When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, the people shook with fear, for that tribe was important in Israel. But the people of Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal and thus sealed their destruction.
Now they continue to sin by making silver idols, 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 have been the LORD your God ever since I brought you out of Egypt. You must acknowledge 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, you became proud and forgot me.
So now I will attack you like a lion, like a leopard that lurks along the road.
Like a bear whose cubs have been taken away, I will tear out your heart. I will devour you like a hungry lioness and mangle you like a wild animal.
“You are about to be destroyed, O Israel— yes, by me, your only helper.
Now where is your king? Let him save you! Where are all the leaders of the land, the king and the officials you demanded of me?
In my anger I gave you kings, and in my fury I took them away.
“Ephraim’s guilt has been collected, and his sin has been stored up for punishment.
Pain has come to the people like the pain of childbirth, but they are like a child who resists being born. The moment of birth has arrived, but they stay in the womb!
“Should I ransom them from the grave ? Should I redeem them from death? O death, bring on your terrors! O grave, bring on your plagues! For I will not take pity on them.
Ephraim was the most fruitful of all his brothers, but the east wind—a blast from the LORD — will arise in the desert. All their flowing springs will run dry, and all their wells will disappear. Every precious thing they own 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.”