New International Reader's Version

Hosea 2

1“People of Israel, call your brothers ‘My people.’ And call your sisters ‘My loved ones.’

Israel Is Punished and Brought Back to the Lord

“Tell your mother she is wrong.
    Tell her she is wrong.
She isn’t acting like a wife to me anymore.
    She no longer treats me as her husband.
Tell her to stop looking and acting like a prostitute.
    Tell her not to let her lovers
    lie on her breasts anymore.
If she doesn’t stop it, I will strip her naked.
    I’ll make her as bare as she was on the day she was born.
I’ll make her like a desert.
    She will become like dry land.
    And I’ll let her die of thirst.

“I won’t show my love to her children.
    They are the children of other men.
Their mother hasn’t been faithful to me.
    She who became pregnant with them
    has brought shame on herself.
She said, ‘I will chase after my lovers.
    They give me my food and water.
They provide me with wool and linen.
    They give me olive oil and wine.’
So I will block her path with bushes that have thorns.
    I’ll build a wall around her.
    Then she can’t go to her lovers.
She will still chase after her lovers.
    But she won’t catch them.
She’ll look for them.
    But she won’t find them.
Then she’ll say,
    ‘I’ll go back to my husband.
That’s where I was at first.
    I was better off then than I am now.’
She wouldn’t admit that I was the one
    who gave her everything she had.
    I provided her with grain, olive oil and fresh wine.
I gave her plenty of silver and gold.
    But she used it to make statues of Baal.

“So I will take away my grain when it gets ripe.
    I’ll take my fresh wine when it’s ready.
I’ll take back my wool and my linen.
    I gave them to her to cover her naked body.
10 So now I’ll uncover her body.
    All her lovers will see it.
    No one can stop me from punishing her.
11 I will put a stop to the special times she celebrates.
    I’ll bring an end to the feasts she celebrates each year.
I’ll stop her New Moon feasts and her Sabbath days.
    I’ll bring all her appointed feasts to an end.
12 I will destroy her vines and her fig trees.
    She said they were her pay from her lovers.
I’ll make them like clumps of bushes and weeds.
    Wild animals will eat them up.
13 Israel burned incense to the gods
    that were named Baal.
I will punish her
    for all the times she did that.
She decorated herself with rings and jewelry.
    Then she went after her lovers.
    But she forgot all about me,”
    declares the Lord.

14 “So now I am going to draw her back to me.
    I will lead her into the desert.
    There I will speak tenderly to her.
15 I will give her back her vineyards.
    I will make the Valley of Achor a door of hope for her.
Then she will love me, as she did when she was young.
    She will love me just as she did
    when she came up out of Egypt.

16 “A new day is coming,” announces the Lord.
    “Israel will call me ‘my husband.’
    She will no longer call me ‘my master.’
17 She will no longer speak about the gods
    that are named Baal.
    She will not pray to them for help anymore.
18 At that time I will make a covenant
    for the good of my people.
I will make it with the wild animals
    and the birds in the sky.
It will also be made with the creatures
    that move along the ground.
I will remove bows and swords
    and other weapons of war from the land.
    Then my people can lie down in safety.
19 I will make Israel my own.
    She will belong to me forever.
I will do to her what is right and fair.
    I will love her tenderly.
20 I will be faithful to her.
    And she will recognize me as the Lord.

21 “So at that time I will answer her,”
    announces the Lord.
“I will command the skies
    to send rain on the earth.
22 Then the earth will produce grain, olive oil and fresh wine.
    And Israel will be called Jezreel.
    That’s because I will answer her prayers.
23 I will plant her in the land for myself.
    I will show my love to the one I called Not My Loved One.
I will say, ‘You are my people’
    to those who were called Not My People.
    And they will say, ‘You are my God.’ ”