Hosea 4:1–9:17

The Charge Against Israel

4 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,

because the Lord has a chargeu to bring

against you who live in the land:v

“There is no faithfulness,w no love,

no acknowledgmentx of God in the land.y

There is only cursing,a lyingz and murder,a

stealingb and adultery;c

they break all bounds,

and bloodshed follows bloodshed.d

Because of this the land dries up,e

and all who live in it waste away;f

the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky

and the fish in the sea are swept away.g

“But let no one bring a charge,

let no one accuse another,

for your people are like those

who bring charges against a priest.h

You stumblei day and night,

and the prophets stumble with you.

So I will destroy your motherj

6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.k

“Because you have rejected knowledge,

I also reject you as my priests;

because you have ignored the lawl of your God,

I also will ignore your children.

The more priests there were,

the more they sinned against me;

they exchanged their glorious Godb m for something disgraceful.n

They feed on the sins of my people

and relish their wickedness.o

And it will be: Like people, like priests.p

I will punish both of them for their ways

and repay them for their deeds.q

10 “They will eat but not have enough;r

they will engage in prostitutions but not flourish,

because they have desertedt the Lord

to give themselves 11 to prostitution;u

old winev and new wine

take away their understanding.w

12 My people consult a wooden idol,x

and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.y

A spirit of prostitutionz leads them astray;a

they are unfaithfulb to their God.

13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops

and burn offerings on the hills,

under oak,c poplar and terebinth,

where the shade is pleasant.d

Therefore your daughters turn to prostitutione

and your daughters-in-law to adultery.f

14 “I will not punish your daughters

when they turn to prostitution,

nor your daughters-in-law

when they commit adultery,

because the men themselves consort with harlotsg

and sacrifice with shrine prostitutesh

a people without understandingi will come to ruin!j

15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery,

do not let Judah become guilty.

“Do not go to Gilgal;k

do not go up to Beth Aven.c l

And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’m

16 The Israelites are stubborn,n

like a stubborn heifer.o

How then can the Lord pasture them

like lambsp in a meadow?

17 Ephraim is joined to idols;

leave him alone!

18 Even when their drinks are gone,

they continue their prostitution;

their rulers dearly love shameful ways.

19 A whirlwindq will sweep them away,

and their sacrifices will bring them shame.r

Judgment Against Israel

5 “Hear this, you priests!

Pay attention, you Israelites!

Listen, royal house!

This judgments is against you:

You have been a snaret at Mizpah,

a netu spread out on Tabor.

The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter.v

I will discipline all of them.w

I know all about Ephraim;

Israel is not hiddenx from me.

Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;

Israel is corrupt.y

“Their deeds do not permit them

to returnz to their God.

A spirit of prostitutiona is in their heart;

they do not acknowledgeb the Lord.

Israel’s arrogance testifiesc against them;

the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumbled in their sin;

Judah also stumbles with them.e

When they go with their flocks and herds

to seek the Lord,f

they will not find him;

he has withdrawng himself from them.

They are unfaithfulh to the Lord;

they give birth to illegitimatei children.

When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,j

he will devoura k their fields.

“Sound the trumpetl in Gibeah,m

the horn in Ramah.n

Raise the battle cry in Beth Avenb;o

lead on, Benjamin.

Ephraim will be laid wastep

on the day of reckoning.q

Among the tribes of Israel

I proclaim what is certain.r

10 Judah’s leaders are like those

who move boundary stones.s

I will pour out my wratht on them

like a flood of water.

11 Ephraim is oppressed,

trampled in judgment,

intent on pursuing idols.c u

12 I am like a mothv to Ephraim,

like rotw to the people of Judah.

13 “When Ephraimx saw his sickness,

and Judah his sores,

then Ephraim turned to Assyria,y

and sent to the great king for help.z

But he is not able to curea you,

not able to heal your sores.b

14 For I will be like a lionc to Ephraim,

like a great lion to Judah.

I will tear them to piecesd and go away;

I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.e

15 Then I will return to my lairf

until they have borne their guiltg

and seek my faceh

in their miseryi

they will earnestly seek me.j

Israel Unrepentant

6 “Come, let us returnk to the Lord.

He has torn us to piecesl

but he will heal us;m

he has injured us

but he will bind up our wounds.n

After two days he will revive us;o

on the third dayp he will restoreq us,

that we may live in his presence.

Let us acknowledge the Lord;

let us press on to acknowledge him.

As surely as the sun rises,

he will appear;

he will come to us like the winter rains,r

like the spring rains that water the earth.s

“What can I do with you, Ephraim?t

What can I do with you, Judah?

