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God Accuses Israel

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel;
    for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or loyalty,
    and no knowledge of God in the land.
Swearing, lying, and murder,
    and stealing and adultery break out;
    bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
    and all who live in it languish;
together with the wild animals
    and the birds of the air,
    even the fish of the sea are perishing.

Yet let no one contend,
    and let none accuse,
    for with you is my contention, O priest.[a]
You shall stumble by day;
    the prophet also shall stumble with you by night,
    and I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your children.

The more they increased,
    the more they sinned against me;
    they changed[b] their glory into shame.
They feed on the sin of my people;
    they are greedy for their iniquity.
And it shall be like people, like priest;
    I will punish them for their ways,
    and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
    they shall play the whore, but not multiply;
because they have forsaken the Lord
    to devote themselves to 11 whoredom.

The Idolatry of Israel

Wine and new wine
    take away the understanding.
12 My people consult a piece of wood,
    and their divining rod gives them oracles.
For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray,
    and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.
13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains,
    and make offerings upon the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
    because their shade is good.

Therefore your daughters play the whore,
    and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
    nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with whores,
    and sacrifice with temple prostitutes;
thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.

15 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
    do not let Judah become guilty.
Do not enter into Gilgal,
    or go up to Beth-aven,
    and do not swear, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn;
can the Lord now feed them
    like a lamb in a broad pasture?

17 Ephraim is joined to idols—
    let him alone.
18 When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies;
    they love lewdness more than their glory.[c]
19 A wind has wrapped them[d] in its wings,
    and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.[e]

Impending Judgment on Israel and Judah

Hear this, O priests!
    Give heed, O house of Israel!
Listen, O house of the king!
    For the judgment pertains to you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah,
    and a net spread upon Tabor,
and a pit dug deep in Shittim;[f]
    but I will punish all of them.

I know Ephraim,
    and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
    Israel is defiled.
Their deeds do not permit them
    to return to their God.
For the spirit of whoredom is within them,
    and they do not know the Lord.

Israel’s pride testifies against him;
    Ephraim[g] stumbles in his guilt;
    Judah also stumbles with them.
With their flocks and herds they shall go
    to seek the Lord,
but they will not find him;
    he has withdrawn from them.
They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord;
    for they have borne illegitimate children.
    Now the new moon shall devour them along with their fields.

Blow the horn in Gibeah,
    the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
    look behind you, Benjamin!
Ephraim shall become a desolation
    in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
    I declare what is sure.
10 The princes of Judah have become
    like those who remove the landmark;
on them I will pour out
    my wrath like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
    because he was determined to go after vanity.[h]
12 Therefore I am like maggots to Ephraim,
    and like rottenness to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
    and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
    and sent to the great king.[i]
But he is not able to cure you
    or heal your wound.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
    and like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I myself will tear and go away;
    I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
15 I will return again to my place
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.
    In their distress they will beg my favor:

A Call to Repentance

“Come, let us return to the Lord;
    for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us;
    he has struck down, and he will bind us up.
After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before him.
Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord;
    his appearing is as sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the showers,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.”

Impenitence of Israel and Judah

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
    What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
    like the dew that goes away early.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
    I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
    and my[j] judgment goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
    the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

But at[k] Adam they transgressed the covenant;
    there they dealt faithlessly with me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
    tracked with blood.
As robbers lie in wait[l] for someone,
    so the priests are banded together;[m]
they murder on the road to Shechem,
    they commit a monstrous crime.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
    Ephraim’s whoredom is there, Israel is defiled.

11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.

When I would restore the fortunes of my people,
when I would heal Israel,
    the corruption of Ephraim is revealed,
    and the wicked deeds of Samaria;
for they deal falsely,
    the thief breaks in,
    and the bandits raid outside.
But they do not consider
    that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds surround them,
    they are before my face.
By their wickedness they make the king glad,
    and the officials by their treachery.
They are all adulterers;
    they are like a heated oven,
whose baker does not need to stir the fire,
    from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.
On the day of our king the officials
    became sick with the heat of wine;
    he stretched out his hand with mockers.
For they are kindled[n] like an oven, their heart burns within them;
    all night their anger smolders;
    in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven,
    and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen;
    none of them calls upon me.

Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
    Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Foreigners devour his strength,
    but he does not know it;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,
    but he does not know it.
10 Israel’s pride testifies against[o] him;
    yet they do not return to the Lord their God,
    or seek him, for all this.

Futile Reliance on the Nations

11 Ephraim has become like a dove,
    silly and without sense;
    they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 As they go, I will cast my net over them;
    I will bring them down like birds of the air;
    I will discipline them according to the report made to their assembly.[p]
13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
    Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
I would redeem them,
    but they speak lies against me.

14 They do not cry to me from the heart,
    but they wail upon their beds;
they gash themselves for grain and wine;
    they rebel against me.
15 It was I who trained and strengthened their arms,
    yet they plot evil against me.
16 They turn to that which does not profit;[q]
    they have become like a defective bow;
their officials shall fall by the sword
    because of the rage of their tongue.
So much for their babbling in the land of Egypt.

Israel’s Apostasy

Set the trumpet to your lips!
    One like a vulture[r] is over the house of the Lord,
because they have broken my covenant,
    and transgressed my law.
Israel cries to me,
    “My God, we—Israel—know you!”
Israel has spurned the good;
    the enemy shall pursue him.

