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Hosea 4

God Accuses Israel

4Hear 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.
2 Swearing, lying, and murder,
   and stealing and adultery break out;
   bloodshed follows bloodshed.
3 Therefore 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.


4 Yet let no one contend,
   and let none accuse,
   for with you is my contention, O priest.*
5 You shall stumble by day;
   the prophet also shall stumble with you by night,
   and I will destroy your mother.
6 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 children.


7 The more they increased,
   the more they sinned against me;
   they changed* their glory into shame.
8 They feed on the sin of my people;
   they are greedy for their iniquity.
9 And it shall be like people, like priest;
   I will punish them for their ways,
   and repay them for their deeds.
10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
   they shall play the whore, but not multiply;
because they have forsaken the Lord
   to devote themselves to 11whoredom.

The Idolatry of Israel


Wine and new wine
   take away the understanding.
12 My 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.
13 They 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.
14 I 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.


15 Though 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.’
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
   Israel is stubborn;
can the Lord now feed them
   like a lamb in a broad pasture?


17 Ephraim is joined to idols—
   let him alone.
18 When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies;
   they love lewdness more than their glory.*
19 A wind has wrapped them* in its wings,
   and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.*

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Hosea 5

Impending Judgement on Israel and Judah

5Hear this, O priests!
   Give heed, O house of Israel!
Listen, O house of the king!
   For the judgement pertains to you;
for you have been a snare at Mizpah,
   and a net spread upon Tabor,
2 and a pit dug deep in Shittim;*
   but I will punish all of them.


3 I know Ephraim,
   and Israel is not hidden from me;
for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore;
   Israel is defiled.
4 Their 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.


5 Israel’s pride testifies against him;
   Ephraim* stumbles in his guilt;
   Judah also stumbles with them.
6 With their flocks and herds they shall go
   to seek the Lord,
but they will not find him;
   he has withdrawn from them.
7 They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord;
   for they have borne illegitimate children.
   Now the new moon shall devour them along with their fields.


8 Blow the horn in Gibeah,
   the trumpet in Ramah.
Sound the alarm at Beth-aven;
   look behind you, Benjamin!
9 Ephraim shall become a desolation
   on the day of punishment;
among the tribes of Israel
   I declare what is sure.
10 The princes of Judah have become
   like those who remove the landmark;
on them I will pour out
   my wrath like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgement,
   because he was determined to go after vanity.*
12 Therefore I am like maggots 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.*
But he is not able to cure you
   or heal your wound.
14 For 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.
15 I will return again to my place
   until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face.
   In their distress they will beg my favour:

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Hosea 6

A Call to Repentance

6‘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.
2 After two days he will revive us;
   on the third day he will raise us up,
   that we may live before him.
3 Let 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


4 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 away early.
5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets,
   I have killed them by the words of my mouth,
   and my* judgement goes forth as the light.
6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
   the knowledge of God rather than burnt-offerings.


7 But at* Adam they transgressed the covenant;
   there they dealt faithlessly with me.
8 Gilead is a city of evildoers,
   tracked with blood.
9 As robbers lie in wait* for someone,
   so the priests are banded together;*
they murder on the road to Shechem,
   they commit a monstrous crime.
10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
   Ephraim’s whoredom is there, Israel is defiled.


11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.


When I would restore the fortunes of my people,

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Hosea 7

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.
2 But they do not consider
   that I remember all their wickedness.
Now their deeds surround them,
   they are before my face.
3 By their wickedness they make the king glad,
   and the officials by their treachery.
4 They 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.
5 On the day of our king the officials
   became sick with the heat of wine;
   he stretched out his hand with mockers.
6 For they are kindled* like an oven, their heart burns within them;
   all night their anger smoulders;
   in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
7 All of them are hot as an oven,
   and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen;
   none of them calls upon me.


8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
   Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9 Foreigners devour his strength,
   but he does not know it;
grey hairs are sprinkled upon him,
   but he does not know it.
10 Israel’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


11 Ephraim has become like a dove,
   silly and without sense;
   they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 As 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.*
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.


14 They 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.
15 It was I who trained and strengthened their arms,
   yet they plot evil against me.
16 They 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.

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Hosea 8

Israel’s Apostasy

8Set 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.
2 Israel cries to me,
   ‘My God, we—Israel—know you!’
3 Israel has spurned the good;
   the enemy shall pursue him.


4 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.
5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria.
   My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
6   For it is from Israel,
an artisan made it;
   it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
   shall be broken to pieces.*


7 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.
8 Israel is swallowed up;
   now they are among the nations
   as a useless vessel.
9 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,*
   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.

