1 EPHRAIM HERDS and feeds on the wind and pursues the [parching] east wind; every day he increases lies and violence, and a covenant is made with Assyria and oil is carried to Egypt. [Isa. 30:6, 7.]
2 The Lord has also a controversy (a pleading contention) with Judah, and will punish Jacob by visiting upon him according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him.
3 He took his brother by the heel in [their mother's] womb, and in the strength [of his manhood] he contended and had power with God. [Gen. 25:26; 27:36.]
4 Yes, he had power over the Angel [of the Lord] and prevailed; he wept and sought His favor. He met Him in Bethel, and there [God] spoke with [him and through him with] us–[Gen. 28:12-19; 32:28; Gen. 35:1-15.]
5 Even the Lord the God of hosts, the name of Him [Who spoke with Jacob] is the Lord.
6 Therefore return to your God! Hold fast to love and mercy, to righteousness and justice, and wait [expectantly] for your God continually!
7 Canaan [Israel–whose ideals have sunk to those of Canaan] is a trader; the balances of deceit are in his hand; he loves to oppress and defraud.
8 Ephraim has said, Ah, but I have become rich; I have gained for myself wealth. All my profits shall bring on me no iniquity that would be sin. [But all his profits will never offset nor suffice to expiate the guilt which he has incurred.] [Rev. 3:17.]
9 But I [Who] am the Lord your God from [when you became a nation in] the land of Egypt will yet make you to dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed and solemn Feast [of Tabernacles]. [Lev. 23:39-43.]
10 I have also spoken to [you by] the prophets, and I have multiplied visions [for you] and [have appealed to you] through parables acted out by the prophets.
11 If Gilead is given over to idolatry, they shall come to nought and be mere waste; if they [insult God by] sacrificing bullocks in Gilgal [on heathen altars], their altars shall be like heaps in the furrows of the fields.
12 Jacob fled into the open country of Aram or Padan-aram, and [there] Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he herded sheep. [Gen. 29:18-20; 30:31; 31:38-41.]
13 And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was [Israel] preserved.
14 Ephraim has provoked most bitter anger; therefore shall his blood [guilt] be left upon him, and his disgrace and reproach shall his Lord return upon him.
1 WHEN EPHRAIM spoke with trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended and became guilty in Baal worship, he died [spiritually, and then outward ruin came also, sealing Israel's doom as a nation].
2 And now they sin more and more and have made for themselves molten images of their silver, even idols according to their own understanding [as it pleased them], all of them the work of the craftsmen. To these [very works of their hands] they speak or pray who sacrifice to them; they kiss and show homage to the calves [as if they were alive]!
3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that passes early away, like the chaff that swirls with the whirlwind from the threshing floor and as the smoke out of the chimney or through the window.
4 Yet I am the Lord your God from [the time you became a nation in] the land of Egypt, and you shall know or recognize no God but Me, for there is no Savior besides Me.
5 I knew (recognized, understood, and had regard for) you in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.
6 According to their pasture, so were they filled [when they fed, they grew full], and their heart was lifted up; therefore have they forgotten Me.
7 Therefore I have become to them like a lion; like a leopard I will lurk by the way [to Assyria] and watch them.
8 I will meet them like a bear that is robbed of her cubs, and I will rend the covering of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lioness, as a wild beast would tear them.
9 It is your destruction, O Israel, that you have been against Me, for in Me is your help.
10 Where now is your king that he may save you in all your cities? And your judges of whom you said, Give me a king and princes?
11 I have given you a king in My anger, and I have taken him away in My wrath.
12 The iniquity of Ephraim [not fully punished yet] is bound up [as in a bag]; his sin is laid up in store [for judgment and destruction].
13 The pains of a woman in childbirth are coming on for him [to be born]; but he is an unwise son, for now when it is time [to be born], he comes not to the place where [unborn] children break forth [he needs new birth but makes no effort to acquire it].
14 Should I ransom them from the power of Sheol (the place of the dead)? Should I redeem them from death? O death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your destruction? Relenting and compassion are hidden from My eyes. [I Cor. 15:55.]
15 For though among his brethren [his fellow tribes] he may be fruitful, an east wind [Assyria] will come, the breath of the Lord rising from the desert; and Ephraim's spring shall become dry and his fountain be dried up. [Assyria] shall plunder his treasury of every precious vessel.
16 Samaria shall bear her guilt and become desolate, for she rebelled against her God; they shall fall by the sword, their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their pregnant women shall be ripped up.