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The Priests Are a Snare

Hear this, O priests!
Give heed, O house of Israel!
Listen, O house of the king!
    Because the judgment applies to you;
because you have been a snare for Mizpah,
    and a net spread out on Tabor;
they dug a deep pit[a] in Shittim,
    but I am a punishment for all of them.
I myself know Ephraim,
    and Israel is not hidden from me;
because now you have played the whore, O Ephraim—
    Israel is defiled.
Their deeds do not permit them
    to return them to God.
Because a spirit of whoredom is in their midst,
    they do not know Yahweh.
The pride of Israel testifies against him,[b]
    and Israel and Ephraim stumble in their guilt,
        and Judah stumbles with them.
With their flocks[c] and herds[d] they will go
    to seek Yahweh, but they will not find him;
        he has withdrawn from them.
They have dealt faithlessly with Yahweh
    because they have borne illegitimate children.
Now the new moon will devour them with their fields.
Blow the horn[e] in Gibeah,
    the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm in Beth-aven;
    look behind you, Benjamin.
Ephraim will be a desolation
    in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
    I will reveal what is true.
10 The princes of Judah have become
    like those who remove a 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 filth.[f]
12 But I am like a maggot to Ephraim
    and like rottenness to the house of Judah.
13 And when Ephraim saw his illness,
    and Judah his wound,
Ephraim went to Assyria,
    he sent to the great king.[g]
But he was unable to cure you
    and heal your wound.
14 Because I will be like a lion to Ephraim
    and like a fierce strong lion to the house of Judah.
I myself will tear and I will go;
    I will carry off, and there is no one who delivers.
15 I will return again[h] to my place
    until they acknowledge their guilt
        and seek my face;
    in their distress they will search[i] me.


  1. Hosea 5:2 Hebrew uncertain
  2. Hosea 5:5 Literally “against his face;” see 7:10
  3. Hosea 5:6 Hebrew “flock”
  4. Hosea 5:6 Hebrew “herd”
  5. Hosea 5:8 Hebrew “shofar”
  6. Hosea 5:11 Hebrew uncertain; another possible translation is “that he follows human commands”
  7. Hosea 5:13 Some translate literally “King Jareb” (see the NASB, NKJV)
  8. Hosea 5:15 Literally “I will go, I will return”
  9. Hosea 5:15 Or “they will beg favor of”