Israel Will Be Punished
1Israel, don’t be joyful.
Don’t be glad as the other nations are.
You haven’t been faithful to your God.
You love to get paid for being a prostitute.
Your pay is the grain at every threshing floor.
2But soon there won’t be any grain or wine to feed you.
There won’t even be any fresh wine.
3You won’t remain in the Lord’s land.
Ephraim, you will return to Egypt.
You will eat “unclean” food in Assyria.
4You won’t pour out wine offerings to the Lord.
Your sacrifices won’t please him.
They’ll be like the bread people eat when someone dies.
Everyone who eats those sacrifices will be “unclean.”
They themselves will have to eat that kind of food.
They can’t bring it into the Lord’s temple.
5What will you do when your appointed feasts come?
What will you do on the Lord’s special days?
6Some of you will escape without being destroyed.
But you will die in Egypt.
Your bodies will be buried at Memphis.
Weeds will cover your treasures of silver.
Thorns will grow up in your tents.
7The time when God will punish you is coming.
The day when he will judge you is near.
I want Israel to know this.
You have committed many sins.
And you hate me very much.
That’s why you think the prophet is foolish.
You think the person the Lord speaks through is crazy.
8People of Ephraim, the prophet, along with my God,
is warning you of danger.
But you set traps for him everywhere he goes.
You hate him so much
you even wait for him in God’s house.
9You have sunk very deep into sin,
just as your people did at Gibeah long ago.
God will remember the evil things they have done.
He will punish them for their sins.
10The Lord says,
“When I first found Israel,
it was like finding grapes in the desert.
When I saw your people of long ago,
it was like seeing the early fruit on a fig tree.
But then they went to Baal Peor.
There they gave themselves to that shameful god named Baal.
They became as evil as the god they loved.
11Ephraim’s greatness and glory will be gone.
It will fly away like a bird.
Women will no longer have children.
They will not be able to get pregnant.
12But suppose they do have children.
Then I will kill every one of them.
How terrible it will be for them
when I turn away from them!
13Tyre is planted in a pleasant place.
And so is Ephraim.
But the Assyrians will kill
14Lord, what should you do to Ephraim’s people?
Give them women whose babies die before they are born.
Give them women whose breasts have no milk.
15The Lord says,
“My people did many evil things in Gilgal.
That is why I hated them there.
They committed many sins.
So I will drive them out of my land.
I will not love them anymore.
All their leaders refuse to obey me.
16Ephraim is like a worthless plant.
Its roots are dried up.
It does not produce any fruit.
Suppose Ephraim’s people have children.
Then I will kill the children they love so much.”
17My God will turn his back on his people.
They have not obeyed him.
So they will wander among other nations.