The People of Israel Will Be Punished for Their Idolatry
When the tribe of Ephraim spoke, people trembled. The people of Ephraim were important in Israel. Then they became guilty of worshiping Baal, so they must die. 2 They keep on sinning more and more. They make idols from silver for themselves. These idols are skillfully made. All of them are the work of craftsmen. People say this about the Israelites: “They offer human sacrifices and kiss calf-shaped idols.” 3 That is why they will be like fog in the morning and like morning dew that disappears quickly. They will be like straw blown away from threshing floors.[a] They will be like smoke rising from chimneys.
4 “I am the Lord your God. I brought you out of Egypt. You have known no god besides me. There is no savior except me. 5 I took care of you[b] in the desert, in a dry land. 6 When I fed you, you were full. When you were full, you became arrogant. That is why you forgot me. 7 So I will be like a lion. Like a leopard I will wait by the road to ambush you. 8 Like a bear that has lost her cubs, I will attack you. I will rip you open. Like a lion I will devour you. Like a wild animal I will tear you apart. 9 You are destroying yourself, Israel. You are against me, your helper.
10 “Where, now, is your king, the one who is supposed to save you? Where in all your cities are your judges? You said, ‘Give us kings and officials!’ 11 I gave you a king when I was angry, and I took him away when I was furious.
12 “Ephraim’s wickedness is on record. The record of the people’s sins is safely stored away. 13 They have the opportunity to live again, but they are not smart enough to take it. They are like a baby who is about to be born but won’t come out of its mother’s womb.
14 “I want to free them from the power of the grave. I want to reclaim them from death. Death, I want to be a plague to you. Grave, I want to destroy you.[c] I won’t even think of changing my plans.”
15 The people of Ephraim have become important among their relatives. However, the Lord’s scorching wind will come from the east. It will blow out of the desert. Then their springs will run dry, and their wells will dry up. The wind will destroy every precious thing in their storehouses.[d] 16 The people of Samaria are guilty as charged because they rebelled against their God. They will be killed in war, their children will be smashed to death, and their pregnant women will be ripped open.
Hosea 13:3A threshing floor is an outdoor area where grain is separated from its husks.
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