The Book of Hosea

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The Book of Hosea

  • Author: Hosea
  • Place Written: Samaria
  • When Written: c. 725 B.C.E.


Hosea’s Wife and Children

1 The word of Jehovah that came to Hosea,[1] the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

The Corruption

When Jehovah first spoke through Hosea, Jehovah said to Hosea, “Go, take to yourself a woman of prostitution[2] and have children of prostitution,[3] for the land commits great prostitution[4] by forsaking Jehovah.” So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.


And Jehovah said to him, “Call his name Jezreel,[5] for in just a little while, I will visit[6] the blood of Jezreel[7] upon the house of Jehu, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And it will happen on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”


And she conceived again and bore a daughter. And Jehovah[8] said to him, “Call her name Lo-ruhamah,[9] for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, that I would ever forgive them. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah and deliver them by Jehovah their God and will not deliver them by bow, sword, battle, horses or horsemen.”


When she had weaned Lo-ruhamah,[10] she conceived and bore a son. And Jehovah said, “Call his name Lo-ammi,[11] for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”[12]

Hope of Restoration and Unity

10 [13]Yet the number of the sons of Israel
    will be like the sand of the sea,
    which cannot be measured or numbered;
and in the place where it is said to them,
    “You are not my people,”
it will be said to them,
    “You are the sons of the living God.”
11 And the sons of Judah
    and the sons of Israel will be gathered together,
and they will appoint for themselves
    one head;
and they will go up from the land,
    for great will be the day of Jezreel.


Israel’s Unfaithfulness Punished

2 Say to your brothers,[14] “Ammi,”[15]
and to your sisters,[16] “Ruhamah.”[17]

“Contend with your mother, Contend
    for she is not my wife,
    and I am not her husband;
that she put away her prostitution[18] from her face,
    and her adultery from between her breasts;
lest I strip her naked
    and make her as in the day she was born.
I will also make her like a wilderness,
    and make her like a waterless land,
    and kill her with thirst.
And to her sons I will not have compassion,
    For they are the sons of prostitution.[19]
For their mother has committed prostitution;[20]
    she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, ‘I will go after my lovers,
    who give me my bread and my water,
    my wool and my linen,[21] my oil and my drink.’
Therefore behold, I will hedge up her[22] way with thorns,
    and I will build a stone wall against her,
    so that she cannot find her paths.
And she shall pursue her lovers
    but she will not overtake them;
and she shall seek them
    but she shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
    ‘I will go and return to my first husband,
    for it was better for me then than now.’
And she did not know
    that it was I who gave her
    the grain, the new wine, and the fresh oil,
and lavished on her silver and gold,
    which they used for Baal.
Therefore I will take back
    my grain in its time,
    and my new wine in its season,
and I will snatch away my wool and my linen,[23]
    which were to cover her nakedness.
10 Now I will uncover her lewdness
    in the sight of her lovers,
    and no man will rescue her out of my hand.
11 And I will put an end to all her mirth,
    her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths,
    and all her appointed festivals.
12 And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,
    of which she said,
‘These are my wages,
    which my lovers have given me.’
I will make them a forest,
    and the beasts of the field will devour them.
13 And I will punish her for the days of the Baals
    when she burns incense to them
and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry,
    and went after her lovers
    and forgot me, declares Jehovah.

Jehovah’s Mercy on Israel

14 “Therefore, look, I will allure her,
    and bring her into the wilderness,
    and I will speak to her heart.
15 And there I will give her vineyards
    and make the Valley of Achor[24] a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
    as in the day of her going up from
        the land of Egypt.

16 “And it will come about in that day, declares Jehovah, you will call me Ishi,[25] and no longer will you call me Baali.[26] 17 For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall not be remembered again by their name. 18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, with the birds of the heavens, and with the creeping things of the ground. And I will break[27] the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19 And I will betroth you to me forever; and I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love[28] and in mercy. 20 And I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you will know Jehovah.[29]

21 “And it will come about in that day, I will answer, declares Jehovah,
    I will answer the heavens,
    and they will answer the earth,
22 and the earth will answer the grain, and the new wine, and the fresh oil,
    and they will answer Jezreel,
23 and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on Lo-ruhamah,[30]
    and I will say to Lo-ammi,[31] ‘You are my people’;
    and he will say, ‘You are my God.’”


