1The people say, “Come. Let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces. But he will heal us. He has wounded us. But he'll bandage our wounds.
2After two days he will give us new life. On the third day he'll make us like new again. Then we will enjoy his blessing.
3Let's recognize him as the Lord. Let's keep trying to really know him. You can be sure the sun will rise. And you can be just as sure the Lord will appear. He will come to renew us like the winter rains. He will be like the spring rains that water the earth.”
4The Lord says, “Ephraim, what can I do with you? And what can I do with you, Judah? Your love for me vanishes like the morning mist. It soon disappears like the early dew.
5So I used the words of my prophets to cut you in pieces. I used my words to put you to death. When I judged you, I struck you like lightning.
6I want mercy and not sacrifice. I want you to recognize me as God instead of bringing me burnt offerings.
7Just as Adam disobeyed me, you have broken the covenant I made with you. You were not faithful to me in the land I gave you.
8Ramoth Gilead is a city where sinful people live. It is stained with footprints of blood.
9On the road to Shechem, groups of priests act like robbers. They hide and wait to attack people. They murder them and commit other shameful crimes.
10People of Israel, I have seen a horrible thing in your land. People of Ephraim, you have joined yourselves to other gods. You have made yourselves ‘unclean.’
11“People of Judah, I have appointed a time for you to be destroyed. “My people, I would like to bless you with great success again.”