1 "Hear this, you priests and all of Israel's leaders! Listen, all you men of the royal family! These words of judgment are for you: You are doomed! For you have led the people into a snare by worshiping the idols at Mizpah and Tabor.
2 You have dug a deep pit to trap them at Acacia.* But never forget--I will settle with all of you for what you have done.1
3 I know what you are like, O Israel! You have left me as a prostitute leaves her husband; you are utterly defiled.
4 Your deeds won't let you return to your God. You are a prostitute through and through, and you cannot know the LORD.
5 "The arrogance of Israel* testifies against her; she will stumble under her load of guilt. Judah, too, will fall with her.2
6 Then at last, they will come with their flocks and herds to offer sacrifices to the LORD. But it will be too late! They will not find him, because he has withdrawn from them, and they are now alone.
7 For they have betrayed the honor of the LORD, bearing children that aren't his. Now their false religion will devour them, along with their wealth.
8 "Blow the ram's horn in Gibeah! Sound the alarm in Ramah! Raise the battle cry in Beth-aven*! Lead on into battle, O warriors of Benjamin!3
9 One thing is certain, Israel*: When your day of punishment comes, you will become a heap of rubble.4
10 "The leaders of Judah have become as bad as thieves.* So I will pour my anger down on them like a waterfall.5
11 The people of Israel will be crushed and broken by my judgment because they are determined to worship idols.
12 I will destroy Israel as a moth consumes wool. I will sap Judah's strength as dry rot weakens wood.
13 "When Israel and Judah saw how sick they were, Israel turned to Assyria, to the great king there, but he could neither help nor cure them.
14 I will tear at Israel and Judah as a lion rips apart its prey. I will carry them off, and there will be no one left to rescue them.
15 Then I will return to my place until they admit their guilt and look to me for help. For as soon as trouble comes, they will search for me."
Read Hosea 6