Hosea 1-7 English Standard Version

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Hosea's Unfaithful Wife and Her Children

1 The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

2  When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, "Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord." 3  So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. 4  And the Lord said to him, "Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while I will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and I will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5  And on that day I will break the bow of Israel in the Valley of Jezreel." 6  She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, "Call her name No Mercy,[1] for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. 7  But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen."

8  When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. 9  And the Lord said, "Call his name Not My People,[2] for you are not my people, and I am not your God."[3] 10  [4] Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, "You are not my people," it shall be said to them, "Children[5] of the living God." 11  And the children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and they shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

The LORD's Love for His Unfaithful People

2 [6] Say to your brothers, "You are my people,"[7] and to your sisters, "You have received mercy."[8] 2  "Plead with your mother, plead-- for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband-- that she put away her whoring from her face, and her adultery from between her breasts; 3  lest I strip her naked and make her as in the day she was born, and make her like a wilderness, and make her like a parched land, and kill her with thirst. 4  Upon her children also I will have no mercy, because they are children of whoredom. 5  For their mother has played the whore; she who conceived them has acted shamefully. For she said, 'I will go after my lovers, who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.'

6  Therefore I will hedge up her[9] way with thorns, and I will build a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths. 7  She shall pursue her lovers but not overtake them, and she shall seek them but shall not find them. Then she shall say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for it was better for me then than now.' 8  And she did not know that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal. 9  Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season, and I will take away my wool and my flax, which were to cover her nakedness. 10  Now I will uncover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and no one shall rescue her out of my hand. 11  And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts. 12  And I will lay waste her vines and her fig trees, of which she said, 'These are my wages, which my lovers have given me.' I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall devour them. 13  And I will punish her for the feast days of the Baals when she burned offerings to them and adorned herself with her ring and jewelry, and went after her lovers and forgot me, declares the Lord.

14  "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. 15  And there I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor[10] a door of hope. And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth, as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt. 16  "And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.' 17  For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18  And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish[11] the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety. 19  And I will betroth you to me forever. I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20  I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord. 21  "And in that day I will answer, declares the Lord, I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth, 22  and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil, and they shall answer Jezreel,[12] 23  and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy,[13] and I will say to Not My People,[14] 'You are my people'; and he shall say, 'You are my God.'"

Hosea and the Adulteress

3 And the Lord said to me, "Go again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins." 2  So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a homer and a lethech[15] of barley. 3  And I said to her, "You must dwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you." 4  For the children of Israel shall dwell many days without king or prince, without sacrifice or pillar, without ephod or household gods. 5  Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

The LORD's Controversy with Israel

4 Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; 2  there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3  Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away. 4  Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.[16] 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; I will change their glory into shame. 8  They feed on the sin[17] 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 cherish 11  whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.

12  My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore. 13  They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn offerings on the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the whore, and your brides commit adultery. 14  I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore, nor your brides when they commit adultery; for the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people without understanding shall come to ruin. 15  Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-aven, and swear not, "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; leave him alone. 18  When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring; their rulers[18] dearly love shame. 19  A wind has wrapped them[19] in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

The Punishment for Israel's Apostasy

5 Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For the judgment is for you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor. 2  And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter, but I will discipline 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 know not the Lord. 5  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;[20] Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble 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 alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.

8  Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you,[21] O Benjamin! 9  Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure. 10  The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark; upon them I will pour out my wrath like water. 11  Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth.[22] 12  But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot 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.[23] 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, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.

The Insincerity of Israel's Repentance

15  I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.

6 "Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us 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 going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth."

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 early away. 5  Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth, and my judgment goes forth as the light. 6  For I desire steadfast love[24] and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7  But like 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 a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem; they commit villainy. 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 restore the fortunes of my people.

Israel's Iniquity and Rebellion

7 When I would heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed, and the evil 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 evil. Now their deeds surround them; they are before my face. 3  By their evil they make the king glad, and the princes by their treachery. 4  They are all adulterers; they are like a heated oven whose baker ceases to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened. 5  On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with mockers. 6  For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue; all night their anger smolders; 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, and none of them calls upon me.

8  Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned. 9  Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not. 10  The pride of Israel testifies to his face;[25] yet they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him, for all this. 11  Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria. 12  As they go, I will spread over them my net; I will bring them down like birds of the heavens; I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation. 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; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me. 15  Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against me. 16  They return, but not upward;[26] they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

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Footnotes

[1] 1:6 Hebrew Lo-ruhama, which means she has not received mercy

[2] 1:9 Hebrew Lo-ammi, which means not my people

[3] 1:9 Hebrew I am not yours

[4] 1:10 Ch 2:1 in Hebrew

[5] 1:10 Or Sons

[6] 2:1 Ch 2:3 in Hebrew

[7] 2:1 Hebrew ammi, which means my people

[8] 2:1 Hebrew ruhama, which means she has received mercy

[9] 2:6 Hebrew your

[10] 2:15 Achor means trouble; compare Joshua 7:26

[11] 2:18 Hebrew break

[12] 2:22 Jezreel means God will sow

[13] 2:23 Hebrew Lo-ruhama

[14] 2:23 Hebrew Lo-ammi

[15] 3:2 A shekel was about 2/5 ounce or 11 grams; a homer was about 6 bushels or 220 liters; a lethech was about 3 bushels or 110 liters

[16] 4:4 Or for your people are like those who contend with the priest

[17] 4:8 Or sin offering

[18] 4:18 Hebrew shields

[19] 4:19 Hebrew her

[20] 5:5 Or in his presence

[21] 5:8 Or after you

[22] 5:11 Or to follow human precepts

[23] 5:13 Or to King Jareb

[24] 6:6 Septuagint mercy

[25] 7:10 Or in his presence

[26] 7:16 Or to the Most High

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