God turns out the lights in Israel
Sentenced to death1When God accused Ephraim’s tribe,
The terrified people started trembling.
God condemned all Israel for worshiping Baal,
Then he sentenced them to death.
2Destined to death, they keep on sinning.
They cast silver idols from molds,
Which artisans made by hand.
People sacrificed to these calf idols,
And bowed in worship to kiss them.
3I’ll turn these people into morning mist,
Or to dew quickly burning away,
Or to grain chaff swirling from the threshing floor
Or to smoke fading into the wind.
God was Israel’s only helper4I’m the only God you ever had
Since the day you left Egypt.
You’ve known no God but the LORD,
The only savior there for you.
5I’m the one who fed you in the desert,
In the desolate badlands of your escape.
6I fed you your fill,
Till you grew content,
And too proud to bother with me.
God is coming to destroy Israel7So, I’ll be the lion waiting for them,
A leopard stalking its prey.
8I’ll drop them like a bear, robbed of cubs.
Then I’ll rip open their chests and eat.
I’ll devour them like a hungry lion,
And mangle their bodies like an animal.
9I’m coming to destroy you, Israel,
Who’s coming to rescue you now?
10Can you find your king so he can save you?
Where are your towns and officials today?
Didn’t you say ask me for kings and officials?
11Angry, I gave you a king.
Angry, I take him away.
12Ephraim’s sin is on the record,
Evidence stored away.
13Ephraim will feel the pain of childbirth
In delivering an uncooperative son.
When its time to push, the son turns away.
Invitation to the grave14Should I save them from the land of the dead?
Should I spare them from the pain of dying?
Death, why are you late with your plagues?
Grave, why are you late to the funerals?
This is no time for compassion.
I’ll show none.
15Ephraim was the pick of reeds in the marsh,
The most flourishing tribe of Israel’s brothers.
But the LORD is coming with the eastern wind,
In a blast of heat from the desert.
Springs will evaporate. Wells will go dry.
And they’ll lose everything precious to them.
16Samaria is guilty and will pay the price
For going into battle against God.
People will drop at the tip of a sword.
Babies will burst, bashed to pieces,
Unborn, ripped from their mothers.
Ephraim was the dominate tribe in the northern Jewish nation of Israel, just as Judah was in the south. Some scholars say Ephraim was doing the talking in this verse, and it wasn’t God talking. Others say the Hebrew text suggests this verse belongs at the end of chapter 12, as God’s final judgment on the sins catalogued there.
Israel broke their contract with God. For that, they incurred the penalties agreed on in the contract (Deuteronomy 28).
Literally, “from the power of Sheol.” Sheol is a word Old Testament writers used to describe the place of the dead. It is a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back.
Paul paraphrased this in 1 Corinthians 15:55, when he spoke about life after death.
This is possibly a little wordplay, reminding Israel that it was God who brought them out of Egypt, and he saved baby Moses, who was floating among reeds (Exodus 2:5-10).
The east wind brought blistering heat to Israel and Judah, blown in from the deserts of Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. Invaders who destroyed Israel and, later, Judah both came from the east—from what is now Iraq. Assyria erased Israel from the map in 722 BC and Babylon did the same to Judah in 586 BC. Both invaders deported and exiled the rulers, officials, and many citizens. They did it, in part, to keep them from raising the Jewish nation from the dead. It worked.
Samaria was capital of the northern Jewish nation of Israel.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.