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.
41The LORD has an accusation to bring against the people who live in this land. Listen, Israel, to what he says: “There is no faithfulness or love in the land, and the people do not acknowledge me as God. 2They make promises and break them; they lie, murder, steal, and commit adultery. Crimes increase, and there is one murder after another. 3And so the land will dry up, and everything that lives on it will die. All the animals and birds, and even the fish, will die.”
4The LORD says, “Let no one accuse the people or reprimand them — my complaint is against you priests.4.4 Probable text my complaint is against you priests; Hebrew your people are like those with a complaint against the priests. 5Night and day you blunder on, and the prophets do no better than you. I am going to destroy Israel, your mother. 6My people are doomed because they do not acknowledge me. You priests have refused to acknowledge me and have rejected my teaching, and so I reject you and will not acknowledge your sons as my priests.
7“The more of you priests there are, the more you sin against me, and so I will turn your honour into disgrace. 8You grow rich from the sins of my people, and so you want them to sin more and more. 9You will suffer the same punishment as the people! I will punish you and make you pay for the evil you do. 10You will eat your share of the sacrifices, but still be hungry. You will worship the fertility gods, but still have no children, because you have turned away from me to follow other gods.”
11The LORD says, “Wine, both old and new, is robbing my people of their senses! 12They ask for revelations from a piece of wood! A stick tells them what they want to know! They have left me. Like a woman who becomes a prostitute, they have given themselves to other gods. 13At sacred places on the mountain tops they offer sacrifices, and on the hills they burn incense under tall, spreading trees, because the shade is so pleasant!
“As a result, your daughters serve as prostitutes, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. 14Yet I will not punish them for this, because you yourselves go off with temple prostitutes,4.14 temple prostitutes: These women were found in Canaanite temples, where fertility gods were worshipped. It was believed that intercourse with these prostitutes assured fertile fields and herds. and together with them you offer pagan sacrifices. As the proverb says, ‘A people without sense will be ruined.’
15“Even though you people of Israel are unfaithful to me, may Judah not be guilty of the same thing. Don't worship at Gilgal or Bethaven,4.15 Bethaven: This name means “house of evil” or “house of idolatry” and in this passage refers to the city of Bethel, a name which means “house of God”. See also 5.8, 10.5 and 10.8. or make promises there in the name of the living LORD. 16The people of Israel are as stubborn as mules. How can I feed them like lambs in a meadow? 17The people of Israel are under the spell of idols. Let them go their own way. 18After drinking much wine, they delight in their prostitution, preferring disgrace to honour. 19They will be carried away as by the wind, and they will be ashamed of their pagan sacrifices.4.19 sacrifices; some ancient translations altars. Verses 17–19 in Hebrew are unclear.