Hosea Redeems His Adulterous Wife

3 And Jehovah said to me, “Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man[32] and is an adulteress, even as Jehovah loves the sons of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins.” 

So I bought her for myself for fifteen shekels and a homer measure and a lethech of barley.[33] And I said to her, “You must dwell as mine[34] for many days. You shall not[35] prostitute yourself, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you.”

Israel to Come Back to Jehovah

For the sons of Israel will remain for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred pillar and without ephod or teraphim.[36] Afterward the sons of Israel will return and seek Jehovah their God and David their king; and they will come trembling to Jehovah and to His goodness in the last days.


Jehovah’s Case against Israel

4 Hear the word of Jehovah, O sons of Israel,
    for Jehovah has a case against the inhabitants of the land.
Because there is no faithfulness or loyal love,
    or knowledge of God in the land;
there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;
    they have broken forth, and bloodshed follows[37] bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
    and all who dwell in it languish,
with the animals of the field
    and the birds of the heavens,
    and even the fish of the sea are taken away.[38]

Yet let no man contend,
    and let no man accuse,
    For your people are like those who contend against a priest.[39]
So you will stumble by day;
    and the prophet also will stumble with you by night;
    and I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
    because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from being a priest to me.
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I also will forget your sons.

The more they multiplied,
    the more they sinned against me;
    I will change[40] their glory into shame.
They feed on the sin of my people;
    and to their iniquity they keep lifting up their soul.[41]

Israel’s Idolatry and Promiscuity

And it will be like people, like priest;
    I will punish them for their ways
    and repay them for their deeds.
10 They will eat, but not be satisfied;
    they shall play the prostitute, but not multiply,
for Jehovah they have forsaken
    giving regard.

11 Prostitution,[42] wine, and new wine,
    take away heart.[43]
12 My people consult their wooden idol,[44]
    and their divining rod informs them;
For a spirit of prostitution has led them astray,
    and they played the prostitute from under their God.[45]
13 On the tops of the mountains they sacrifice
    and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
    because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the prostitute,
    and your brides commit adultery.
14 I will not visit sins upon your daughters when they play the prostitute,
    or your brides when they commit adultery;
for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes
    and sacrifice with cult prostitutes,
and a people without understanding will be thrust down.[46]

15 Though you, O Israel, play the prostitute,
    do not let Judah become guilty;
and do not go to Gilgal,
    nor go up to Beth-aven,
    and do not swear, “As Jehovah lives!”
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn;[47]
Can Jehovah feed them
    like a lamb in a broad pasture?

17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
    let him alone.
18 When their drink is gone, they play the prostitute[48] continually;
    their rulers[49] dearly love shame.
19 A wind has wrapped them[50] in its wings,
    and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.


Judgment on Ephraim and Judah

5 Hear this, O priests!
    Pay attention, O house of Israel!
Give ear, O house of the king!
    For the judgment is for you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah
    and a net spread upon Tabor.
And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter,
    but I am a correction to all of them.

I know Ephraim,
    and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the prostitute; [51]
    Israel has defiled itself.
Their deeds do not allow them
    to return to their God.
For the spirit of prostitution is within them,
    and Jehovah they know not.


The pride of Israel has testified to his face;[52]
   and Israel and Ephraim have stumbled in their error;
    and Judah has stumbled with them.
They will go with their flocks and herds
to seek Jehovah,
but they will not find him;
    he has withdrawn from them.
They have dealt treacherously against Jehovah;
    for they have fathered foreign sons.
    Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.

Blow the horn in Gibeah,
    the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;[53]
    behind you, O Benjamin![54]
Ephraim will become a desolation
    in the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
    I will make known what is sure.
10 The princes of Judah have become
    like those who move a boundary;[55]
on them I will pour out
    my wrath like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment,
    because he was determined to follow man’s command.
12 But I am like a moth to Ephraim,
    and like rottenness to the house of Judah.

13 When Ephraim saw his sickness,
    and Judah his wound,
then Ephraim went to Assyria,
    and sent to the great king.[56]
But he is unable to heal you
    or to cure you of your wound.[57]
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 and go away;
    I will carry off, and there will be none to deliver.

