Hosea Chapter 8 to 11 : Easy-to-Read Version  | SearchSearch | Next Version | Previous Page | Next Page |

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Idol Worship Leads to Destruction

8 “Put the trumpet to your lips {and give the warning}. Be like an eagle over the Lord’s house.* The Israelites have broken my Agreement. They have not obeyed my law. 2They yell to me, ‘My God, we in Israel know you!’ 3But Israel refused the good things. So the enemy chases him. 4The Israelites chose their kings, but they didn’t come to me for advice. The Israelites chose leaders. But they didn’t choose men that I knew. The Israelites used their silver and gold to make idols* for themselves. So they will be destroyed. 5–6The Lord has refused your calf, Samaria.* God says, ‘I am very angry against the Israelites.’ The people of Israel will be punished for their sin. Some worker made those statues. They are not God. Samaria’s calf will be broken into pieces. 7The Israelites {did a foolish thing}—it was like trying to plant the wind. But {they will get only troubles} —they will harvest a whirlwind. The grain in the fields will grow. It will give no food. Even if it grew something, strangers would eat it. 8Israel was destroyed. {Its people are scattered among the} nations like some dish that was thrown away because no one wanted it. 9Ephraim* went to his ‘lovers.’ Like a wild donkey, he wandered off to Assyria. 10Israel went to his ‘lovers’ among the nations. But I will gather the Israelites together. But they must suffer a little from the burden of that mighty king.

Israel Forgets God and Worships Idols

11Ephraim* built more and more altars,* and that was a sin. They have been altars of sin for Ephraim. 12Even if I wrote 10,000 laws for Ephraim, he would treat them like they were for some stranger. 13The Israelites love sacrifices.* They offer the meat and eat it. The Lord does not accept their sacrifices. He remembers their sins. And he will punish them. They will be carried as prisoners to Egypt. 14Israel built kings’ houses. But it forgot its Maker! Now Judah builds fortresses.* But I will send a fire on Judah’s cities. And the fire will destroy its fortresses!”

Be like an eagle over the Lord’s house Or, “Like a guard over the Lord’s house.” idols Statues of false gods that people worshiped. calf, Samaria Samaria was the capital of Israel. The people of Israel made statues of calves and put them in the temples at Dan and Bethel. It is not clear if these statues represented the Lord or some false god. But God didn’t want them to use these statues. See 1 Kings 12:26–30. Ephraim Joseph’s younger son (Gen. 41:50–52). Ephraim’s family became a family group in Israel. Here the name is used to mean the northern kingdom of Israel. altar(s) A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. The Israelites love sacrifices This line is uncertain. fortress(es) A building or city with tall, strong walls for protection.

The Sadness of Exile

9 Israel, don’t celebrate like the nations do! Don’t be happy! You acted like a prostitute* and left your God. You did your sexual sin* on every threshing floor.* 2But {the grain from those} threshing floors will not give enough food for Israel. There will not be enough wine for Israel. 3The Israelites will not stay in the Lord’s land. Ephraim will return to Egypt. In Assyria they will eat food that they should not eat. 4The Israelites will not give offerings of wine to the Lord. They will not offer sacrifices to him. Their sacrifices will be like food eaten at a funeral* —whoever eats it will become unclean. Their bread will not go into the Lord’s temple—they will have to eat that bread by themselves. 5They will not be able to celebrate the Lord’s holidays or festivals.* 6The people of Israel left because the enemy took everything from them. But Egypt will take the people themselves. Memphis* will bury them. Weeds will grow over their silver treasures. Thorns will grow where the Israelites lived.

Israel Rejected the True Prophets

7The prophet says, “Israel, learn these things: The time of punishment has come. The time has come for you to pay {for the evil things you did}.” But the people of Israel say, “The prophet is a fool. This man with {God’s} Spirit is crazy.” The prophet says, “You will be punished for your bad sins. You will be punished for your hate.” 8God and the prophet are like guards watching over Ephraim.* But there are many traps along the way. And people hate the prophet, even in the house of his God. 9The Israelites have gone deep into ruin like in the time of Gibeah.* The Lord will remember the Israelites’ sins. He will punish their sins.

