1The LORD said to me, "Put a trumpet to your lips! Give a warning to my people! Assyria is like an eagle. It is ready to attack my land. My people have broken the covenant I made with them. They have refused to obey my law.2Israel shouts to me, 'We recognize you as our God!'3But they have turned away from what is good. So an enemy will chase them.4My people appoint kings I do not want. They choose princes without my permission. They use their silver and gold to make statues of gods. That is how they destroy themselves."5The LORD says, "People of Samaria, throw out your god that looks like a calf! My anger burns against you. How long will it be until you are able to remain faithful to me?6Your calf is not God. A skilled worker from Israel made it. But it will be broken to pieces."7The LORD says, "Worshiping other gods is like worshiping the wind. It is like planting worthless seeds. Assyria is like a windstorm. That is all my people will harvest. There are no heads of grain on the stems that will come up. So they will not produce any flour. Even if they did produce grain, the Assyrians would eat all of it up.8So the people of Israel are swallowed up. Now they are like a worthless pot to me among the nations.9They have gone up to Assyria for help. They are like a wild donkey that wanders around by itself. Ephraim's people have sold themselves to their Assyrian lovers.10They have sold themselves to the nations to get their help. But now I will gather them together. They will get weaker and weaker. The mighty kings of Assyria will crush them.11"Ephraim built many altars where they sacrificed sin offerings to other gods. So their altars have become places where they commit sin.12I wrote down many things in my law for their good. But they considered my laws as something strange.13They offer sacrifices to me. They eat the meat of the animals they bring. But I am not pleased with any of that. I will remember the evil things they have done. I will punish them for their sins. And they will return to Egypt.14Israel has forgotten the One who made them. They have built palaces for themselves. Judah has built forts in many towns. But I will send fire down on their cities. It will burn up their forts."
1Israel, don't be joyful. Don't be glad as the other nations are. You haven't been faithful to your God. You love to get paid for being a prostitute. Your pay is the grain at every threshing floor.2But soon there won't be any grain or wine to feed you. There won't even be any fresh wine.3You won't remain in the LORD's land. Ephraim, you will return to Egypt. You will eat "unclean" food in Assyria.4You won't pour out wine offerings to the Lord. Your sacrifices won't please him. They'll be like the bread people eat when someone dies. Everyone who eats those sacrifices will be "unclean." They themselves will have to eat that kind of food. They can't bring it into the LORD's temple.5What will you do when your appointed feasts come? What will you do on the LORD's special days?6Some of you will escape without being destroyed. But you will die in Egypt. Your bodies will be buried at Memphis. Weeds will cover your treasures of silver. Thorns will grow up in your tents.7The time when God will punish you is coming. The day when he will judge you is near. I want you to know that. You have committed many sins. And you hate me very much. That's why you think I'm foolish. You think I'm crazy. But the LORD speaks through me.8People of Ephraim, I'm a true prophet. My God is warning you through me. But you set traps for me everywhere I go. You hate me so much you even wait for me in God's house.9You have sunk very deep into sin, just as our people did at Gibeah long ago. God will remember the evil things you have done. He will punish you for your sins.10The LORD says, "When I first found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert. When I saw your people long ago, it was like seeing the early fruit on a fig tree. But then they went to Baal Peor. There they gave themselves to that shameful god Baal. They became as evil as the god they loved.11Ephraim's greatness and glory will be gone. It will fly away like a bird. Women will no longer have children. They will not be able to get pregnant.12But suppose they do have children. Then I will kill every one of them. How terrible it will be for them when I turn away from them!"13Tyre is planted in a pleasant place. And so is Ephraim. But the Assyrians will kill Ephraim's children.14Lord, what should you do to Ephraim's people? Give them women whose babies die before they are born. Give them women whose breasts don't have any milk.15The LORD says, "My people did many evil things in Gilgal. That is why I hated them there. They committed many sins. So I will drive them out of my land. I will not love them anymore. All of their leaders refuse to obey me.16Ephraim is like a worthless plant. Its roots are dried up. It does not produce any fruit. Suppose Ephraim's people have children. Then I will kill the children they love so much."17My God will turn his back on his people. They have not obeyed him. So they will wander among other nations.
