6 “Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces; now he will heal us. He has injured us; now he will bandage our wounds. 2 In just a short time he will restore us, so that we may live in his presence. 3 Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him. He will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.”
4 “O Israel[a] and Judah, what should I do with you?” asks the Lord. “For your love vanishes like the morning mist and disappears like dew in the sunlight. 5 I sent my prophets to cut you to pieces— to slaughter you with my words, with judgments as inescapable as light. 6 I want you to show love,[b] not offer sacrifices. I want you to know me[c] more than I want burnt offerings. 7 But like Adam,[d] you broke my covenant and betrayed my trust.
8 “Gilead is a city of sinners, tracked with footprints of blood. 9 Priests form bands of robbers, waiting in ambush for their victims. They murder travelers along the road to Shechem and practice every kind of sin. 10 Yes, I have seen something horrible in Ephraim and Israel: My people are defiled by prostituting themselves with other gods!
11 “O Judah, a harvest of punishment is also waiting for you, though I wanted to restore the fortunes of my people.
6:4Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel.
6:6aGreek version translates this Hebrew term as to show mercy. Compare Matt 9:13; 12:7.
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