Hosea’s reconciliation with his wife
The Lord said to me, ‘Go, show your love to your wife again, though she is loved by another man and is an adulteress. Love her as the Lord loves the Israelites, though they turn to other gods and love the sacred raisin cakes.’
So I bought her for fifteen shekels[a] of silver and about a homer and a lethek[b] of barley. Then I told her, ‘You are to live with me for many days; you must not be a prostitute or be intimate with any man, and I will behave the same way toward you.’
For the Israelites will live for many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or sacred stones, without ephod or household gods. Afterwards the Israelites will return and seek the Lord their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the Lord and to his blessings in the last days.
- Hosea 3:2 That is, about 170 grams
- Hosea 3:2 A homer and a lethek possibly weighed about 195 kilograms.
The charge against Israel
Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
because the Lord has a charge to bring
against you who live in the land:
‘There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing,[a] lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Because of this the land dries up,
and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
and the fish in the sea are swept away.
‘But let no one bring a charge,
let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
who bring charges against a priest.
You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother –
my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.
‘Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.
The more priests there were,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged their glorious God[b] for something disgraceful.
They feed on the sins of my people
and relish their wickedness.
And it will be: like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.
‘They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not flourish,
because they have deserted the Lord
to give themselves 11 to prostitution;
old wine and new wine
take away their understanding.
My people consult a wooden idol,
and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.
They sacrifice on the mountaintops
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar and terebinth,
where the shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution
and your daughters-in-law to adultery.
‘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 harlots
and sacrifice with shrine-prostitutes –
a people without understanding will come to ruin!
‘Though you, Israel, commit adultery,
do not let Judah become guilty.
‘Do not go to Gilgal;
do not go up to Beth Aven.[c]
And do not swear, “As surely as the Lord lives!”
The Israelites are stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the Lord pasture them
like lambs in a meadow?
Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone!
Even when their drinks are gone,
they continue their prostitution;
their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
A whirlwind will sweep them away,
and their sacrifices will bring them shame.
- Hosea 4:2 That is, to pronounce a curse on
- Hosea 4:7 Syriac (see also an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition); Masoretic Text me; / I will exchange their glory
- Hosea 4:15 Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).
Judgment against Israel
‘Hear this, you priests!
Pay attention, you Israelites!
Listen, royal house!
This judgment is against you:
you have been a snare at Mizpah,
a net spread out on Tabor.
The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter.
I will discipline all of them.
I know all about Ephraim;
Israel is not hidden from me.
Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution;
Israel is corrupt.
‘Their deeds do not permit them
to return to their God.
A spirit of prostitution is in their heart;
they do not acknowledge the Lord.
Israel’s arrogance testifies against them;
the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin;
Judah also stumbles with them.
When they go with their flocks and herds
to seek the Lord,
they will not find him;
he has withdrawn himself from them.
They are unfaithful to the Lord;
they give birth to illegitimate children.
When they celebrate their New Moon feasts,
he will devour[a] their fields.
‘Sound the trumpet in Gibeah,
the horn in Ramah.
Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven[b];
lead on, Benjamin.
Ephraim will be laid waste
on the day of reckoning.
Among the tribes of Israel
I proclaim what is certain.
Judah’s leaders are like those
who move boundary stones.
I will pour out my wrath on them
like a flood of water.
Ephraim is oppressed,
trampled in judgment,
intent on pursuing idols.[c]
I am like a moth to Ephraim,
like rot to the people of Judah.
‘When Ephraim saw his sickness,
and Judah his sores,
then Ephraim turned to Assyria,
and sent to the great king for help.
But he is not able to cure you,
not able to heal your sores.
For I will be like a lion to Ephraim,
like a great lion to Judah.
I will tear them to pieces and go away;
I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
Then I will return to my lair
until they have borne their guilt
and seek my face –
in their misery
they will earnestly seek me.’
- Hosea 5:7 Or Now their New Moon feasts / will devour them and
- Hosea 5:8 Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).
- Hosea 5:11 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.