1Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; as his country improved, he improved his pillars.
2Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord1 will break down their altars and destroy their pillars.
3For now they will say: “We have no king, for we do not fear the Lord; and a king—what could he do for us?”
4They utter mere words; with empty2 oaths they make covenants; so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.
5The inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the calf3 of Beth-aven. Its people mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests— those who rejoiced over it and over its glory— for it has departed4 from them.
6The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria as tribute to the great king.5 Ephraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.6
7Samaria’s king shall perish like a twig on the face of the waters.
8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars, and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us,” and to the hills, “Fall on us.”
9From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not the war against the unjust7 overtake them in Gibeah?
10When I please, I will discipline them, and nations shall be gathered against them when they are bound up for their double iniquity.
11Ephraim was a trained calf that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will put Ephraim to the yoke; Judah must plow; Jacob must harrow for himself.
12Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
13You have plowed iniquity; you have reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way and in the multitude of your warriors,
14therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great evil. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.