"Blow the trumpet! Sound the alarm! Vultures are circling over God's people Who have broken my covenant and defied my revelation.
Predictably, Israel cries out, 'My God! We know you!' But they don't act like it.
Israel will have nothing to do with what's good, and now the enemy is after them.
"They crown kings, but without asking me. They set up princes but don't let me in on it. Instead, they make idols, using silver and gold, idols that will be their ruin.
Throw that gold calf-god on the trash heap, Samaria! I'm seething with anger against that rubbish! How long before they shape up?
And they're Israelites! A sculptor made that thing - it's not God. That Samaritan calf will be broken to bits.
Look at them! Planting wind-seeds, they'll harvest tornadoes. Wheat with no head produces no flour. And even if it did, strangers would gulp it down.
Israel is swallowed up and spit out. Among the pagans they're a piece of junk.
They trotted off to Assyria: Why, even wild donkeys stick to their own kind, but donkey-Ephraim goes out and pays to get lovers.
Now, because of their whoring life among the pagans, I'm going to gather them together and confront them. They're going to reap the consequences soon, feel what it's like to be oppressed by the big king.
"Ephraim has built a lot of altars, and then uses them for sinning. Can you believe it? Altars for sinning!
I write out my revelation for them in detail and they pretend they can't read it.
They offer sacrifices to me and then they feast on the meat. God is not pleased! I'm fed up - I'll keep remembering their guilt. I'll punish their sins and send them back to Egypt.
Israel has forgotten his Maker and gotten busy making palaces. Judah has gone in for a lot of fortress cities. I'm sending fire on their cities to burn down their fortifications."
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)