14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure Israel And bring her into the wilderness, And I will speak tenderly to her [to reconcile her to Me]. 15 “Then I will give her her vineyards from there, And make the Valley of Achor a door of hope and expectation [anticipating the time when I will restore My favor on her]. And she will sing there and respond as in the days of her youth As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “It shall come about in that day,” says the Lord, “That you will call Me Ishi (my husband) And will no longer call Me Baali (my [a]Baal). 17 “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, So that they will no longer be mentioned or remembered by their names. 18 “And in that day I will make a covenant for Israel With the animals of the open country And with the birds of the heavens And with the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow and the sword and [banish] war from the land And will make them lie down in safety. 19 “And I will betroth you (Israel) to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, In lovingkindness and loyalty, and in compassion. 20 “I will betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness. Then you will know (recognize, appreciate) the Lord [and respond with loving faithfulness].
21 “It will come about in that day that I will respond,” says the Lord. “I will respond to the heavens [which ask for rain to pour on the earth], and they will respond to the earth [which begs for the rain], 22 And the earth shall respond to the grain and the new wine and the oil [which beg it to bring them forth], And they will respond to Jezreel [My Israel, who will now be restored]. 23 “I will sow her for Myself in the land. I will also have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; And I will say to those who were not My people, ‘You are My people,’ And they will say, ‘You are my God!’”
Hosea’s Second Symbolic Marriage
3 Then the Lord said to me, “Go again, love a woman ([b]Gomer) who is beloved by her husband and yet is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the [c]children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love the raisin cakes [used in the feasts in pagan worship].” 2 So I bought her for myself for [d]fifteen pieces of silver and a homer and a half of barley [the price of a common slave]. 3 And I said to her, “You shall stay with me for many days. You shall not play the prostitute nor shall you have a man; so I will also be toward you [until you have proved your faithfulness].” 4 For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or [idolatrous] pillar, and without [e]ephod or teraphim (household idols). 5 Afterward the sons of Israel will return [in deep repentance] and seek the Lord their God and [seek from the line of] David their king [the King of kings—the Messiah]; and they will come trembling to the Lord and to His goodness and blessing in the last days.
God’s Controversy with Israel
4 Hear the word of the Lord, you children of Israel, For the Lord has a [legal] case with the inhabitants of the land, Because there is no faithfulness [no steadfast love, no dependability] or loyalty or kindness Or knowledge of God [from personal experience with Him] in the land. 2 There is [false] swearing of oaths, deception (broken faith), murder, stealing, and adultery; They employ violence, so that one [act of] bloodshed follows closely on another. 3 Therefore the land [continually] mourns, And everyone who lives in it languishes [in tragic suffering] Together with the animals of the open country and the birds of the heavens; Even the fish of the sea disappear.
4 Yet let no one find fault, nor let any rebuke [others]; For your people are like those who contend with the priest. 5 So you will stumble in the daytime, And the [false] prophet will also stumble with you in the night; And I will destroy your mother (Israel). 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge [of My law, where I reveal My will]. Because you [the priestly nation] have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you from being My priest. Since you have forgotten the law of your God, I will also forget your children.
7 The more they multiplied [in numbers and increased in power], the more they sinned against Me; I will change their glory into shame. 8 They (the priests) [f]feed on the sin offering of My people And set their heart on their wickedness. 9 And it shall be: like people, like priest [both are wicked and both will be judged]; So I will punish them for their ways And repay them for their deeds. 10 They will eat, but not have enough; They will play the prostitute, but not increase [their descendants], Because they have stopped giving heed to the Lord.
11 Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away the mind and the [spiritual] understanding. 12 My people consult their [lifeless] wooden idol, and their [diviner’s] wand gives them oracles. For a spirit of prostitution has led them astray [morally and spiritually], And they have played the prostitute, withdrawing themselves from their God. 13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains And burn incense on the hills, Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, Because the shade is pleasant there. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute And your brides commit adultery. 14 I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute Or your brides when they commit adultery, For the men themselves slip away with prostitutes, And they offer sacrifices with temple prostitutes [who give their bodies in honor of the idol]. So the people without understanding [stumble and fall and] come to ruin.