Your love is like the morning mist,

like the early dew that disappears.u

Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,

I killed you with the words of my mouthv

then my judgments go forth like the sun.a w

For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,x

and acknowledgmenty of God rather than burnt offerings.z

As at Adam,b they have broken the covenant;a

they were unfaithfulb to me there.

Gilead is a city of evildoers,c

stained with footprints of blood.

As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,d

so do bands of priests;

they murdere on the road to Shechem,

carrying out their wicked schemes.f

10 I have seen a horribleg thing in Israel:

There Ephraim is given to prostitution,

Israel is defiled.h

11 “Also for you, Judah,

a harvesti is appointed.

“Whenever I would restore the fortunesj of my people,

7 whenever I would heal Israel,

the sins of Ephraim are exposed

and the crimes of Samaria revealed.k

They practice deceit,l

thieves break into houses,m

bandits rob in the streets;n

but they do not realize

that I remembero all their evil deeds.p

Their sins engulf them;q

they are always before me.

“They delight the king with their wickedness,

the princes with their lies.r

They are all adulterers,s

burning like an oven

whose fire the baker need not stir

from the kneading of the dough till it rises.

On the day of the festival of our king

the princes become inflamed with wine,t

and he joins hands with the mockers.u

Their hearts are like an oven;v

they approach him with intrigue.

Their passion smolders all night;

in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.

All of them are hot as an oven;

they devour their rulers.

All their kings fall,w

and none of them callsx on me.

“Ephraim mixesy with the nations;

Ephraim is a flat loaf not turned over.

Foreigners sap his strength,z

but he does not realize it.

His hair is sprinkled with gray,

but he does not notice.

10 Israel’s arrogance testifies against him,a

but despite all this

he does not returnb to the Lord his God

or searchc for him.

11 “Ephraim is like a dove,d

easily deceived and senseless—

now calling to Egypt,e

now turning to Assyria.f

12 When they go, I will throw my netg over them;

I will pull them down like the birds in the sky.

When I hear them flocking together,

I will catch them.

13 Woeh to them,

because they have strayedi from me!

Destruction to them,

because they have rebelled against me!

I long to redeem them

but they speak about mej falsely.k

14 They do not cry out to me from their heartsl

but wail on their beds.

They slash themselves,a appealing to their gods

for grain and new wine,m

but they turn away from me.n

15 I trainedo them and strengthened their arms,

but they plot evilp against me.

16 They do not turn to the Most High;q

they are like a faulty bow.r

Their leaders will fall by the sword

because of their insolents words.

For this they will be ridiculedt

in the land of Egypt.u

Israel to Reap the Whirlwind

8 “Put the trumpetv to your lips!

An eaglew is over the house of the Lord

because the people have broken my covenantx

and rebelled against my law.y

Israel cries out to me,

‘Our God, we acknowledge you!’

But Israel has rejected what is good;

an enemy will pursue him.z

They set up kings without my consent;

they choose princes without my approval.a

With their silver and gold

they make idolsb for themselves

to their own destruction.

Samaria, throw out your calf-idol!c

My anger burns against them.

How long will they be incapable of purity?d

6 They are from Israel!

This calf—a metalworker has made it;

it is not God.e

It will be broken in pieces,

that calff of Samaria.g

“They sow the wind

and reap the whirlwind.h

The stalk has no head;

it will produce no flour.i

Were it to yield grain,

foreigners would swallow it up.j

Israel is swallowed up;k

now she is among the nations

like something no one wants.l

For they have gone up to Assyriam

like a wild donkeyn wandering alone.

Ephraim has sold herself to lovers.o

10 Although they have sold themselves among the nations,

I will now gather them together.p

They will begin to waste awayq

under the oppression of the mighty king.

11 “Though Ephraim built many altars for sin offerings,

these have become altars for sinning.r

12 I wrote for them the many things of my law,

but they regarded them as something foreign.s

13 Though they offer sacrifices as gifts to me,

and though they eatt the meat,

the Lord is not pleased with them.u

Now he will rememberv their wickedness

and punish their sins:w

They will return to Egypt.x

14 Israel has forgotteny their Makerz

and built palaces;

Judah has fortified many towns.

But I will send fire on their cities

that will consume their fortresses.”a

Punishment for Israel

9 Do not rejoice, Israel;

do not be jubilantb like the other nations.

For you have been unfaithfulc to your God;

you love the wages of a prostituted

at every threshing floor.

Threshing floors and winepresses

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