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Hosea 8-14 Common English Bible (CEB)

Divine proclamation about Israel’s idolatry

Put a trumpet to your lips!
        It’s as if a bird of prey has flown over the Lord’s house,
    because they have broken my covenant,
        and have not kept my Instruction.
Israel cries to me,
        “My God, we know you!”
Israel has turned away from the good;
        the enemy will pursue him.
They set up kings, but not through me;
        they chose princes, but without my knowledge.
    With silver and gold they crafted idols
        for their own destruction.
Your calf is rejected, Samaria.
        My anger burns against them.
        How long will they remain guilty?
The calf is from Israel,
        a person made it;
        it is not God.
    The calf of Samaria will be smashed.
Because they sow the wind,
        they will get the whirlwind.
    Standing grain, but no fresh growth;
        it will yield no meal;
    if it were to yield,
        strangers would devour it.

Bargains, apostasy, and coming punishment

Israel is swallowed up;
        among the nations, they are now
        like a useless jar.
They have gone up to Assyria,
        a wild ass wandering alone;
        Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Though they have bargained with the nations,
        I will now gather them up.
    They will soon be diminished
        due to the burden of kings and princes.
11 When Ephraim added more altars to take away sin,
        they became altars to him for sinning.
12 Even though I write out for him a large number of my instructions,
        they are regarded as strange.
13 Though they offer choice sacrifices,[a]
        though they eat flesh,
        the Lord doesn’t accept them.
    Now he will remember their wickedness
        and punish their sins;
        they will return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten his maker,
        and built palaces;
    and Judah has multiplied walled cities;
        but I will send a fire upon his cities,
        and it will devour his fortresses.

Arrival of divine judgment

Don’t rejoice, Israel!
        Don’t celebrate as other nations do;
        for as whores you have gone away from your God.
        You have loved a prostitute’s pay
            on all threshing floors of grain.
Threshing floor and wine vat won’t feed them;
        the new wine will fail them.
They won’t remain in the land of the Lord;
        but Ephraim will return to Egypt,
        and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.
They won’t pour wine as an offering to the Lord;
        their sacrifices won’t please him.
    Such sacrifices will be like food for those who touch the dead;
        all who eat of it will be unclean;
        their bread will be for their hunger alone;
            it will not come to the Lord’s house.
What will you do on the day of appointed festival,
        on the day of the Lord’s festival?
Even if they escape destruction,
        Egypt will gather them,
        Memphis will bury them.
    Briars will possess their precious things of silver;[b]
        thorns will be in their tents.
The days of punishment have come;
        the days of judgment have arrived;
    Israel cries,
        “The prophet is a fool,
        the spiritual man is mad!”
    Because of your great wickedness,
        your rejection of me is great.

Tragic consequences

The prophet is God’s watchman
    looking over Ephraim,
    yet a hunter’s trap is set, covering all his ways,
        and rejection is in his God’s house.
They have corrupted themselves terribly
        as in the days of Gibeah;
    he will remember their wickedness;
        he will punish their sins.

10 Like grapes in the wilderness,
        I found Israel.
    In its first season,
    like the first fruit on the fig tree,
        I saw your ancestors.
    But they came to Baal-peor,
        and worshipped a thing of shame;
    they became detestable like the thing they loved.[c]
11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—
        no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
12 Though they bring up children,
        I will make them childless
        until no one is left.
    Doom to them indeed when I leave them!
13 When I looked toward Tyre, Ephraim was planted in a
lovely meadow;
        but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.
14 Give them, Lord
        what will you give them?
    Give them a womb that miscarries
        and breasts that are dried up.
15 Every wickedness of theirs began at Gilgal;
        there I came to hate them.
    Because of the wickedness of their deeds
        I will drive them out of my house.
        I will love them no more;
            all their officials are rebels.
16 Ephraim is sick,
        their root is dried up,
        they will bear no fruit.
    Even though they give birth,
        I will put to death their much-loved little ones.
17 Because they haven’t listened to him,
        my God will reject them;
        they will wander among the nations.

