31The LORD said to me, “Go again3.1 The LORD… again; or The LORD spoke to me again. He said, “Go… ” and show your love for a woman who is committing adultery with a lover. You must love her just as I still love the people of Israel, even though they turn to other gods and like to take offerings of raisins to idols.”3.1 offerings of raisins to idols: Dried grapes were used in the worship of fertility gods, who were believed to give abundant harvests to their worshippers.
2So I paid fifteen pieces of silver and 150 kilogrammes of barley to buy her. 3I told her that for a long time she would have to wait for me without being a prostitute or committing adultery; and during this time I would wait for her. 4In just this way the people of Israel will have to live for a long time without kings or leaders, without sacrifices or sacred stone pillars, without idols or images to use for divination. 5But the time will come when the people of Israel will once again turn to the LORD their God, and to a descendant of David their king. Then they will fear the LORD and will receive his good gifts.
41The LORD has an accusation to bring against the people who live in this land. Listen, Israel, to what he says: “There is no faithfulness or love in the land, and the people do not acknowledge me as God. 2They make promises and break them; they lie, murder, steal, and commit adultery. Crimes increase, and there is one murder after another. 3And so the land will dry up, and everything that lives on it will die. All the animals and birds, and even the fish, will die.”
4The LORD says, “Let no one accuse the people or reprimand them — my complaint is against you priests.4.4 Probable text my complaint is against you priests; Hebrew your people are like those with a complaint against the priests. 5Night and day you blunder on, and the prophets do no better than you. I am going to destroy Israel, your mother. 6My people are doomed because they do not acknowledge me. You priests have refused to acknowledge me and have rejected my teaching, and so I reject you and will not acknowledge your sons as my priests.
7“The more of you priests there are, the more you sin against me, and so I will turn your honour into disgrace. 8You grow rich from the sins of my people, and so you want them to sin more and more. 9You will suffer the same punishment as the people! I will punish you and make you pay for the evil you do. 10You will eat your share of the sacrifices, but still be hungry. You will worship the fertility gods, but still have no children, because you have turned away from me to follow other gods.”
11The LORD says, “Wine, both old and new, is robbing my people of their senses! 12They ask for revelations from a piece of wood! A stick tells them what they want to know! They have left me. Like a woman who becomes a prostitute, they have given themselves to other gods. 13At sacred places on the mountain tops they offer sacrifices, and on the hills they burn incense under tall, spreading trees, because the shade is so pleasant!
“As a result, your daughters serve as prostitutes, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. 14Yet I will not punish them for this, because you yourselves go off with temple prostitutes,4.14 temple prostitutes: These women were found in Canaanite temples, where fertility gods were worshipped. It was believed that intercourse with these prostitutes assured fertile fields and herds. and together with them you offer pagan sacrifices. As the proverb says, ‘A people without sense will be ruined.’
15“Even though you people of Israel are unfaithful to me, may Judah not be guilty of the same thing. Don't worship at Gilgal or Bethaven,4.15 Bethaven: This name means “house of evil” or “house of idolatry” and in this passage refers to the city of Bethel, a name which means “house of God”. See also 5.8, 10.5 and 10.8. or make promises there in the name of the living LORD. 16The people of Israel are as stubborn as mules. How can I feed them like lambs in a meadow? 17The people of Israel are under the spell of idols. Let them go their own way. 18After drinking much wine, they delight in their prostitution, preferring disgrace to honour. 19They will be carried away as by the wind, and they will be ashamed of their pagan sacrifices.4.19 sacrifices; some ancient translations altars. Verses 17–19 in Hebrew are unclear.
51“Listen to this, you priests! Pay attention, people of Israel! Listen, you that belong to the royal family! You are supposed to judge with justice — so judgement will fall on you! You have become a trap at Mizpah, a net spread on Mount Tabor, 2a deep pit at Acacia City,5.2 Probable text a deep pit at Acacia City; Hebrew unclear. and I will punish all of you. 3I know what Israel is like — she cannot hide from me. She has been unfaithful, and her people are unfit to worship me.”
4The evil that the people have done prevents them from returning to their God. Idolatry has a powerful hold on them, and they do not acknowledge the LORD. 5The arrogance of the people of Israel cries out against them. Their sins make them stumble and fall, and the people of Judah fall with them. 6They take their sheep and cattle to offer as sacrifices to the LORD, but it does them no good. They cannot find him, for he has left them. 7They have been unfaithful to the LORD; their children do not belong to him. So now they and their lands will soon be destroyed.
8Blow the war trumpets in Gibeah! Sound the alarm in Ramah! Raise the war cry at Bethaven!5.8 Bethaven: See 4.15. Into battle, men of Benjamin! 9The day of punishment is coming, and Israel will be ruined. People of Israel, this will surely happen!
10The LORD says, “I am angry because the leaders of Judah have invaded Israel and stolen land from her. So I will pour out punishment on them like a flood. 11Israel is suffering oppression; she has lost land that was rightfully hers, because she insisted on going for help to those who had none to give.5.11 Probable text those who had none to give; Hebrew command. 12I will bring destruction on Israel and ruin on the people of Judah.
13“When Israel saw how sick she was and when Judah saw her own wounds, then Israel went to Assyria to ask the great emperor for help, but he could not cure them or heal their wounds. 14I will attack the people of Israel and Judah like a lion. I myself will tear them to pieces and then leave them. When I drag them off, no one will be able to save them.
15“I will abandon my people until they have suffered enough for their sins and come looking for me. Perhaps in their suffering they will try to find me.”