Israel Is Ruined by Its Worship of Idols

10At the time I found Israel, they were like fresh grapes in the desert. They were like the first figs on a fig tree at the beginning of the season. But then they came to Baal-Peor.* And they changed—and I had to cut them off (destroy them) like rotten fruit.* They became like the terrible things (false gods) that they loved.

The Israelites Will Have No Children

11Like a bird, Ephraim’s* glory will fly away. There will be no more pregnancies, no more births, no more babies. 12But even if the Israelites do raise their children, {it will not help}. I will take the children away from them. I will leave them, and they will have nothing but troubles. 13I can see that Ephraim is leading his children into a trap.* Ephraim brings out his children to the killer. 14Lord, give them what you will. Give them a womb that loses babies, give them breasts that can’t give milk. 15All their evil is in Gilgal;* I began hating them there. I will force them to leave my house, because of the evil things they do. I will not love them any more. Their leaders are rebels—{they have turned against me}. 16Ephraim* will be punished. Their root is dying. They will not have any more babies. They might give birth to babies, but I will kill the precious babies that come from their bodies. 17Those people will not listen to my God. So he will refuse to listen to them. And they will wander among the nations without a home.

prostitute A woman paid by men for sexual sin. Sometimes this also means a person that is not faithful to God and stops following him. You did your sexual sin This means that the people were not faithful to God. But it also means the people had sexual relations with temple prostitutes. They believed their false gods would give them many children and good crops. threshing floor A place where grain is beaten or walked on to remove the hulls from the grain. sacrifices … funeral Literally, “bread of mourners.” See Nums. 19:11–22. They … the Lord’s holidays or festivals Literally, “What will you do for a day of solemn assembly, for the Lord’s festival day?” Memphis An important city in Egypt. Ephraim Joseph’s younger son (Gen. 41:50–52). Ephraim’s family became a family group in Israel. Here the name is used to mean the northern kingdom of Israel. Gibeah At this place, men of the Benjamin family group did a very terrible sin. See Judges 19–20. Baal-Peor This happened when Moses was still leading the Israelites in the desert. Read Num. 25:1–5. they changed … rotten fruit This is a word play that can also mean, “they dedicated themselves to a shameful idol.” I can see … trap The Hebrew is not clear here. Gilgal A city in Israel where people had worshiped God. But later they began worshiping false gods at that place.

Israel’s Riches Led to Its Worship of Idols

10  Israel is like a vine that grows plenty of fruit. But as Israel got more and more {things} he built more and more altars {to honor false gods}. His land became better and better, so he put up better and better stones {to honor false gods}. 2The people of Israel tried to trick God. But now they must accept their guilt. The Lord will break down their altars.* He will destroy their memorial stones.*

The Evil Decisions of the Israelites

3Now the Israelites say, “We have no king. We don’t honor the Lord! And his king can’t do anything to us!” 4They make promises—but they are only telling lies. They don’t keep their promises! They make agreements {with other countries. God does not like those agreements}. The judges are like poisonous weeds growing in a plowed field. 5The people from Samaria* worship the calves at Beth-Aven.* Those people will really cry. Those priests will really cry. Why? Because their beautiful {idol} is gone. It was carried away. 6It was carried away as a gift to the great king of Assyria. He will keep Ephraim’s shameful {idol}. Israel will be ashamed of its idol.* 7Samaria’s false god* will be destroyed. It will be like a piece of wood floating away on the water’s surface. 8Israel sinned and built many high places.* The high places of Aven* will be destroyed. Thorns and weeds will grow on their altars.* Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

Israel Will Pay For Sin

9Israel, you have sinned since the time of Gibeah.* (And those people have continued sinning there.) War truly will catch those evil people at Gibeah. 10I will come to punish them. Armies will come together against them. They will punish the Israelites for both of their sins. 11Ephraim* is like a trained young cow that loves to walk on grain on the threshing floor.* I will put a good yoke* on her neck. I will put the ropes on Ephraim. Then Judah will begin plowing. Jacob* will break the ground himself. 12If you plant goodness, you will harvest true love. Plow your ground, and you will harvest with the Lord. He will come, and he will make goodness fall on you like rain! 13But you planted evil, and you harvested trouble. You ate the fruit of your lies. Why? Because you have trusted in your power and your soldiers. 14So your armies will hear the noise of battle. And all your fortresses* will be destroyed. It will be like the time Shalman* destroyed Beth Arbel. At that time of war, mothers were killed with their children. 15And that will happen to you at Bethel. Why? Because you did so many evil things. {When that day} begins, the king of Israel will be fully destroyed.”