1Israel was like a spreading vine. They produced fruit for themselves. As they grew more fruit, they built more altars. As their land became richer, they made the sacred stones they worshiped more beautiful.2Their hearts are dishonest. So now they must pay for their sins. The LORD will tear their altars down. He'll destroy their sacred stones.3Then they'll say, "We don't have a king. That's because we didn't have any respect for the Lord. But suppose we did have a king. What could he do for us?"4They make a lot of promises. They make agreements among themselves. They take oaths they don't mean to keep. So court cases spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.5The people who live in Samaria are filled with fear. They are afraid their god that looks like a calf will be carried off from Bethel. They will sob over it. So will the priests who lead them to worship it. The priests were full of joy because their statue was so glorious. But it will be captured and taken far away from them.6It will be carried off to Assyria. The people of Ephraim will be forced to give it to the great king. They will be dishonored. Israel will be ashamed that all they have left to worship is a wooden god.7Samaria's king will be carried off. He will be like a twig floating away in a river.8The high places where Israel worshiped other gods will be destroyed. That's where they sinned against the Lord. Thorns and weeds will grow up there. They will cover the altars. Then the people will say to the mountains, "Cover us!" They'll say to the hills, "Fall on us!"9The LORD says, "Israel, you have done evil things ever since your people sinned at Gibeah long ago. And you are still doing what is evil. War caught up with those who sinned at Gibeah.10So I will punish you when I want to. Nations will gather together to fight against you. They will put you in chains because you have committed so many sins.11Ephraim, you were like a well-trained young cow. It loved to thresh grain. I spared its pretty neck from pulling heavy loads. But now I will make you do hard work. Judah also must plow. So all of the people of Jacob must break up the ground.12Your hearts are as hard as a field that has not been plowed. If you change your ways, you will produce good crops. So plant the seeds of doing what is right. Then you will harvest the fruit of your faithful love. It is time to turn to me. When you do, I will come and shower my blessings on you.13But you have planted the seeds of doing what is wrong. So you have harvested the fruit of your evil conduct. You have had to eat the fruit of your lies. You have trusted in your own strength. You have depended on your many soldiers.14But the roar of battle will come against you. All of your forts will be completely destroyed. It will happen just as Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in a battle. Mothers and their children were smashed on the ground.15People of Bethel, that will happen to you. You have committed far too many sins. When the time for me to punish you comes, your king will be completely destroyed."
1The LORD continues, "When Israel was a young nation, I loved them. I chose to bring my son out of Egypt.2But the more I called out to Israel, the further they went away from me. They brought sacrifices to the statues of the gods that were named after Baal. And they burned incense to them.3I taught Israel to walk. I took them up in my arms. But they did not realize I was the one who took care of them.4I led them with kindness and love. I did not lead them with ropes. I lifted the heavy loads from their shoulders. I bent down and fed them.5"But they refuse to turn away from their sins. So they will return to Egypt. And Assyria will rule over them.6Swords will flash in their cities. The heavy metal bars on their gates will be destroyed. Their plans will come to an end.7My people have made up their minds to turn away from me. Even if they call out to me, I will certainly not honor them. I am the Most High God."8The LORD continues, "People of Ephraim, how can I give you up? Israel, how can I hand you over to your enemies? Can I destroy you as I did the town of Admah? Can I treat you like Zeboiim? My heart is stirred inside me. It is filled with pity for you.9My anger will not burn against you anymore. I will not completely destroy you. After all, I am God. I am not a mere man. I am the Holy One among you. My burning anger will not come against you.10I will roar like a lion against my enemies. You will follow me. When I roar, my children will come home trembling with fear. You will return from the west.11You will come trembling like birds from Egypt. You will return like doves from Assyria. I will settle you again in your homes," announces the Lord.12The people of Ephraim tell nothing but lies. Israel has not been honest with me. And Judah continues to wander away from God. They have deserted the faithful Holy One.
