“Come, let us return to the Lord .
He has torn us to pieces;
now he will heal us.
He has injured us;
now he will bandage our wounds.
2 In just a short time he will restore us,
so that we may live in his presence.
3 Oh, that we might know the Lord !
Let us press on to know him.
He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn
or the coming of rains in early spring.”
“O Israel 1 and Judah,
what should I do with you?” asks the Lord .
“For your love vanishes like the morning mist
and disappears like dew in the sunlight.
5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces -
to slaughter you with my words,
with judgments as inescapable as light.
6 I want you to show love, 2
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me 3
more than I want burnt offerings.
But like Adam, 4 you broke my covenant
and betrayed my trust.
8 “Gilead is a city of sinners,
tracked with footprints of blood.
9 Priests form bands of robbers,
waiting in ambush for their victims.
They murder travelers along the road to Shechem
and practice every kind of sin.
10 Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel:
My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!
“O Judah, a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you,
though I wanted to restore the fortunes of my people.
“I want to heal Israel, 5 but its sins are too great.
Samaria is filled with liars.
Thieves are on the inside
and bandits on the outside!
2 Its people don’t realize
that I am watching them.
Their sinful deeds are all around them,
and I see them all.
3 “The people entertain the king with their wickedness,
and the princes laugh at their lies.
4 They are all adulterers,
always aflame with lust.
They are like an oven that is kept hot
while the baker is kneading the dough.
5 On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine,
carousing with those who mock them.
6 Their hearts are like an oven
blazing with intrigue.
Their plot smolders 6 through the night,
and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire.
7 Burning like an oven,
they consume their leaders.
They kill their kings one after another,
and no one cries to me for help.
“The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners,
making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!
9 Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength,
but they don’t even know it.
Their hair is gray,
but they don’t realize they’re old and weak.
10 Their arrogance testifies against them,
yet they don’t return to the Lord their God
or even try to find him.
“The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves,
first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help.
12 But as they fly about,
I will throw my net over them
and bring them down like a bird from the sky.
I will punish them for all the evil they do. 7
13 “What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me!
Let them die, for they have rebelled against me.
I wanted to redeem them,
but they have told lies about me.
They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts.
Instead, they sit on their couches and wail.
They cut themselves, 8 begging foreign gods for grain and new wine,
and they turn away from me.
15 I trained them and made them strong,
yet now they plot evil against me.
16 They look everywhere except to the Most High.
They are as useless as a crooked bow.
Their leaders will be killed by their enemies
because of their insolence toward me.
Then the people of Egypt
will laugh at them.