerings on the hills;
they sacrifice 20 under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is so pleasant.
As a result, your daughters have become cult prostitutes,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery!
14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.
For the men consort with harlots,
they sacrifice with temple prostitutes.
It is true: 21 “A people that lacks understanding will come to ruin!”
15 Although you, O Israel, commit adultery,
do not let Judah become guilty!
Do not journey to Gilgal!
Do not go up to Beth Aven! 22
Do not swear, “As surely as the Lord lives!”
16 Israel has rebelled 23 like a stubborn heifer!
Soon 24 the Lord will put them out to pasture
like a lamb in a broad field! 25
17 Ephraim has attached himself to idols;
Do not go near him!
18 They consume their alcohol,
then engage in cult prostitution;
they dearly love their shameful behavior.
19 A whirlwind has wrapped them in its wings;
they will be brought to shame because of their idolatrous worship. 26
5 Hear this, you priests!
Pay attention, you Israelites! 1
Listen closely, 2 O king! 3
For judgment is about to overtake you! 4
For you were like a trap 5 to Mizpah, 6
like a net 7 spread out to catch Tabor. 8
2 Those who revolt are knee-deep in slaughter, 9
but I will discipline them all. 10
3 I know Ephraim all too well; 11
the evil of 12 Israel is not hidden from me.
For you have engaged in prostitution, O Ephraim;
Israel has defiled itself. 13
4 Their wicked deeds do not allow them to return to their God;
because a spirit of idolatry 14 controls their heart, 15
and they do not acknowledge the Lord.
5 The arrogance of Israel testifies against it;
Israel and Ephraim will be overthrown 16 because 17 of their iniquity.
Even Judah will be brought down 18 with them.
6 Although they bring their flocks and herds 19
to seek 20 the favor of the Lord, 21
They will not find him –
he has withdrawn himself from them!
7 They have committed treason 22 against the Lord,
because they bore illegitimate children.
Soon 23 the new moon festival will devour them and their fields.
8 Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah!
Sound the trumpet in Ramah!
Sound the alarm in Beth Aven! 24
Tremble in fear, 25 O Benjamin!
9 Ephraim will be ruined in the day of judgment! 26
What I am declaring 27 to the tribes of Israel will certainly take place! 28
10 The princes of Judah are like those who move boundary markers.
I will pour out my rage on them like a torrential flood! 29
11 Ephraim will be oppressed, 30 crushed 31 under judgment, 32
because he was determined to pursue worthless idols. 33
12 I will be like a moth to Ephraim,
like wood rot 34 to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw 35 his sickness
and Judah saw his wound,
then Ephraim turned 36 to Assyria,
and begged 37 its great king 38 for help.
But he will not be able to heal you!
He cannot cure your wound! 39
14 I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I myself will tear them to pieces,
then I will carry them off, and no one will be able to rescue them!
15 Then I will return again to my lair
until they have suffered their punishment. 40
Then they will seek me; 41
in their distress they will earnestly seek me.
6 “Come on! Let’s return to the Lord!
He himself has torn us to pieces,
but he will heal us!
He has injured 1 us,
but he will bandage our wounds!
2 He will restore 2 us in a very short time; 3
he will heal us in a little while, 4
so that we may live in his presence.
3 So let us acknowledge him! 5
Let us seek 6 to acknowledge 7 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 8 your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; 9
it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew! 10
5 Therefore, I will certainly cut 11 you into pieces at the hands of the prophets; 12
I will certainly kill you 13 in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment; 14
for 15 my judgment 16 will come forth like the light of the dawn. 17
6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice;
I delight 18 in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings. 19
7 At Adam 20 they broke 21 the covenant;
Oh how 22 they were unfaithful 23 to me!
8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers; 24
its streets are stained with bloody footprints! 25
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 26 for you also, O Judah!
Whenever I want to restore the fortunes of my people, 27