In the past when the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the people shook with fear because the other Israelite tribes looked up to them. But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal and thus sealed their destruction.
Now they keep on sinning by making silver idols to worship -- images shaped skillfully with human hands. "Sacrifice to these," they cry, "and kiss the calf idols!"
Therefore, they will disappear like the morning mist, like dew in the morning sun, like chaff blown by the wind, like smoke from a chimney.
"I am the LORD your God, who rescued you from your slavery in Egypt. You have no God but me, for there is no other savior.
I took care of you in the wilderness, in that dry and thirsty land.
But when you had eaten and were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot me.
So now I will attack you like a lion, or like a leopard that lurks along the road.
I will rip you to pieces like a bear whose cubs have been taken away. I will tear you apart and devour you like a hungry lion.
"You are about to be destroyed, O Israel, though I am your helper.
Where now is a your king? Why don't you call on him for help? Where are all the leaders of the land? You asked for them, now let them save you!
In my anger I gave you kings, and in my fury I took them away.
"The sins of Ephraim have been collected and stored away for punishment.
The people have been offered new birth, but they are like a child who resists being born. How stubborn they are! How foolish!
Should I ransom them from the grave? Should I redeem them from death? O death, bring forth your terrors! O grave, bring forth your plagues! For I will not relent!
Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers, but the east wind -- a blast from the LORD -- will arise in the desert. It will blow hard against the people of Ephraim, drying up their land. All their flowing springs and wells will disappear. Every precious thing they have will be plundered and carried away.
The people of Samaria must bear the consequences of their guilt because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed by an invading army, their little ones dashed to death against the ground, their pregnant women ripped open by swords."
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)