"I wanted to heal Israel, but its sins were far too great. Samaria is filled with liars, thieves, and bandits!
Its people don't realize I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them; I see them all!
The people make the king glad with their wickedness. The princes laugh about the people's many lies.
They are all adulterers, always aflame with lust. They are like an oven that is kept hot even while the baker is still kneading the dough.
"On royal holidays, the princes get drunk. The king makes a fool of himself and drinks with those who are making fun of him.
Their hearts blaze like a furnace with intrigue. Their plot smolders through the night, and in the morning it flames forth like a raging fire.
They kill their kings one after another, and no one cries out to me for help.
"My people of Israel a mingle with godless foreigners, picking up their evil ways. Now they have become as worthless as a half-baked cake!
Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don't even know it. Israel is like an old man with graying hair, unaware of how weak and old he has become.
His arrogance testifies against him, yet he doesn't return to the LORD his God or even try to find him.
"The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria.
But as they fly about, I will throw my net over them and bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will punish them for all their evil ways. b13
"How terrible it will be for my people who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have only spoken lies about me.
They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for crops and prosperity.
"I trained them and made them strong, yet now they plot evil against me.
They look everywhere except to heaven, to the Most High. They are like a crooked bow that always misses its target. Their leaders will be killed by their enemies because of their insolence toward me. Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.
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)