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Hosea 8-14 (New Revised Standard Version)

Hosea 8-14

Israel’s Apostasy

Set the trumpet to your lips!
    One like a vulture[a] is over the house of the Lord,
because they have broken my covenant,
    and transgressed my law.
Israel cries to me,
    “My God, we—Israel—know you!”
Israel has spurned the good;
    the enemy shall pursue him.

They made kings, but not through me;
    they set up princes, but without my knowledge.
With their silver and gold they made idols
    for their own destruction.
Your calf is rejected, O Samaria.
    My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
    For it is from Israel,
an artisan made it;
    it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
    shall be broken to pieces.[b]

For they sow the wind,
    and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads,
    it shall yield no meal;
if it were to yield,
    foreigners would devour it.
Israel is swallowed up;
    now they are among the nations
    as a useless vessel.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
    a wild ass wandering alone;
    Ephraim has bargained for lovers.
10 Though they bargain with the nations,
    I will now gather them up.
They shall soon writhe
    under the burden of kings and princes.

11 When Ephraim multiplied altars to expiate sin,
    they became to him altars for sinning.
12 Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions,
    they are regarded as a strange thing.
13 Though they offer choice sacrifices,[c]
    though they eat flesh,
    the Lord does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity,
    and punish their sins;
    they shall return to Egypt.
14 Israel has forgotten his Maker,
    and built palaces;
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
    but I will send a fire upon his cities,
    and it shall devour his strongholds.

Punishment for Israel’s Sin

Do not rejoice, O Israel!
    Do not exult[d] as other nations do;
for you have played the whore, departing from your God.
    You have loved a prostitute’s pay
    on all threshing floors.
Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
    and the new wine shall fail them.
They shall not remain in the land of the Lord;
    but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
    and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food.

They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord,
    and their sacrifices shall not please him.
Such sacrifices shall be like mourners’ bread;
    all who eat of it shall be defiled;
for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
    it shall not come to the house of the Lord.

What will you do on the day of appointed festival,
    and on the day of the festival of the Lord?
For even if they escape destruction,
    Egypt shall gather them,
    Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;[e]
    thorns shall be in their tents.

The days of punishment have come,
    the days of recompense have come;
    Israel cries,[f]
“The prophet is a fool,
    the man of the spirit is mad!”
Because of your great iniquity,
    your hostility is great.
The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim,
yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,
    and hostility in the house of his God.
They have deeply corrupted themselves
    as in the days of Gibeah;
he will remember their iniquity,
    he will punish their sins.

10 Like grapes in the wilderness,
    I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree,
    in its first season,
    I saw your ancestors.
But they came to Baal-peor,
    and consecrated themselves to a thing of shame,
    and became detestable like the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
12 Even if they bring up children,
    I will bereave them until no one is left.
Woe to them indeed
    when I depart from them!
13 Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow,[g]
    but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.
14 Give them, O Lord
    what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
    and dry breasts.

15 Every evil 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 stricken,
    their root is dried up,
    they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
    I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb.
17 Because they have not listened to him,
    my God will reject them;
    they shall become wanderers among the nations.

Israel’s Sin and Captivity

10 Israel is a luxuriant vine
    that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased
    the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
    he improved his pillars.
Their heart is false;
    now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord[h] will break down their altars,
    and destroy their pillars.

For now they will say:
    “We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord,
    and a king—what could he do for us?”
They utter mere words;
    with empty oaths they make covenants;
so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds
    in the furrows of the field.
The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
    for the calf[i] of Beth-aven.
Its people shall mourn for it,
    and its idolatrous priests shall wail[j] over it,
    over its glory that has departed from it.
The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
    as tribute to the great king.[k]
Ephraim shall be put to shame,
    and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.[l]

Samaria’s king shall perish
    like a chip on the face of the waters.
The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
    shall be destroyed.
Thorn and thistle shall grow up
    on their altars.
They shall say to the mountains, Cover us,
    and to the hills, Fall on us.

Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel;
    there they have continued.
    Shall not war overtake them in Gibeah?
10 I will come[m] against the wayward people to punish them;
    and nations shall be gathered against them
    when they are punished[n] for their double iniquity.

11 Ephraim was a trained heifer
    that loved to thresh,
    and I spared her fair neck;
but I will make Ephraim break the ground;
    Judah must plow;
    Jacob must harrow for himself.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap steadfast love;
    break up your fallow 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 injustice,
    you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your power
    and in the multitude of your warriors,
14 therefore the tumult of war shall rise against your people,
    and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle
    when mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
    because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel
    shall be utterly cut off.

God’s Compassion Despite Israel’s Ingratitude

11 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more I[o] called them,
    the more they went from me;[p]
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
    and offering incense to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
    I took them up in my[q] arms;
    but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with bands of love.
I was to them like those
    who lift infants to their cheeks.[r]
    I bent down to them and fed them.

