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Chapter 9

From Days of Celebration to Days of Punishment

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]
Threshing floor and wine press will not nourish them,
    the new wine will fail them.

They will not dwell in the Lord’s land;
    Ephraim will return to Egypt,
    and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.
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.

What will you do on the festival day,
    the day of the Lord’s feast?[c]
[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.

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.
[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.
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)


  1. 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.
  2. 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).
  3. 9:5 The Lord’s feast: probably the important autumn feast of Booths, the most important of the Israelite public celebrations (Lv 23:34).
  4. 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).
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 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.

Punishment for Israel

Do not rejoice, Israel;
    do not be jubilant(A) like the other nations.
For you have been unfaithful(B) to your God;
    you love the wages of a prostitute(C)
    at every threshing floor.
Threshing floors and winepresses will not feed the people;
    the new wine(D) will fail them.
They will not remain(E) in the Lord’s land;
    Ephraim will return to Egypt(F)
    and eat unclean food in Assyria.(G)
They will not pour out wine offerings(H) to the Lord,
    nor will their sacrifices please(I) him.
Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners;(J)
    all who eat them will be unclean.(K)
This food will be for themselves;
    it will not come into the temple of the Lord.(L)

What will you do(M) on the day of your appointed festivals,(N)
    on the feast days of the Lord?
Even if they escape from destruction,
    Egypt will gather them,(O)
    and Memphis(P) will bury them.(Q)
Their treasures of silver(R) will be taken over by briers,
    and thorns(S) will overrun their tents.
The days of punishment(T) are coming,
    the days of reckoning(U) are at hand.
    Let Israel know this.
Because your sins(V) are so many
    and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,(W)
    the inspired person a maniac.(X)
The prophet, along with my God,
    is the watchman over Ephraim,[a]
yet snares(Y) await him on all his paths,
    and hostility in the house of his God.(Z)
They have sunk deep into corruption,(AA)
    as in the days of Gibeah.(AB)
God will remember(AC) their wickedness
    and punish them for their sins.(AD)

10 “When I found Israel,
    it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
    it was like seeing the early fruit(AE) on the fig(AF) tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,(AG)
    they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol(AH)
    and became as vile as the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory(AI) will fly away like a bird(AJ)
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.(AK)
12 Even if they rear children,
    I will bereave(AL) them of every one.
Woe(AM) to them
    when I turn away from them!(AN)
13 I have seen Ephraim,(AO) like Tyre,
    planted in a pleasant place.(AP)
But Ephraim will bring out
    their children to the slayer.”(AQ)

14 Give them, Lord
    what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry
    and breasts that are dry.(AR)

15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,(AS)
    I hated them there.
Because of their sinful deeds,(AT)
    I will drive them out of my house.
I will no longer love them;(AU)
    all their leaders are rebellious.(AV)
16 Ephraim(AW) is blighted,
    their root is withered,
    they yield no fruit.(AX)
Even if they bear children,
    I will slay(AY) their cherished offspring.”

17 My God will reject(AZ) them
    because they have not obeyed(BA) him;
    they will be wanderers among the nations.(BB)


  1. Hosea 9:8 Or The prophet is the watchman over Ephraim, / the people of my God