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The Leaders Cause Israel and Judah to Sin

“Priests, nation[a] of Israel, and people in the king’s family, listen to me. You have been judged guilty!

“You were like a trap at Mizpah[b] and like a net spread on the ground at Tabor.[c] You have done many evil things,[d] so I will punish you all. I know Ephraim. I know what Israel has done. Ephraim, right now you act like a prostitute. Israel is dirty with sin. The people of Israel have done many evil things, and these evil things keep them from coming back to their God. They are always thinking of ways to chase after other gods. They don’t know the Lord. Israel’s pride is a witness against them,[e] so Israel and Ephraim will stumble in their sin. But Judah will also stumble with them.

“The leaders of the people went to look for the Lord. They took their sheep and cattle with them, but they did not find the Lord because he refused to accept them. They have not been faithful to the Lord. Their children are from some stranger. And now, he will destroy them and their land again.[f]

A Prophecy of Israel’s Destruction

“Blow the horn in Gibeah.
    Blow the trumpet in Ramah.[g]
Give the warning at Beth Aven.
    The enemy is behind you, Benjamin.
Ephraim will become empty
    at the time of punishment.
I, God, warn the families of Israel
    that this really will happen.
10 The leaders of Judah are like thieves trying to steal someone’s property,
    so I will pour out my anger on them like water.
11 Ephraim will be punished.
    He will be crushed and pressed like grapes,
    because he decided to follow filth.
12 I will destroy Ephraim as a moth eats a piece of cloth.
    I will ruin Judah, like rot on a piece of wood.
13 Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound,
    so they went to Assyria for help.
They told their problems to the great king,
    but he cannot heal you or cure your wound.
14 I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
    like a young lion to the nation of Judah.
I—yes, I myself—will rip them to pieces.
I will carry them away,
    and no one can save them.
15 I will go back to my place,
    until the people admit they are guilty,
    until they come looking for me.
Yes, in their trouble they will try very hard to find me.”


  1. Hosea 5:1 nation Literally, “house.” This might mean the royal family of that country. Also in verse 14.
  2. Hosea 5:1 Mizpah A mountain in Israel. The people worshiped the false gods on many of the hills and mountains.
  3. Hosea 5:1 Tabor A mountain in Israel.
  4. Hosea 5:2 You … evil things The Hebrew text here is hard to understand. It seems to be a wordplay of some kind.
  5. Hosea 5:5 them Literally, “his face.”
  6. Hosea 5:7 And now … again The Hebrew text here is hard to understand.
  7. Hosea 5:8 Gibeah, Ramah Cities on Judah’s border with Israel.

Judgment Against Israel

“Hear this, you priests!
    Pay attention, you Israelites!
Listen, royal house!
    This judgment(A) is against you:
You have been a snare(B) at Mizpah,
    a net(C) spread out on Tabor.
The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter.(D)
    I will discipline all of them.(E)
I know all about Ephraim;
    Israel is not hidden(F) from me.
Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;
    Israel is corrupt.(G)

“Their deeds do not permit them
    to return(H) to their God.
A spirit of prostitution(I) is in their heart;
    they do not acknowledge(J) the Lord.
Israel’s arrogance testifies(K) against them;
    the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble(L) in their sin;
    Judah also stumbles with them.(M)
When they go with their flocks and herds
    to seek the Lord,(N)
they will not find him;
    he has withdrawn(O) himself from them.
They are unfaithful(P) to the Lord;
    they give birth to illegitimate(Q) children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,(R)
    he will devour[a](S) their fields.

“Sound the trumpet(T) in Gibeah,(U)
    the horn in Ramah.(V)
Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven[b];(W)
    lead on, Benjamin.
Ephraim will be laid waste(X)
    on the day of reckoning.(Y)
Among the tribes of Israel
    I proclaim what is certain.(Z)
10 Judah’s leaders are like those
    who move boundary stones.(AA)
I will pour out my wrath(AB) on them
    like a flood of water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed,
    trampled in judgment,
    intent on pursuing idols.[c](AC)
12 I am like a moth(AD) to Ephraim,
    like rot(AE) to the people of Judah.

13 “When Ephraim(AF) saw his sickness,
    and Judah his sores,
then Ephraim turned to Assyria,(AG)
    and sent to the great king for help.(AH)
But he is not able to cure(AI) you,
    not able to heal your sores.(AJ)
14 For I will be like a lion(AK) to Ephraim,
    like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces(AL) and go away;
    I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.(AM)
15 Then I will return to my lair(AN)
    until they have borne their guilt(AO)
    and seek my face(AP)
in their misery(AQ)
    they will earnestly seek me.(AR)


  1. Hosea 5:7 Or Now their New Moon feasts / will devour them and
  2. Hosea 5:8 Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).
  3. Hosea 5:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.