The people of Israel are like vines that used to produce fruit.
The more fruit they produced,
the more altars they built.
The more their land produced,
the more stone markers they set up to honor other gods.
2 They are hypocrites. Now they must take their punishment.
God will tear down their altars and destroy their stone markers.
3 So they’ll say,
“We have no king because we didn’t fear the Lord.
Even if we had a king, he couldn’t do anything for us.”
4 They say many things. They lie when they take oaths,
and they make promises they don’t intend to keep.
That’s why lawsuits spring up
like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a field.
5 Those who live in Samaria fear the calf-shaped idol at Beth Aven.
The people will mourn over it.
The priests will cry loudly
because its glory will be taken away into captivity.
6 The thing itself will be carried to Assyria
as a present to the great king.[a]
Ephraim will be disgraced.
Israel will be ashamed because of its plans.
7 The king of Samaria will be carried away
like a piece of wood on water.
8 The illegal worship sites of Aven will be destroyed.
Israel sins there.
Thorns and weeds will grow over those altars.
People will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 Israel, you have sinned ever since the incident at Gibeah.
You never change.
War will overtake the wicked people in Gibeah.
10 “I will punish them when I’m ready.
Armies will gather to attack them.
They will be punished for their many sins.
12 “Break new ground.
and harvest the fruit that your loyalty will produce for me.”
It’s time to seek the Lord!
When he comes, he will rain righteousness on you.
13 You have planted wickedness and harvested evil.
You have eaten the fruit that your lies produced.
You have trusted your own power and your many warriors.
14 So your army will hear the noise of battle.
All your fortresses will be destroyed
like the time Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in battle.
Mothers and their children were smashed to death.
15 This is what will happen to you, Bethel,
because you have done many wicked things.
At daybreak, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.
“When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and I called my son out of Egypt.
2 The more I called them,[d] the farther they went away.
They sacrificed to other gods—the Baals,
and they burned incense to idols.
3 I was the one who taught the people of Ephraim to walk.[e]
I took them by the hand.
But they didn’t realize that I had healed them.
4 I led them with cords of human kindness, with ropes of love.
I removed the yokes[f] from their necks.
I bent down and fed them.
5 “They will not return to Egypt.
Instead, Assyria will rule them
because they have refused to return to me.
6 War will sweep through their cities,
demolish their city gates,
and put an end to their plans.
7 My people are determined to turn away from me.
Even if they call to the Most High,
he will not pardon them.
8 “How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboim?
I have changed my mind.
I am deeply moved.
9 I will not act on my burning anger.
I will not destroy Ephraim again.
I am God, not a human.
I am the Holy One among you,
and I will not come to you in anger.
10 “My people will follow me when I roar like a lion.
When I roar, my children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come trembling like birds from Egypt
and like doves from Assyria.
I will settle them in their own homes,”
declares the Lord.[g]
12 “Ephraim surrounds me with lies.
The nation of Israel surrounds me with deceit.”
Judah rebels against God, against the Holy One who is faithful.
12 [h] The people of Ephraim try to catch the wind
and try to chase the east wind all day.
They are very violent and destructive.
They make treaties with Assyria and take olive oil to Egypt.
2 The Lord brings charges against Judah and punishes Jacob
because of the way their people act.
He will pay them back for what they have done.
3 Their ancestor Jacob held on to his brother’s heel
while the two of them were in their mother’s womb.
When Jacob became a man, he struggled with God.
4 He struggled with the Messenger and won.
Jacob cried and pleaded with him.
Jacob found him at Bethel,
and he talked with him there.
5 The Lord is the God of Armies.
The Lord is the name by which he is remembered.
6 Return to your God.
Be loyal and fair, and always wait with hope for your God.
7 The Lord says, “The merchants use dishonest scales.
They love to cheat people.
8 The people of Ephraim say, ‘We’re rich. We’ve made a fortune.
With all this wealth, no one will find us guilty of any sin.’
9 I am the Lord your God.
I brought you out of Egypt.
I will make you live in tents again
as you did during your appointed festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets and gave them many visions.
I taught lessons through the prophets.”[i]
11 The people of Gilead are evil.
They are worthless.
They sacrifice bulls in Gilgal.
But their altars will become like piles of rubble
beside a plowed field.
12 Jacob fled to the country of Syria.
Israel worked to get a wife; he took care of sheep to pay for her.
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring the people of Israel out of Egypt.
He used a prophet to take care of them.
14 The people of Ephraim made the Lord bitter.
He will hold them guilty of murder.
The Lord will pay them back for their insults.
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.[j]
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[k] 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.[l]
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.[m]
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.
14 [n] Israel, return to the Lord your God.
You have stumbled because of your sins.
2 Return to the Lord, and say these things to him:
“Forgive all our sins, and kindly receive us.
