The People’s Apostasy Rebuked
1Hear this and pay close attention, O priests!
Give heed, O house of Israel!
Listen, O house of the king!
For the [pronounced] judgment pertains to you and is meant for you to hear,
Because you have been a snare at Mizpah
And a net spread out over Tabor (military strongholds on either side of the Jordan River).
The revolters have gone deep into depravity,
But I [the Lord God] will chastise them all.
I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me;
For now, O Ephraim, you have played the prostitute and have worshiped idols;
Israel has defiled itself.
Their [immoral] practices will not permit them
To return to their God,
For the spirit of prostitution is within them
And they do not know the Lord [they do not recognize, appreciate, heed or cherish Him].
But the pride and self-reliance of Israel testifies against him.
Therefore Israel, and [especially] [a]Ephraim, stumble and fall in their wickedness and guilt;
[b]Judah also has stumbled with them.
They will go with their flocks and with their herds
To seek the Lord [diligently searching for Him], but they will not find Him;
He has withdrawn from them [refusing to hear the prayers of the unrepentant].
They have dealt treacherously against the Lord,
For they have borne illegitimate (pagan) children.
Now the [c]New Moon will devour them along with their land [bringing judgment and captivity].
Blow the horn in Gibeah,
The trumpet in Ramah [the lofty hills on Benjamin’s northern border].
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven:
“Behind you and coming after you [is the enemy], O Benjamin [be on guard]!”
Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke;
Among the tribes of Israel I declare what is certain.
The princes of Judah are like those who [d]move a boundary marker;
I will pour out My wrath on them like [an unrestrained flood of] water.
Ephraim is oppressed; he is broken and crushed by [divine] judgment,
Because he was determined to follow man’s command [e](vanities, filth, secular precepts).
Therefore I am like a moth to Ephraim
And like dry rot to the house of Judah [in My judgment against them].
When Ephraim saw his sickness,
And Judah his wound,
Then Ephraim went to Assyria [instead of the Lord]
And sent to [Assyria’s] great King Jareb [for help].
But he cannot heal you
Nor will he cure you of your wound [received in judgment].
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim
And like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear to pieces and go on [tearing];
I will carry off [the prey] and there will be no one to rescue them.
I will go away and return to My place [on high]
Until they acknowledge their offense and bear their guilt and seek My face;
In their distress they will earnestly seek Me, saying,