Hosea



Rain and sun above Jezreel Valley, Israel

Image by vad_levin via Flickr

1[1-3] The word of Yahweh that came to Hosea the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, rulers of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, ruler of Israel. When Yahweh spoke by Hosea at first, Yahweh said to Hosea, “Go, take a prostitute for a spouse and have people of her unfaithfulness; for the whole land is acting very unfaithfully, leaving Yahweh.” So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; and she got pregnant, and had a son.

[4-5] Then Yahweh said to him, “Call his name Jezreel (God plants); for in a little while, I’ll take revenge on the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and will cause the realm of the house of Israel to come to an end. In that day I’ll defeat Israel in the valley of Jezreel.”

[6-7] Then she got pregnant again, and had a daughter. Then God said to him, “Call her name Lo-Ruhamah (No mercy); for I’ll no longer have mercy on the house of Israel, that I excuse you in any way. But I’ll have mercy on the house of Judah, and will save you by Yahweh your God, and I won’t save you by weapons, war, vehicles, or human beings.”

[8-11] Now when she had weaned Lo-Ruhamah, she got pregnant, and had another son. Then God said, “Call his name Lo-Ammi (Not My people); for you aren’t My people, and I won’t be your God. But the number of the people of Israel will still be as the sand of the sea, which can’t be measured nor counted; and it’ll happen later that in the place where it was said to you, ‘You aren’t My people,’ You’ll be called ‘People of the living God.’ The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be gathered together, and you’ll appoint yourselves one ruler, and will go up from the land; for great will be the day of Jezreel.

2[1-3] “Say to your brothers, ‘Be My people!’ and to your sisters, ‘ I’ll have mercy!’ Beg your mother!
Beg her because she isn’t acting like My spouse, nor am I her spouse any longer; and let her stop being unfaithful, and put her unfaithfulness out of her heart; or I’ll strip her naked, and make her as bare as the day she was born, and make her like a barren countryside, and leave her like a dry land, and kill her with thirst.

[4-6] Without a doubt, I’ll have no mercy on her children because they’re children of unfaithfulness; For your mother was unfaithful. She got pregnant with you in a shameful way. She said, ‘I’ll go after My lovers,
who’ll give Me My food and water, cloth for My clothes, and My perfumes and My alcohol.’ So, see, I’ll make a hedge of thorns in her way, and I’ll build a wall against her, so that she can’t find her way.

[7-8] She’ll chase after her lovers, but she won’t catch them; and she’ll look for them, but won’t find them. Then she’ll say, ‘I’ll go back to My first spouse, because it was better for Me then than now.’ She didn’t know that I gave her the food, alcohol, and perfumes, and gave her great wealth, which you spent on your false god.

[9-11] So I’ll take back My food crops in its time, and My alcohol in its season, and will take away My cloths which should have clothed her. Now I’ll uncover her shamefulness in front of her lovers, and no one will save her out of My power.  I’ll also cause all her celebrations to end, her feasts, her monthly celebrations, her weekly celebrations, and all her sacred assemblies.

[12-13] I’ll let her vines and her fig trees go to waste, about which she has said, ‘These are what My lovers have given Me; and I’ll make them a forest,’ and the animals of the woods will eat them. I’ll punish her for every day which she burned incense to the false god Baal, when she put on her earrings and her jewels, and chased after her lovers, and forgot Me,” says Yahweh.

[14-15] “So, see, I’ll attract her, and bring her into the countryside, and speak tenderly to her. I’ll give her gardens there, and the valley of Achor (trouble) will be a door of hope; and she’ll come back to Me there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came out of the land of Egypt.

[16-18] In that day,” says Yahweh, “You’ll call Me ‘My God,’ and no longer call Me by the name of a false god.’ I’ll take away the names of the false gods out of her mouth, and they’ll no longer be mentioned by name. In that day I’ll make an agreement for you with the animals of the field, and with the birds of the sky, and with the small animals that run around in the land. I’ll put an end to wars in the land, and will make you safe when you lie down.

