Hos 4:1-13:16

God Accuses Israel 1Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel; for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land.2Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed.3Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing. 4Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.5You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night, and I will destroy your mother.6My 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 children. 7The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; they changed their glory into shame.8They feed on the sin of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity.9And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways, and repay them for their deeds.10They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply; because they have forsaken the Lord to devote themselves to11whoredom. The Idolatry of Israel Wine and new wine take away the understanding.12My people consult a piece of wood, and their divining rod gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.13They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and make offerings upon the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.14I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with whores, and sacrifice with temple prostitutes; thus a people without understanding comes to ruin. 15Though you play the whore, O Israel, do not let Judah become guilty. Do not enter into Gilgal, or go up to Beth-aven, and do not swear, “As the Lord lives.”16Like a stubborn heifer, Israel is stubborn; can the Lord now feed them like a lamb in a broad pasture? 17Ephraim is joined to idols— let him alone.18When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies; they love lewdness more than their glory.19A wind has wrapped them in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their altars. Chapter 5Impending Judgment on Israel and Judah 1Hear this, O priests! Give heed, O house of Israel! Listen, O house of the king! For the judgment pertains to you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor,2and a pit dug deep in Shittim; but I will punish all of them. 3I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled.4Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they do not know the Lord. 5Israel's pride testifies against him; Ephraim stumbles in his guilt; Judah also stumbles with them.6With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them.7They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon shall devour them along with their fields. 8Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; look behind you, Benjamin!9Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I declare what is sure.10The princes of Judah have become like those who remove the landmark; on them I will pour out my wrath like water.11Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after vanity.12Therefore I am like maggots to Ephraim, and like rottenness to the house of Judah.13When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king. But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound.14For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I myself will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.15I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face. In their distress they will beg my favor:Chapter 6A Call to Repentance 1“Come, let us return to the Lord; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up.2After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him.3Let us know, let us press on to know the Lord; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.”Impenitence of Israel and Judah 4What 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 away early.5Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have killed them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light.6For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7But at Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.8Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with blood.9As robbers lie in wait for someone, so the priests are banded together; they murder on the road to Shechem, they commit a monstrous crime.10In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim's whoredom is there, Israel is defiled. 11For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed. When I would restore the fortunes of my people,Chapter 71when I would heal Israel, the corruption of Ephraim is revealed, and the wicked deeds of Samaria; for they deal falsely, the thief breaks in, and the bandits raid outside.2But they do not consider that I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds surround them, they are before my face.3By their wickedness they make the king glad, and the officials by their treachery.4They are all adulterers; they are like a heated oven, whose baker does not need to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.5On the day of our king the officials became sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with mockers.6For they are kindled like an oven, their heart burns within them; all night their anger smolders; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.7All of them are hot as an oven, and they devour their rulers. All their kings have fallen; none of them calls upon me. 8Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.9Foreigners devour his strength, but he does not know it; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, but he does not know it.10Israel's pride testifies against him; yet they do not return to the Lord their God, or seek him, for all this. Futile Reliance on the Nations 11Ephraim has become like a dove, silly and without sense; they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.12As they go, I will cast my net over them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will discipline them according to the report made to their assembly.13Woe 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. 14They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; they gash themselves for grain and wine; they rebel against me.15It was I who trained and strengthened their arms, yet they plot evil against me.16They turn to that which does not profit; they have become like a defective bow; their officials shall fall by the sword because of the rage of their tongue. So much for their babbling in the land of Egypt. Chapter 8Israel's Apostasy 1Set the trumpet to your lips! One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord, because they have broken my covenant, and transgressed my law.2Israel cries to me, “My God, we—Israel—know you!”3Israel has spurned the good; the enemy shall pursue him. 4They 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.5Your calf is rejected, O Samaria. My anger burns against them. How long will they be incapable of innocence?6For it is from Israel, an artisan made it; it is not God. The calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces. 7For 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.8Israel is swallowed up; now they are among the nations as a useless vessel.9For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild ass wandering alone; Ephraim has bargained for lovers.10Though they bargain with the nations, I will now gather them up. They shall soon writhe under the burden of kings and princes. 11When Ephraim multiplied altars to expiate sin, they became to him altars for sinning.12Though I write for him the multitude of my instructions, they are regarded as a strange thing.13Though they offer choice sacrifices, 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.14Israel 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. Chapter 9Punishment for Israel's Sin 1Do not rejoice, O Israel! Do not exult 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.2Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them.3They shall not remain in the land of the Lord; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food. 4They 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. 5What will you do on the day of appointed festival, and on the day of the festival of the Lord?6For even if they escape destruction, Egypt shall gather them, Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents. 7The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel cries, “The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad!” Because of your great iniquity, your hostility is great.8The 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.9They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah; he will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins. 10Like 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.11Ephraim's glory shall fly away like a bird— no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!12Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them until no one is left. Woe to them indeed when I depart from them!13Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow, but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.14Give them, O Lord— what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 15Every 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. 16Ephraim 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.17Because they have not listened to him, my God will reject them; they shall become wanderers among the nations. Chapter 10Israel's Sin and Captivity 1Israel 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.2Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The Lord! will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars. 3For now they will say: “We have no king, for we do not fear the Lord, and a king—what could he do for us?”4They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.5The inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the calf of Beth-aven. Its people shall mourn for it, and its idolatrous priests shall wail over it, over its glory that has departed from it.6The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria as tribute to the great king. Ephraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol. 7Samaria's king shall perish like a chip on the face of the waters.8The 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. 9Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not war overtake them in Gibeah?10I will come against the wayward people to punish them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are punished for their double iniquity. 11Ephraim 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.12Sow 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. 13You 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,14therefore 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.15Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel, because of your great wickedness. At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off. Chapter 11God's Compassion Despite Israel's Ingratitude 1When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.2The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Baals, and offering incense to idols. 3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them.4I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them. 5They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me.6The sword rages in their cities, it consumes their oracle-priests, and devours because of their schemes.7My people are bent on turning away from me. To the Most High they call, but he does not raise them up at all. 8How 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.9I 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. 10They shall go after the Lord, who roars like a lion; when he roars, his children shall come trembling from the west.11They 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 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.Chapter 121Ephraim 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 2The Lord has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and repay him according to his deeds.3In the womb he tried to supplant his brother, and in his manhood he strove with God.4He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor; he met him at Bethel, and there he spoke with him.5The Lord the God of hosts, the Lord is his name!6But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God. 7A trader, in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress.8Ephraim 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.”9I 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. 10I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets I will bring destruction.11In 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.12Jacob fled to the land of Aram, there Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he guarded sheep.13By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt, and by a prophet he was guarded.14Ephraim has given bitter offense, so his Lord will bring his crimes down on him and pay him back for his insults.Chapter 13Relentless Judgment on Israel 1When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling; he was exalted in Israel; but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.2And 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!3Therefore 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. 4Yet 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.5It was I who fed you in the wilderness, in the land of drought.6When I fed them, they were satisfied; they were satisfied, and their heart was proud; therefore they forgot me.7So I will become like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.8I 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. 9I will destroy you, O Israel; who can help you?10Where 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”?11I gave you a king in my anger, and I took him away in my wrath. 12Ephraim's iniquity is bound up; his sin is kept in store.13The 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. 14Shall 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. 15Although 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.