Retribution for Israel’s Sin
1 Israel was a luxuriant vine,
yielding fruit for himself.
The more his fruit increased,
the more he increased the altars.
The better his land produced,
the better he made the sacred pillars.
2 Their hearts are devious;
now they must bear their guilt.
The LORD will break down their altars
and demolish their sacred pillars.
3 Surely now they will say,
“We have no king,
for we do not revere the LORD.
What can a king do for us?”
4 They speak mere words;
with false oaths they make covenants.
So judgment springs up
like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a field.
5 The people of Samaria will fear
for the calf of Beth-aven. a
Indeed, its people will mourn
with its idolatrous priests—
those who rejoiced in its glory—
for it has been taken from them into exile.
6 Yes, it will be carried to Assyria
as tribute to the great king. b
Ephraim c will be seized with shame;
Israel will be ashamed of its wooden idols. d
7 Samaria will be carried off with her king
it is the sin of Israel;
thorns and thistles will overgrow their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!” f
9 Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel,
and there you have remained.
Did not the battle in Gibeah
overtake the sons of iniquity? g
10 I will chasten them when I please;
nations will be gathered against them
to put them in bondage
for their double transgression.
11 Ephraim is a well-trained heifer that loves to thresh;
but I will place a yoke on her fair neck.
I will harness Ephraim, Judah will plow,
and Jacob will break the hard ground.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness
and reap the fruit of loving devotion;
break up your unplowed ground.
For it is time to seek the LORD
until He comes and sends righteousness
upon you like rain.
13 You have plowed wickedness and reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your mighty men,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
so that all your fortresses will be demolished
as Shalman devastated Beth-arbel
in the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to pieces
along with their children.
15 Thus it will be done to you, O Bethel,
because of your great wickedness.
When the day dawns,
the king of Israel will be utterly cut off.
5 a Beth-aven means house of wickedness . This is a derogatory term for Bethel, which means house of God ; see 1 Kings 12:28–29.
6 b Or to King Jareb
6 c That is, the northern kingdom of Israel; also in verse 11
6 d Or of its own counsel
8 e Or of wickedness ; Aven is a reference to Beth-aven (a derogatory term for Bethel); see verse 5.
8 f Cited in Luke 23:30; see also Revelation 6:16.
9 g Or Did not the battle overtake the sons of iniquity in Gibeah?