[19-23] I’ll join you to Me forever. Yes, I’ll join you to Me in law, in goodness, in forgiveness, and in tender love. I’ll even join you to Me in faithfulness; and you will know Yahweh. In that day, I’ll speak,” says Yahweh, “I’ll speak to the heavens, and it’ll speak to the earth; and the earth will speak to the food, and the alcohol, and the oil; and you’ll know that God plants. I’ll plant her to Me in the earth; and I’ll forgive her who hadn’t been forgiven; and I’ll tell those who weren’t My people, ‘You’re My people;’ and You’ll say, ‘My God!’”

3[1-5] Yahweh said to Me, “Go again, love a woman loved by another, an unfaithful one, even as Yahweh loves the people of Israel, though you turn to false gods, and love bottles of alcohol.” So I bought her for myself for $15 silver dollars and 100 gallons of barley. Then I said to her, “You will stay with Me many days. You won’t be unfaithful, and you won’t be with any other. I’ll also be faithful to you.” The people of Israel will live many days without ruler, a preacher, a sacrifice, an alter, religious clothes, or false gods. Afterward the people of Israel will come back, and you’ll look for Yahweh your God, and your beloved ruler (David), and will come trembling to Yahweh to be blessed in the last days.

4[1-5] Hear the word of Yahweh, you people of Israel; for Yahweh has a charge against the people of the land, “Without a doubt there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land. There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and unfaithfulness; You go over the borders, and killing causes more killing. So the land will mourn, and everyone who lives in it will waste away. Every living thing in it, even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky; yes, even the fish of the sea will also die.” Yet let no one bring a charge against another, nor let any one accuse another, because your people are like those who bring charges against a preacher. You’ll fall in that day, and the great preacher will also fall with you in that night; and I’ll destroy your mother (the land).

[6-10] My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you’ve rejected knowledge, I’ll also reject you, and you’ll be no preacher for Me. Because you’ve forgotten your God’s law, I’ll also forget your people. As you grew to be many, you sinned against Me. I’ll change your fame into shame. You thrive on the sin of My people, and are addicted to your sin. The preacher will be just like the people; and I’ll punish you all for your ways, and will repay you for what you’ve done. You’ll eat, and not have enough. You’ll be unfaithful, and won’t have any babies; because you’ve stopped worshiping Yahweh.

[11-15] Whoring around, feasts, and alcohol take away your understanding. My people pray to your false gods of wood, and answer a stick of wood. Without a doubt, the spirit of whoring around has led you astray, and you’ve been unfaithful to your God. You sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks, poplars, and elms, because your shade is good. So your daughters and your wives are unfaithful. But I won’t punish your daughters or your wives when they’re unfaithful, because the men themselves have sex with whores, and worship falsely with religious whores; so these people who are without understanding will come to ruin.

[15-19] “Though you, Israel, are unfaithful, don’t let Judah offend; and don’t go up to Gilgal (to worship falsely), nor go up to Bethaven (house of emptiness), nor swear, ‘As Yahweh lives.’ For you, Israel have rebelled, like a stubborn cow, so how will Yahweh feed you like a lamb in an open country? You, Ephraim, have joined yourselves to false gods, so I’ll leave you alone! Your alcohol has made you rebel. You’re always unfaithful and its rulers dearly love your shameful ways. The wind has been taken from under your wings; and you’ll be ashamed because of your false worship.

5[1-4] “Listen to this, you preachers! Listen, house of Israel, and listen, house of the ruler! The judgment is against you. You’ve been trapped at Mizpah (the watchtower), and a net is spread on Mount Tabor. The rebels are deeply involved in murder; but I discipline all of you. I know Ephraim, and Israel isn’t hidden from Me; and now, Ephraim, you’ve been unfaithful and Israel is ruined. What you’ve done won’t allow you to turn to your God; for the spirit of whoring around is within you, and you don’t know Yahweh.

