“Whenever I want to heal Israel, all I can see is Ephraim’s sin and Samaria’s wickedness. People cheat each other. They break into houses and steal. They rob people in the streets. 2 They don’t realize that I remember all the evil things they’ve done. Now their sins surround them. Their sins are in my presence.
3 “They make kings happy with the wicked things they do. They make officials happy with the lies they tell. 4 They all commit adultery. They are like a heated oven, an oven so hot that a baker doesn’t have to fan its flames when he makes bread. 5 On the day of the king’s celebration, the officials become drunk from wine, and the king joins mockers. 6 They become hot like an oven while they lie in ambush. All night long their anger smolders, but in the morning it burns like a raging fire. 7 They are all as hot as an oven. They consume their judges like a fire. All their kings die in battle, and none of them calls to me.
Israel Turns to Other Nations for Help
8 “Ephraim mixes with other nations. Ephraim, you are like a half-baked loaf of bread. 9 Foreigners are using up your strength, but you don’t realize it. You have become a gray-haired, old man, but you don’t realize it. 10 Israel, your arrogance testifies against you, but even after all this, you don’t turn to the Lord your God or look to him for help. 11 Ephraim, you are like a silly, senseless dove. You call for Egypt and run to Assyria for help. 12 When you go, I will spread my net over you. I will snatch you out of the air like a bird. I will punish you for all the evil things you have done.
13 “How horrible it will be for these people. They have run away from me. They must be destroyed because they’ve rebelled against me. I want to reclaim them, but they tell lies about me. 14 They don’t pray to me sincerely, even though they cry in their beds and make cuts on their bodies while praying for grain and new wine. They have turned against me. 15 I trained them and made them strong. Yet, they plan evil against me. 16 They don’t return to the Most High. They are like a defective bow. Their officials will die in battle because they curse. The people in Egypt will ridicule them for this.
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