12 All day long Israel chases wind from the desert; deceit and violence are found everywhere. Treaties are made with Assyria; olive oil is taken to Egypt.
Israel and Judah Condemned
2 The Lord also brings charges against the people of Judah, the descendants of Jacob. He will punish them for what they have done. 3 Even before Jacob was born, he cheated his brother,[a] and when he grew up, he fought against God.[b]
4 At Bethel, Jacob wrestled with an angel and won; then with tears in his eyes, he asked for a blessing, and God spoke to us[c] there. 5 God’s name is the Lord, the Lord God All-Powerful. 6 So return to your God. Patiently trust him, and show love and justice.
7 Israel, you enjoy cheating and taking advantage of others. 8 You say to yourself, “I’m rich! I earned it all on my own, without committing a sin.”[d]
The Lord Is Still the God of Israel
9 Israel, I, the Lord, am still your God, just as I have been since the time you were in Egypt. Now I will force you to live in tents once again, as you did in the desert.[e] 10 I spoke to the prophets— often I spoke in visions. And so, I will send my prophets with messages of doom. 11 Gilead is terribly sinful and will end up ruined. Bulls are sacrificed in Gilgal on altars made of stones, but those stones will be scattered in every field. 12 Jacob[f] escaped to Syria[g] where he tended sheep to earn himself a wife. 13 I sent the prophet Moses to lead Israel from Egypt and to keep them safe. 14 Israel, I will make you pay for your terrible sins and for insulting me.
12.3Jacob. . . cheated. . . brother: In Hebrew “Jacob” sounds like “cheat” and also like “heel.” Jacob grabbed his twin brother Esau by the heel at the time of their birth (see Genesis 25.26). Later he cheated him out of his rights and blessings as the first-born son (see Genesis 25.29-34; 27.1-40).
12.8without. . . sin: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
12.9as. . . desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. This probably refers to the forty years of wandering through the desert after leaving Egypt, though it could refer to the “tents” (or “shelters”) in which the Israelites lived during the Festival of Shelters (see 9.5,6).
12.12Jacob: His name was later changed to Israel (see Genesis 32.28), and he became the ancestor of the nation by that name.
12.12Syria: The Hebrew text has “Aram,” probably referring to northern Syria in the region of Haran.
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