Hosea 1-7 Common English Bible (CEB)
1 The Lord’s word that came to Hosea, Beeri’s son, in the days of Judah’s Kings Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, and in the days of Israel’s King Jeroboam, Joash’s son.
God commands Hosea to marry
2 When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to him,“Go, marry a prostitute and have children of prostitution, for the people of the land commit great prostitution by deserting the Lord.” 3 So Hosea went and took Gomer, Diblaim’s daughter, and she became pregnant and bore him a son. 4 The Lord said to him, “Name him Jezreel; for in a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5 On that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Jezreel Valley.” 6 Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. Then the Lord said to Hosea, “Name her No Compassion, because I will no longer have compassion on the house of Israel or forgive them. 7 But I will have compassion on the house of Judah. I, the Lord their God, will save them; I will not save them by bow, or by sword, or by war, or by horses, or by horsemen.” 8 When Gomer finished nursing No Compassion, she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. 9 Then the Lord said, “Name him Not My People because you are not my people, and I am not your God.”
Hope for the future
10 Yet the number of the people of Israel will be like the sand of the sea, which can be neither measured nor numbered; and in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it will be said to them, “Children of the living God.” 11 The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together, and they will choose one head. They will become fruitful in the land. The day will be a wonderful one for Jezreel.
Proclamation of wrongdoing
2 Say to your brother, My People, and to your sister, Compassion:
2 Level a charge against your mother; plead with her!
She is not my wife,
and I am not her husband.
Let her remove prostitution from her presence,
and adultery from between her breasts,
3 or else I will strip her naked
and expose her as on the day she was born.
I will make her like a desert,
and turn her into a dry land,
and make her die of thirst.
4 I will also have no compassion on her children
because they are children of prostitution.
5 Their mother has played the prostitute;
she who conceived them has behaved shamefully.
She said, “I will seek out my lovers;
they give me my bread and my water,
my wool and my linen cloth, my oil and my drink.”
6 Therefore, I will line her path with thorns;
and I will build a wall against her,
so that she can’t find her paths.
7 She will go after her lovers,
but she won’t catch up with them;
she will seek them,
but she won’t find them.
Then she will say,
“I will return to my first husband,
for I had it better then than now.”
8 She didn’t know that I gave her
the corn, the new wine, and the fresh oil,
and that I gave her much silver,
and gold that they used for Baal.
9 So now I will take back
my corn in its time,
and my wine in its season;
and I will take away my wool and my linen cloth,
which were to cover her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her nakedness
in plain view of her lovers,
and no one will rescue her from me.
11 I will end all her religious celebrations,
her festivals, her new moons, her Sabbath days,
and all her sacred seasons.
12 I will destroy her vines and her fig trees,
of which she said,
“These are my pay,
which my lovers have given to me.”
I will change them into a forest,
and the wild animals will eat them.
13 I will punish her for the days dedicated to the Baals,
when she offered sweet-smelling sacrifices to them
and dressed herself up with rings and jewelry,
and went after her lovers,
and forgot me, says the Lord.
Promises: restoration and covenant love
14 Therefore, I will charm her,
and bring her into the desert,
and speak tenderly to her heart.
15 From there I will give her vineyards,
and make the Achor Valley a door of hope.
There she will respond to me as in the days of her youth,
like the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
16 On that day, says the Lord, you will call me, “My husband,” and no longer will you call me, “My Lord.” 17 I will take away the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they will not be mentioned by name anymore. 18 On that day, I will make a covenant for them with the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the creeping creatures of the fertile ground. I will do away with the bow, the sword, and war from the land; I will make you lie down in safety.
19 I will take you for my wife forever;
I will take you for my wife in righteousness and in justice,
in devoted love, and in mercy.
20 I will take you for my wife in faithfulness;
and you will know the Lord.
21 On that day I will answer, says the Lord.
I will answer the heavens
and they will answer the earth.
