Hosea 10:1-8

The Lord says that Israel is guilty

1 Israel was like a healthy vine that had lots of grapes.

But as the Israelites became more and more rich,

they built more and more altars.

As their land gave more crops,

they made the pillars that they worshipped more beautiful.

2 They do not truly trust God.

They are guilty and they must receive their punishment.

The Lord will break their altars.

He will destroy their special pillars.

3 Soon these people will say, ‘We did not respect the Lord's authority.

Because of that we have no king.

But even if we had a king now, he could not do anything to help us.’

4 They promise to do many things,

but they never do what they promise.

They make useless agreements.

So people accuse each other in the courts.

They are like weeds that grow in a farmer's field.

5 The people who live in Samaria will be afraid.

They will worry about their image of a calf at Beth Aven.

10:5People worshipped a gold calf at Bethel. Hosea calls Bethel ‘Beth Aven’. Bethel means ‘House of God’ but Beth Aven means ‘House of wicked things’.

They will weep because it will go away from them.

The priests who serve the idol will cry too.

They know that an enemy will take away their great and beautiful idol.

6 Assyria's army will carry the idol away.

10:6Assyria's army will take the idol away when they win the war.

It will be a gift to give honour to Assyria's great king.

Ephraim's people will feel ashamed.

They will be sorry that they trusted in their wooden idol.

7 The people of Samaria and their king will come to an end.

10:7King Hoshea of Israel was put in a prison in 723 BC. See 2 Kings 17:1-6.

They will be like a small stick that water carries away.

8 The wicked altars on the hills will break into pieces.

10:8Assyria destroyed Samaria in 722 BC. Nobody built it again.

These are places where Israel's people have done bad things.

Thorn bushes and weeds will grow all over their altars.

Then the people will say to the mountains, ‘Hide us!’

They will say to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’