Against the royal officials
1 Hear this, O priests! and you, peo ple of Israel, pay attention! Hear, officials of the king for you are to be judged. You have been a snare at Mizpah and a net on Tabor, 2 and a deep pit at Shittim, so I am to punish you all.
3 I know what Israel is like; he cannot hide from me. Ephraim is playing the harlot; Israel is a people which defiles itself.
4 Their deeds prevent them from returning to their God; a spirit of prostitution has taken hold of them and they do not know Yahweh. 5 The pride of Israel is witness against him; this peo ple are failing because of their guilt.
6 With their sheep and bulls they will go in search of Yahweh, but they will not find him for he has gone far from them. 7 He found they were unfaithful and their children were not his. So now the de stroyer will do away with them and their lands will be devastated.
8 Blow the horn at Gibeah, the trumpet at Ramah, raise the battlecry in Beth-aven! For Ben jamin has been defeated, 9 the day has come in which Ephraim is ruined. Let the tribes of Israel know that this is about to occur! 10 The princes of Judah are like those who remove border stones and I shall pour out my anger on them like a flood. 11 In the same way those of Ephraim are oppressors and trample justice.
12 I will be like a moth for Ephraim, like rot for Judah. 13 Ephraim saw he was sick and Judah saw his ulcer. Then Ephraim turned to the great King of Assyria for help, but he will not cure you or heal your sores.
14 I will be like a leopard for Ephraim and like a lion for Judah. I will tear them to pieces and leave them. When I carry them off, no one will rescue them. 15 Then I will go away and return to my place until they admit their guilt and come back to me, for in their anguish they will earnestly seek me.