altar(s)A stone table used for burning sacrifices offered as gifts to God. memorial stones Stones that were set up to help people remember something special. In ancient Israel, people often set up stones as special places to worship false gods. Samaria The capital city of north Israel. Beth-Aven In Hebrew the meaning is “House of Evil.” It is a word play on the name “Bethel,” a town in Israel. There was a temple in this town. idol Or, “advice.” false god Or, “king.” high places Places for worshiping God or false gods. These places were often on the hills and mountains. high places of Aven Aven means “evil,” “wickedness.” This probably means the temple and other places of worship at Bethel. Gibeah At this place, men of the Benjamin family group did a very terrible sin. See Judges 19 and 20. Ephraim Joseph’s younger son (Gen. 41:50–52). Ephraim’s family became a family group in Israel. Here the name is used to mean the northern kingdom of Israel. threshing floor A place where grain is beaten or walked on to remove the hulls from the grain. yoke A pole that was put on the shoulders of men or animals to help them carry or pull things. This often showed that a person was a slave. Jacob Another name for Israel. See Gen. 32:22–28. fortress(es) A building or city with tall, strong walls for protection. Shalman This is probably Shalmaneser, king of Assyria.

Israel Has Forgotten the Lord

11 {The Lord said,} “I loved Israel when he was a child, and I called my son out of Egypt. 2But the more I* called the Israelites, the more the Israelites left me.  The Israelites gave sacrifices to the Baals.* They burned incense* to the idols.* 3“But it was I who taught Ephraim* to walk! I took the Israelites in my arms! I healed them! But they don’t know that. 4I led them with ropes.* But they were ropes of love. I was like a person who set them free.* I bent down and fed them. 5“The Israelites refuse to turn back {to God}. So they will go to Egypt! {The king of} Assyria will become their king. 6The sword will swing against their cities. It will kill their strong men. It will destroy their leaders. 7“My people expect me to come back. They will call to God above. But God will not help them.”

The Lord Does Not Want to Destroy Israel

8“Ephraim,* I don’t want to give you up. Israel, I want to protect you. I don’t want to make you like Admah!* I don’t want to make you like Zeboiim!* I am changing my mind. My love for you is too strong. 9I will not let my terrible anger win. I will not destroy Ephraim again. I am God, and not man. I am the Holy One, I am with you. I will not show my anger. 10I will roar like a lion. I will roar, and my children will come and follow me. My children will come from the west, shaking with fear. 11They will come from Egypt shaking like birds. They will come shaking like doves from the land of Assyria. And I will take them back home.” The Lord said that. 12Ephraim surrounded me with false gods. The people of Israel turned against me.* {And they were destroyed!} But Judah still walks with El.* Judah is true to the holy ones.*”

I  This is what the ancient Greek says. The Hebrew says, “they.” Baals False gods worshiped by the Canaanites in the land where the Israelites lived. incense Special dried tree sap. Burned to make a sweet-smelling smoke, it was offered as a gift to God. idols Statues of false gods that people worshiped. Ephraim Joseph’s younger son (Gen. 41:50–52). Ephraim’s family became a family group in Israel. Here the name is used to mean the northern kingdom of Israel. ropes The Hebrew says, “ropes of a man.” set them free Literally, “lifted the yoke from their jaws.” Admah, Zeboiim Two cities that were destroyed when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah. See Gen. 19; Deut. 29:23. Ephraim … me Or, “Ephraim surrounded me with lies. The house of Israel surrounded me with deception.” El This might be one of the names of God, or it might be El, the most important god of the Canaanite people. It is not clear if this means that Judah was being faithful to God, or if Judah was worshiping the false gods. holy ones These might be angels or Canaanite false gods.

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