Ephraim tries to herd the wind, chasing after the east wind all day long. Their lies and violence keep on increasing. They make a treaty with Assyria, and send olive oil to Egypt.* The Lord also has an accusation against Judah, and will punish Jacob for the way the people act; he will repay them for what they have done. Even in the womb he fought with his brother; when he became a man he fought with God. He fought with the angel, and he won. He wept, and begged him for a blessing. Jacob found God at Bethel, and spoke with him there the Lord God Almighty, the Lord is his memorable name! You must return to your God. Act lovingly and do what is right, and always wait for your God.
A merchant who holds in his hands dishonest scales loves to swindle. Ephraim says, “I'm rich! I've made myself wealthy! I've made so much from my work, and nobody can prove me guilty of doing wrong.”
But I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt. I will make you live again in tents like you do at the time of that particular festival.
10 I spoke through the prophets. I myself gave many visions and parables through the prophets.
11 If Gilead is idolatrous,§ they will surely come to nothing. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls. Even their altars are like heaps of rocks in the furrows of the field.*
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram; Israel worked there to gain a wife, earning a wife by looking after sheep. 13 Through a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt, and by a prophet they were cared for.§
14 Ephraim has really upset the Lord, and the Lord will let them have the consequences of their bloodshed and pay them back for their contempt.
* 12:1 In other words, while making a treaty with Assyria they are covering their options by trying to gain support from Egypt as well by sending supplies of olive oil. 12:3 Literally, “he grasped his brother's heel.” 12:9 This refers to the Festival of Tabernacles where the people lived outside in tents or shelters for a week to remember their journey through the wilderness. § 12:11 The word used here is the same as in Beth-aven, the parody name for Bethel, signifying the worship of idols who are truly worthless, they are nothing. * 12:11 This verse suggests mixed worship that merged idols with the true God. Like rocks in a ploughed field, this was barrier to knowing the true God. 12:12 Israel was the new name God gave to Jacob. 12:13 The prophet referenced here is Moses. § 12:13 The same word is used for Jacob looking after sheep and the Lord looking after Israel through Moses.