15 Though you, Israel, play the prostitute [by worshiping idols], Do not let Judah become guilty [of the same thing]; And do not go to Gilgal [where idols are worshiped], Or go up to [g]Beth-aven (House of Wickedness), Nor swear [oaths in idolatrous worship, saying], “As the Lord lives!” 16 For Israel is stubborn, Like a stubborn heifer. Can the Lord now pasture them Like a lamb in a large field? 17 Ephraim is joined to idols, So let him alone [to suffer the consequences]. 18 When their liquor is gone [and their drinking parties are over], They habitually go to play the prostitute; Ephraim’s rulers continue to dearly love shame [more than her glory which is the Lord, Israel’s God]. 19 The wind [of God’s relentless wrath] has wrapped up Israel in its wings, And [in captivity] they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices [to calves, to sun, to moon, to stars, and to pagan gods].
The People’s Apostasy Rebuked
5 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). 2 The revolters have gone deep into depravity, But I [the Lord God] will chastise them all. 3 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. 4 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]. 5 But the pride and self-reliance of Israel testifies against him. Therefore Israel, and [especially] [h]Ephraim, stumble and fall in their wickedness and guilt; [i]Judah also has stumbled with them. 6 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]. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the Lord, For they have borne illegitimate (pagan) children. Now the [j]New Moon will devour them along with their land [bringing judgment and captivity].
8 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]!” 9 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 [k]move a boundary marker; I will pour out My wrath on them like [an unrestrained flood of] water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed; he is broken and crushed by [divine] judgment, Because he was determined to follow man’s command [l](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,
The Response to God’s Rebuke
6 “Come and let us return [in repentance] to the Lord, For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us. 2 “After two days He will revive us; On the third day He will raise us up That we may live before Him. 3 “So let us know and become personally acquainted with Him; let us press on to know and understand fully the [greatness of the] Lord [to honor, heed, and deeply cherish Him]. His appearing is prepared and is as certain as the dawn, And He will come to us [in salvation] like the [heavy] rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth.”
The Reply of the Lord
4 O Ephraim, what shall I do with you? O Judah, what shall I do with you? For your [wavering] loyalty and kindness are [transient] like the morning cloud And like the dew that goes away early. 5 Therefore, I have hewn them in pieces by [the words of] the prophets; I have slain them by the words of My mouth; My judgments [pronounced upon them by the prophets] are like the light that shines forth [obvious to all]. 6 For I desire and delight in [steadfast] loyalty [faithfulness in the covenant relationship], rather than sacrifice, And in the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. 7 But they, like Adam, have transgressed the covenant; There they have dealt treacherously against Me. 8 Gilead is a city of wrongdoers; It is tracked with bloody footprints. 9 And as bands of robbers [lie in] wait for a man, So a band of priests murder on the road toward [m]Shechem [covering their crimes in that city of refuge]; Certainly they have committed crimes and outrages. 10 I have seen a horrible thing [sins of every kind] in the house of Israel! Ephraim’s prostitution (idolatry) is there; Israel has defiled itself. 11 Also, O Judah, there is a harvest [of divine judgment] appointed for you, When I restore the fortunes of My people [who have been slaves to the misery of sin].
7 When I would heal Israel, The sin (guilt) of Ephraim is uncovered, And the wickedness of [n]Samaria, Because they practice false dealing; The thief enters, Bandits ravage and raid outside. 2 But they do not consider in their hearts (minds) That I remember [always] all their wickedness. Now their deeds surround and entangle them; They are before My face. 3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, And the princes with their lies. 4 They are all adulterers; Like the heat of an oven When the baker ceases to stir the fire, [their passion smolders] From the kneading of the dough until it is leavened. 5 On the [special] day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; The king stretched out his hand [in association] with scoffers (lawless people). 6 As they approach their plotting, Their mind burns [with intrigue] like an oven [while they lie in wait]. Their anger smolders all night; In the morning it blazes like a flaming fire. 7 They are all hot like an oven And they consume their judges (rulers); All their kings have fallen. There is no one among them who calls to Me.
8 Ephraim mixes himself with the [Gentile] nations [seeking favor with one country, then another]; Ephraim is a cake not turned [worthless; ready to be thrown away]. 9 Strangers have devoured his strength, Yet he does not know it; Gray hairs are sprinkled on him, Yet he does not know. 10 Though the pride of Israel testifies against him, Yet they do not return [in repentance] to the Lord their God, Nor seek nor search for nor desire Him [as essential] in spite of all this. 11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without heart or good sense; They call to Egypt [for help], they go to Assyria. 12 When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like birds of the heavens [into Assyrian captivity]. I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation (prophecy) to their congregation. 13 Woe (judgment is coming) to them, for they have wandered away from Me! Devastation is theirs, because they have rebelled and trespassed against Me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me. 14 They do not cry out to Me from their heart When they wail on their beds [in unbelieving despair]; For the sake of grain and new wine they [o]assemble themselves [as if worshiping Baal]; They rebel against Me. 15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms [for victory over their enemies], Yet they devise evil against Me. 16 They turn, but they do not turn upward to the Most High. They are like a poorly crafted bow [that misses the mark]; Their princes shall fall by the sword Because of the insolence of their tongue. This will be cause for their mockery and disdain in the land of Egypt.
