1when I am ready to heal Isra’el,
the crimes of Efrayim confront me,
along with the wickedness of Shomron.
For they keep practicing deceit;
thieves break in, bands of robbers raid outside.
2They never say to themselves
that I remember all their evil.
Now their own deeds surround them;
they are right in front of me.
3They make the king glad with their wickedness,
and the leaders with their lies.
4They are all adulterers,
like an oven heated by the baker,
who doesn’t stoke the fire
from kneading time till the dough has risen.
5“On their king’s special day
the leaders inflame him with wine,
and he joins hands with scorners,
6who ready themselves like an oven
while they wait for their chance.
Their baker sleeps through the night;
then in the morning it bursts into flame.
7They are all as hot as an oven,
and they devour their judges.
All their kings have fallen;
not one of them calls out to me.
8“Efrayim mixes himself with the peoples,
Efrayim has become a half-baked cake.
9Foreigners have eaten up his strength,
but he doesn’t know it;
yes, gray hairs appear on him here and there,
but he doesn’t know it.
10The pride of Isra’el testifies in his face,
but in spite of all this they haven’t returned
to Adonai their God or sought him.
11Efrayim behaves like a silly, foolish dove —
going to Egypt, then to Ashur for help.
12Even as they go, I will spread my net over them;
I will bring them down like birds from the sky;
I will discipline them, as their assembly was told.
13Woe to them! for they have strayed from me.
Destruction to them! for they have wronged me.
Am I supposed to redeem them,
when they have spoken lies against me?
14They have not cried out to me from their hearts,
even though they wail on their beds.
They assemble themselves for grain and wine,
yet turn away from me.
15It was I who trained and strengthened their arms,
yet they plot evil against me.
16They return, but not upward;
they are like an unreliable bow.
Their leaders will die by the sword
because of their angry talk.
They will become a laughingstock
in the land of Egypt.