1Israel 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.
2Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.
3Then 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?”
4They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
5The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
6It will be carried to Assyria as tribute for the great king. Ephraim will be disgraced; Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
7Samaria’s king will be destroyed, swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
8The high places of wickedness
9“Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel, and there you have remained.
10When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11Ephraim 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.
12Sow 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.
13But 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,
14the 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. 15So will it happen to you, Bethel, because your wickedness is great. When that day dawns, the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.