22 The earth will answer the corn, the new wine, and the fresh oil,
and they will answer Jezreel;
23 I will sow him for myself in the land;
and I will have compassion on No Compassion,
and I will say to Not My People, “You are my people”;
and he will say, “You are my God.”
The lesson of infidelity
3 Then the Lord said to me again, “Go, make love to a woman who has a lover and is involved in adultery, just as the Lord loves the people of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love raisin cakes.” 2 So I bought her for fifteen pieces of silver, a large amount of barley, and a portion of wine. 3 I said to her, “You must stay with me for many days; you won’t act like a prostitute; you won’t have sex with a man, nor I with you.” 4 Similarly, the Israelites will remain many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred standing stone, without a priestly vest or household divine images. 5 Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king; they will come trembling to the Lord and to the Lord’s goodness in the latter days.
Israel’s sins and coming punishment
4 Hear the Lord’s word,
people of Israel;
for the Lord has a dispute
with the inhabitants of the land.
There’s no faithful love or loyalty,
and no knowledge of God in the land.
2 Swearing, lying, murder,
together with stealing and adultery are common;
bloody crime followed by bloody crime.
3 Therefore, the earth itself becomes sick,
and all who live on it grow weak;
together with the wild animals
and the birds in the sky,
even the fish of the sea are dying.
4 Yet let no one protest,
and let no one complain.
Listen, priest, I am angry with your people.
5 You will stumble by day;
and at nighttime so will your prophet,
and I will destroy your mother.
6 My people are destroyed
from lack of knowledge.
Since you have rejected knowledge,
so I will reject you from serving me as a priest.
Since you have forgotten the Instruction of your God,
so also I will forget your children.
7 The more they increased,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged their glory for shame.
8 They feed on the sin of my people;
they set their hearts on evil things.
9 The priest will be just like the people;
I will punish them for their ways,
and judge them for their deeds.
10 They will eat but not be satisfied;
they will have sex like prostitutes,
but they will not have children,
because they have rejected the Lord
to devote themselves to 11 false religious practices.
Description of Israel’s idolatry
Wine and new wine
12 My people take advice from a piece of wood,
and their divining rod gives them predictions.
A spirit of prostitution has led them astray;
they have left God to follow other gods.
13 They offer sacrifices on mountaintops,
and make entirely burned offerings on hills;
they offer sacrifices under various green trees,
because their shade is pleasant.
Therefore, your daughters act like prostitutes,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters because they act like prostitutes,
nor your daughters-in-law because they commit adultery;
for the men themselves visit prostitutes,
and offer sacrifices with consecrated workers at temples;
so now the people without sense must come to ruin.
15 Israel, even though you act like a prostitute,
don’t let Judah become guilty.
Don’t enter into Gilgal,
or go up to Beth-aven,
and don’t swear, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn cow Israel is stubborn.
Now the Lord will tend them,
as the Lord tends a lamb in a pasture.
17 Ephraim is associated with idols—
let him alone!
18 Though they have stopped drinking,
they continue to behave like prostitutes;
indeed, they “love”; shame is their pride.
19 The wind has wrapped her in its wings;
they will be ashamed of their sacrifices.
Judgment on Israel and Judah
5 Hear this, priests!
Pay attention, house of Israel!
Listen, house of the king!
The judgment concerns you because you have been a trap at Mizpah,
and a net spread out upon Tabor.
2 In their wicked condition, they have sunk deep into corruption;
I will correct them through judgment.
3 I know Ephraim; Israel doesn’t escape my eye;
for now Ephraim
you have acted like a prostitute;
Israel is defiled.
4 Their deeds don’t allow them
to return to their God,
because the spirit of prostitution is within them,
and they don’t know the Lord.
5 Israel’s pride is a witness against him;
both Israel and Ephraim stagger because of their guilt;
Judah staggers with them.
6 With their sheep and their cattle they will go
to seek the Lord,
but they will not find him;
he has withdrawn from them.
