13 When your leaders[a] spoke, everyone in Israel trembled and showed great respect. But you sinned by worshiping Baal, and you were destroyed. 2 Now you continue to sin by designing and making idols of silver in the shape of calves. You are told to sacrifice to these idols[b]— yes, even to kiss them. 3 And so, all of you will vanish like the mist or the dew of early morning, or husks of grain in the wind or smoke from a chimney.
4 I, the Lord, have been your God since the time you were in Egypt. I am the only God you know, the only one who can save. 5 I took care of you in a thirsty desert.[c] 6 I fed you till you were satisfied, then you became proud and forgot about me. 7 Now I will attack like a lion, ambush you like a leopard, 8 and rip you apart like a bear robbed of her cubs. I will gnaw on your bones, as though I were a lion or some other wild animal. 9 Israel, you are done for. Don’t expect help from me.[d] 10 You wanted a king and rulers. Where is your king now? What cities have rulers? 11 In my anger, I gave you a king; in my fury, I took him away.
Israel’s Terrible Fate
The Lord said:
12 Israel, your terrible sins are written down and stored away. 13 You are like a senseless child who refuses to be born at the proper time. 14 Should I, the Lord, rescue you from death and the grave? No! I call death and the grave to strike you like a plague. I refuse to show mercy.
15 No matter how much you prosper more than the other tribes,[e] I, the Lord, will wipe you out, just as a scorching desert wind dries up streams of water. I will take away your precious treasures. 16 Samaria[f] will be punished for turning against me. It will be destroyed in war— children will be beaten against rocks, and pregnant women will be ripped open.
13.1your leaders: The Hebrew text has “Ephraim,” here meaning Mount Ephraim, where the royal palace of Samaria (capital of the northern kingdom of Israel) was located.
13.2You are told. . . idols: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
13.5thirsty desert: The forty years that Israel wandered through the desert, after leaving Egypt.
13.9Don’t. . . me: Or “You are against me, the one who helps you.”
13.15more. . . tribes: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
13.16Samaria: The capital of the northern kingdom of Israel.
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