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Hosea 9

Punishment for Israel’s Sin

9Do 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.
2 Threshing-floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
   and the new wine shall fail them.
3 They shall not remain in the land of the Lord;
   but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
   and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food.


4 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.


5 What will you do on the day of appointed festival,
   and on the day of the festival of the Lord?
6 For 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.


7 The 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.
8 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.
9 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,*
   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.

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Hosea 10

Israel’s Sin and Captivity

10Israel 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.
2 Their heart is false;
   now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord * will break down their altars,
   and destroy their pillars.


3 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?’
4 They utter mere words;
   with empty oaths they make covenants;
so litigation springs up like poisonous weeds
   in the furrows of the field.
5 The 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.
6 The 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.*


7 Samaria’s king shall perish
   like a splinter on the face of the waters.
8 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.


9 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* against the wayward people to punish them;
   and nations shall be gathered against them
   when they are punished* 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 plough;
   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 ploughed 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.

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Hosea 11

God’s Compassion Despite Israel’s Ingratitude

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


3 Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
   I took them up in my* arms;
   but they did not know that I healed them.
4 I 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.


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


8 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.
9 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.*


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 *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.

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Hosea 12

12Ephraim herds the wind,
   and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
   they make a treaty with Assyria,
   and oil is carried to Egypt.

The Long History of Rebellion


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


7 A trader, in whose hands are false balances,
   he loves to oppress.
8 Ephraim has said, ‘Ah, I am rich,
   I have gained wealth for myself;
in all of my gain
   no offence has been found in me
   that would be sin.’*
9 I am the Lord your God
   from the land of Egypt;
I will make you live in tents again,
   as on the days of the appointed festival.


10 I spoke to the prophets;
   it was I who multiplied visions,
   and through the prophets I will bring destruction.
11 In Gilead* there is iniquity,
   they shall surely come to nothing.
In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls,
   so their altars shall be like stone heaps
   on the furrows of the field.
12 Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
   there Israel served for a wife,
   and for a wife he guarded sheep.*
13 By a prophet the Lord brought Israel up from Egypt,
   and by a prophet he was guarded.
14 Ephraim has given bitter offence,
   so his Lord will bring his crimes down on him
   and pay him back for his insults.

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Hosea 13

Relentless Judgement on Israel

13When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
   he was exalted in Israel;
   but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
2 And now they keep on sinning
   and make a cast image for themselves,
idols of silver made according to their understanding,
   all of them the work of artisans.
‘Sacrifice to these’, they say.*
   People are kissing calves!
3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
   or like the dew that goes away early,
like chaff that swirls from the threshing-floor
   or like smoke from a window.


4 Yet I have been the Lord your God
   ever since the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
   and besides me there is no saviour.
5 It was I who fed* you in the wilderness,
   in the land of drought.
6 When I fed* them, they were satisfied;
   they were satisfied, and their heart was proud;
   therefore they forgot me.
7 So I will become like a lion to them,
   like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs,
   and will tear open the covering of their heart;
there I will devour them like a lion,
   as a wild animal would mangle them.


9 I will destroy you, O Israel;
   who can help you?*
10 Where now is* your king, that he may save you?
   Where in all your cities are your rulers,
of whom you said,
   ‘Give me a king and rulers’?
11 I gave you a king in my anger,
   and I took him away in my wrath.


12 Ephraim’s iniquity is bound up;
   his sin is kept in store.
13 The pangs of childbirth come for him,
   but he is an unwise son;
for at the proper time he does not present himself
   at the mouth of the womb.


14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
   Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are* your plagues?
   O Sheol, where is* your destruction?
   Compassion is hidden from my eyes.


15 Although he may flourish among rushes,*
   the east wind shall come, a blast from the Lord,
   rising from the wilderness;
and his fountain shall dry up,
   his spring shall be parched.
It shall strip his treasury
   of every precious thing.
16 *Samaria shall bear her guilt,
   because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword,
   their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
   and their pregnant women ripped open.

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Hosea 14

A Plea for Repentance

14Return, O Israel, to the Lord your God,
   for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
2 Take words with you
   and return to the Lord;
say to him,
   ‘Take away all guilt;
accept that which is good,
   and we will offer
   the fruit* of our lips.
3 Assyria shall not save us;
   we will not ride upon horses;
we will say no more, “Our God”,
   to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.’

Assurance of Forgiveness


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


8 O Ephraim, what have I* to do with idols?
   It is I who answer and look after you.*
I am like an evergreen cypress;
   your faithfulness* comes from me.
9 Those who are wise understand these things;
   those who are discerning know them.
For the ways of the Lord are right,
   and the upright walk in them,
   but transgressors stumble in them.

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