[5-9] The pride of Israel speaks against you. So you, Israel and Ephraim, will fall in your sin and Judah will fall also with you. You’ll go with your offerings to look for Yahweh, who you won’t find, because God has withdrawn from you. You’re unfaithful to Yahweh; and you’ve had illegitimate children. Now you’ll be destroyed along with your land within a month. “Blow the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah! Sound a war cry at Bethaven, behind you, Benjamin! Ephraim, you’ll be destroyed in the day of judgment. Among the tribes of Israel, I’ve made known to you what will surely happen.

[10-13] The officials of Judah are like those who remove a landmark. I’ll pour out My great anger on you like water. Ephraim, you’re oppressed, and crushed in judgment, because you’re intent on chasing after false gods. So I am to you, Ephraim, like a moth, and to the house of Judah like rottenness. “When you, Ephraim, saw your sickness, and Judah, your wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the Ruler Jareb, but he wasn’t able to heal you, nor will he cure you of your wound.

[14-15] So I’ll be to you, Ephraim, like a lion, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, Myself, will tear you in pieces and then go away. I’ll carry you off, and there’ll be no one left to save. I’ll go back to My place, until you admit your sin, and look for Me. In your trouble you’ll truly look for Me.”

6[1-3] “Come, and let us go back to Yahweh; who has torn us to pieces, and will heal us; Who has hurt us, and will patch up our wounds. After two days God will revive us and on the third day God will raise us up, and we will live in God’s presence. Let us acknowledge Yahweh. Let us try hard to know Yahweh. As surely as the sun rises, Yahweh will appear who will come to us like the rain, like the spring rain that waters the earth.”

[4-6] “Ephraim, what will I do with you? Judah, what will I do with you? For your love is like a morning cloud, and like the dew that quickly goes away. So I’ve cut you to pieces along with your great preachers; I destroyed you with the words of My mouth. Your judgments will come like a flash of lightning. I want mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than your offerings.

[7-11] But you, like Adam, have broken your promised agreement. You were unfaithful to Me there. Gilead (rocky place) is a city of those who work sin; it’s stained with blood. As gangs of thieves wait to attack someone, so the groups of preachers murder those on the way to Shechem, committing shameful crimes. In the house of Israel I’ve seen a horrible thing. There is whoring around in Ephraim. Israel is ruined. Also, Judah, you’ll be judged as well, when I turn away from My people.

7[1-3] When I would have healed Israel, then the sin of Ephraim was uncovered, and also the evil of Samaria; for you act falsely, and the thief comes in, and the gang of thieves destroys outside. You don’t think in your hearts that I remember all your evil. Now your own actions have overwhelmed you and you stand before Me. You make your ruler glad with your evil and the officials with your lies. You’re all unfaithful. You’re burning like an oven that the baker stops stirring the fire, from the time the dough is kneaded, until it’s raised.

[5-7] On the day of our ruler, the officials made him sick with the drunkenness of alcohol and he joined those full of pride. You’ve made the anger in your heart ready like an oven, while you wait to destroy. Your heat smolders all night and in the morning burns as a flaming fire. You’re all as hot as an oven, and have destroyed your judges. All your rulers have fallen and there is no one among you who calls on Me.

[8-12] Ephraim, you mix yourselves among the nations. Ephraim, you’re like a pancake not turned over. Strangers have used up your strength, and you don’t know it. Without a doubt, you’re graying with years and don’t know it. The pride of Israel speaks against it; yet You haven’t returned to Yahweh your God, nor looked for God in all this. “Ephraim, you’re captured like a dove, without remembering. You call to Egypt. You go to Assyria. But when you go, I’ll spread My net on you. I’ll bring you down like the birds of the sky. I’ll discipline you, just as you’ve heard.