15 I will go, I will return to my place,
    until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face,
    and in their distress earnestly seek me.


A Call to Return to Jehovah

6 Come, and let us return to Jehovah;
    for he himself has torn us, but he will bind us;
    he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.
He will revive us after two days;
    on the third day he will raise us up,
    that we may live before his face.[58]
Let us know, let us press on to know Jehovah;
    his going forth is sure as the dawn;
he will come to us like the rain,
    as the spring rain watering the earth.”

Ephraim[59] (Israel) and Judah’s Insincere Steadfast Love

What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
    What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
    like the dew that goes early away.
Therefore I have hewn them in pieces by the prophets;
    I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
    and my judgment goes forth like the light.[60]
For I delight steadfast love and not sacrifice,
    and knowledge of God rather than in whole burnt offerings.

Ephraim[61] (Israel) and Judah’s Shameful Conduct

But like men[62] they transgressed the covenant;
    there they dealt faithlessly with me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
    tracked with footprints of blood.
And as robbers lie in wait for a man,
    so a band of priests;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
    they have acted wickedly.[63]
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
    Ephraim’s prostitution is there; Israel is defiled.

Judah’s Guilt

11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed,
    when I restore the fortunes of my people.


Ephraim’s[64] (Israel’s) Wickedness Described

7 When I would heal Israel,
    the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed,
    and the evil deeds of Samaria;
for they deal falsely;
    the thief breaks in,
    and the bandits raid outside.
But they do not say in their heart
    that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds are all around them;
    they are before my face.
By their wickedness they make the king glad,
    and the princes by their lies.
They are all adulterers,
    they are like a heated oven[65]
whose baker ceases to stir the fire,
    from the kneading of the dough
    until it is leavened.
On the day of our king,[66] the princes
    became sick with the heat of wine;
    he stretched out his hand with mockers.
For their hearts are like an oven as they approach with their intrigue;
    all night long their baker sleeps;[67]
    in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.[68]
All of them are hot as an oven,
    and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen;
    and none of them calls on me.

Ephraim[69] (Israel) Mixes with Pagan People

Ephraim mixes himself with the nations;
    Ephraim is a bread cake not turned.
Strangers devour his strength,
    and he does not know it;
also gray hairs are sprinkled on him,
    and he does not know it.
10 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
    yet they do not return to Jehovah their God,
    and they have not sought him in all this.

Apostate Ephraim[70] (Israel) foolishly placing Their confidence in Pagan Nations

11 Ephraim is like a dove,
    silly and without heart,[71]
   they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 As they go, I will spread my net over them;
    I will bring them down like the birds of the heavens;
    I will discipline them according to the report to their assembly.
13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
    Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
I would redeem them,
    but they speak lies against me.

Failure to Return to Pure Worship

14 They do not cry to me from their heart,
    but they wail on their beds;
for grain and wine they slash themselves;[72]
they turn aside from me.
15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
    yet they devise evil against me.
16 They turn, but not upward;
    they are like a treacherous bow;
their princes will fall by the sword
    because of the indignation of their tongue.
    This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.


Israel Will Reap the Consequences of Idolatry

8 Put to your lips the trumpet!
    One like a vulture is over the house of Jehovah,
because they have transgressed my covenant
    and rebelled against my law.
They cry out to me,
    “My God, we of 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 I did not know it.
With their silver and gold they made idols
    for themselves,
that they[73] might be cut off.
He has spurned your calf, O Samaria;
    my anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
    it is not God;
The calf of Samaria
    will be broken to splinters.

Sowing Wind, Reaping a Storm

For they sow the wind,
    and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads;
    it will yield no flour;
if it were to yield,
    strangers would swallow it.
Israel is swallowed up;
    already they are among the nations
    like a vessel in which there is no delight.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
    a wild donkey going alone;
    Ephraim has hired lovers.
10 Even though  they hire allies among the nations,
    Now I will soon gather them up.
And they will begin to suffer for a while
    because of the burden of the king of princes.

God Will Remember Israel’s Sin

11 Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
    they have become to him altars for sinning.
12 Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
    they are regarded as a strange thing.
13 As for my sacrificial gifts,
    they sacrifice the flesh and eat it,
    but Jehovah does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
    and punish their sins;
    they shall return to Egypt.

