Hosea 10

1Israel is like a vine that grows plenty of fruit. But as Israel got more and more ˻things˼ he built more and more altars ˻to honor false gods˼. His land became better and better, so he put up better and better stones ˻to honor false gods˼. 2The people of Israel tried to trick God. But now they must accept their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars. He will destroy their memorial stones. 3Now the Israelites say, “We have no king. We don’t honor the Lord! And his king can’t do anything to us!” 4They make promises—but they are only telling lies. They don’t keep their promises! They make agreements ˻with other countries. God does not like those agreements˼. The judges are like poisonous weeds growing in a plowed field. 5The people from Samaria worship the calves at Beth-Aven. Those people will really cry. Those priests will really cry. Why? Because their beautiful ˻idol˼ is gone. It was carried away. 6It was carried away as a gift to the great king of Assyria. He will keep Ephraim’s shameful ˻idol˼. Israel will be ashamed of its idol. 7Samaria’s false god will be destroyed. It will be like a piece of wood floating away on the water’s surface. 8Israel sinned and built many high places. The high places of Aven will be destroyed. Thorns and weeds will grow on their altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!” 9Israel, you have sinned since the time of Gibeah. (And those people have continued sinning there.) War truly will catch those evil people at Gibeah. 10I will come to punish them. Armies will come together against them. They will punish the Israelites for both of their sins. 11Ephraim is like a trained young cow that loves to walk on grain on the threshing floor. I will put a good yoke on her neck. I will put the ropes on Ephraim. Then Judah will begin plowing. Jacob will break the ground himself. 12If you plant goodness, you will harvest true love. Plow your ground, and you will harvest with the Lord. He will come, and he will make goodness fall on you like rain! 13But you planted evil, and you harvested trouble. You ate the fruit of your lies. Why? Because you have trusted in your power and your soldiers. 14So your armies will hear the noise of battle. And all your fortresses will be destroyed. It will be like the time Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel. At that time of war, mothers were killed with their children. 15And that will happen to you at Bethel. Why? Because you did so many evil things. ˻When that day˼ begins, the king of Israel will be fully destroyed.”

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