[13-16] Sorrow will come to you because you’ve wandered far from Me! You’ll be destroyed because you’ve sinned against Me! Though I would buy you back, you’ve spoken lies against Me. You haven’t cried out to Me in prayer with your hearts, but you cry on your beds. You fight each other for food and alcohol but you turn away from Me. Though I’ve taught you how to fight, you plan evil against Me. You go back, but not to the Most High God. You’re like a faulty bow. Your officials will fall in war for your angry words. So you’ll be disrespected in the land of Egypt.

8[1-6] “Sound the trumpet! As an eagle coming against Yahweh’s house, you’ve broken My agreement, and rebelled against My law. Israel will cry to Me, ‘My God, we know you!’ But you, Israel, have thrown off what’s good. The enemy will chase you. You’ve set up rulers, but not by Me. You’ve made officials, who I didn’t approve. You’ve made yourselves false gods out of your silver and gold, so that you may die. I’ll throw out your false god calf, Samaria! I am very angry with you! How long will it be until you’re able to keep pure? And this is even from Israel! The worker made it, and it’s no god; Without a doubt, the calf of Samaria will be broken in pieces.

[7-10] For you plant the wind, and you’ll harvest the hurricane. You’ve no standing grain. The stalk won’t bud. If it does, strangers will eat it up. You, Israel, will be eaten up. Now you’re worthless to the nations. You’ve gone up to Assyria, like a wild donkey wandering alone. You, Ephraim, have hired lovers for yourselves. You sold yourselves to the nations, but I’ll gather you back now; and you’ll be wounded a little because of the trouble of the ruler of the Assyrians.

[11-14] You, Ephraim, have made many altars for sin, and they’ve become for you altars for sinning. I wrote you many things in My law; but they were thought strange. As for the sacrifices of My offerings, you sacrifice meat and eat it, but I, Yahweh won’t accept it. Now I’ll remember your sin, and punish you for it. You’ll return to Egypt. Israel, you’ve forgotten your Maker and built royal houses; and Judah, you’ve made many strong cities; but I’ll send a fire on you, and it’ll burn you up.”

9[1-6] Don’t celebrate, Israel, with joy like the other nations; for you were unfaithful to your God. You’ve made love for a price at every barn. The fields and the vines won’t feed you, and your wine will fail. You won’t live in Yahweh’s land; but you, Ephraim, will return to Egypt, and you’ll eat unfit food in Assyria. You won’t pour out wine offerings to Yahweh, nor will you please God. Your sacrifices will be to you like the food of mourners; all who eat of it will be unfit; your food will be for your appetite only and won’t come into the house of Yahweh. What will you do in the day of the sacred assembly and feast of Yahweh? See, you’ve gone away because of your destruction. Egypt will gather you up. Memphis will bury you. Nettles will take over your pleasant things of silver; and thorns will grow in your tents.

[7-9] The days of punishment have come. The days to pay Me back for what you’ve done have come. Israel, you’ll consider the great preacher to be stupid, and the one who is inspired to be crazy, because of your many sins, and because your anger is great. A great preacher watched over Ephraim with My God, who is like a bird catcher’s trap in the way, and whose anger is in the house of God. You’ve completely ruined yourselves, as in the days of Gibeah. I’ll remember what you’ve done and punish you for your sins.

[10-14] I found Israel like grapes in the countryside. I saw your fathers as the first ripe fig in the fig tree at its first season; but you came to Baal Peor (god of the gap), and dedicated yourselves to that shameful thing, and became evil like that which you loved. As for Ephraim, your fame will fly away like a bird. There won’t be any birth, and no one will get pregnant. Though you bring up your people, yet I’ll take you, so that not one person will be left. Without a doubt, sorrow will also come to you when I leave you! I’ve seen you, Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a nice place; but you, Ephraim, will bring out your children to be murdered. What will I, Yahweh, give them? I’ll give you miscarriages and dry breasts.

