Israel Has Ruined Itself
1 “The tribe of Ephraim made itself very important in Israel. Ephraim spoke and people shook with fear. But Ephraim sinned by worshiping Baal, so he must die.
2 Now the Israelites sin more and more. They make idols for themselves. Workers make those fancy statues from silver, and then they talk to their statues. They offer sacrifices to them, and they kiss those calf idols.
3 That is why those people will soon disappear. They will be like a fog that comes early in the morning and then quickly disappears. The Israelites will be like chaff that is blown from the threshing floor. The Israelites will be like smoke that goes out a window and disappears.
4 “I have been the LORD your God since the time you were in the land of Egypt. You did not know any other god except me. I am the one who saved you.
5 I knew you in the desert—I knew you in that dry land.
6 I gave food to the Israelites, and they ate it. They became full and satisfied. They became proud, and then they forgot me.
7 “That is why I will be like a lion to them. I will be like a leopard waiting by the road.
8 I will attack them like a bear whose cubs were robbed from her. I will attack them and rip open their chests. I will be like a lion or other wild animal tearing and eating its prey.
Israel Cannot Be Saved
From God’s Anger
9 “Israel, I helped you, but you turned against me. So now I will destroy you.
10 Where is your king? Can he save you in any of your cities? Where are your judges? You asked for them, saying, ‘Give me a king and leaders.’
11 I was angry, and I gave you a king. And when I became very angry, I took him away.
12 “Ephraim tried to hide his guilt.
He thought his sins were a secret,
but he will be punished.
13 His punishment will be like the pain of a woman giving birth.
He will not be a wise son.
The time will come for his birth,
and he will not survive.
14 “I will save them from the grave.
I will rescue them from death.
Death, where are your diseases?
Grave, where is your power?
I am not looking for revenge.
15 Israel grows among his brothers,
but a powerful east wind will come—the LORD’S wind will blow from the desert.
Then his well will dry up.
His spring of water will be dry.
The wind will take away anything of value.
16 Samaria must be punished
because she turned against her God.
The Israelites will be killed with swords.
Their children will be torn to pieces,
and their pregnant women will be ripped open.”