1 Israel was a spreading vine; ¶ he brought forth fruit for himself. ¶ As his fruit increased, ¶ he built more altars; ¶ as his land prospered, ¶ he adorned his sacred stones.
2 Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. ¶ The LORD will demolish their altars ¶ and destroy their sacred stones.
3 Then they will say, "We have no king ¶ because we did not revere the LORD. ¶ But even if we had a king, ¶ what could he do for us?"
4 They make many promises, take false oaths ¶ and make agreements; ¶ therefore lawsuits spring up ¶ like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
5 The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven. [^1] Its people will mourn over it, ¶ and so will its idolatrous priests, ¶ those who had rejoiced over its splendor, ¶ because it is taken from them into exile.
6 It will be carried to Assyria as tribute for the great king. ¶ Ephraim will be disgraced; ¶ Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
7 Samaria's king will be destroyed, swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
8 The high places of wickedness [^2] will be destroyed — it is the sin of Israel. ¶ Thorns and thistles will grow up ¶ and cover their altars. ¶ Then they will say to the mountains, "Cover us!" ¶ and to the hills, "Fall on us!"
9 "Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel, ¶ and there you have remained. [^3] Will not war again overtake ¶ the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them ¶ to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; ¶ so I will put a yoke ¶ on her fair neck. ¶ I will drive Ephraim, ¶ Judah must plow, ¶ and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, ¶ and break up your unplowed ground; ¶ for it is time to seek the LORD, ¶ until he comes ¶ and showers his righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness, you have reaped evil, ¶ you have eaten the fruit of deception. ¶ Because you have depended on your own strength ¶ and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people, so that all your fortresses will be devastated — ¶ as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle, ¶ when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, Bethel, because your wickedness is great. ¶ When that day dawns, ¶ the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.