Israel is Guilty of Fertility Cult Worship
10:1 Israel was a fertile vine
that yielded fruit.
As his fruit multiplied,
he multiplied altars to Baal.1
As his land prospered,
they adorned the fertility pillars.
10:2 Their heart is slipping;
soon they will be punished for their guilt.
he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.
The Lord Will Punish Israel by Removing Its Kings
10:3 Very soon they will say, “We have no king
since we did not fear the
But what can a king do for us anyway?”
10:4 They3 utter empty words,4
taking5 false oaths and making empty6 agreements.
Therefore legal disputes sprout up
like poisonous weeds7 in the furrows of a plowed field.
The Calf Idol and Idolaters of Samaria Will Be Exiled
10:5 The inhabitants8 of Samaria will lament9 over the calf idol10 of Beth Aven.11
Its people will mourn over it;
its idolatrous priests will wail12 over it,13
because its splendor will be taken from them14 into exile.
10:6 Even the calf idol15 will be carried to Assyria,
as tribute for the great king.16
Ephraim will be disgraced;
Israel will be put to shame because17 of its wooden idol.18
10:7 Samaria and its king will be carried off19
like a twig20 on the surface of the waters.
10:8 The high places of the “House21 of Wickedness”22 will be destroyed;
it is the place where Israel sins.
Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
and to the hills, “Fall on us!”
Failure to Learn from the Sin and Judgment of Gibeah
10:9 O Israel, you have sinned since the time23 of Gibeah,
and there you have remained.
Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
10:10 When I please,24 I will discipline them;25
I will gather nations together to attack them,26
to bind them in chains27 for their two sins.28
Fertility Imagery: Plowing, Sowing, and Reaping
10:11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;
I myself put a fine yoke29on her neck.
I will harness Ephraim.
Let Judah plow!30
Let Jacob break up31 the unplowed ground for himself!
10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
reap unfailing love.
Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,
for it is time to seek the
until he comes and showers deliverance32 on you.
10:13 But you have plowed wickedness;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your chariots;33
you have relied34 on your many warriors.
Bethel Will Be Destroyed Like Beth Arbel
10:14 The roar of battle will rise against your people;
all your fortresses will be devastated,
just as Shalman devastated35 Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
10:15 So will it happen to you, O Bethel,36
because of your great wickedness!
When that day dawns,37
the king of Israel will be destroyed.38