They made kings, but not through me;
    they set up princes, but without my knowledge.
With their silver and gold they made idols
    for their own destruction.
Your calf is rejected, O Samaria.
    My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
    For it is from Israel,
an artisan made it;
    it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
    shall be broken to pieces.[s]

For they sow the wind,
    and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads,
    it shall yield no meal;
if it were to yield,
    foreigners would devour it.
Israel is swallowed up;
    now they are among the nations
    as a useless vessel.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
    a wild ass wandering alone;
    Ephraim has bargained for lovers.
10 Though they bargain with the nations,
    I will now gather them up.
They shall soon writhe
    under the burden of kings and princes.

11 When Ephraim multiplied altars to expiate sin,
    they became to him altars for sinning.
12 Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions,
    they are regarded as a strange thing.
13 Though they offer choice sacrifices,[t]
    though they eat flesh,
    the Lord does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity,
    and punish their sins;
    they shall return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten his Maker,
    and built palaces;
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
    but I will send a fire upon his cities,
    and it shall devour his strongholds.

Punishment for Israel’s Sin

Do not rejoice, O Israel!
    Do not exult[u] as other nations do;
for you have played the whore, departing from your God.
    You have loved a prostitute’s pay
    on all threshing floors.
Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
    and the new wine shall fail them.
They shall not remain in the land of the Lord;
    but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
    and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food.

They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord,
    and their sacrifices shall not please him.
Such sacrifices shall be like mourners’ bread;
    all who eat of it shall be defiled;
for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
    it shall not come to the house of the Lord.

What will you do on the day of appointed festival,
    and on the day of the festival of the Lord?
For even if they escape destruction,
    Egypt shall gather them,
    Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;[v]
    thorns shall be in their tents.

The days of punishment have come,
    the days of recompense have come;
    Israel cries,[w]
“The prophet is a fool,
    the man of the spirit is mad!”
Because of your great iniquity,
    your hostility is great.
The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim,
yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,
    and hostility in the house of his God.
They have deeply corrupted themselves
    as in the days of Gibeah;
he will remember their iniquity,
    he will punish their sins.

10 Like grapes in the wilderness,
    I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree,
    in its first season,
    I saw your ancestors.
But they came to Baal-peor,
    and consecrated themselves to a thing of shame,
    and became detestable like the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
12 Even if they bring up children,
    I will bereave them until no one is left.
Woe to them indeed
    when I depart from them!
13 Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow,[x]
    but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.
14 Give them, O Lord
    what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
    and dry breasts.

15 Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal;
    there I came to hate them.
Because of the wickedness of their deeds
    I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no more;
    all their officials are rebels.

16 Ephraim is stricken,
    their root is dried up,
    they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
    I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb.
17 Because they have not listened to him,
    my God will reject them;
    they shall become wanderers among the nations.

Israel’s Sin and Captivity

10 Israel is a luxuriant vine
    that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased
    the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
    he improved his pillars.
Their heart is false;
    now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord[y] will break down their altars,
    and destroy their pillars.

For now they will say:
    “We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord,
    and a king—what could he do for us?”
They utter mere words;
    with empty oaths they make covenants;
so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds
    in the furrows of the field.
The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
    for the calf[z] of Beth-aven.
Its people shall mourn for it,
    and its idolatrous priests shall wail[aa] over it,
    over its glory that has departed from it.
The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
    as tribute to the great king.[ab]
Ephraim shall be put to shame,
    and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.[ac]

Samaria’s king shall perish
    like a chip on the face of the waters.
The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
    shall be destroyed.
Thorn and thistle shall grow up
    on their altars.
They shall say to the mountains, Cover us,
    and to the hills, Fall on us.

Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel;
    there they have continued.
    Shall not war overtake them in Gibeah?
10 I will come[ad] against the wayward people to punish them;
    and nations shall be gathered against them
    when they are punished[ae] for their double iniquity.

11 Ephraim was a trained heifer
    that loved to thresh,
    and I spared her fair neck;
but I will make Ephraim break the ground;
    Judah must plow;
    Jacob must harrow for himself.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap steadfast love;
    break up your fallow ground;
for it is time to seek the Lord,
    that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.

13 You have plowed wickedness,
    you have reaped injustice,
    you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your power
    and in the multitude of your warriors,
14 therefore the tumult of war shall rise against your people,
    and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle
    when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
    because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel
    shall be utterly cut off.

Footnotes

  1. Hosea 4:4 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Hosea 4:7 Ancient Heb tradition: MT I will change
  3. Hosea 4:18 Cn Compare Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. Hosea 4:19 Heb her
  5. Hosea 4:19 Gk Syr: Heb sacrifices
  6. Hosea 5:2 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  7. Hosea 5:5 Heb Israel and Ephraim
  8. Hosea 5:11 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  9. Hosea 5:13 Cn: Heb to a king who will contend
  10. Hosea 6:5 Gk Syr: Heb your
  11. Hosea 6:7 Cn: Heb like
  12. Hosea 6:9 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  13. Hosea 6:9 Syr: Heb are a company
  14. Hosea 7:6 Gk Syr: Heb brought near
  15. Hosea 7:10 Or humbles
  16. Hosea 7:12 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  17. Hosea 7:16 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  18. Hosea 8:1 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  19. Hosea 8:6 Or shall go up in flames
  20. Hosea 8:13 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  21. Hosea 9:1 Gk: Heb To exultation
  22. Hosea 9:6 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  23. Hosea 9:7 Cn Compare Gk: Heb shall know
  24. Hosea 9:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  25. Hosea 10:2 Heb he
  26. Hosea 10:5 Gk Syr: Heb calves
  27. Hosea 10:5 Cn: Heb exult
  28. Hosea 10:6 Cn: Heb to a king who will contend
  29. Hosea 10:6 Cn: Heb counsel
  30. Hosea 10:10 Cn Compare Gk: Heb In my desire
  31. Hosea 10:10 Gk: Heb bound

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