Israel Reaps the Whirlwind
8 Put the trumpet to your lips! Like an eagle the enemy comes against the house of the Lord, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law. 2 They cry out to Me, “My God, we of Israel know You!” 3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him. 4 They have set up kings, but not by Me; They have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and gold they have made idols for themselves, That they might be cut off. 5 He has rejected your calf, O Samaria, saying, “My anger burns against them!” How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6 For from Israel is even this! A craftsman made it, so it is not God; Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces. 7 For they sow the wind And they reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; It yields no grain. Should it yield, strangers would swallow it up.
8 Israel is swallowed up; They are now among the nations Like a vessel in which no one delights. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, Like a wild donkey all alone; Ephraim has hired lovers. 10 Even though they hire allies among the nations, Now I will gather them up; And they will begin to diminish Because of the burden of the king of princes.
11 Since Ephraim has multiplied altars for sin, They have become altars of sinning for him. 12 Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law, They are regarded as a strange thing. 13 As for My sacrificial gifts, They sacrifice the flesh and eat it, But the Lord has taken no delight in them. Now He will remember their iniquity, And punish them for their sins; They will 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 on its cities that it may consume its palatial dwellings.
9 Do not rejoice, O Israel, with exultation like the nations! For you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved harlots’ earnings on every threshing floor. 2 Threshing floor and wine press will not feed them, And the new wine will fail them. 3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land, But Ephraim will return to Egypt, And in Assyria they will eat unclean food. 4 They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the Lord, Their sacrifices will not please Him. Their bread will be like mourners’ bread; All who eat of it will be defiled, For their bread will be for themselves alone; It will not enter the house of the Lord. 5 What will you do on the day of the appointed festival And on the day of the feast of the Lord? 6 For behold, they will go because of destruction; Egypt will gather them up, Memphis will bury them. Weeds will take over their treasures of silver; Thorns will be in their tents.
7 The days of punishment have come, The days of retribution have come; Let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, The inspired man is demented, Because of the grossness of your iniquity, And because your hostility is so great. 8 Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet; Yet the snare of a bird catcher is in all his ways, And there is only hostility in the house of his God. 9 They have gone deep in depravity As in the days of Gibeah; He will remember their iniquity, He will punish their sins.
10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season. But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame, And they became as detestable as that which they loved. 11 As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird— No birth, no pregnancy and no conception! 12 Though they bring up their children, Yet I will bereave them until not a man is left. Yes, woe to them indeed when I depart from them! 13 Ephraim, as I have seen, Is planted in a pleasant meadow like Tyre; But Ephraim will bring out his children for slaughter. 14 Give them, O Lord—what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
15 All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I came to hate them there! 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 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, They will bear no fruit. Even though they bear children, I will slay the precious ones of their womb. 17 My God will cast them away Because they have not listened to Him; And they will be wanderers among the nations.
Retribution for Israel’s Sin
10 Israel is a luxuriant vine; He produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, The more altars he made; The richer his land, The better he made the sacred pillars. 2 Their heart is faithless; Now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars And destroy their sacred pillars.
3 Surely now they will say, “We have no king, For we do not revere the Lord. As for the king, what can he do for us?” 4 They speak mere words, With worthless oaths they make covenants; And judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. 5 The inhabitants of Samaria will fear For the calf of Beth-aven. Indeed, its people will mourn for it, And its idolatrous priests will cry out over it, Over its glory, since it has departed from it. 6 The thing itself will be carried to Assyria As tribute to King Jareb; Ephraim will be seized with shame And Israel will be ashamed of its own counsel. 7 Samaria will be cut off with her king Like a stick on the surface of the water. 8 Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; Thorn and thistle will grow on their altars; Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” And to the hills, “Fall on us!” 9 From the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel; There they stand! Will not the battle against the sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah? 10 When it is My desire, I will chastise them; And the peoples will be gathered against them When they are bound for their double guilt.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh, But I will come over her fair neck with a yoke; I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow, Jacob will harrow for himself. 12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you. 13 You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped injustice, You have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your way, in your numerous warriors, 14 Therefore a tumult will arise among your people, And all your fortresses will be destroyed, As Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, When mothers were dashed in pieces with their children. 15 Thus it will be done to you at Bethel because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel will be completely cut off.
God Yearns over His People
11 When Israel was a youth I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. 2 The more they called them, The more they went from them; They kept sacrificing to the Baals And burning incense to idols. 3 Yet it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that I healed them. 4 I led them with cords of a man, with bonds of love, And I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws; And I bent down and fed them.
