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The People’s Apostasy Rebuked

Hear this and pay close attention, O priests!
Give heed, O house of Israel!
Listen, O house of the king!
For the [pronounced] judgment pertains to you and is meant for you to hear,
Because you have been a snare at Mizpah
And a net spread out over Tabor (military strongholds on either side of the Jordan River).

The revolters have gone deep into depravity,
But I [the Lord God] will chastise them all.

I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from Me;
For now, O Ephraim, you have played the prostitute and have worshiped idols;
Israel has defiled itself.

Their [immoral] practices will not permit them
To return to their God,
For the spirit of prostitution is within them
And they do not know the Lord [they do not recognize, appreciate, heed or cherish Him].

But the pride and self-reliance of Israel testifies against him.
Therefore Israel, and [especially] [a]Ephraim, stumble and fall in their wickedness and guilt;
[b]Judah also has stumbled with them.

They will go with their flocks and with their herds
To seek the Lord [diligently searching for Him], but they will not find Him;
He has withdrawn from them [refusing to hear the prayers of the unrepentant].

They have dealt treacherously against the Lord,
For they have borne illegitimate (pagan) children.
Now the [c]New Moon will devour them along with their land [bringing judgment and captivity].


Blow the horn in Gibeah,
The trumpet in Ramah [the lofty hills on Benjamin’s northern border].
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven:
“Behind you and coming after you [is the enemy], O Benjamin [be on guard]!”

Ephraim will become a desolation in the day of rebuke;
Among the tribes of Israel I declare what is certain.
10 
The princes of Judah are like those who [d]move a boundary marker;
I will pour out My wrath on them like [an unrestrained flood of] water.(A)
11 
Ephraim is oppressed; he is broken and crushed by [divine] judgment,
Because he was determined to follow man’s command [e](vanities, filth, secular precepts).
12 
Therefore I am like a moth to Ephraim
And like dry rot to the house of Judah [in My judgment against them].
13 
When Ephraim saw his sickness,
And Judah his wound,
Then Ephraim went to Assyria [instead of the Lord]
And sent to [Assyria’s] great King Jareb [for help].
But he cannot heal you
Nor will he cure you of your wound [received in judgment].
14 
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim
And like a young lion to the house of Judah.
I, even I, will tear to pieces and go on [tearing];
I will carry off [the prey] and there will be no one to rescue them.
15 
I will go away and return to My place [on high]
Until they acknowledge their offense and bear their guilt and seek My face;
In their distress they will earnestly seek Me, saying,

Footnotes

  1. Hosea 5:5 Ephraim was the most dominant of the ten tribes in the Kingdom of Israel, and this and other economic factors led to Ephraim becoming a synonym for the entire Northern Kingdom.
  2. Hosea 5:5 The Southern Kingdom or Kingdom of Judah consisted primarily of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin. After the united kingdom divided, Judah continued to be ruled by the kings of the Davidic line. Jerusalem was the capital city of Judah.
  3. Hosea 5:7 Instead of a celebration, judgment would occur at the time of the New Moon Festival; 2:11.
  4. Hosea 5:10 I.e. like an official changing the laws of what is right and what is wrong by changing the legal standards.
  5. Hosea 5:11 “Vanities” is the rendering of The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament); “filth,” the rendering of the DSS.

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