Israel’s Love for Wickedness
1“I want to heal Israel,# Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel; also in 7:8, 11. but its sins are too great.
Samaria is filled with liars.
Thieves are on the inside
and bandits on the outside!
2Its people don’t realize
that I am watching them.
Their sinful deeds are all around them,
and I see them all.
3“The people entertain the king with their wickedness,
and the princes laugh at their lies.
4They are all adulterers,
always aflame with lust.
They are like an oven that is kept hot
while the baker is kneading the dough.
5On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine,
carousing with those who mock them.
6Their hearts are like an oven
blazing with intrigue.
Their plot smolders# Hebrew Their baker sleeps. through the night,
and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire.
7Burning like an oven,
they consume their leaders.
They kill their kings one after another,
and no one cries to me for help.
8“The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners,
making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!
9Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength,
but they don’t even know it.
Their hair is gray,
but they don’t realize they’re old and weak.
10Their arrogance testifies against them,
yet they don’t return to the Lord their God
or even try to find him.
11“The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves,
first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help.
12But as they fly about,
I will throw my net over them
and bring them down like a bird from the sky.
I will punish them for all the evil they do.# Hebrew I will punish them because of what was reported against them in the assembly.
13“What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me!
Let them die, for they have rebelled against me.
I wanted to redeem them,
but they have told lies about me.
14They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts.
Instead, they sit on their couches and wail.
They cut themselves,# As in Greek version; Hebrew reads They gather together. begging foreign gods for grain and new wine,
and they turn away from me.
15I trained them and made them strong,
yet now they plot evil against me.
16They look everywhere except to the Most High.
They are as useless as a crooked bow.
Their leaders will be killed by their enemies
because of their insolence toward me.
Then the people of Egypt
will laugh at them.