1The people of Ephraim look to others for help. It's like chasing the wind. The wind they keep chasing is hot and dry. They tell more and more lies. They are always hurting others. They make a peace treaty with Assyria. They send olive oil to Egypt to get help.2The LORD is bringing charges against Judah. He will punish Jacob's people because of how they act. He'll pay them back for the evil things they've done.3Even before Jacob was born, he was holding on to his brother's heel. When he became a man, he struggled with God.4At Peniel he struggled with the angel and won. He sobbed and begged for his blessing. God also met with him at Bethel. He talked with him there.5He is the LORD God who rules over all. He wants us to remember that his name is The Lord.6People of Jacob, you must return to your God. You must hold on to love and do what is fair. You must trust in your God always.7You are like a trader who uses dishonest scales. You love to cheat others.8People of Ephraim, you brag, "We are very rich. We've become wealthy. And no one can prove we sinned to gain all of this wealth."9The LORD says, "I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt. But I will make you live in tents again. That is what you did when you celebrated the Feast of Booths in the desert.10I spoke to the prophets. They saw many visions. I gave you warnings through them."11The people of Gilead are evil! They aren't worth anything! Gilgal's people sacrifice bulls to other gods. Their altars will become like piles of stones on a plowed field.12Jacob ran away to the country of Aram. There Israel served Laban to get a wife. He took care of sheep to pay for her.13The prophet Moses brought Israel up from Egypt. The LORD used him to take care of them.14But Ephraim's people have made the LORD very angry. Their Lord will hold them accountable for the blood they've spilled. He'll pay them back for the shameful things they've done.
1When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the other tribes trembled with fear. Ephraim was honored in Israel. But its people sinned by worshiping Baal. So they were as good as dead.2Now they sin more and more. They use their silver to make statues of gods for themselves. The statues come from their own clever ideas. Skilled workers make all of them. The people pray to those gods. They offer human sacrifices to them. They kiss the gods that look like calves.3So those people will vanish like the morning mist. They will soon disappear like the early dew. They will be like straw that the wind blows around on a threshing floor. They will be like smoke that escapes through a window.4The LORD says, "People of Israel, I am the LORD your God. I brought you out of Egypt. You must not recognize any God but me. You must not have any Savior except me.5I took care of you in the desert. It was a land of burning heat.6I fed you until you were satisfied. Then you became proud. You forgot all about me.7So I will leap on you like a lion. I will hide and wait beside the road like a leopard.8I will attack you like a bear that is robbed of her cubs. I will rip you wide open. Like a lion I will eat you up. Like a wild animal I will tear you apart.9"Israel, you will be destroyed. I helped you. But you turned against me.10Where is your king? Wasn't he supposed to save you? Where are the rulers in all of your towns? You said, 'Give us a king and princes.'11So I became angry and gave you a king. Then I took him away from you.12Ephraim, your guilt is piling up. I am keeping a record of all of your sins.13You will suffer pain like a woman having a baby. You are like a foolish child. It is time for you to be born. But you refuse to come out of your mother's body.14"I will set you free from the power of the grave. I will save you from death. Death, where are your plagues? Grave, where is your power to destroy? "Ephraim, I will no longer pity you.15Even though you are doing well among the other tribes, trouble will come to you. I will send a hot and dry wind from the east. It will blow in from the desert. Your springs will not have any water. Your wells will dry up. All of your treasures will be taken out of your storerooms.16People of Samaria, you must pay for your sins. You have refused to obey me. You will be killed with swords. Your little children will be smashed on the ground. Your pregnant women will be ripped wide open."
1Israel, return to the LORD your God. Your sins have destroyed you!2Tell the LORD you are turning away from your sins. Return to him. Say to him, "Forgive us for all of our sins. Please be kind to us. Welcome us back to you. Then our lips will offer you our praise.3Assyria can't save us. We won't trust in our war horses. Our own hands have made statues of gods. But we will never call them our gods again. We are like children whose fathers have died. But you show us your tender love."4Then the LORD will answer, "My people always wander away from me. But I will put an end to that. My anger has turned away from them. Now I will love them freely.5I will be like the dew to Israel. They will bloom like a lily. They will send their roots down deep like a cedar tree in Lebanon.6They will spread out like new branches. They will be as beautiful as an olive tree. They will smell as sweet as the cedar trees in Lebanon.7Once again my people will live in the safety of my shade. They will grow like grain. They will bloom like vines. And they will be as famous as wine from Lebanon.8Ephraim will have nothing more to do with other gods. I will answer the prayers of my people. I will take good care of them. I will be like a green pine tree to them. All of the fruit they bear will come from me."9If you are wise, you will realize that what I've said is true. If you have understanding, you will know what it means. The ways of the LORD are right. People who are right with God live the way he wants them to. But those who refuse to obey him trip and fall.