The Lord accuses Israel
12 The Lord says,
‘Ephraim's people are always speaking lies to me.
Yes, Israel's descendants try to deceive me.
But Judah's people have stayed with God as their guide.
They continue to be faithful to the Holy God.’
11:12Or: Judah's people have turned away from God, who is holy and faithful.
1 Ephraim's people chase after useless things all the time.
They think that they can catch the wind that comes from the east!
But the result is more violence and lies.
They make an agreement with Assyria to get their help.
They also send their olive oil to Egypt to ask for their help.
12:1The Israelites wanted other nations to help them to be safe from their enemies. They should have trusted God to keep them safe. The wind is something that you can never catch. See Ecclesiastes 1:6, 14.
2 The Lord is ready to accuse Judah's people in a court of law.
He will punish Jacob's descendants for the bad way that they live.
He will punish them as their sins deserve.
3 Before Jacob was born, he cheated his brother.
He did that when they were both inside their mother's body.
When Jacob became a man, he fought against God.
4 He fought against an angel and he won.
He wept and he asked God to bless him.
There at Bethel, Jacob met with God. God spoke to him there.
5 This was the Lord God Almighty!
We know him as the Lord, his special name.
6 So now, you must return to your God.
You must show faithful love for each other.
You must judge people in a fair way.
You must be patient. Trust God to come and help you.
7 Your traders love to cheat people.
They use false weights and measures.
8 Ephraim's people proudly say,
‘We are rich! We have become very rich!
In all the ways that we have found riches,
nobody can accuse us.
We have not really done anything that is a sin!’
9 God says,
‘Remember that I am the Lord your God!
I brought you out of Egypt, where you were slaves.
Now I will make you live in tents again,
as you did before, in the wilderness.
10 I gave my messages to the prophets.
I showed them many visions.
12:10A vision is like a dream but you might not be asleep.
I used stories for the prophets to teach the people about me.
11 The people in Gilead do wicked things.
12:11Hosea is perhaps thinking about murders in Gilead. See Hosea 6:8. They also worshipped idols.
They will become as useless as their idols.
At Gilgal, the people offer bulls as sacrifices on their altars.
Those altars will be like heaps of stones in a farmer's field.’
12 Jacob ran away to the land of Aram.
12:12Jacob ran away from his brother Esau. He had cheated Esau and Esau was very angry with him.
He worked there as a shepherd so that he could get a wife.
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
He used a prophet to keep them safe in the wilderness.
14 But Ephraim's people have made the Lord very angry.
He will punish them with death for their terrible sins.
Their Lord will pay them back as they deserve,
because they have insulted him.