Gangs of Priests Assaulting Worshipers

1-3 “Come on, let’s go back to God.

He hurt us, but he’ll heal us.

He hit us hard,

but he’ll put us right again.

In a couple of days we’ll feel better.

By the third day he’ll have made us brand-new,

Alive and on our feet,

fit to face him.

We’re ready to study God,

eager for God-knowledge.

As sure as dawn breaks,

so sure is his daily arrival.

He comes as rain comes,

as spring rain refreshing the ground.”

4-7 “What am I to do with you, Ephraim?

What do I make of you, Judah?

Your declarations of love last no longer

than morning mist and predawn dew.

That’s why I use prophets to shake you to attention,

why my words cut you to the quick:

To wake you up to my judgment

blazing like light.

I’m after love that lasts, not more religion.

I want you to know God, not go to more prayer meetings.

You broke the covenant—just like Adam!

You broke faith with me—ungrateful wretches!

8-9 “Gilead has become Crime City—

blood on the sidewalks, blood on the streets.

It used to be robbers who mugged pedestrians.

Now it’s gangs of priests

Assaulting worshipers on their way to Shechem.

Nothing is sacred to them.

10 “I saw a shocking thing in the country of Israel:

Ephraim worshiping in a religious whorehouse,

and Israel in the mud right there with him.

11 “You’re as bad as the worst of them, Judah.

You’ve been sowing wild oats. Now it’s harvest time.”