Israel has forgotten his Maker

14 For Israel has forgotten his Maker
    and built palaces,
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
    so I will send a fire on his cities,
    and it will devour her strongholds.


Ephraim’s Sins Lead to Rejection by God

9 Do not rejoice, O Israel,
    do not exult like the nations!
For by prostitution you have strayed from your God;
    You have loved the wages of a prostitute
    on every threshing floor of grain.
Threshing floor and winepress will not feed them,
    and the new wine will fail her.[74]
They will not remain in the land of Jehovah,
    but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
    and in Assyria they will eat unclean food.

They will not pour drink offerings of wine to Jehovah,
    and their sacrifices will not please him.
They are like the bread of mourning;
    all those eating it will defile themselves;
for their bread shall be for their soul only;[75]
    it will not come into the house of Jehovah.

What will you do on the day of the appointed festival,
    and on the day of the feast of Jehovah?
For look! they will have to flee because of destruction;
    but Egypt will gather them;
    Memphis will bury them.
Nettles will possess their precious things of silver;
    thorns will be in their tents.

The days of punishment have come;
    the days of retribution  have come;
    Israel will know it.[76]
The prophet is a fool;
    the man of the spirit is mad,[77]
because your error is abundant
    the animosity against you is abundant.
The watchman of Ephraim was with my God;
yet now all the ways of his prophets are as the traps of a bird catcher,
    and animosity in the house of his God.
They have deeply corrupted themselves
    as in the days of Gibeah:
he will remember their error;
    he will punish their sins.

Child Mortality Rate Will Soar

10 Like grapes in the wilderness,
    I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree
    in its first season,
    I saw your fathers.
But they came to Baal-peor
    and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
    and became detestable[78] like the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory flies away like a bird;
    no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
12 Even though they bring up their children,
    I will bereave them until no man is left.
Woe to them indeed
    when I depart from them!
13 Ephraim, planted in a pasture, was to me like Tyre;
    Now Ephraim must bring his sons out to the slaughter.
14 Give them, O Jehovah,
    what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
    and dry breasts.

15 All their wickedness was in Gilgal;
    for 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 princes are rebels.

16 Ephraim is stricken;
    their root is dried up;
    they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
    I will put their beloved children to death.
17 My God will reject them
    because they have not listened to him;
    they shall be wanderers among the nations.


Israel, a Degenerate Vine, Will Be Ruined

10 Israel is a luxuriant vine
    that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
    the more altars he made;
the better his land produces,
    the more splendid his sacred pillars.
Their heart is false;
    now they must bear their guilt.
Jehovah will break down their altars
    and destroy their sacred pillars.

Breaking the Covenant

For now they will say:
    “We have no king,
for we do not fear Jehovah;
    and a king, what could he do for us?”
They utter mere words;
    with empty oaths they make covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
    in the furrows of the field.

Her Idols Will Be Destroyed

The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
    for the calf[79] of Beth-aven.
Indeed, its people will mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests,
    those who rejoiced over it and over its glory,
    because it has departed from it.
The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
    as tribute to the great king.
Ephraim will be put to shame,
    and Israel will be ashamed of its own counsel.

Samaria and her king will be cut off
    like a twig 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,
and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us,”
    and to the hills, “Fall on us.”

Israel’s Defeat because of Sin

From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel;
    there they have stood.
    Will not war overtake the sons of unrighteousness in Gibeah?
10 In my desire I will punish them,
    and nations shall be gathered against them
    when their two errors[80] are bound on them.[81]

11 Ephraim was a trained calf
    that loved to thresh,
    and I spared her fair neck;
I will put Ephraim to the yoke;
    Judah must plow;
    Jacob must harrow for himself.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness;
    reap loyal love;
    break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek Jehovah,
    that he may come and rain righteousness on you.

13 You have plowed wickedness;
    you have reaped injustice;
    you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
    and in the multitude of your warriors,
14 therefore the tumult of war will arise among your people,
    and all your fortresses will be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
    mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15 Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,[82]
    because of your great wickedness.
At dawn the king of Israel
    will be utterly cut off.


God’s Love for Israel from His Boyhood

11 When Israel was a boy,[83] I loved him,
    and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they[84] called them,
    the more they went from them;[85]
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
    and burning offerings to idols.

Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
    I took them in my arms,[86]
    but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of a man,
    with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who lifts the yoke from their jaws,
    and I bent down to them and fed them.

God’s Case Against Israel – Their Suffering

They will not return to the land of Egypt,
    but Assyria will be their king,
    because they have refused to return to me.
And a sword will whirl against his cities,
    consume the bars of their gates,
    and devour them because of their own counsels.
My people are bent on turning away from me,
    and though they call out to the Most High,
    he will not raise them up at all.

How can I give you up, O 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 turned over within me;
    my compassions have grown tender.
I will not execute my fierce anger;
    I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
    the Holy One in your midst,
    and I will not come in wrath.

10 They will walk after Jehovah;
    he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
    his sons will come trembling from the west;

11 they will come trembling like birds from Egypt,
    and like doves from the land of Assyria,
    and I will return them to their homes, declares Jehovah.

Israel’s History

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


Ephraim Should Return to Jehovah

12 Ephraim feeds on the wind
    and pursues the east wind all day long;
he multiplies falsehood and violence;
    they make a covenant with Assyria,
    and oil is carried to Egypt.

Jehovah’s Indictment of Israel and Judah

Jehovah also has a dispute with Judah
    and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
    he will repay him according to his deeds.

Jacob Contended with God

In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
    and in his manhood he contended with God.

Jacob Wept to Get God’s Favor

He wrestled with the angel and prevailed;
    he wept and sought his favor.
He met him[87] at Bethel,
    and there he spoke with us,[88]
Jehovah the God of armies,[89]
    Jehovah is his memorial name:
“But you, you must return to your God;
    hold fast to love and justice,
    and wait continually for your God.”

Confess and Forsake Your Sin

A merchant, in whose hands are deceptive scales,
    he loves to oppress.
Ephraim keeps saying, ‘Indeed, I have become rich;
    I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they have not found guilt in me
    that is sin.”
I am Jehovah your God
    from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
    as in the days of the appointed festival.

Judgment on Apostate Israel

10 I spoke to the prophets;
    I myself multiplied visions,
    and through the prophets I gave parables.
11 If there is evil in Gilead,
    they will surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
    their altars also are like stone heaps
    on the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;[90]
    there Israel served for a wife,
    and for a wife he kept sheep.
13 And by a prophet Jehovah brought Israel up from Egypt,
    and by a prophet he was kept.
14 Ephraim has provoked to bitter anger;
    so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
    and will repay his reproach to him.


Idolatrous Ephraim Forgot Jehovah

13 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
    he was exalted in Israel,
    but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
2 And now they sin more and more,
    and make for themselves metal images,
idols skillfully made of their silver,
    all of them the work of craftsmen.
To them they say,
    “Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”
3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
    or like dew of early morning going away,
like chaff blown from the threshing floor by a storm
    or like smoke from a window.

Death and Resurrection

But I am Jehovah your God
    from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
    and besides me there is no savior.
I who knew you[91] in the wilderness,
    in the land of drought.
They were satisfied with their pastures,
    they were satisfied and their heart became proud;
    and so they forgot me.
So I will be like a lion to them;
    like a leopard lurking along the way.
I will come upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
    I will rip open their chest,[92]
and there I will devour them like a lion,
    as a wild beast of the field would rip them open.

It will destroy you, O Israel,
    for you turned against me, against your helper.
10 Where now is your king,[93] that he may save you in all your cities,
    Where are all your judges,
of whom you said,
    “Give me a king and princes”?
11 I gave you a king in my anger,
    and I took him away in my wrath.

12 The error of Ephraim is bound up;
    his sin is stored up.
13 The pangs of childbirth come for him,
    but he is an unwise son,
it is the time that he should not delay
    at the breaking forth of sons.

14 Shall I ransom them from the hand of Sheol?
    Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your destruction?
    O Sheol, where is your sting?[94]
    Compassion will be hidden from my eyes.

