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Israel’s Sin

12 [a]“Ephraim feeds on the wind,
    chasing after the eastern winds,
        storing up lies and desolation day after day.
They are making a contract with the Assyrians,
    and sending oil to Egypt.
The Lord accuses Judah,
    and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
        he will repay him for what he does.
He circumvented his brother[b] in the womb,
    and as an adult he fought with God.
He even fought the angel and won;
    he cried and prayed to him.
Then at Bethel he found him,
    and there he spoke with us—
the Lord God of the Heavenly Armies—
    the Lord is his name.[c]
So you, return to your God;
    guard grace and justice,
        and look to your God always.

“Now as for the merchant,[d]
    deceitful balances remain in his hand,
        and he loves to defraud.
Ephraim claims,
    ‘I have become rich,
I have made a fortune!
    Because of all my wealth,
        no one will find any iniquity or sin in me.’

“Yet I remain the Lord your God,
    who brought you out of the land of Egypt.
I will make you live in tents again,
    as in the festival of that name.[e]
10 I spoke to the prophets,
    giving revelation after revelation,
        and employing parables in the prophetic writings.[f]

11 “There’s iniquity in Gilead, isn’t there?
    They have become truly vain.
They sacrifice bulls in Gilgal;
    their altars are like piles of stone in furrowed fields.
12 Jacob fled into the land of Aram;[g]
    Israel served there to obtain his wife,
        tending sheep to gain[h] his wife.

13 “By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt,
    and by a prophet he[i] was rescued.
14 Ephraim has stirred up violent anger;
    therefore the guilt of his blood will remain on him,
        and his Lord will repay him for his contempt.”


  1. Hosea 12:1 This v. is 12:2 in MT, and so throughout the chapter.
  2. Hosea 12:3 Lit. He grabbed his brother by the heal
  3. Hosea 12:5 Or his traditional name
  4. Hosea 12:7 MT word for merchant sounds like Canaan
  5. Hosea 12:9 I.e. the Festival of Tents
  6. Hosea 12:10 Lit. parables by the hand of the prophets
  7. Hosea 12:12 I.e. Syria
  8. Hosea 12:12 The Heb. lacks to gain
  9. Hosea 12:13 I.e. Israel