7 They have acted faithlessly against the Lord;
for their children have produced illegitimate children.
Now the new moon will devour them along with their fields.
8 Blow a horn in Gibeah;
blow a trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the warning at Beth-aven:
“Look behind you, Benjamin!”
9 Ephraim will become a horrible place
on the Judgment Day.
Against the tribes of Israel
I will certainly announce what is to take place.
10 The princes of Judah act like raiders who steal the land;
I will pour out my anger like water upon them.
11 Ephraim is under pressure from its enemies;
Ephraim’s rights aren’t protected.
This is because Ephraim chose to pursue worthless things.
12 Therefore, I am like a moth to Ephraim,
and like decay to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
and Ephraim sent for the great king.
But he could not heal them;
nor could he cure their wound.
14 I am like a lion to Ephraim,
like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I am the one who tears the prey and goes forth;
no one can snatch it from me.
15 I will leave so that I can return to my place
until they pay for their deeds,
until they seek me.
In their distress,
they will beg for my favor:
6 “Come, let’s return to the Lord;
for it is he who has injured us and will heal us;
he has struck us down, but he will bind us up.
2 After two days he will revive us;
on the third day he will raise us up,
so that we may live before him.
3 Let’s know, let’s press on to know the Lord;
whose appearing is as certain as the dawn;
who will come to us like the showers,
like the spring rains that give drink to the earth.”
Infidelity and divine retribution
4 Ephraim, what will I do with you?
Judah, what will I do with you?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that vanishes quickly.
5 Therefore, I have attacked them by the prophets,
I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth like a light.
6 I desire faithful love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God instead of entirely burned offerings.
7 But like Adam they broke the covenant;
then they acted in bad faith against me.
8 Gilead is a city of wicked people,
tracked with blood.
9 As robbers lie in wait for someone,
so the priests are in league with each other;
they murder on the road to Shechem;
they have done evil things.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen something horrible;
Ephraim acts like a prostitute; Israel is defiled.
11 For you also, Judah, a harvest is appointed,
when I would improve the circumstances of my people.
7 When I would heal Israel,
the evil acts of Ephraim are exposed,
and the wicked deeds of Samaria;
for they deceive and steal,
a thief breaks in;
a group of bandits raid outside.
2 But they don’t consider within their hearts
that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds show who they are,
right in front of my face.
3 By their wickedness they make the king glad,
and give joy to the officials with their lies.
4 They all act like adulterers;
they are like a heated oven,
whose baker doesn’t need to stoke the fire,
from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.
5 On the day of our king,
the officials became sick with the heat of wine;
he stretched out his hand to those who mocked him.
6 They approach like a hot oven, their hearts burning.
Throughout the night, their anger smolders;
in the morning, it continues to burn like a flaming fire.
7 All of them are hot as an oven;
they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen;
none of them call upon me.
8 Ephraim mixes himself among the people;
Ephraim is like flatbread that is cooked on only one side.
9 Strangers have eaten up his strength,
yet he doesn’t know it;
gray hairs are sprinkled here and there upon him,
yet he doesn’t know it.
10 Israel’s pride is a witness against him;
yet they don’t return to the Lord their God,
or seek him because of all this.
Foolishness and God’s wrath
11 Ephraim has become like a dove,
silly and without common sense;
they call upon Egypt; they go to Assyria.
12 As they go, I will spread my net over them;
like birds in the sky, I will bring them down;
I will judge them according to the report made to their assembly.
13 Doom to them, for they have strayed from me;
destruction will be their lot because they have rebelled against me.
I would redeem them,
but they speak lies against me.
14 They don’t cry to me from the heart,
but they sob upon their beds;
they fight over grain and wine;
they resist me.
15 It was I who gave them their strength,
yet they plot evil against me.
16 They return, but not to the Most High;
they have become like a worthless bow;
their officials will fall by the sword
because of the rage of their tongues;
in Egypt they will make fun of them.