Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.
2 Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.
3 For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the Lord; what then should a king do to us?
4 They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.
6 It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.
7 As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.
8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.
9 O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them.
10 It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.
11 And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.
12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.
13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.
14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.
15 So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.
Israel is a vine that produces fruit, but only for itself. As its prosperity increased, the altars to Baal increased, and so did the adornment of its fertility pillars (10:1). Without repenting of their sins, the Israelites kept increasing the altars and beautifying the pillars. Their hearts were divided, and not totally dedicated to God. They were guilty in God’s sight, and these altars and pillars would be destroyed by the Assyrians (10:2).
Israel was loved by God and placed in the Promised Land, like a young heifer placed in a good grazing land. However, because of its sins, Israel would experience the hardships of invasion. Assyrian soldiers would step on Israel’s neck, and Assyrian chariots would ride over her body (10:11). If Israel would return to God, doing righteousness, they would see God’s faithful love. It was the last chance for them to seek God. If they would change their thinking and return to God with repentance, He would offer salvation as abundantly as needed rain (10:12).
Instead of depending on God, Israel trusted in many warriors. But Israel would be defeated just as Beth Arbel was destroyed (10:13-15). Are we responding to God’s merciful invitation or depending on ourselves?