Israel’s Riches Led to Its Worship of Idols
1Israel is like a vine
that grows plenty of fruit.
But as Israel got more and more things,
he built more and more altars to honor false gods.
His land became better and better,
so he put up better and better stones to honor false gods.
2The people of Israel tried to trick God,
but now they must accept their guilt.
He will break down their altars
and destroy their memorial stones.
The Evil Decisions of the Israelites
3Now the Israelites say, “We have no king. We don’t honor the Lord. And his king cannot do anything to us.”
4They make promises, but they are only telling lies. They don’t keep their promises. They make agreements with other countries. God does not like those agreements. The judges are like poisonous weeds growing in a plowed field.
5The people from Samaria worship the calves at Beth Aven.#10:5 Beth Aven A name meaning “House of Evil.” It is a wordplay on the name “Bethel,” a name meaning “House of God.” There was a temple in this town. They will cry. The priests will cry, because their beautiful idol is gone. It was carried away. 6It was carried away as a gift to the great king of Assyria. He will keep Ephraim’s shameful idol. Israel will be ashamed of its idol.#10:6 idol Or “advice.” 7Samaria’s false god#10:7 false god Or “king.” will be destroyed. It will be like a piece of wood floating away on the water’s surface.
8Israel sinned and built many high places. The high places of Aven#10:8 high places of Aven Aven means “evil” or “wickedness.” This probably means the temple and other places of worship at Bethel. will be destroyed. Thorns and weeds will grow on their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
Israel Will Pay for Sin
9“Israel, you have sinned since the time of Gibeah. (And the people have continued to sin there.) Those evil people at Gibeah will be trapped by war. 10I will come to punish them. Armies will come together against them and punish the Israelites for both of their sins.#10:10 This probably refers to worship at Gibeah and Beth Aven.
11“Ephraim is like a trained young cow that loves to walk on grain on the threshing floor. I will put a good yoke on her neck. I will put the ropes on Ephraim. Then Judah will begin plowing. Jacob will break the ground himself.”
12If you plant goodness, you will harvest faithful love. Plow your ground, and you will harvest with the Lord. He will come, and he will make goodness fall on you like rain.
13But you planted evil, and you harvested trouble. You ate the fruit of your lies, because you had trusted in your power and your soldiers. 14So your armies will hear the noise of battle, and all your fortresses will be destroyed. It will be like the time Shalman#10:14 Shalman This is probably Shalmaneser, king of Assyria. destroyed Beth Arbel. At that time of war, mothers were killed with their children. 15And this will happen to you at Bethel, because you did so many evil things. When that day begins, the king of Israel will be fully destroyed.