The Coming Judgment

15 Though he may flourish among the reeds,
    the east wind, the wind of Jehovah, shall come,
    rising from the wilderness,
and his fountain will dry up;
    his spring will be parched;
it will plunder his treasury
    of all desirable articles.
16 Samaria will be guilty,
    because she has rebelled against her God;
they will fall by the sword;
    their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
    and their pregnant women ripped open.[95]


A Plea to Return to Jehovah

14 Return, O Israel, to Jehovah your God,
    for you have stumbled because of your error.
Take words with you
    and return to Jehovah;
say to him,
    “Take away all error;
accept what is good,
    and we will offer with bulls[96]
    the praise of our lips.[97]
Assyria will not save us;
    we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
    to the work of our hands;
for in you the orphan finds mercy.”

Healing of Israel’s Unfaithfulness

I will heal their apostasy;
    I will love them freely,
    for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
    he will blossom like the lily;
    he will take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots will spread out;
    his beauty will be like the olive tree,
    and his fragrance like that of Lebanon.
They will again dwell in his shadow;
    they will grow grain;
and will blossom like the vine;
    his remembrance[98] will be like the wine of Lebanon.

O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
    It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like a luxuriant  cypress;
    from me comes your fruit.

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
    whoever is discerning, let him know them.
For the ways of Jehovah are right,
    and the righteous walk in them,
    but transgressors stumble in them.

[1] Shortened form of Hoshaiah, which means “Saved by Jah; Jah Has Saved.”

[2] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[3] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[4] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[5] Meaning God will sow seed

[6] That is, avenge

[7] Meaning God will sow seed

[8] MT LXX VG “he” SYR “Jehovah”

[9] Meaning not shown mercy

[10] Meaning not shown mercy

[11] Meaning not my people

[12] MT LXX end chap. 1 here; AT SYR VG continue for two more vss.

[13] Ch 2:1 in Hebrew

[14] MT “brothers” LXX “brother”

[15] Meaning my people

[16] MT “sisters” LXX “sister”

[17] Meaning shown mercy

[18] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[19] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[20] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[21] Or flax

[22] LXX SYR “her”  MT “your”

[23] Or flax

[24] Meaning ostracism; trouble. It is a valley or low plain forming part of the NE boundary of the tribal territory of Judah. (Josh. 15:7)

[25] Meaning my husband

[26] Meaning my Baal

[27] That is, remove from the land; rid the land of; abolish from the land

[28] Or lovingkindness

[29] MT LXX SYR “Know Jehovah” VG and about 45 Heb. MSS “know that I am Jehovah”

[30] Meaning not shown mercy

[31] Meaning not my people

[32] Lit loved by a companion, or friend; MT VG “Loved by a friend” LXX SYR “loving bad things”

[33] MT “a lethech of barley” (half a homer) LXX “a measure of wine”

[34] Lit sit for me (at home) – LHI

[35] Lit “You shall not be for a man”, means “you shall not belong to a (another) man,” i.e., have intercourse with another man. – LHI

[36] That is, household gods, idols

[37] Lit touches

[38] That is, will be taken away in death

[39] MT LXX “and your people are like those who contend against a priest” By adjusting the vowel points we get “My contention is with/against you, O priest!” LEB has “for with you, O priest, is my contention.” MT is obscure here. One reading focuses Jehovah’s rebuke on the priest and the other on the people. The NET Bible note reads, “This involves (1) the revocalization of עַמְּךָ (“your people”) to עִמְּךָ (“with/against you”) and (2) positing dittography (a letter written twice instead of once) of ךְּ (kaf) between original וְעַמְּךָ רִיבִי to create וְעַמְּךָ כִּרִיבִי (MT). The BHS editors suggest that the MT is corrupt and should be emended. However, the editors of the Hebrew Old Testament Text Project retain the MT reading with a “B” rating. Likewise, the English translations are split.”

[40] MT LXX VG “I will change” SYR AT “they changed”

[41] That is, they are greedy for their iniquity

AT LXX SYR VG about 20 Heb. MSS “their soul” MT “his soul”

[42] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[43] That is, understanding

[44] Lit their wood

[45] That is, they played the prostitute forsaking their God

[46] That is, will come to ruin

[47] That is, rebellious

[48] Or become grossly immoral, fornication

[49] Lit shields

[50] Lit her

[51] That is, immorality; promiscuity; or fornication

[52] Meaning in his presence; has testified against him

[53] Lit house of iniquity

[54] LXX “Benjamin became amazed” MT “behind you, O Benjamin” LEB CSB “look behind you, Benjamin” An alternate textual tradition of הַחֲרִדוּ בִּנְיָמִין “tremble in fear, O Benjamin”

[55] Judaean farmers lived off their land, its boundaries were marked with stones or posts.

