Time’s up. Doom’s at the doorstep.
Did Israel bluster, “The prophet is crazy!
The ‘man of the Spirit’ is nuts!”?
Think again. Because of your great guilt,
you’re in big trouble.
The prophet is looking out for Ephraim,
working under God’s orders.
But everyone is trying to trip him up.
He’s hated right in God’s house, of all places.
The people are going from bad to worse,
rivaling that ancient and unspeakable crime at Gibeah.
God’s keeping track of their guilt.
He’ll make them pay for their sins.
“Long ago when I came upon Israel,
it was like finding grapes out in the desert.
When I found your ancestors, it was like finding
a fig tree bearing fruit for the first time.
But when they arrived at Baal-peor, that pagan shrine,
they took to sin like a pig to filth,
wallowing in the mud with their newfound friends.
Ephraim is fickle and scattered, like a flock of blackbirds,
their beauty dissipated in confusion and clamor,
Frenetic and noisy, frigid and barren,
and nothing to show for it—neither conception nor childbirth.
Even if they did give birth, I’d declare them
unfit parents and take away their children!
Yes indeed—a black day for them
when I turn my back and walk off!
I see Ephraim letting his children run wild.
He might just as well take them and kill them outright!”