The Leaders Cause Israel and Judah to Sin
1“Priests, nation#5:1 nation Literally, “house.” This might mean the royal family of that country. Also in verse 14. of Israel, and people in the king’s family, listen to me. You have been judged guilty!
“You were like a trap at Mizpah#5:1 Mizpah A mountain in Israel. The people worshiped the false gods on many of the hills and mountains. and like a net spread on the ground at Tabor.#5:1 Tabor A mountain in Israel. 2You have done many evil things,#5:2 You … evil things The Hebrew text here is hard to understand. It seems to be a wordplay of some kind. so I will punish you all. 3I know Ephraim. I know what Israel has done. Ephraim, right now you act like a prostitute. Israel is dirty with sin. 4The people of Israel have done many evil things, and these evil things keep them from coming back to their God. They are always thinking of ways to chase after other gods. They don’t know the Lord. 5Israel’s pride is a witness against them,#5:5 them Literally, “his face.” so Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their sin. But Judah will also stumble with them.
6“The leaders of the people went to look for the Lord. They took their sheep and cattle with them, but they did not find the Lord because he refused to accept them. 7They have not been faithful to the Lord. Their children are from some stranger. And now, he will destroy them and their land again.#5:7 And now … again The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
A Prophecy of Israel’s Destruction
8“Blow the horn in Gibeah.
Blow the trumpet in Ramah.#5:8 Gibeah, Ramah Cities on Judah’s border with Israel.
Give the warning at Beth Aven.
The enemy is behind you, Benjamin.
9Ephraim will become empty
at the time of punishment.
I, God, warn the families of Israel
that this really will happen.
10The leaders of Judah are like thieves trying to steal someone’s property,
so I will pour out my anger on them like water.
11Ephraim will be punished.
He will be crushed and pressed like grapes,
because he decided to follow filth.
12I will destroy Ephraim as a moth eats a piece of cloth.
I will ruin Judah, like rot on a piece of wood.
13Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound,
so they went to Assyria for help.
They told their problems to the great king,
but he cannot heal you or cure your wound.
14I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a young lion to the nation of Judah.
I—yes, I myself—will rip them to pieces.
I will carry them away,
and no one can save them.
15I will go back to my place,
until the people admit they are guilty,
until they come looking for me.
Yes, in their trouble they will try very hard to find me.”