7 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 1
that I remember all of their wicked deeds.
Their evil deeds have now surrounded them;
their sinful deeds are always before me. 2
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, 3
they 4 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 5 of their king, 6
his princes become inflamed 7 with wine;
they conspire 8 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 9 among the nations;
Ephraim is like a ruined cake of bread that is scorched on one side. 10
9 Foreigners are consuming what his strenuous labor produced, 11
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 12 them,
but they have lied to me.
14 They do not pray to me, 13
but howl in distress on their beds;
They slash themselves 14 for grain and new wine,
but turn away from me.
15 Although I trained and strengthened them, 15
they plot evil against me!
16 They turn to Baal; 16
they are like an unreliable bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because their prayers to Baal 17 have made me angry.
So people will disdain them in the land of Egypt. 18
8 Sound the alarm! 1
An eagle 2 looms over the temple of the Lord!
For they have broken their covenant with me, 3
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! 4
They appointed princes without my approval! 5
They made idols out of their silver and gold,
but they will be destroyed! 6
5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol!
My anger burns against them!
They will not survive much longer without being punished, 7
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. 8
10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations, 9
I will soon gather them together for judgment. 10
Then 11 they will begin to waste away
under the oppression of a mighty king. 12
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 13 to them!
13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me,
and eat the meat,
but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices. 14
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.
9 O Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly 1 like the nations,
for you are unfaithful 2 to your God.
You love to receive a prostitute's wages 3
on all the floors where you thresh your grain.
2 Threshing floors and wine vats will not feed the people, 4
and new wine only deceives them. 5
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! 6 Even if 7 they flee from the destruction,
Egypt will take hold 8 of them,
and Memphis will bury them.
The weeds will inherit the silver they treasure 9 –
thorn bushes will occupy their homes. 10
7 The time of judgment 11 is about to arrive! 12
The time of retribution 13 is imminent! 14
Let Israel know! 15
The prophet is considered a fool 16 –
the inspired man 17 is viewed as a madman 18 –
because of the multitude of your sins
and your intense 19 animosity.
8 The prophet 20 is a watchman 21 over Ephraim 22 on behalf of God, 23
yet traps 24 are laid for him along all of his paths; 25
animosity rages against him in the land 26 of his God.
9 They have sunk deep into corruption 27
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 28 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 29 will fly away.
They will not bear children –
they will not enjoy pregnancy –
they will not even conceive! 30
12 Even if they raise their children,
I will take away every last one of them. 31
Woe to them!
For I will turn away from them.
13 Just as lion cubs are born predators, 32
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! 33
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. 34
I will no longer love them;
all their rulers are rebels.
16 Ephraim will be struck down 35 –
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.