Retribution for Israel’s Sin
1Israel is a luxuriant and prolific vine;
He produces fruit for himself.
The more his fruit,
The more altars he made [to Baal];
The richer his land,
The better he made the [idolatrous] pillars.
2Their heart is divided (faithless);
Now they must bear their guilt and punishment.
The Lord will break down [the horns of] their altars;
He will destroy their idolatrous pillars.
3Surely now they will say [in despair], “We have no [true] king,
For we do not revere the Lord;
And as for the king, what can he do for us [to rescue us]?”
4They have spoken empty (disingenuous) words,
Swearing falsely to make covenants [they intend to break];
Therefore, judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.
5The people of Samaria will fear and tremble
For the [idolatrous] calf of Beth-aven (House of Wickedness).
Indeed, its people will mourn over it
And its idolatrous priests will cry out and wail over it,
Over its glory, because the glory [of their calf god] has departed from it.
6The golden calf itself will be carried to Assyria
As tribute to King Jareb;
Ephraim will be seized with shame
And Israel will be ashamed of his own counsel [to worship the calf and separate Israel from Judah].
7As for Samaria, her king will be cut off and float away
Like a twig on the surface of the water.
8Also the high places of Aven (Beth-aven), the sin of Israel, will be destroyed;
The thorn and the thistle will grow on their [pagan] altars,
And [in despair] they will say to the mountains,
“Cover us!” And to the hills, “Fall on us!”
9O Israel, you have [willfully] sinned since the days of Gibeah;
There they (Israel) stand!
Will not the battle against the sons of wickedness overtake them at Gibeah?
10When it is my desire [to defend My righteousness], I will chastise them;
And [hostile] peoples will be gathered against them
When they are bound and punished for their double guilt [their revolt against the Lord and their worship of idols].
11Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to tread out the grain,
But I will come over her fair neck with a heavy yoke [for hard field work].
I will harness Ephraim;
Judah will plow and Jacob will harrow and rake for himself.
12Sow with a view to righteousness [that righteousness, like seed, may germinate];
Reap in accordance with mercy and lovingkindness.
Break up your uncultivated ground,
For it is time to seek and search diligently for the Lord [and to long for His blessing]
Until He comes to rain righteousness and His gift of salvation on you.
13You have plowed and planted wickedness, you have reaped the [willful] injustice [of oppressors],
You have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way and your chariots, and in your many warriors,
14Therefore an uproar will arise among your people,
And all your fortresses will be destroyed,
As Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle,
When mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15In this way it will be done to you at [idolatrous] Bethel because of your great wickedness;
At daybreak the king of Israel will be completely cut off.