1 Sound the alarm!
An eagle looms over the temple of the Lord!
For they have broken their covenant with me,
and have rebelled against my law.
2 Israel cries out to me,
“My God, we acknowledge you!”
3 But Israel has rejected what is morally good;
so an enemy will pursue him.
The Political and Cultic Sin of Israel
4 They enthroned kings without my consent!
They appointed princes without my approval!
They made idols out of their silver and gold,
but they will be destroyed!
5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol!
My anger burns against them!
They will not survive much longer without being punished,
even though they are Israelites!
6 That idol was made by a workman – it is not God!
The calf idol of Samaria will be broken to bits.
The Fertility Cultists Will Become Infertile
7 They sow the wind,
and so they will reap the whirlwind!
The stalk does not have any standing grain;
it will not produce any flour.
Even if it were to yield grain,
foreigners would swallow it all up.
8 Israel will be swallowed up among the nations;
they will be like a worthless piece of pottery.
The Willful Donkey and the Wanton Harlot
9 They have gone up to Assyria,
like a wild donkey that wanders off.
Ephraim has hired prostitutes as lovers.
10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations,
I will soon gather them together for judgment.
Then they will begin to waste away
under the oppression of a mighty king.
Sacrifices Ineffective without Moral Obedience
11 Although Ephraim has built many altars for sin offerings,
these have become altars for sinning!
12 I spelled out my law for him in great detail,
but they regard it as something totally unknown to them!
13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me,
and eat the meat,
but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices.
Soon he will remember their wrongdoing,
he will punish their sins,
and they will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten his Maker and built royal palaces,
and Judah has built many fortified cities.
But I will send fire on their cities;
it will consume their royal citadels.