The Vine and the Calf 10 1Israel is a lush[T] vine; it yields fruit for itself. The more his fruit increased, the more he increased the altars. The better his land produced, the better they made the sacred pillars. 2Their hearts are devious;[U] now they must bear their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars and demolish their sacred pillars. 3In fact, they are now saying, “We have no king! For we do not fear the Lord. What can a king do for us?” 4They speak mere words, taking false oaths while making covenants. So lawsuits break out like poisonous weeds in the furrows of a field. 5The residents of Samaria will have anxiety over the calf of Beth-aven. Indeed, its idolatrous priests rejoiced over it; the people will mourn over it, over its glory. It will certainly depart from them. 6The calf itself will be taken to Assyria as an offering to the great king.[V] Ephraim will experience shame; Israel will be ashamed of its counsel. 7Samaria’s king will disappear[W] like foam[X] on the surface of the water. 8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed; thorns and thistles will grow over their altars. They will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!” Israel’s Defeat because of Sin 9Israel, you have sinned since the days of Gibeah; they have taken their stand there. Will not war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah? 10I will discipline them at My discretion; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bondage[Y] for their two crimes. 11Ephraim is a well-trained calf that loves to thresh, but I will place a yoke on[Z] her fine neck. I will harness Ephraim; Judah will plow; Jacob will do the final plowing. 12Sow righteousness for yourselves and reap faithful love; break up your unplowed ground. It is time to seek the Lord until He comes and sends righteousness on you like the rain. 13You have plowed wickedness and reaped injustice; you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your own way[A] and in your large number of soldiers, 14the roar of battle will rise against your people, and all your fortifications will be demolished in a day of war, like Shalman’s destruction of Beth-arbel. Mothers will be dashed to pieces along with their children. 15So it will be done to you, Bethel, because of your extreme evil. At dawn the king of Israel will be totally destroyed.
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