The Lord Is Against Israel
Ephraim is wasting its time; Israel “chases the wind” all day long. The people tell more and more lies and steal more and more. They have made agreements with Assyria, and they are carrying their olive oil to Egypt.
The LORD says, “I have a complaint against Israel.* Jacob must be punished for the bad things he did. While Jacob was still in his mother’s womb, he began to trick his brother. Jacob was a strong young man, and at that time he fought with God. Jacob wrestled with God’s angel and won. He cried and asked for a favor. That happened at Bethel. There he spoke to us. Yes, YAHWEH is the God of the armies.§ His name is YAHWEH. So come back to your God. Be loyal to him. Do the right thing, and always trust in your God!
“Jacob is a tricky merchant.* He even cheats his friend! Even his scales lie. Ephraim said, ‘I am rich! I have found true riches! No one will learn about my crimes. No one will learn about my sins.’
But I am still the LORD your God, as I was when you left the land of Egypt. I will make you live in tents, as you do during the Festival of Shelters. 10 I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions. I gave the prophets many ways to teach my lessons to you. 11 But the people in Gilead have sinned. There are many terrible idols in that place. They offer sacrifices to bulls at Gilgal. They have many altars. There are rows and rows of altars—like the rows of dirt in a plowed field.
12 “Jacob ran away to the land of Aram. There Israel worked for a wife. He kept sheep to get another wife. 13 But the LORD used a prophet and brought Israel out of Egypt. He used a prophet and kept Israel safe. 14 But Ephraim made the LORD very angry. Ephraim killed many people, so he will be punished for his crimes. His Lord will make him bear his shame.”
* 12:2 Israel Literally, “Judah.” 12:3 he … his brother Or “he grabbed his brother’s heel.” This is a wordplay. The Hebrew word is like the name “Jacob.” Read Genesis 25:26. 12:4 Jacob wrestled … and won Read Genesis 32:22-28. § 12:5 YAHWEH is the God of the armies This is like one of the names for God. It is usually translated “LORD All-Powerful.” * 12:7 Jacob … merchant Literally, “Cannan.” 12:7 scales Or “balances,” a tool for weighing things. 12:9 as … Shelters Literally, “as in the days of meeting.” This might also refer to the meeting of God with his people in the Holy Tent (see “Holy Tent” in the Word List) during their wandering in the desert.