The Final Word Against Israel
1People used to fear the tribe of Ephraim;
they were important people in Israel.
But they sinned by worshiping Baal,
so they must die.
2But they still keep on sinning more and more.
They make idols of their silver,
idols that are cleverly made,
the work of a craftsman.
Yet the people of Israel say to each other,
“Kiss those calf idols and sacrifice to them.”
3So those people will be like the morning mist;
they will disappear like the morning dew.
They will be like chaff blown from the threshing floor,
like smoke going out a window.
4“I, the Lord, have been your God
since you were in the land of Egypt.
You should have known no other God except me.
I am the only one who saves.
5I cared for them in the desert
where it was hot and dry.
6I gave them food, and they became full and satisfied.
But then they became too proud and forgot me.
7That is why I will be like a lion to them,
like a leopard waiting by the road.
8I will attack like a bear robbed of her cubs,
ripping their bodies open.
I will devour them like a lion
and tear them apart like a wild animal.
9“Israel, I will destroy you.
Who will be your helper then?
10What good is your king?
Can he save you in any of your towns?
What good are your leaders?
You said, ‘Give us a king and leaders.’
11So I gave you a king, but only in anger,
and I took him away in my great anger.
12The sins of Israel are on record,
stored away, waiting for punishment.
13The pain of birth will come for him,
but he is like a foolish baby
who won’t come out of its mother’s womb.
14Will I save them from the place of the dead?
Will I rescue them from death?
Where is your sickness, death?
Where is your pain, place of death?
I will show them no mercy.
15Israel is doing well among the nations,
but the Lord will send a wind from the east,
coming from the desert,
that will dry up his springs and wells of water.
He will destroy from their treasure houses everything of value.
16The nation of Israel will be ruined,
because it fought against God.
The people of Israel will die in war;
their children will be torn to pieces,
and their pregnant women will be ripped open.”
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