New International Reader's Version

Hosea 8

Israel Will Harvest a Windstorm

1The Lord said to me,

“Put a trumpet to your lips!
    Give a warning to my people!
Assyria is like an eagle.
    It is ready to attack my land.
My people have broken the covenant I made with them.
    They have refused to obey my law.
Israel shouts to me,
    ‘We recognize you as our God!’
But they have turned away from what is good.
    So an enemy will chase them.
My people appoint kings I do not want.
    They choose princes without my permission.
They use their silver and gold
    to make statues of gods.
    That is how they destroy themselves.”
The Lord says, “People of Samaria,
    throw out your god that looks like a calf!
    I am very angry with them.
How long will it be until they are able
    to remain faithful to me?
Their calf is not God.
    A skilled worker from Israel made it.
    But that calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces.”

The Lord says,

“Worshiping other gods is like worshiping the wind.
    It is like planting worthless seeds.
Assyria is like a windstorm.
    That is all my people will harvest.
There are no heads of grain
    on the stems that will come up.
    So they will not produce any flour.
Even if they did produce grain,
    the Assyrians would eat all of it up.
So the people of Israel are swallowed up.
    Now they are among the nations
    like something no one wants.
They have gone up to Assyria for help.
    They are like a wild donkey
    that wanders around by itself.
Ephraim’s people have sold themselves
    to their Assyrian lovers.
10 They have sold themselves to the nations
    to get their help.
    But now I will gather them together.
They will get weaker and weaker.
    The mighty kings of Assyria will crush them.

11 “Ephraim built many altars where they sacrificed
    sin offerings to other gods.
So their altars have become
    places where they commit sin.
12 In my law I wrote down many things for their good.
    But they considered those things as something strange.
13 They offer sacrifices as gifts to me.
    They eat the meat of the animals they bring.
    But the Lord is not pleased with any of this.
He will remember the evil things they have done.
    He will punish them for their sins.
    And they will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten the God who made them.
    They have built palaces for themselves.
    Judah has built forts in many towns.
But I will send down fire on their cities.
    It will burn up their forts.”