[15-17] “All your evil is in Gilgal; for there I hated you. Because of the evil things you’ve done, I’ll drive you out of My house! I’ll love you no more. All your officials are rebels. Ephraim, you’re beaten. Your root has dried up. You’ll bear no fruit. Even though you have children, I’ll kill your loved ones.” My God will throw you away, because you didn’t listen to God; and you’ll be wanderers among the nations.

10[1-4] Israel is a beautiful vine that gives its fruit. As it has made much fruit, it has made as many altars. As your land has done well, you’ve decorated your sacred alters. Your heart is divided and now you’ll be found guilty. God will destroy your altars and your sacred stones. Surely now you’ll say, “We don’t have a ruler because we didn’t fear Yahweh; As for the ruler, what can he do for us?” You make promises, swearing falsely when making agreements, so judgment comes up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.

[5-8] The people of Samaria will be in great fear for the calves of Bethaven; for its people will cry over it, along with its preachers who celebrated over it, for its fame has left it. It’ll also be carried to Assyria for a gift to the great ruler Jareb. Ephraim will be shamed, and Israel will be ashamed of what it created. Samaria and her ruler will float away, like a stick on the water. The high places of Bethaven, the sin of Israel, will also be destroyed. The thorn and the thistle will grow up on your altars. You’ll tell the mountains, “Cover us!” and the hills, “Fall on us!”

[9-11] “Israel, you’ve sinned from the days of Gibeah. There you stayed, so the war against the people of sin wouldn’t overtake you in Gibeah. Whenever I want to, I’ll discipline you; and the nations will be gathered against you, when you’re tied to your two sins. Ephraim is a trained cow that loves to work; so I’ll put a harness on her beautiful neck. I’ll set a rider on Ephraim, Judah will plow, and Jacob will till.

[12-15] Plant yourselves in goodness, harvest in faithfulness. Break up your unplanted ground; for it’s time to look for Yahweh, who will come and rain down goodness on you. You’ve plowed evil, you’ve harvested sin, and you’ve eaten the fruit of lies, because you trusted in your own way, and in your own strength. So the sound of war will come to your people, and all your strong places will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in the day of war. As the mother was dashed in pieces with her children, Bethel will do this to you because of your great evil. At dawn the ruler of Israel will be killed.

11[1-4] “When Israel was a child, who I loved, I called My Loved One out of Egypt. I called to you, but you went away from Me. You sacrificed to false gods, and burned incense to them. Yet I taught Ephraim to walk and took him by his arms; but you didn’t know that I was ready to heal you. I pulled you with troubling ropes and with ties of love; and I was to you like those who lift up the harness on your necks; and I bent down and fed you.

[5-8] “You won’t return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian will be your ruler, because you refused to change your ways. War will fall on your cities, destroying the bars of your gates, and putting an end to your plans. My people are determined to turn from Me. Though you call to the Most High, not one praises God. “How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I make you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboiim? My heart aches within Me, My compassion is stirred.

[9-12] I won’t do what My anger demands. I won’t return to destroy Ephraim for I am God, and not a human being; the Holy One in the midst of you; and I won’t come in great anger. You’ll walk after Yahweh, who will roar like a lion; I will roar, and the people will come trembling from the west. You’ll come trembling like a bird out of Egypt, and like a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I’ll settle you in your homes,” says Yahweh. Ephraim surrounds Me with lies, and the house of Israel with falsehood, but Judah still walks with Me, and is faithful to Me.

12[1-5] Ephraim feeds on wind, and chases the east wind. He always lies and destroys. You make an agreement with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt. Yahweh also has a disagreement with Judah, and will punish Jacob for his ways; God will repay them for what they’ve done. In the womb Jacob took his brother by the heel; and when he was grown he struggled with God. Without a doubt, he struggled with the angel, and won; he cried, and prayed to God, who he came face to face with at Bethel, and talked with us there, yes, Yahweh, the God of Heaven’s Armies; Yahweh is God’s Name to be remembered!

