7 Eternal One: I will heal Israel of her exposed sins: Ephraim’s wickedness will be laid open; Also Samaria’s evil will be revealed: dishonesty is tolerated, thieves break in and bandits rob in the open. 2 They don’t realize I’m aware of all of the evil they’re doing. Even now their sins are all around them—I can see them clearly.
3 The king celebrates their evil deeds, and princes enjoy their deceptions. 4 All of them are adulterers with unquenchable lust. They are like an oven overheated by a baker, An oven so hot it doesn’t need to be stoked for several hours from the time the dough is kneaded until it finishes rising.
5 Eternal One: When the king was celebrating[a] and the princes were sick with drunkenness, his conscience was dulled and he joined forces with rebels. 6 Their hearts are like a heated oven as they plot their schemes. All night their anger smolders, but at dawn it blazes into a flaming fire. 7 All of them are as hot as an oven, and they consume their own judges. All of their kings have fallen; none of them calls on Me.
Two types of ovens are used in ancient Israel: tabuns and tannurs. Both are beehive-shaped structures molded of clay, broken potsherds, and chopped straw, and are commonly found in a house’s courtyard. At the top is a capped opening, which regulates the inside heat and allows the baker access to the oven’s interior. Tabuns are fueled with cakes of dried manure and straw (Ezekiel 4:12-15), while tannurs are fueled by wood fires. Once a tannur’s wood fire burns down to the embers, the oven is ready for baking.
Each day, women mix flour and water, knead the dough, and add a small amount of salt and fermented dough (from the previous day’s work) to the mixture. After balls of dough have risen, they are flattened and shaped into discs. These discs are then easily tossed inside the oven’s opening, where they stick to the walls and cook in just minutes.
8 Ephraim is mixed up with all the other nations. Ephraim is like a cake that hasn’t been turned over. 9 Foreigners are devouring his strength, taking territory and tribute, but he doesn’t realize how weak he’s grown. Gray hair is sprouting on his head, but he doesn’t see what others observe. 10 Israel’s stubborn pride will testify against him. The people haven’t come back to Me, their True God; they haven’t asked Me for help despite all their troubles.
11 Ephraim is like a dove caught in foreign intrigues, silly and without sense: they call to Egypt; they go to Assyria. 12 But as they fly to others for help, I’ll throw My net over them. I’ll bring them down like birds out of the sky and punish them, as their congregation knows full well.
13 May they experience sorrow for wandering away from Me! May they be destroyed for the way they’ve rebelled against Me! I would like to buy them back from death, but they would just keep lying to Me and against Me. 14 They’re not sincere when they cry out to Me for help. They howl on their couches; Hoping a god will send grain to gather and wine to enjoy. They turn away from Me. 15 I trained them, I made their arms strong, I could have protected them, but they devised evil schemes against Me. 16 They turn for help, but not to the Most High; they’ve become as weak and ineffective as a loosely-strung bow. Because of their defiant words, their leaders will be killed in battle, and they’ll be the laughingstock of everyone in Egypt.
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