“Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
but he will heal us;
he has injured us
but he will bind up our wounds.
After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will restore us,
that we may live in his presence.
Let us acknowledge the Lord;
let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
like the spring rains that water the earth.”
“What can I do with you, Ephraim?
What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
like the early dew that disappears.
Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
I killed you with the words of my mouth—
then my judgments go forth like the sun.6:5 The meaning of the Hebrew for this line is uncertain.
For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.
As at Adam,6:7 Or Like Adam; or Like human beings they have broken the covenant;
they were unfaithful to me there.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
stained with footprints of blood.
As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,
so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
carrying out their wicked schemes.
I have seen a horrible thing in Israel:
There Ephraim is given to prostitution,
Israel is defiled.
“Also for you, Judah,
a harvest is appointed.
“Whenever I would restore the fortunes of my people,
whenever I would heal Israel,
the sins of Ephraim are exposed
and the crimes of Samaria revealed.
They practice deceit,
thieves break into houses,
bandits rob in the streets;
but they do not realize
that I remember all their evil deeds.
Their sins engulf them;
they are always before me.
“They delight the king with their wickedness,
the princes with their lies.
They are all adulterers,
burning like an oven
whose fire the baker need not stir
from the kneading of the dough till it rises.
On the day of the festival of our king
the princes become inflamed with wine,
and he joins hands with the mockers.
Their hearts are like an oven;
they approach him with intrigue.
Their passion smolders all night;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All their kings fall,
and none of them calls on me.
“Ephraim mixes with the nations;
Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.
Foreigners sap his strength,
but he does not realize it.
His hair is sprinkled with gray,
but he does not notice.
Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,
but despite all this
he does not return to the Lord his God
or search for him.
“Ephraim is like a dove,
easily deceived and senseless—
now calling to Egypt,
now turning to Assyria.
When they go, I will throw my net over them;
I will pull them down like the birds in the sky.
When I hear them flocking together,
I will catch them.
Woe to them,
because they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them,
because they have rebelled against me!
I long to redeem them
but they speak about me falsely.
They do not cry out to me from their hearts
but wail on their beds.
They slash themselves,7:14 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint; most Hebrew manuscripts They gather together appealing to their gods
for grain and new wine,
but they turn away from me.
I trained them and strengthened their arms,
but they plot evil against me.
They do not turn to the Most High;
they are like a faulty bow.
Their leaders will fall by the sword
because of their insolent words.
For this they will be ridiculed
in the land of Egypt.