New American Bible (Revised Edition)
From Days of Celebration to Days of Punishment
1 Do not rejoice, Israel,
do not exult like the nations!
For you have prostituted yourself, abandoning your God,
loving a prostitute’s fee
upon every threshing floor.[a]
2 Threshing floor and wine press will not nourish them,
the new wine will fail them.
3 They will not dwell in the Lord’s land;
Ephraim will return to Egypt,
and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.
4 They will not pour libations of wine to the Lord,
and their sacrifices will not please him.
Their bread will be like mourners’ bread,[b](A)
that makes unclean all who eat of it;
Their food will be for their own appetites;
it cannot enter the house of the Lord.
5 What will you do on the festival day,
the day of the Lord’s feast?[c]
6 [d]When they flee from the devastation,
Egypt will gather them, Memphis will bury them.
Weeds will overgrow their silver treasures,
and thorns, their tents.
7 They have come, the days of punishment!
they have come, the days of recompense!
Let Israel know it!
“The prophet is a fool,(B)
the man of the spirit is mad!”
Because your iniquity is great,
great, too, is your hostility.
8 [e]The watchman of Ephraim, the people of my God, is the prophet;(C)
yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,
hostility in the house of his God.
9 They have sunk to the depths of corruption,
as in the days of Gibeah;[f](D)
God will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins.
From Former Glory to a History of Corruption
10 Like grapes in the desert,
I found Israel;
Like the first fruits of the fig tree, its first to ripen,(E)
I looked on your ancestors.
But when they came to Baal-peor[g](F)
and consecrated themselves to the Shameful One,
they became as abhorrent as the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim is like a bird:
their glory flies away—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.(G)
12 Even though they bring up their children,
I will make them childless, until no one is left.
Indeed, woe to them
when I turn away from them!
13 Ephraim, as I saw, was a tree
planted in a meadow;
But now Ephraim will bring out
his children to the slaughterer!
14 Give them, Lord!
give them what?
Give them a miscarrying womb,
and dry breasts!(H)
15 All their misfortune began in Gilgal;[h]
yes, there I rejected them.
Because of their wicked deeds
I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no longer;
all their princes are rebels.
16 [i]Ephraim is stricken,
their root is dried up;(I)
they will bear no fruit.(J)
Were they to bear children,
I would slay the beloved of their womb.
17 My God will disown them
because they have not listened to him;
they will be wanderers among the nations.(K)
- 9:1 Threshing floor: an allusion to harvest festivals in honor of Baal, to whom the Israelites had attributed the fertility of the land; cf. 2:7.
- 9:4 Mourners’ bread: bread eaten at funeral rites (Dt 26:14). The presence of a corpse also made all food prepared in that house unclean (Jer 16:5–7).
- 9:5 The Lord’s feast: probably the important autumn feast of Booths, the most important of the Israelite public celebrations (Lv 23:34).
- 9:6 Instead of gathering for celebration (v. 5), they will be gathered for death. Memphis: known for the monumental pyramid tombs. Silver treasures: the silver statues of Baal (8:4).
- 9:8 Prophets, like Hosea himself, are called to be sentinels for Israel, warning Israel of God’s coming wrath (see Ez 3:17; 33:7), but often meet rejection.
- 9:9 The days of Gibeah: the precise allusion is not clear. Perhaps it is a reference to the outrage committed at Gibeah in the days of the judges (Jgs 19–21), or to questions surrounding Saul’s kingship at Gibeah (1 Sm 10:26; 14:2; 22:6).
- 9:10 Baal-peor: where the Israelites consecrated themselves for the first time to Baal (Nm 25; see note on Hos 5:1–2). Baal is here called the Shameful One.
- 9:15 Gilgal: possibly a reference to Saul’s disobedience to Samuel (1 Sm 13:7–14; 15), or to the idolatry practiced in that place (see note on Hos 4:15).
- 9:16 Wordplay on the Hebrew word for “fruit” (peri) and Ephraim (see note on 8:9). The whole passage (vv. 10–17) presents a reversal of Ephraim’s name (Gn 41:52). He will have no fruit, a condition which will result in extinction.