They shall return to the land of Egypt,
    and Assyria shall be their king,
    because they have refused to return to me.
The sword rages in their cities,
    it consumes their oracle-priests,
    and devours because of their schemes.
My people are bent on turning away from me.
    To the Most High they call,
    but he does not raise them up at all.[s]

How can I give you up, Ephraim?
    How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
    How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
    my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger;
    I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and no mortal,
    the Holy One in your midst,
    and I will not come in wrath.[t]

10 They shall go after the Lord,
    who roars like a lion;
when he roars,
    his children shall come trembling from the west.
11 They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
    and like doves from the land of Assyria;
    and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.

12 [u] Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
    and the house of Israel with deceit;
but Judah still walks[v] with God,
    and is faithful to the Holy One.
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

The Lord has an indictment against Judah,
    and will punish Jacob according to his ways,
    and repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he tried to supplant his brother,
    and in his manhood he strove with God.
He strove with the angel and prevailed,
    he wept and sought his favor;
he met him at Bethel,
    and there he spoke with him.[w]
The Lord the God of hosts,
    the Lord is his name!
But as for you, return to your God,
    hold fast to love and justice,
    and wait continually for your God.

A trader, in whose hands are false balances,
    he loves to oppress.
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.”[x]
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[y] 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.[z]
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.
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.[aa]
    People are kissing calves!
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.

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.
It was I who fed[ab] you in the wilderness,
    in the land of drought.
When I fed[ac] them, they were satisfied;
    they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;
    therefore they forgot me.
So I will become like a lion to them,
    like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
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.

I will destroy you, O Israel;
    who can help you?[ad]
10 Where now is[ae] 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[af] your plagues?
    O Sheol, where is[ag] your destruction?
    Compassion is hidden from my eyes.

15 Although he may flourish among rushes,[ah]
    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 [ai] 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.
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[aj] of our lips.
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

I will heal their disloyalty;
    I will love them freely,
    for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he shall blossom like the lily,
    he shall strike root like the forests of Lebanon.[ak]
His shoots shall spread out;
    his beauty shall be like the olive tree,
    and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They shall again live beneath my[al] shadow,
    they shall flourish as a garden;[am]
they shall blossom like the vine,
    their fragrance shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

O Ephraim, what have I[an] to do with idols?
    It is I who answer and look after you.[ao]
I am like an evergreen cypress;
    your faithfulness[ap] comes from me.
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.

Footnotes:

  1. Hosea 8:1 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  2. Hosea 8:6 Or shall go up in flames
  3. Hosea 8:13 Cn: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  4. Hosea 9:1 Gk: Heb To exultation
  5. Hosea 9:6 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  6. Hosea 9:7 Cn Compare Gk: Heb shall know
  7. Hosea 9:13 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  8. Hosea 10:2 Heb he
  9. Hosea 10:5 Gk Syr: Heb calves
  10. Hosea 10:5 Cn: Heb exult
  11. Hosea 10:6 Cn: Heb to a king who will contend
  12. Hosea 10:6 Cn: Heb counsel
  13. Hosea 10:10 Cn Compare Gk: Heb In my desire
  14. Hosea 10:10 Gk: Heb bound
  15. Hosea 11:2 Gk: Heb they
  16. Hosea 11:2 Gk: Heb them
  17. Hosea 11:3 Gk Syr Vg: Heb his
  18. Hosea 11:4 Or who ease the yoke on their jaws
  19. Hosea 11:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  20. Hosea 11:9 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  21. Hosea 11:12 Ch 12.1 in Heb
  22. Hosea 11:12 Heb roams or rules
  23. Hosea 12:4 Gk Syr: Heb us
  24. Hosea 12:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  25. Hosea 12:11 Compare Syr: Heb Gilead
  26. Hosea 12:12 Heb lacks sheep
  27. Hosea 13:2 Cn Compare Gk: Heb To these they say sacrifices of people
  28. Hosea 13:5 Gk Syr: Heb knew
  29. Hosea 13:6 Cn: Heb according to their pasture
  30. Hosea 13:9 Gk Syr: Heb for in me is your help
  31. Hosea 13:10 Gk Syr Vg: Heb I will be
  32. Hosea 13:14 Gk Syr: Heb I will be
  33. Hosea 13:14 Gk Syr: Heb I will be
  34. Hosea 13:15 Or among brothers
  35. Hosea 13:16 Ch 14.1 in Heb
  36. Hosea 14:2 Gk Syr: Heb bulls
  37. Hosea 14:5 Cn: Heb like Lebanon
  38. Hosea 14:7 Heb his
  39. Hosea 14:7 Cn: Heb they shall grow grain
  40. Hosea 14:8 Or What more has Ephraim
  41. Hosea 14:8 Heb him
  42. Hosea 14:8 Heb your fruit
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New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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