The Israelites worship idols instead of the Lord
1 The Lord says, ‘Warn the people of danger!
My people have not obeyed the covenant that I made with them.
They have refused to obey my laws.
So an enemy army will come to attack their land,
like an eagle that is ready to fly down and catch them.
8:1An eagle is a big, dangerous bird.
2 Israel's people call out to me for help.
They say, “We know you as our God.”
3 But they have refused to do what is good and right.
So their enemies will chase after them.
4 My people chose kings to rule them,
but they did not ask me about it.
They chose people to lead them, but I did not agree.
They used their silver and their gold
to make idols for themselves.
But that will destroy them in the end.
5 People of Samaria, you have made an image of a calf as your idol.
8:5Samaria was the capital city of the northern kingdom, Israel.
But I hate that idol!
I am very angry with the Israelites.
How much longer will it be before I have to punish them?
6 That idol is not a true god!
An Israelite worker with special skills made it.
Samaria's idol of a calf will break into pieces!
7 Like a farmer, Israel's people have planted the wind.
So their harvest will be a strong storm!
The crops that grow in their fields will not have any grain.
So they will not be able to make flour for bread.
Even if the crops do make some grain,
foreign people will take it for themselves.
8 Israel will become lost among the other nations.
It will be like a useless pot that nobody needs.
9 Israel's rulers have gone to Assyria for help.
They are like a wild donkey that goes here and there.
Ephraim's people have paid money to get help from other nations.
8:9Ephraim is another name for the northern kingdom, Israel.
as if they are paying for lovers.
10 Yes, they have paid money to get friends who will help them.
But I will soon bring them together to punish them.
A great king will be cruel to them and they will receive much pain.
8:10The great king is the King of Assyria.
11 Ephraim's people have built many altars to make sin offerings.
But the altars have become places where the people do even more sins!
8:11The covenant said that there should be only one altar. The people in Israel had built many altars. The altars should have been places where people asked God to forgive them for their sins. But instead, they became places where the people did bad things.
12 I carefully explained my laws to my people.
But they do not accept my laws as their own.
13 Israel's people offer sacrifices to me,
and they eat the meat from those sacrifices.
But their sacrifices do not please me.
I know that they are guilty of wicked things.
Soon I will punish them for their sins.
They will have to return to Egypt.
14 Israel's people have built beautiful palaces.
But they have forgotten me, who made them into a nation!
Judah's people have built many strong cities.
But I will send fire to destroy their cities and their strong buildings.’