This is the message which the LORD gave Hosea son of Beeri during the time that Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
2When the LORD first spoke to Israel through Hosea, he said to Hosea, “Go and get married; your wife will be unfaithful, and your children will be just like her.1.2 get married; your wife… her; or marry a prostitute, and have children by her who will be just as bad as she is. In the same way, my people have left me and become unfaithful.”
3So Hosea married a woman named Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim. After the birth of their first child, a son, 4
the LORD said to Hosea, “Name him ‘Jezreel’, because it will not be long before I punish the king of Israel for the murders that his ancestor Jehu committed at Jezreel.1.4 Jezreel: At this city Jehu assassinated the king of Israel and all the rest of the royal family, and became the first king of a new dynasty (see 2 Kgs 9—10). I am going to put an end to Jehu's dynasty.1.4 Jehu's dynasty; or the kingdom of Israel. 5And in the Valley of Jezreel I will at that time destroy Israel's military power.”
6Gomer had a second child — this time it was a daughter. The LORD said to Hosea, “Name her ‘Unloved’, because I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them. 7But to the people of Judah I will show love. I, the LORD their God, will save them, but I will not do it by war — with swords or bows and arrows or with horses and horsemen.”
8After Gomer had weaned her daughter, she became pregnant again and had another son. 9The LORD said to Hosea, “Name him ‘Not-my-People’, because the people of Israel are not my people, and I am not their God.”
The people of Israel will become like the sand of the sea, more than can be counted or measured. Now God says to them, “You are not my people,” but the day is coming when he will say to them, “You are the children of the living God!” 11The people of Judah and the people of Israel will be reunited. They will choose for themselves a single leader, and once again they will grow and prosper in their land. Yes, the day of Jezreel1.11 Jezreel: This name in Hebrew means “God sows” and suggests growth and prosperity. will be a great day!
21So call your fellow-Israelites “God's People” and “Loved-by-the-Lord”.
2My children, plead with your mother — though she is no longer a wife to me, and I am no longer her husband. Plead with her to stop her adultery and prostitution. 3If she does not, I will strip her as naked as she was on the day she was born. I will make her like a dry and barren land, and she will die of thirst. 4-5I will not show mercy to her children; they are the children of a shameless prostitute.2.4–5 the children of a shameless prostitute; or as shameless as their mother, a prostitute. She herself said, “I will go to my lovers — they give me food and water, wool and linen, olive oil and wine.”
6So I am going to fence her in with thorn bushes and build a wall to block her way. 7She will run after her lovers but will not catch them. She will look for them but will not find them. Then she will say, “I am going back to my first husband — I was better off then than I am now.”
8She would never acknowledge that I am the one who gave her the corn, the wine, the olive oil, and all the silver and gold that she used in the worship of Baal. 9So at harvest time I will take back my gifts of corn and wine, and will take away the wool and the linen I gave her for clothing. 10I will strip her naked in front of her lovers, and no one will be able to save her from my power. 11I will put an end to all her festivities — her annual and monthly festivals and her Sabbath celebrations — all her religious meetings. 12I will destroy her grapevines and her fig trees, which she said her lovers gave her for serving them. I will turn her vineyards and orchards into a wilderness; wild animals will destroy them. 13I will punish her for the times that she forgot me when she burnt incense to Baal and put on her jewellery to go chasing after her lovers. The LORD has spoken.
14So I am going to take her into the desert again; there I will win her back with words of love. 15
I will give back to her the vineyards she had and make Trouble Valley a door of hope. She will respond to me there as she did when she was young, when she came from Egypt. 16Then once again she will call me her husband — she will no longer call me her Baal.2.16 Baal: This title of the Canaanite god means “Lord”; another meaning of the word is “husband”. 17I will never let her speak the name of Baal again.
18At that time I will make a covenant with all the wild animals and birds, so that they will not harm my people. I will also remove all weapons of war from the land, all swords and bows, and will let my people live in peace and safety.
19Israel, I will make you my wife;
I will be true and faithful;
I will show you constant love and mercy
and make you mine for ever.
20I will keep my promise and make you mine,
and you will acknowledge me as LORD.
21-22At that time I will answer the prayers of my people Israel.2.21–22 Israel: The Hebrew text here refers to Israel as Jezreel (see 1.4, 11).
I will make rain fall on the earth,
and the earth will produce corn and grapes and olives.
I will establish my people in the land and make them prosper.
I will show love to those who were called “Unloved”,
and to those who were called “Not-my-People”
I will say, “You are my people,”
and they will answer, “You are our God.”
31The LORD said to me, “Go again3.1 The LORD… again; or The LORD spoke to me again. He said, “Go… ” and show your love for a woman who is committing adultery with a lover. You must love her just as I still love the people of Israel, even though they turn to other gods and like to take offerings of raisins to idols.”3.1 offerings of raisins to idols: Dried grapes were used in the worship of fertility gods, who were believed to give abundant harvests to their worshippers.
2So I paid fifteen pieces of silver and 150 kilogrammes of barley to buy her. 3I told her that for a long time she would have to wait for me without being a prostitute or committing adultery; and during this time I would wait for her. 4In just this way the people of Israel will have to live for a long time without kings or leaders, without sacrifices or sacred stone pillars, without idols or images to use for divination. 5But the time will come when the people of Israel will once again turn to the LORD their God, and to a descendant of David their king. Then they will fear the LORD and will receive his good gifts.