The Bible – Old Testament
Ephraim’s word caused fear, for he was exalted in Israel; but he sinned through Baal and died.
Now they continue to sin, making for themselves molten images, Silver idols according to their fancy, all of them the work of artisans. «To these,» they say, «offer sacrifice.» Men kiss calves!
Therefore, they shall be like a morning cloud or like the dew that early passes away, Like chaff storm-driven from the threshing floor or like smoke out of the window.
I am the LORD, your God, since the land of Egypt; You know no God besides me, and there is no savior but me.
I fed you in the desert, in the torrid land.
They ate their fill; when filled, they became proud of heart and forgot me.
Therefore, I will be like a lion to them, like a panther by the road I will keep watch.
I will attack them like a bear robbed of its young, and tear their hearts from their breasts; I will devour them on the spot like a lion, as though a wild beast were to rend them.
Your destruction, O Israel! who is there to help you?
Where now is your king, that he may rescue you in all your cities? And your rulers, of whom you said, «Give me a king and princes»?
1 I give you a king in my anger, and I take him away in my wrath.
The guilt of Israel is wrapped up, his sin is stored away.
2 The birth pangs shall come for him, but he shall be an unwise child; For when it is time he shall not present himself where children break forth.
3 Shall I deliver them from the power of the nether world? shall I redeem them from death? Where are your plagues, O death! where is your sting, O nether world! My eyes are closed to compassion.
Though he be fruitful among his fellows, an east wind shall come, a wind from the LORD, rising from the desert, That shall dry up his spring, and leave his fountain dry. It shall loot his land of every precious thing.
1  I give you a king . . . in my wrath: the Lord punishes the people of the northern kingdom by giving them incompetent kings who are soon deposed.
2  Israel’s sin is such as to warrant its destruction (⇒ Hosea 13:12), because it refuses to do penance. It will therefore perish as surely as the unborn child which dies in its mother’s body because it does not properly employ the only way to safety.
3  Shall . . . nether world: a vigorous affirmation of the Lord’s determination to destroy Israel. St. Paul cites these words in a different sense (⇒ 1 Cor 15:54-55), that of the ultimate victory of life over death in the resurrection of the body on the last day, wrought through the merits of Christ’s passion and resurrection.