10 Israel is like a ·large [spreading; lush; luxuriant] vine that produced plenty of fruit. As ·the people became richer [L his fruit increased], they built more altars [C for idols]. As their land ·became better [prospered; improved], they ·put up better [or adorned their] ·stone pillars to honor gods [sacred pillars]. 2 Their heart was ·false [or divided; fickle], and now they must ·pay for [bear] their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars; he will destroy their holy stone pillars.
3 Then they will say, “We have no king, because we didn’t ·honor [revere; fear] the Lord[Prov. 1:7]. As for the king, ·he couldn’t do anything [L what could he do…?] for us.” 4 With words that mean nothing they make ·false [empty] ·promises [oaths] and ·agreements [covenants; treaties] which they don’t keep. So ·people sue each other in court [L lawsuits/judgments spring up]; they are like poisonous weeds growing in [L the rows/furrows of] a plowed field. 5 The people from ·Israel [L Samaria; C the capital of the northern kingdom of Israel] are worried about the ·calf-shaped idol [calf; heifer; 1 Kin. 12:28] at Beth Aven [4:15]. The people will ·cry about [mourn over] it, and the ·priests [idol-priests] will ·cry about [lament/wail over] it. They used to ·shout for joy [rejoice] about its glory, but ·it has been taken from them into exile [or its glory has departed]. 6 It will be carried off to Assyria as a gift to ·the great king [or King Jareb; C this may be a title or a personal name]. ·Israel [L Ephraim; 4:17] will be disgraced, and ·the people [L Israel] will be ashamed for ·not obeying [or its counsel; or its wooden idol]. 7 ·Israel [L Samaria; v. 5] will be destroyed; its king will be like a ·chip of wood [twig] floating on the water. 8 The ·places of false worship [L high places of wickedness; or high places of Aven; v. 5; 4:15] will be destroyed, the places where Israel sins. Thorns and ·weeds [thistles] will grow up and cover their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us! [Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16]”
9 “Israel, you have sinned since the ·time [L days] of Gibeah [9:9; Judg. 19–21], and ·the people there have continued sinning [L there they have remained; or there they took their stand]. ·But war will surely overwhelm [L Did not war overtake…?] them in Gibeah, because of the evil they have done there. 10 When I ·am ready [desire; please], I will come to ·punish [discipline] them. Nations will come together against them, and they will be ·punished [bound in chains] for their ·double [L two] sins [C could mean “twice the punishment” (Is. 40:2) or the two sins of rejecting God and his anointed Davidic king]. 11 ·Israel [L Ephraim; 4:17] is like a well-trained ·young cow [heifer] that likes to thresh grain. I will put a ·yoke [or a fine yoke] on her ·neck [or fair neck] and ·make her work hard in the field [drive Ephraim hard]. Israel will plow, and Judah will break up the ground. 12 I said, ‘·Plant goodness [Sow righteousness], ·harvest the fruit of loyalty [reap mercy/lovingkindness], ·plow the new ground of knowledge [L break up the unplowed/fallow ground]. ·Look for [or For it is time to seek] the Lord until he comes and ·pours goodness on you like water [L rains/showers righteousness/justice on you].’ 13 But you have plowed ·evil [wickedness; iniquity] and ·harvested [reaped] ·trouble [evil; injustice]; you have eaten the fruit of ·your lies [deception; treachery]. Because you have trusted in your own ·power [or chariots] and your many ·soldiers [warriors], 14 ·your people will hear [L against your people will rise] the ·noise [roar; tumult] of battle, and all your ·strong, walled cities [fortresses] will be destroyed. It will be like the time King Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in battle [2 Kin. 17:3], when mothers and their children were ·bashed to death [dashed to pieces]. 15 The same will happen to you, ·people of Bethel [L Bethel], because ·you did so much evil [your wickedness is great]. ·When the sun comes up [or When judgment day dawns; or As swiftly as the dawn; L At dawn], the king of Israel will ·die [L be completely cut off].
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