5 They will not return to the land of Egypt; But Assyria—he will be their king Because they refused to return to Me. 6 The sword will whirl against their cities, And will demolish their gate bars And consume them because of their counsels. 7 So My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, None at all exalts Him.
8 How can I give you up, O Ephraim? How can I surrender you, O Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is turned over within Me, All My compassions are kindled. 9 I will not execute My fierce anger; I will not destroy Ephraim again. For I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, And I will not come in wrath. 10 They will walk after the Lord, He will roar like a lion; Indeed He will roar And His sons will come trembling from the west. 11 They will come trembling like birds from Egypt And like doves from the land of Assyria; And I will settle them in their houses, declares the Lord.
12 Ephraim surrounds Me with lies And the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, Even against the Holy One who is faithful.
12 Ephraim feeds on wind, And pursues the east wind continually; He multiplies lies and violence. Moreover, he makes a covenant with Assyria, And oil is carried to Egypt. 2 The Lord also has a dispute with Judah, And will punish Jacob according to his ways; He will repay him according to his deeds. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel, And in his maturity he contended with God. 4 Yes, he wrestled with the angel and prevailed; He wept and sought His favor. He found Him at Bethel And there He spoke with us, 5 Even the Lord, the God of hosts, The Lord is His name. 6 Therefore, return to your God, Observe kindness and justice, And wait for your God continually. 7 A merchant, in whose hands are false balances, He loves to oppress. 8 And Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself; In all my labors they will find in me No iniquity, which would be sin.” 9 But I have been the Lord your God since the land of Egypt; I will make you live in tents again, As in the days of the appointed festival. 10 I have also spoken to the prophets, And I gave numerous visions, And through the prophets I gave parables. 11 Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, Yes, their altars are like the stone heaps Beside the furrows of the field.
12 Now Jacob fled to the land of Aram, And Israel worked for a wife, And for a wife he kept sheep. 13 But by a prophet the Lord brought Israel from Egypt, And by a prophet he was kept. 14 Ephraim has provoked to bitter anger; So his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him And bring back his reproach to him.
13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling. He exalted himself in Israel, But through Baal he did wrong and died. 2 And now they sin more and more, And make for themselves molten images, Idols skillfully made from their silver, All of them the work of craftsmen. They say of them, “Let the men who sacrifice kiss the calves!” 3 Therefore they will be like the morning cloud And like dew which soon disappears, Like chaff which is blown away from the threshing floor And like smoke from a chimney.
4 Yet I have been the Lord your God Since the land of Egypt; And you were not to know any god except Me, For there is no savior besides Me. 5 I cared for you in the wilderness, In the land of drought. 6 As they had their pasture, they became satisfied, And being satisfied, their heart became proud; Therefore they forgot Me. 7 So I will be like a lion to them; Like a leopard I will lie in wait by the wayside. 8 I will encounter them like a bear robbed of her cubs, And I will tear open their chests; There I will also devour them like a lioness, As a wild beast would tear them.
9 It is your destruction, O Israel, That you are against Me, against your help. 10 Where now is your king That he may save you in all your cities, And your judges of whom you requested, “Give me a king and princes”? 11 I gave you a king in My anger And took him away in My wrath.
12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; His sin is stored up. 13 The pains of childbirth come upon him; He is not a wise son, For it is not the time that he should delay at the opening of the womb. 14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight.
15 Though he flourishes among the reeds, An east wind will come, The wind of the Lord coming up from the wilderness; And his fountain will become dry And his spring will be dried up; It will plunder his treasury of every precious article. 16 Samaria will be held guilty, For she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, Their little ones will be dashed in pieces, And their pregnant women will be ripped open.
Israel’s Future Blessing
14 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 iniquity And receive us graciously, That we may present the fruit of our lips. 3 “Assyria will not save us, We will not ride on horses; Nor will we say again, ‘Our god,’ To the work of our hands; For in You the orphan finds mercy.”
4 I will heal their apostasy, I will love them freely, For My anger has turned away from them. 5 I will be like the dew to Israel; He will blossom like the lily, And he will take root like the cedars of Lebanon. 6 His shoots will sprout, And his beauty will be like the olive tree And his fragrance like the cedars of Lebanon. 7 Those who live in his shadow Will again raise grain, And they will blossom like the vine. His renown will be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, what more have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like a luxuriant 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 righteous will walk in them, But transgressors will stumble in them.
Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)