God will tell the people in Israel what they must do
1 People in Israel, do not be happy at special times as the people in foreign countries do!
You were like a prostitute and you left your God.
You are like a prostitute because men pay her to have sex.
She loves the money that they give to her.
And you loved all the grain that people gave to you.
So you have worshipped false gods on the floors where people work with grain.
2 But soon you will not have enough grain or wine.
There will be no more wine.
3 You will not stay in the LORD's country.
You will have to return to Egypt.
In Assyria, you will have to eat food that you should not eat.
4 Israel's people will not be able to offer wine to the LORD.
Their sacrifices will not make God happy.
People eat special bread when other people die. Their sacrifices will be like that bread.
Whoever eats that bread will not be holy.
This food will be only for themselves.
It will not come into the temple of the LORD.
5 Israel's people will not be able to enjoy special days.
Those are the special days when people remember God.
6 Perhaps Assyria will not destroy your country.
But Egypt will take the people in war.
People in Memphis will bury them. Weeds will grow over their silver.
Weeds will grow over the places where they live.
7 The time is now. Now I will tell you what you must do.
Now is the time when I will have to hurt you.
I will have to hurt you because of what you have done.
And Israel's people will know it!
You do very many sins. You are very angry with me.
So you think that I am a silly person.
You think that I have God's Spirit. But I am crazy, you think.
8 God has sent me as a prophet to make sure that Israel's people know things.
But people try to say bad things about me in the places where I go.
And people do not like a prophet in the house of God.
9 They have done some very bad sins.
They were like the sins that Israel's people did at Gibeah.
God will remember their very bad sins.
He will punish them for their sins.
9:9Verse 1 Israel's people were happy at these special times. But they were happy for the wrong reasons. They thought that God was the god, Baal. They thought that God should bless the grain. They wanted God to do things in the same way as the god, Baal. Also, prostitutes visited the floors where people worked with the grain. Men stayed there at night so that nobody would rob anything.
9:9Verse 5 Maybe the ‘special days’ were in the autumn. This was when people brought in the plants from the fields.
9:9Verse 9 Gibeah is where very bad things happened. See Judges chapters 19 and 20.
The people in Israel will cause God to punish them by their worship of idols
10 ‘I found Israel.
It was like when someone finds grapes in the desert.
I saw your ancestors.
It was like when someone finds fruit on a fig tree before the usual time.
But then they came to the god, Baal-Peor.
They began to worship that very bad idol.
They became like the idol that they loved very much.
11 Israel is great. But this special time will finish.
It will be like a bird.
There will be no more times when babies grow inside women.
There will be no more times when women give birth to babies.
There will be no more children.
12 But even if Israel's people have children,
the children will die.
I will cause that to happen.
There will be none still alive.
I will leave them. They will have nothing but trouble.
13 LORD, I can see that Ephraim's people are going to a difficult place.
They are going to someone who will kill them.
14 LORD, give to these people the things that you want to give to them.
Make it impossible for their women to have babies!
Make it impossible for their breasts to give milk to their babies!
15 They started to do all their very bad things at Gilgal.
It was there that I began not to like them in any way.
I will tell them that they must leave my country.
I will not love them any longer.
Their leaders have not obeyed me.
16 Ephraim's people are in bad trouble.
They are like a plant that has no water.
This plant will have no fruit.
They will have no children.
Even if they have children, I (God) will kill the children.
They think that these children are very important.
17 My God will refuse to accept them.
That is because they have not obeyed him.
They will have to travel from place to place in different countries.’
9:17Verse 10 Israel's people came to Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:1-5). Bad things happened there. Men from Israel had sex with women from Moab and Midian. A fig is a kind of fruit.
9:17Verse 15 Gilgal was across the Jordan River from the god, Baal-Peor. It was an important place where people worshipped other gods. Amos also said bad things about Gilgal (Amos 4:4; 5:5). God was very angry about Gilgal. He wanted to stop the things that happened there.