Hosea 12-14New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
12 Ephraim herds the wind,
and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
they make a treaty with Assyria,
and oil is carried to Egypt.
The Long History of Rebellion
2 The Lord has an indictment against Judah,
and will punish Jacob according to his ways,
and repay him according to his deeds.
3 In the womb he tried to supplant his brother,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
4 He strove with the angel and prevailed,
he wept and sought his favor;
he met him at Bethel,
and there he spoke with him.
5 The Lord the God of hosts,
the Lord is his name!
6 But as for you, return to your God,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.
7 A trader, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, I am rich,
I have gained wealth for myself;
in all of my gain
no offense has been found in me
that would be sin.”
9 I am the Lord your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again,
as in the days of the appointed festival.
10 I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets I will bring destruction.
11 In Gilead there is iniquity,
they shall surely come to nothing.
In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls,
so their altars shall be like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram,
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
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 his Lord will bring his crimes down on him
and pay him back for his insults.
Relentless Judgment on Israel
13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
he was exalted in Israel;
but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
2 And now they keep on sinning
and make a cast image for themselves,
idols of silver made according to their understanding,
all of them the work of artisans.
“Sacrifice to these,” they say.
People are kissing calves!
3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes away early,
like chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window.
4 Yet I have been the Lord your God
ever since the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
5 It was I who fed you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought.
6 When I fed them, they were satisfied;
they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;
therefore they forgot me.
7 So I will become like a lion to them,
like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,
and will tear open the covering of their heart;
there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild animal would mangle them.
9 I will destroy you, O Israel;
who can help you?
10 Where now is your king, that he may save you?
Where in all your cities are your rulers,
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 iniquity is bound up;
his sin is kept in store.
13 The pangs of childbirth come for him,
but he is an unwise son;
for at the proper time he does not present himself
at the mouth of the womb.
14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your plagues?
O Sheol, where is your destruction?
Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
15 Although he may flourish among rushes,
the east wind shall come, a blast from the Lord,
rising from the wilderness;
and his fountain shall dry up,
his spring shall be parched.
It shall strip his treasury
of every precious thing.
16 Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword,
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open.
A Plea for Repentance
14 Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take words with you
and return to the Lord;
say to him,
“Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
and we will offer
the fruit of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
Assurance of Forgiveness
4 I will heal their disloyalty;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
5 I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily,
he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.
6 His shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
7 They shall again live beneath my shadow,
they shall flourish as a garden;
they shall blossom like the vine,
their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
your faithfulness comes from me.
9 Those who are wise understand these things;
those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.