2 1 So let your brothers be called “My People” and your sisters be called “Shown Mercy.”[a]
The Lord Promises To Punish Israel
2 Accuse! Accuse your mother! She is no longer my wife, and now I, the Lord, am not her husband. Beg her to give up prostitution and stop being unfaithful,[b] 3 or I will strip her naked like the day she was born. I will make her barren like a desert, and she will die of thirst. 4 You children are the result of her unfaithfulness, and I’ll show you no pity. 5 Your mother was unfaithful. She was disgraceful and said, “I’ll run after my lovers. Everything comes from them— my food and drink, my linen and wool, my olive oil and wine.”
6 I, the Lord, will build a fence of thorns to block her path. 7 She will run after her lovers, but not catch them; she will search, but not find them. Then she will say, “I’ll return to my first husband. Life was better then.” 8 She didn’t know that her grain, wine, and olive oil were gifts from me, as were the gold and silver she used in worshiping Baal.[c]
9 So I’ll hold back the harvest of grain and grapes. I’ll take back my wool and my linen that cover her body. 10 Then I’ll strip her naked in the sight of her lovers.[d] No one can rescue her.
11 I’ll stop Israel’s celebrations— no more New Moon Festivals, Sabbaths, or other feasts. 12 She said, “My lovers gave me vineyards and fig trees as payment[e] for sex.”
Now I, the Lord, will ruin her vineyards and fig trees; they will become clumps of weeds eaten by wild animals.
13 I’ll punish her for the days she worshiped Baal and burned incense to him. I’ll punish her for the times she forgot about me and wore jewelry and rings to attract her lovers. I, the Lord, have spoken!
The Lord Will Help Israel
14 Israel, I, the Lord, will lure you into the desert and speak gently to you. 15 I will return your vineyards, and then Trouble Valley[f] will become Hopeful Valley. You will say “Yes” to me as you did in your youth, when leaving Egypt.
16 I promise that from that day on, you will call me your husband instead of your master.[g]17 I will no longer even let you mention the names of those pagan gods that you called “Master.” 18 And I will agree to let you live in peace—you will no longer be attacked by wild animals and birds or by weapons of war. 19 I will accept you as my wife forever, and instead of a bride price[h] I will give you justice, fairness, love, kindness, 20 and faithfulness. Then you will truly know who I am.
21 I will command the sky to send rain on the earth, 22 and it will produce grain, grapes, and olives in Jezreel Valley. 23 I will scatter the seeds and show mercy to Lo-Ruhamah.[i] I will say to Lo-Ammi,[j] “You are my people,” and they will answer, “You are our God.”
2.1My People. . . Shown Mercy: In Hebrew “My People” is “Ammi” and “Shown Mercy” is “Ruhamah” (see Lo-Ruhamah in 1.6 and Lo-Ammi in 1.9).
2.2prostitution. . . unfaithful: See the note at 1.2.
2.10I’ll strip. . . lovers: Or “I’ll show her lovers how disgusting she is.”
2.12fig trees. . . payment: Hosea uses an unusual word for “fig tree,” which is spelled something like the word for “payment.”
2.15Trouble Valley: Or “Achor Valley.” The exact location of the valley is unknown, but in Hebrew “Achor” sounds like “Achan,” who brought trouble on Israel by disobeying the Lord (see Joshua 7.24-26).
2.16husband. . . master: In Hebrew the word “master” is the same as the name of the god Baal. But the Lord promises that his people will have a deep personal relationship with him (like a devoted wife and husband) rather than merely a legal tie (like a wife and her “master”).
2.19bride price: It was the custom for the husband to pay his wife’s parents a bride price. Instead of money, the Lord will give much better benefits to Israel.
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