[56] Or to King Jareb

[57] Or ulcer

[58] That is, before his presence

[59] As the most dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim came to stand for the entire ten-tribe kingdom.

[60] MT “your judgments go forth like the light” LXX SYR AT “my judgment goes forth like the light”

[61] As the most dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim came to stand for the entire ten-tribe kingdom.

[62] Or Adam

[63] Wickedness: (Heb. riš·ʿā(h); Gr. ponēria) A quality, state or condition that does not conform to God’s standard of moral excellence is wicked, bad, evil, or worthless.–Deut. 9:4-5; 25:2; Pro. 11:5; 13:6; Isa 9:17; Eze 5:6; 18:20, 27; 33:12, 19; Zech. 5:8; Matt. 23:25; 22:18; Mark 7:22; Lu 11:39; Ac 3:26; Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:8.

[64] As the most dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim came to stand for the entire ten-tribe kingdom.

[65] The adulterous Israelites were likened to a baker’s heated oven because of the wicked passions burning within them.

[66] AT “their king” MT “our king.”

[67] The baker (likely a reference to the king) sleeps all night, something a baker does not do.

[68] Even though the baker (the king) sleeps all night, his fire does not go out but rather is raging. This baker (the king) is negligent in his duties because of his debauchery with wine and “sleep,” an allusion to the adultery mentioned in 7:4.

[69] As the most dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim came to stand for the entire ten-tribe kingdom.

[70] As the most dominant tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, Ephraim came to stand for the entire ten-tribe kingdom.

[71] That is, lacking good sense

[72] MT most Heb. MSS “they assemble themselves” LXX some Heb. MSS and emending the Hebrew “they were gashing themselves,” which fits the context.

[73] LXX SYR VG “they” MT “one (he)”

[74] That is, Israel

[75] Or for their bread will be for themselves alone

[76] LXX “Israel cries out”

[77] To act like a mad or demented person, manifesting or displaying irrational and unpredictable behavior.

[78] Abomination: (Heb. shiqquts) It means abhorrence, an object to abhor, horror, monster, filth. The sense of shiqquts is a detestable thing, also implying that it can make a person unclean.–2 Ki 23:13; Ez. 5:11; 11:21; Dan. 9:27; 11:31; Hos. 9:10.

[79] MT LXX SYR “calves”

[80] MT LXX “two errors”

[81] That is, when they bear their punishment like a yoke

[82] MT SYR VG “Bethel” LXX “house of Israel”

[83] Or young man

[84] That is, God’s prophets; MT SYR VG “they” LXX “I”

[85] MT AT VG “from them” LXX SYR “from my face”

[86] MT most Heb. MSS “his arms” LXX SYR VG some Heb. MSS “my arms”

[87] That is, God

[88] MT AT VG “with us” LXX SYR “with him”

[89] MT VG “The God of armies” LXX “the God almighty”

[90] Aram; Aramaeans: (Heb. arǎmmî) These were the descendants of Shem’s son Aram, who mainly lived in various regions N of Israel, running from the Lebanon Mountains across to Mesopotamia and from the Taurus Mountains in the north down to Damascus. The Aramaeans hardly ever formed any kind of nation state; rather they lived as self-governing, autonomous towns and tribes settled by nomads before 1000 B.C.E. However, if they were threatened, they were quick to form alliances with neighboring towns of Aramaeans and even other countries. However, once the threat was over, they went back to their independence, fighting amongst themselves. The area known as Aram in Hebrew would later be referred to as Syria, and its people as the Syrians.–Gen. 25:20; Deut. 26:5; Hos 12:12. LXX VG “Syria” MT SYR “Aram”

[91] MT “I knew you” LXX SYR “I fed you”

[92] Lit the enclosure of their heart

[93] MT “I will be your king” LXX SYR VG “Where now is your king”

[94] LXX “Where is your penalty, O death? Where is your sting, O Hades?” This reading is found at 1 Corinthians 15:55.

[95] Hosea 13:16 is 14:1 in the Hebrew

[96] MT DSS LXX SYR “bulls”

[97] Lit offer in return the young bulls of our lips

[98] That is, fame

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