1 Israel was a spreading vine; he brought forth fruit for himself. As his fruit increased, he built more altars; as his land prospered, he adorned his sacred stones.
2 Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.
3 Then they will say, “We have no king because we did not revere the LORD. But even if we had a king, what could he do for us?”
4 They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
5 The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.aIts people will mourn over it, and so will its idolatrous priests, those who had rejoiced over its splendor, because it is taken from them into exile.
6 It will be carried to Assyria as tribute for the great king. Ephraim will be disgraced; Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
7 Samaria’s king will be destroyed, swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
8 The high places of wickednessb will be destroyed— it is the sin of Israel. Thorns and thistles will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 “Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel, and there you have remained.cWill not war again overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her fair neck. I will drive Ephraim, Judah must plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.