1whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed
and the crimes of Samaria revealed.
They practise deceit,
thieves break into houses,
bandits rob in the streets;
2but they do not realise
that I remember all their evil deeds.
Their sins engulf them;
they are always before me.
3‘They delight the king with their wickedness,
the princes with their lies.
4They are all adulterers,
burning like an oven
whose fire the baker need not stir
from the kneading of the dough till it rises.
5On the day of the festival of our king
the princes become inflamed with wine,
and he joins hands with the mockers.
6Their hearts are like an oven;
they approach him with intrigue.
Their passion smoulders all night;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
7All of them are hot as an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All their kings fall,
and none of them calls on me.
8‘Ephraim mixes with the nations;
Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.
9Foreigners sap his strength,
but he does not realise it.
His hair is sprinkled with grey,
but he does not notice.
10Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him.
11‘Ephraim is like a dove,
easily deceived and senseless –
now calling to Egypt,
now turning to Assyria.
12When they go, I will throw my net over them;
I will pull them down like the birds in the sky.
When I hear them flocking together,
I will catch them.
13Woe 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 about me falsely.
14They do not cry out to me from their hearts
but wail on their beds.
They slash themselves,#7:14 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts They gather together appealing to their gods
for grain and new wine,
but they turn away from me.
15I trained them and strengthened their arms,
but they plot evil against me.
16They 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.