When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like birds of the air. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them.
Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak lies against me.
They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds. They gather together for grain and new wine but turn away from me.
I trained them and strengthened them, but they plot evil against me.
They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt.
"Put the trumpet to your lips! An eagle is over the house of the LORD because the people have broken my covenant and rebelled against my law.
Israel cries out to me, 'O our God, we acknowledge you!'
But Israel has rejected what is good; an enemy will pursue him.
They set up kings without my consent; they choose princes without my approval. With their silver and gold they make idols for themselves to their own destruction.
Throw out your calf-idol, O Samaria! My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of purity?
They are from Israel! This calf--a craftsman has made it; it is not God. It will be broken in pieces, that calf of Samaria.
"They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no head; it will produce no flour. Were it to yield grain, foreigners would swallow it up.
Israel is swallowed up; now she is among the nations like a worthless thing.
For they have gone up to Assyria like a wild donkey wandering alone. Ephraim has sold herself to lovers.
Although they have sold themselves among the nations, I will now gather them together. They will begin to waste away under the oppression of the mighty king.
"Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings, these have become altars for sinning.
I wrote for them the many things of my law, but they regarded them as something alien.
They offer sacrifices given to me and they eat the meat, but the LORD is not pleased with them. Now he will remember their wickedness and punish their sins: They will return to Egypt.
Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces; Judah has fortified many towns. But I will send fire upon their cities that will consume their fortresses."
Do not rejoice, O Israel; do not be jubilant like the other nations. For you have been unfaithful to your God; you love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor.
Threshing floors and winepresses will not feed the people; the new wine will fail them.
They will not remain in the LORD's land; Ephraim will return to Egypt and eat unclean food in Assyria.
They will not pour out wine offerings to the LORD, nor will their sacrifices please him. Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners; all who eat them will be unclean. This food will be for themselves; it will not come into the temple of the LORD.
What will you do on the day of your appointed feasts, on the festival days of the LORD?
Even if they escape from destruction, Egypt will gather them, and Memphis will bury them. Their treasures of silver will be taken over by briers, and thorns will overrun their tents.
The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired man a maniac.
The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God.
They have sunk deep into corruption, as in the days of Gibeah. God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.
"When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your fathers, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree. But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved.
Ephraim's glory will fly away like a bird-- no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.
Even if they rear children, I will bereave them of every one. Woe to them when I turn away from them!
I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place. But Ephraim will bring out their children to the slayer."
Give them, O LORD-- what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry.
"Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious.
Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring."
My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him; they will be wanderers among the nations.
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.
Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.
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?"
They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven. Its 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.