Then we’ll praise you with our lips.
3 Assyria cannot save us.
We won’t ride on horses anymore.
We will never again say
that the things our hands have made are our gods.
You love orphans.”
4 The Lord says, “I will cure them of their unfaithfulness.
I will love them freely.
I will no longer be angry with them.
5 I will be like dew to the people of Israel.
They will blossom like flowers.
They will be firmly rooted like cedars from Lebanon.
6 They will be like growing branches.
They will be beautiful like olive trees.
They will be fragrant like cedars from Lebanon.
7 They will live again in God’s shadow.
They will grow like grain.
They will blossom like grapevines.
They will be as famous as the wines from Lebanon.
8 “The people of Ephraim will have nothing more to do with idols.
I will answer them and take care of them.
I am like a growing pine tree.
Their fruit comes from me.”
9 Wise people will understand these things.
A person with insight will recognize them.
The Lord’s ways are right.
Righteous people live by them.
Rebellious people stumble over them.
1 From Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James.
To those who have been called, who are loved by God the Father, and who are kept safe for Jesus Christ.
2 May mercy, peace, and love fill your lives!
3 Dear friends, I had intended to write to you about the salvation we share. But something has come up. It demands that I write to you and encourage you to continue your fight for the Christian faith that was entrusted to God’s holy people once for all time.
4 Some people have slipped in among you unnoticed. Not long ago they were condemned in writing for the following reason: They are people to whom God means nothing. They use God’s kindness[a] as an excuse for sexual freedom and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
5 I want to remind you about what you already know: The Lord once saved his people from Egypt. But on another occasion he destroyed those who didn’t believe. 6 He held angels for judgment on the great day. They were held in darkness, bound by eternal chains. These are the angels who didn’t keep their position of authority but abandoned their assigned place. 7 What happened to Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities near them is an example for us of the punishment of eternal fire. The people of these cities suffered the same fate that God’s people and the angels did, because they committed sexual sins and engaged in homosexual activities.
8 Yet, in a similar way, the people who slipped in among you are dreamers. They contaminate their bodies with sin, reject the Lord’s authority, and insult his glory. 9 When the archangel Michael argued with the devil, they were arguing over the body of Moses. But Michael didn’t dare to hand down a judgment against the devil. Instead, Michael said, “May the Lord reprimand you!”
10 Whatever these people don’t understand, they insult. Like animals, which are creatures of instinct, they use whatever they know to destroy themselves. 11 How horrible it will be for them! They have followed the path of Cain. They have rushed into Balaam’s error to make a profit. They have rebelled like Korah and destroyed themselves.
12 These people are a disgrace at the special meals you share with other believers. They eat with you and don’t feel ashamed. They are shepherds who care only for themselves. They are dry clouds blown around by the winds. They are withered, uprooted trees without any fruit. As a result, they have died twice. 13 Their shame is like the foam on the wild waves of the sea. They are wandering stars for whom gloomy darkness is kept forever.
14 Furthermore, Enoch, from the seventh generation after Adam, prophesied about them. He said, “The Lord has come with countless thousands of his holy angels. 15 He has come to judge all these people. He has come to convict all these ungodly sinners for all the ungodly things they have done and all the harsh things they have said about him.”
16 These people complain, find fault, follow their own desires, say arrogant things, and flatter people in order to take advantage of them.
17 Dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ told you to expect: 18 “In the last times people who ridicule God will appear. They will follow their own ungodly desires.” 19 These are the people who cause divisions. They are concerned about physical things, not spiritual things.
20 Dear friends, use your most holy faith to grow. Pray with the Holy Spirit’s help. 21 Remain in God’s love as you look for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to give you eternal life.
22 Show mercy to those who have doubts. 23 Save others by snatching them from the fire of hell. Show mercy to others, even though you are afraid that you might be stained by their sinful lives.
24 God can guard you so that you don’t fall and so that you can be full of joy as you stand in his glorious presence without fault. 25 Before time began, now, and for eternity glory, majesty, power, and authority belong to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
1 If the Lord does not build the house,
it is useless for the builders to work on it.
If the Lord does not protect a city,
it is useless for the guard to stay alert.
2 It is useless to work hard for the food you eat
by getting up early and going to bed late.
The Lord gives food to those he loves while they sleep.
3 Children are an inheritance from the Lord.
They are a reward from him.
4 The children born to a man when he is young
are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.
5 Blessed is the man who has filled his quiver with them.
He will not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the city gate.
A song for going up to worship.
15 A spanking and a warning produce wisdom,
but an undisciplined child disgraces his mother.
16 When wicked people increase, crime increases,
but righteous people will witness their downfall.
17 Correct your son, and he will give you peace of mind.
He will bring delight to your soul.