1Israel, don’t celebrate like the nations do! Don’t be happy! You acted like a prostitute and left your God. You did your sexual sin on every threshing floor. 2But ˻the grain from those˼ threshing floors will not give enough food for Israel. There will not be enough wine for Israel. 3The Israelites will not stay in the Lord’s land. Ephraim will return to Egypt. In Assyria they will eat food that they should not eat. 4The Israelites will not give offerings of wine to the Lord. They will not offer sacrifices to him. Their sacrifices will be like food eaten at a funeral—whoever eats it will become unclean. Their bread will not go into the Lord’s temple—they will have to eat that bread by themselves. 5They will not be able to celebrate the Lord’s holidays or festivals. 6The people of Israel left because the enemy took everything from them. But Egypt will take the people themselves. Memphis will bury them. Weeds will grow over their silver treasures. Thorns will grow where the Israelites lived. 7The prophet says, “Israel, learn these things: The time of punishment has come. The time has come for you to pay ˻for the evil things you did˼.” But the people of Israel say, “The prophet is a fool. This man with ˻God’s˼ Spirit is crazy.” The prophet says, “You will be punished for your bad sins. You will be punished for your hate.” 8God and the prophet are like guards watching over Ephraim. But there are many traps along the way. And people hate the prophet, even in the house of his God. 9The Israelites have gone deep into ruin like in the time of Gibeah. The Lord will remember the Israelites’ sins. He will punish their sins. 10At the time I found Israel, they were like fresh grapes in the desert. They were like the first figs on a fig tree at the beginning of the season. But then they came to Baal-Peor. And they changed—and I had to cut them off ˻(destroy them) like rotten fruit. They became like the terrible things ˻(false gods) that they loved. 11Like a bird, Ephraim’s glory will fly away. There will be no more pregnancies, no more births, no more babies. 12But even if the Israelites do raise their children, ˻it will not help˼. I will take the children away from them. I will leave them, and they will have nothing but troubles. 13I can see that Ephraim is leading his children into a trap. Ephraim brings out his children to the killer. 14Lord, give them what you will. Give them a womb that loses babies, give them breasts that can’t give milk. 15All their evil is in Gilgal; I began hating them there. I will force them to leave my house, because of the evil things they do. I will not love them any more. Their leaders are rebels— ˻they have turned against me˼. 16Ephraim will be punished. Their root is dying. They will not have any more babies. They might give birth to babies, but I will kill the precious babies that come from their bodies. 17Those people will not listen to my God. So he will refuse to listen to them. And they will wander among the nations without a home.