Israel Reaps the Whirlwind
8 Set the trumpet to your lips [announcing impending judgment]! Like a [great] vulture the enemy comes against the house of the Lord, Because they have broken My covenant And transgressed and rebelled against My law. 2 Then they will cry out to Me, “My God, we of Israel know You!” 3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy shall pursue him. 4 They set up kings, but not from Me [therefore without My blessing]; They have appointed princes, but I did not know it. With their silver and their gold they made idols for themselves, That they might be cut off. 5 He has rejected your [pagan] calf, O Samaria, saying, “My wrath burns against them.” How long will they be incapable of innocence? 6 For even this [loathsome calf] is from Israel. A craftsman made it, so it is not God; Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces and go up in flames. 7 For they sow the wind [in evil] And they reap the whirlwind [in disaster]. The standing grain has no growth; It yields no grain. If it were to yield, strangers would swallow it up.
8 Israel is [as if] swallowed up [by enemies]; They are now among the nations Like a vessel [of cheap, coarse pottery] that is useless. 9 For they have gone up to Assyria, Like a wild donkey wandering alone and taking her own way; Ephraim has hired lovers (pagan allies). 10 Yes, even though [with presents] they hire allies among the nations, Now I will gather them up; And [in a little while] they will begin [p]to grow weak and diminish Because of the burden imposed by the king of princes [the king of Assyria].
11 For Ephraim has constructed many altars for sin; They are altars intended for sinning [which multiply his guilt]. 12 I wrote for him the ten thousand precepts of My law, But they are regarded as a strange thing [which does not concern him]. 13 As for My sacrificial offerings, They sacrifice the meat [as a mere formality] and eat it, But the Lord is not pleased with them and does not accept them. Now He will remember and take into account their wickedness and guilt, And punish them for their sins. They will return [in captivity] to [another] Egypt [that is, Assyria]. 14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker and built palaces [and pagan temples], And Judah has built many fortified cities; But I will send a fire upon their cities so that it may consume their palaces and fortresses.
Hosea 2:16This was a loaded term meaning “owner,” “lord,” or “husband,” and as “lord” it also became a word for pagan gods. Some or perhaps most of the idolatry in which Israel engaged probably were attempts to represent the true God as an idol, such as a Baal.
Hosea 3:1The ambiguous wording might be interpreted as referring to a different woman, but this time Hosea is told only to love her, not to take, i.e. marry her. Also, the application of the symbolism to God’s relationship with Israel seems to depend upon the woman’s being Gomer. The purpose of the ambiguities probably is to reflect the emotional estrangement between Hosea and Gomer and the contempt that she deserved for her behavior. Matthew’s anonymous reference to Bathsheba literally as “wife of Uriah” (Matt 1:6).
Hosea 3:2Hosea bought Gomer back after she had become a slave. The silver and barley together totaled about thirty pieces of silver. See Ex 21:7, 32; 2 Kin 7:1, 16, 18.
Hosea 3:4A garment worn by priests when seeking divine counsel.
Hosea 4:8As the people increased their rebellious behavior, they offered more sacrifices to atone for their sins, implying a greater portion of food for the priests. See Lev 7:7, 8.
Hosea 4:15A contemptuous reference to Bethel (House of God, the place of Jacob’s dream, Gen 28:10-19), noted for idolatry.
Hosea 5:5Ephraim 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.
Hosea 5:5The 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.
Hosea 5:7Instead of a celebration, judgment would occur at the time of the New Moon Festival; 2:11.
Hosea 5:10I.e. like an official changing the laws of what is right and what is wrong by changing the legal standards.
Hosea 5:11“Vanities” is the rendering of The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament); “filth,” the rendering of the DSS.
Hosea 6:9Shechem was the first capital city of the Kingdom of Israel.
Hosea 7:1Samaria became the capital city of the Kingdom of Israel (the ten northern tribes) during the reign of King Omri (see 1 Kin 16:24).
Hosea 7:14Or with Greek and many ancient mss gash themselves.
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