[6-10] So turn to your God. Keep kindness and justice, and wait always for your God. As for Canaan, he uses dishonest business practices and loves to cheat. Ephraim said, “Surely I’m rich, I’ve made myself great wealth. In all my wealth You won’t find in me anything sinful.” But I am Yahweh your God from the land of Egypt and I’ll make you live in tents yet again, as in the days of the sacred feast. I’ve also spoken to the great preachers, and I’ve given them many visions; and by their ministry I’ve told you many stories to help you understand.

[11-14]Gilead is evil, surely you’re worthless. In Gilgal you sacrifice bulls. Without a doubt, your altars are like bumps in the rows of the field. Jacob ran into the country of Aram, and Israel worked to get a spouse, and tended flocks and herds. By a great preacher Yahweh brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a great preacher it was saved. Ephraim has bitterly provoked God’s anger, so he’s guilty, and God will repay his hatred.

13[1-3] When Ephraim spoke my words trembling, he was a great man in Israel, but when he became guilty in worshiping a false god, he died. Now you sin more and more, and have made yourselves false gods of silver by your own knowledge, all of them the work of craft people. You say of them, ‘When you offer human sacrifices, kiss the calves.’ So you’ll be like the morning mist, and like the dew that dries up early, like the chaff that is blown by a strong wind out of the barn, and like the smoke out of a fireplace.

[4-8] “Yet I am Yahweh your God from the land of Egypt; Don’t worship any god but Me, There is no Savior besides Me. I knew you in the countryside, in the land without water. By the size of your fields, you were filled; and when You were filled, you thought of yourselves more highly than you ought and forgot Me. So I am like a lion to you. Like a leopard, I’ll wait by the path. I’ll meet you like a bear that has lost her cubs, and will tear your heart out. Like a lioness I’ll eat you up and the wild animal will tear you up.

[9-13] You’re destroyed, Israel, because you fight against Me, your only help. Where is your ruler now, so he may save you in all your cities? And your judges, of whom you said, ‘Give me a ruler and officials?’ I’ve given you a ruler in My anger, and have taken them away in My great anger. Ephraim is guilty. I’ll remember his sin. The sorrows of a woman in labor will come on him. He is like a helpless child; for when it’s time, he won’t come out of the womb.

[14-16] I’ll free you from the power of Hell. I’ll save you from death! Death, your pain won’t hurt Me! Hell, you won’t destroy Me! I won’t change My mind. Though you have more children than your kin, an east wind will come, the breath of Yahweh coming up from the countryside; and your creek and stream will dry up. I’ll take everything you have and love. Samaria, you’ll suffer your guilt because you’ve rebelled against your God. You’ll fall in war and your babies will be torn to pieces, and your pregnant women will be cut open.”

14[1-3] Israel, turn back to Yahweh your God; for you’ve fallen because of your sin. Ask for forgiveness and turn back to Yahweh. Tell him, “Forgive all our sins, and accept what’s good. We offer the words of our mouths for our sacrifices. Assyria can’t save us. We won’t ride on horses; nor will we say ‘Our gods!’ any more to the work of our hands, for in you the orphan finds mercy.”

[4-7] “I’ll heal your rebelliousness. I’ll love you freely; for My anger is turned away from you. I’ll be like the dew to Israel. You’ll bloom like a flower, and send down your roots like the trees of Lebanon. Your branches will spread, and your beauty will be like the olive tree, and your smell like Lebanon. People will live in your shade. You’ll revive like the food crops, and bloom like the vine. You’ll smell like the scent of Lebanon.

[8-9] Ephraim, what have you to do with false gods any more? I answer, and will take care of him. I am like a green fir tree; your fruit is from Me.” Whoever is wise will understand these things! Whoever is careful will know them? The ways of Yahweh are right, and the good walk in them, but those who rebel will fall by them.

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