14 Israel, return! Come back to the Lord, your God. Sin has made you fall. 2 Return to the Lord and say, “Please forgive our sins. Accept our good sacrifices of praise instead of bulls.[a] 3 Assyria can’t save us, and chariots can’t help. So we will no longer worship the idols we have made. Our Lord, you show mercy to orphans.”
The Lord Promises To Forgive
4 Israel, you have rejected me, but my anger is gone; I will heal you and love you without limit. 5 I will be like the dew— then you will blossom like lilies and have roots like a tree.[b] 6 Your branches will spread with the beauty of an olive tree and with the aroma of Lebanon Forest. 7 You will rest in my shade, and your grain will grow. You will blossom like a vineyard and be famous as the wine from Lebanon.
8 Israel, give up your idols! I will answer your prayers and take care of you.[c] I am that glorious tree, the source of your fruit.[d]
9 If you are wise, you will know and understand what I mean. I am the Lord, and I lead you along the right path. If you obey me, we will walk together, but if you are wicked, you will stumble.
14.2Accept. . . bulls: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
14.5like a tree: The Hebrew text has “like Lebanon,” probably referring to the famous cedar trees on Mount Lebanon.
14.8Israel. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
14.8I am. . . fruit: This is the only place in the Old Testament where the Lord is compared to a tree. Hosea reminds the people that it is the Lord who is the source of life, rather than the Canaanite gods and goddesses that are worshiped under trees at the local shrines.
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