The folly of Israel’s idolatry

10 Israel is a growing vine
        that yields its fruit.
    The more his fruit increased,
        the more altars he built;
    the richer his land became,
        the more he set up sacred standing stones.
Their heart is false;
        now they must bear their guilt.
    The Lord will break down their altars
        and destroy their standing stones.
For now they will say:
        “We have no king,
    because we don’t love the Lord.
        What then could a king do for us?”
They have spoken empty words,
        swearing falsely when making covenants;
    so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
        in the furrows of the field.
The inhabitants of Samaria shake
        because of the calf of Beth-aven.
    Its people will mourn over it,
        just as its idolatrous priests who rejoiced over its glory that is now gone.

Shame and punishment

To Assyria it will be carried
        as a gift for the great king.
    Ephraim will be put to shame;
        Israel will be ashamed of his own idol.
Samaria will be cut off;
        her king is like a chip of wood on the surface of the water.
The sin of Israel, the shrines of Aven
        will be torn down.
    Thorn and thistle will sprout up
        on their altars.
    They will say to the mountains, “Cover us,”
        to the hills, “Fall on us.”
Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel;
        there they have continued.
        Will not war overtake them in Gibeah?
10 I will come and punish them;
        nations will be gathered against them
        when they are punished for their double crime.
11 Ephraim was a trained cow that loved to pull a plow;
        I spared her fair neck;
        but I will make Ephraim break through the ground;
            Judah will plow;
            Jacob will turn the soil for himself.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
        reap faithful love;
    break up your unplanted ground,
        for it is time to seek the Lord,
        that he may come
        and rain righteousness upon you.
13 You have plowed wickedness,
        you have reaped depravity,
        you have eaten the fruit of lies,
    because you have trusted in your way
        and in your many warriors.
14 Therefore, the noise of war will rise against your people;
        all your fortresses will be destroyed,
    as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle,
        when mothers were dashed into pieces with their children.
15 It will indeed happen to you, Bethel,
        because of your great wickedness.
    At dawn, the king of Israel will be cut off completely.

Divine love

11 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
        and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I called them,
        the further they went from me;
    they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
        and they burned incense to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
        I took them up in my arms,
        but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them
        with bands of human kindness,
        with cords of love.
    I treated them like those
        who lift infants to their cheeks;
        I bent down to them and fed them.

Divine frustration

They will return to the land of Egypt,
        and Assyria will be their king,
        because they have refused to return to me.
The sword will strike wildly in their cities;
        it will consume the bars of their gates
        and will take everything because of their schemes.
My people are bent on turning away from me;
        and though they cry out to the Most High,[d]
        he will not raise them up.

Divine compassion

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
        How can I hand you over, Israel?
    How can I make you like Admah?
        How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
    My heart winces within me;
        my compassion grows warm and tender.

Israel’s and Judah’s responses

I won’t act on the heat of my anger;
        I won’t return to destroy Ephraim;
    for I am God and not a human being,
        the holy one in your midst;
    I won’t come in harsh judgment.
10 They will walk after the Lord,
        who roars like a lion.
        When he roars,
        his children will come trembling from the west.
11 They will come trembling like a bird,
        and like a dove from the land of Assyria;
        and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.
12 [e] Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
        the house of Israel with faithless acts;
        but Judah still walks with God,
        and is faithful to the holy one.

God’s charge against Judah

12 [f] Ephraim herds the wind,
        and pursues the east wind all day long;
    they multiply lies and violence;
        they make a treaty with Assyria,
        and oil is carried to Egypt.
The Lord has a charge against Judah,
        and will punish Jacob according to his ways,
        and respond to him according to his deeds.
From the womb he tried to be the oldest of twin brothers;
        as an adult he struggled with God.
He struggled with the messenger and survived;
        he wept and sought his favor;
    he met him at Bethel,
        and there he spoke with him.
The Lord God of heavenly forces,
        the Lord is his name!
But you! Return to your God
        with faithful love and justice,
        and wait continually for your God.

