Ephraim’s Sins Rebuked by God

12 “Ephraim (A)feeds on the wind,
And pursues the east wind;
He daily increases lies and [a]desolation.
(B)Also they make a [b]covenant with the Assyrians,
And (C)oil is carried to Egypt.

“The(D) Lord also brings a [c]charge against Judah,
And will punish Jacob according to his ways;
According to his deeds He will recompense him.
He took his brother (E)by the heel in the womb,
And in his strength he (F)struggled with God.
Yes, he struggled with the Angel and prevailed;
He wept, and sought favor from Him.
He found Him in (G)Bethel,
And there He spoke to us—
That is, the Lord God of hosts.
The Lord is His (H)memorable name.
(I)So you, by the help of your God, return;
Observe mercy and justice,
And wait on your God continually.

“A cunning [d]Canaanite!
(J)Deceitful scales are in his hand;
He loves to oppress.
And Ephraim said,
(K)‘Surely I have become rich,
I have found wealth for myself;
In all my labors
They shall find in me no iniquity that is sin.’

“But I am the Lord your God,
Ever since the land of Egypt;
(L)I will again make you dwell in tents,
As in the days of the appointed feast.
10 (M)I have also spoken by the prophets,
And have multiplied visions;
I have given [e]symbols [f]through the witness of the prophets.”

11 Though (N)Gilead has idols—
Surely they are [g]vanity—
Though they sacrifice bulls in (O)Gilgal,
Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.

12 Jacob (P)fled to the country of Syria;
(Q)Israel served for a spouse,
And for a wife he tended sheep.
13 (R)By a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt,
And by a prophet he was preserved.
14 Ephraim (S)provoked Him to anger most bitterly;
Therefore his Lord will leave the guilt of his bloodshed upon him,
(T)And return his reproach upon him.


  1. Hosea 12:1 ruin
  2. Hosea 12:1 Or treaty
  3. Hosea 12:2 A legal complaint
  4. Hosea 12:7 Or merchant
  5. Hosea 12:10 Or parables
  6. Hosea 12:10 Lit. by the hand
  7. Hosea 12:11 worthless

12 [a]Ephraim(A) feeds on the wind;(B)
    he pursues the east wind all day
    and multiplies lies and violence.(C)
He makes a treaty with Assyria(D)
    and sends olive oil to Egypt.(E)
The Lord has a charge(F) to bring against Judah;(G)
    he will punish(H) Jacob[b] according to his ways
    and repay him according to his deeds.(I)
In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel;(J)
    as a man he struggled(K) with God.
He struggled with the angel and overcame him;
    he wept and begged for his favor.
He found him at Bethel(L)
    and talked with him there—
the Lord God Almighty,
    the Lord is his name!(M)
But you must return(N) to your God;
    maintain love and justice,(O)
    and wait for your God always.(P)

The merchant uses dishonest scales(Q)
    and loves to defraud.
Ephraim boasts,(R)
    “I am very rich; I have become wealthy.(S)
With all my wealth they will not find in me
    any iniquity or sin.”

“I have been the Lord your God
    ever since you came out of Egypt;(T)
I will make you live in tents(U) again,
    as in the days of your appointed festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets,
    gave them many visions
    and told parables(V) through them.”(W)

11 Is Gilead wicked?(X)
    Its people are worthless!
Do they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal?(Y)
    Their altars will be like piles of stones
    on a plowed field.(Z)
12 Jacob fled to the country of Aram[c];(AA)
    Israel served to get a wife,
    and to pay for her he tended sheep.(AB)
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel up from Egypt,(AC)
    by a prophet he cared for him.(AD)
14 But Ephraim has aroused his bitter anger;
    his Lord will leave on him the guilt of his bloodshed(AE)
    and will repay him for his contempt.(AF)


  1. Hosea 12:1 In Hebrew texts 12:1-14 is numbered 12:2-15.
  2. Hosea 12:2 Jacob means he grasps the heel, a Hebrew idiom for he takes advantage of or he deceives.
  3. Hosea 12:12 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia