The folly of Israel’s idolatry
1Israel is a growing vine
that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
the richer his land became,
the more he set up sacred standing stones.
2Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The LORD will break down their altars
and destroy their standing stones.
3For now they will say:
"We have no king,
because we don’t love the LORD.
What then could a king do for us?"
4They have spoken empty words,
swearing falsely when making covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field.
5The inhabitants of Samaria shake
because of the calf of Beth-aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
just as its idolatrous priests who rejoiced over its glory that is now gone.
Shame and punishment
6To Assyria it will be carried
as a gift for the great king.
Ephraim will be put to shame;
Israel will be ashamed of his own idol.
7Samaria will be cut off;
her king is like a chip of wood on the surface of the water.
8The sin of Israel, the shrines of Aven
will be torn down.
Thorn and thistle will sprout up
on their altars.
They will say to the mountains, "Cover us,"
to the hills, "Fall on us."
9Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel;
there they have continued.
Will not war overtake them in Gibeah?
10I will come and punish them;
nations will be gathered against them
when they are punished for their double crime.
11Ephraim was a trained cow that loved to pull a plow;
I spared her fair neck;
but I will make Ephraim break through the ground;
Judah will plow;
Jacob will turn the soil for himself.
12Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap faithful love;
break up your unplanted ground,
for it is time to seek the LORD,
that he may come
and rain righteousness upon you.
13You have plowed wickedness,
you have reaped depravity,
you have eaten the fruit of lies,
because you have trusted in your way
and in your many warriors.
14Therefore, the noise of war will rise against your people;
all your fortresses will be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed into pieces with their children.
15It will indeed happen to you, Bethel,
because of your great wickedness.
At dawn, the king of Israel will be cut off completely.