He is a merchant; the means to cheat are in his hands;
        he loves to take advantage of others.
Ephraim has said,
        “I’m rich,
        I’ve gained wealth for myself;
        in all of my gain
        no offense has been found in me
            that would be sin.”
I am the Lord your God
        from the land of Egypt;
    I will make you live in tents again,
        as in former days.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
        and I multiplied visions,
        and through them I uttered parables.
11 In Gilead there is wickedness;
        they will surely come to nothing.
    In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls,
        so their altars will be like piles of stones
        on the rows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
        there Israel served for a wife,
        and for a wife he kept watch over livestock.
13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt,
        and by a prophet he was guarded.
14 Ephraim has given bitter offense;
        so the Lord will bring his crimes down on him
        and pay him back for his wrongdoing.

Infidelity despite divine goodness

13 When Ephraim spoke, there was excitement;
        he was praised in Israel;
        but he became guilty through Baal and died.
And now they keep on sinning;
    they have made metal images,
        idols of silver,
        as a result of their skill,
            all of them the work of craftsmen.
    “Sacrifice to these,” they say.
        People are kissing calves!
Therefore, they will be like the morning mist,
        like the dew that passes away early,
        like husks that swirl from the threshing floor,
        or like smoke from a window.
Yet I have been the Lord your God
        ever since the land of Egypt;
    and you will know no other gods but me;
        there is no savior besides me.
I knew you in the wilderness,
        in the land of no rain.
When I fed them, they were satisfied;
        and their hearts became proud;
        therefore, they forgot me.

Consequences of infidelity

So I will become like a lion to them;
        like a leopard I will lurk beside the road.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,
        and I will tear open the covering of their hearts.
    I will devour them like a lion,
        as a wild animal would eat them.
I will destroy you, Israel;
        for you didn’t realize that I could help you.
10 Where is your king now,
        so that he can save you?
    Where in all your cities are your judges,
        of whom you said,
        “Give me a king and rulers”?
11 I gave you a king in my anger,
        and I took him away in my wrath.
12 Ephraim’s wickedness is bound up;
        his sin is kept in store.
13 The pangs of a woman in childbirth come for him,
        but he is not aware of the time to be born;
    for at the proper time he doesn’t present himself
        at the mouth of the womb.
14 Will I ransom them from the power of the grave[g]
        Will I redeem them from death’s hold?
    Death, where are your diseases?
        Grave,[h] where is your destruction?
        Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
15 Although he may flourish among rushes,
        the east wind will come—
    the breath of God
        rising from the wilderness;
    and his spring will dry up;
        his fountain will be dried up.
    It will strip his household
        of every cherished possession.
16 [i] Samaria will be desolate,
        because she has rebelled against her God;
    by the sword they will fall—
        their babies will be dashed,
    and their pregnant women ripped open.

A plea: Return to God

14 [j] Return, Israel, to the Lord your God;
        you have stumbled because of your wickedness.
Prepare to speak
    and return to the Lord;
    say to the Lord,
        “Forgive all wickedness;
            and receive the good.
    Instead of bulls,
        let us offer what we can say:
Assyria won’t save us;
        we won’t ride upon horses;
    we will no longer say, ‘Our God,’
        to the work of our hands.
    In you the orphan finds compassion.”

Divine promise of healing

I will heal their faithlessness;
                I will love them freely,
        for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
        he will blossom like the lily;
        he will cast out his roots like the forests of Lebanon.[k]
His branches will spread out;
        his beauty will be like the olive tree,
        and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They will again live beneath my shadow,
        they will flourish like a garden;
    they will blossom like the vine,
        their fragrance will be like the wine of Lebanon.
Ephraim, what do idols have to do with me?
        It is I who answer and look after you.
    I am like a green cypress tree;
        your fruit comes from me.

Be careful

Whoever is wise understands these things.
    Whoever observes carefully knows them.
    Truly, the Lord’s ways are right,
        and the righteous will walk in them,
        but evildoers will stumble in them.

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 8:13 Correction; Heb uncertain
  2. Hosea 9:6 Or the proud glory pertaining to their silver; Heb uncertain
  3. Hosea 9:10 Heb uncertain
  4. Hosea 11:7 Heb uncertain
  5. Hosea 11:12 12:1 in Heb
  6. Hosea 12:1 12:2 in Heb
  7. Hosea 13:14 Heb Sheol
  8. Hosea 13:14 Heb Sheol
  9. Hosea 13:16 14:1 in Heb
  10. Hosea 14:1 14:2 in Heb
  11. Hosea 14:5 Or like Lebanon
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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