First of all, pardon me my wobbly English.
Often, a Bible passage can be cleared also through the analysis of the context around it, as in this case.
The following is a very synthetic outline of the entire chapter 4.
Vss. 1-3 A God’s condemnation against the ‘Bashan’s Cows’, probably the high-ranking women of Samaria’s court, that sometimes bossed their husband, so they (the ‘Cows’) can continue to live off poor and needy persons’ backs.
Vss. 4-5 Lord Yahweh says them - in a nutshell – that they (the Samaritan’s sinners) may continue to sin, since this is what they love to do (5b).
Vss. 6-11 In this section, God illustrates the several manners of discipline that He administered them, for the purpose of to sensitize them of their transgressive behaviours. But - as the ‘chorus’ (repeated 5 times in this section) says – “yet you did not return to me (Yahweh)”. Note how Yahweh controlled also the physical environment of the Northern Kingdom of Israel country to discipline his people, in fulfillment of His promise made previously in Deuteronomy 11:13-17 (along with other passages).
Vss. 12-13 Since this was the course Israelites loved to perform, Yahweh pronounced his final sentence: “Therefore, thus I do to thee, O Israel, at last, Because this I do to thee, Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel. For, lo, the former of mountains, and creator of wind, And the declarer to man what is His thought, He is making dawn obscurity, And is treading on high places of earth, Jehovah, God of Hosts, is His name!” (Young’s Literal Translation).
At this point we may focus on the verse 11, that speaks about the ‘overthrow’ Bach asked for. Was it a natural disaster, as an earthquake or a volcanic eruption?
In first instance, we have to examine the Hebrew term at issue. ‘Overthrow’ is a translation of the Hebrew term הפך (epk), utilized also in Gen 19:29 (regarding the Sodom and Gomorrah’s story).
Did God send – as the ancient condemned cities – fire and sulphur on the Northern Israelites, as He made over the Jordan plain? It is very improbable. If occurred so, we today would have (in the Bible, or in other ancient chronicles) at least a shard of mention of this far-reaching happening.
Moreover, hardly a (for an example) volcanic eruption clearly sent by God (not a common one) leaves the Israelites without any effect. Hardly the Israelites continued in their sin practices if they had suffered a volcanic eruption that they would recognized clearly directed them by God (even if only for fear, in medium-term, at least).
Returning to the meaning of הפך (epk) we may safely assert that this term revolves itself around the concept of “to turn or change the condition, form, state, situation, or course of a thing” (Parkhurst’s Lexicon). However, we may say that הפך (epk) include – more precisely - the nuance of a complete overturning, a reversal of something.
See, please, how this term is used in a couple of Bible passages.
Ezekiel 16:34 (the translation sample is drawn by Young; bold is mine):
“And the contrary (הפך) is in thee from women in thy whoredoms, That after thee none doth go a-whoring; And in thy giving a gift, And a gift hath not been given to thee; And thou art become contrary (הפך). ” (other Bible translated the term also as ‘opposite’)
Isaiah 29:16 (the translation sample is drawn by ESV; bold is mine):
“You turn things upside down (הפך)! Shall the potter be regarded as the clay, that the thing made should say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’; or the thing formed say of him who formed it, ‘He has no understanding’?”
So, using this term - הפך (epk) – Lord Yahweh said that He radically changed their live-it-up mood (graphically illustrated by the prophet with the mentions of ‘many gardens and vineyards’, fig trees, olive trees [vs. 9], horse herds [vs. 10], and so on) they love, just as He reversed the luxuriant environment of the ‘Jordan Plain’ of ancient (“And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the Plain of the Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before Jehovah destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, like the garden of Jehovah, like the land of Egypt, as thou goest unto Zoar.” - Gen 13:10, ASV [bold is mine]) in sheer heaps of ashes!
As you may see from the Bible text we are discussing, the הפך (epk) God directed them (Samaritans) did result in the following reversal situations: “lack of bread in all your places” (vs. 6), the God’s withholding of the necessary rain (vss. 7-8), plant/vegetation diseases (vs. 9), pestilence and military defeats (vs. 10).
Was all this God-directed discipline enough to urge the Israelites to change their behaviour? The answer was the same, “yet you did not return to me (Yahweh)”.
Very interestingly - in a sharp contrast - when God saw the Northern Kingdom’s Israelites had no intention to drastically change (הפך, as used in this sense in 1 Sam 10:9 [compare with Exo 14:5]) their perverse mind-set, or, in other words, to convert themselves, He decided to drastically change (הפך) their lush environment, as well as their flamboyant lifestyle, they loved to live!
Lesson for us (believers): It is more useful for us to promptly hear God (also if his commands go against our fleshly inclinations), being sensitive to the urgings by Him, instead to be hardly disciplined by Him. We have to avoid the negative example of those Israelites, if we do not want undergo the same lot of those apostate of old.
I hope these remarks will be useful for your research.