Hoshea: The Prophet Hosea

Translated by Rabbi Naomi Mara Hyman, 8/1/2003

Chapter 1

1. The Word of YHWH which came to Hoshea/ Advocate, i the son of B'ayri/ My Well in the days of Uzeeah/ Yah is my Refuge ii, Yotam/ Orphan, Achaz/ Seizer iii, Y'kheezkeeyah/ Through Yah I am Strengthened, the kings of Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise and in the days of Yaravam/ Quadrupler son of Yoash/ Despaired Of, king of Yisrael/ Contenders with — Godiv

2. The first words of YHWH to Hoshea/ Advocate:

YHWH said to to Hoshea/ Advocate, "Go, take for yourself a whoring wife and children [born] of whoring for the land will whore, yes whore away from YHWH. v

3. He went and he took Gomer/ Satisfier vi the daughter of Divlayim/ Tartsvii and she got knocked up viii and gave birth to a son.

4. And YHWH said to him, "Call his name Yeezr'ayl/ God's Planting, for [in] a short time, I will make an accounting of the blood of Yeezr'ayl/ God's Planting upon the house of Yehu/ That One and I will put an end to the kingship of the house of Yisrael/ ix Contenders-with-God

5. And it will be on that day that I will break the bow of Yisrael/ Contenders-with-God in the Valley of Yeezr'ayl/ God's Planting.

6. And she got knocked up again and gave birth to a daughter, and he said to him, "Call her name Lo Ruchama/ No Compassionx for I will no longer receive [or] have compassion for the House of Yisrael/ Contenders-with-God in order to forgive them.

7. — But upon the House of Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise I will have compassion, and by YHWH their God they will be saved — not with bow nor with sword nor with warfare with horses and riders will they be saved —

8. And she weaned Lo Ruchama/ No Compassion and got knocked up again and gave birth to a son. And he said, "Call his name Lo Ammi/ Not My People for you are not my people and I will no longer be for you."

Chapter 2

1. [Nevertheless] the number of the B'nai Yisrael/ God-contending Children will be like the sands of the sea that cannot be measured or counted and it will be that in the [very] place in which it was said to them, "You are not my people" it will be said, "You are the children of the living God."

2. And the B'nai Y'hudah/ Yah-praising children and the B'nai Yisrael/ God-contending Children will be gathered together and appoint for themselves one leader and they

3. Say to your brothers, "My People [Again]" and to your sisters, "Compassion [Restored]."

4. Contend with your mother, contend! For she is not my wife and I am not her husband Let her turn her face from whoring and remove her adulterous [heart] from between her breast

5. Lest I strip her naked, leave her as on the day she was born; make her like a wilderness; cause her to be like a barren land and kill her with thirst

6. As for her children — I will show no compassion for those children borne of whoring.

7. For their mother was a whore — shameful is she that conceived them — for she said, "I will go after my sugar daddies xi, those who give me my bread and water, my wool and my linen, my oil and my drink."

8. Assuredly — wait and see — I will hedge your way with thorns and fence her in with fences, her paths she will not find.

9. She will run after her lovers but will not catch them; she will seek them but will not find and she will say, "I go and return to my first husband for better it was for me then than now."

10. She didn't know that I was the one who gave her grain and wine and oil, that I was the one who lavished si lver on her — and the gold that they made for the ba'al.

11. Assuredly I will cause my grain to return to me in its time and my wine in its season and I will repossess my wool and my linen that conceal her nakedness.

12. And now I will expose her obscenity xii in the eyes of her lovers and no man will save her from my hand.

13. I will put an end to all of her rejoicing — her festivals, her new moons, her Sabbaths; all of her appointed times.

14. I will destroy her vines and her fig trees of which she says, "They were 'gifts' to me; that were given to me by my lovers," and I will cause the forest to reclaim [the cultivated lands] and the wildlife of the field will eat them.

15. I will call her to account for the [holi]days of the ba'alim when she made incense offerings to them, when adorned with earrings and jewels she went after her lovers and she forgot me...

so spoke YHWH

16. Assuredly — wait and see — I will entice her and lead her in the wilderness and I will speak to her heart.

17. From there I will give to her her vineyards and the Valley of Achor/ Foulness as an Opening to Hope as in the days of her youth and there she will respond to me as [she did] on the day when she went up from Eretz Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Places.

18. It will be on that very day — so spoke YHWH — you will call me Ishi/ My Man and no longer will you call me Ba'ali/ My Bossy-Husband. xiii

19. I will remove the names of the ba'alim from her mouth and their names shall no more be remembered.

20. I will cut for them a covenant on that day with the wildlife of the field and with the birds of the heavens and with the creeping things of the earth; and bow and sword and battle I will banish from the land; and in safety I will lay them down.

21. I will betroth you to me forever, I will betroth you me in righteousness and in judgment, with lovingkindness and compassion.

22. I will betroth you to me in faithfulness and you will know xiv YHWH.

23. It will be on that very day that I will answer you — so spoke YHWH — I will answer the heavens and they shall answer the earth.

24. The earth will answer the grain and the wine and the oil and they will answer Yeezr'ayl/ God's Planting.

25. I will root xv her in the earth as my own and I will be compassionate to Lo Ruchama/ No Compassion and I will say to Lo Ammi/ Not My People, "You are my people and he will say, "My God."

Chapter 3

1. YHWH spoke to me: "Go yet again and love a woman who is the beloved of another, xvi who is an adulteress, just as the beloved of YHWH, the B'nai Yisrael/ God- contending Children.

2. I bought her for myself for fifteen [pieces] of si lver and a homer of barley and a laytekh of barley.

3. I said to her, "Commit xvii to me for many days, don't whore [around], don't marry a[nother] man and so I will be to you.

4. For many days the B'nai Yisrael/ God-contending Children will dwell without a king and without chieftains, and without sacrifice and without pillar xviii and without ephod xix and without terafim. xx

5. Afterwards, the B'nai Yisrael/ God-contending Children will return and seek YHWH their God and David their king; they will [come], trembling, toward YHWH and toward his beneficence in the days to come.

Chapter 4

1. Hear the word of YHWH, B'nai Yisrael/ God-contending Children , for YHWH has a grievance with the inhabitants of the land for there is no truth and no lovingkindness and no intimacy with God in this land.

2. Perjury, deception and murder; larceny and adultery have erupted — blood[shed] leads to blood[shed].

3. Accordingly, the earth mourns, and all who dwell upon her are filled with sorrow —

withdrawn are the wildlife in the field, the birds from the skies, even the fish from the sea.

4. Yet no man censures, and no man protests and the clashes between your people are your priestly rituals. xxi

5. You will stumble in the day[light] and even your prophets will stumble with you in the darkness xxii and I will confound your understanding. xxiii

6. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge — because you reject knowledge I reject you from serving — as — priest for me; just as you have forgotten my Torah so will I forget your children.

7. The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; their honor I will turn to into shame.

8. They feed on the sin of my people, and their souls yearn for their iniquity.

9. The fate of the people is linked to that of the priests — I will make an accounting of its ways; what goes around will come around. xxiv

10. They will eat but not be satisfied; they will be full of lust but never satisfied xxv for the observances of YHWH they have abandoned.

11. Lechery and liquor xxvi have taken the heart....

12 My people!

Of their sticks they inquire; their staffs tell them [what to do]....

the spirit of whoring has led them astray...

they whore [with other gods] instead of [loving]their Own.

13. They offer incense upon the hills, under oaks, poplars and terebinths because their shade is good — is it any surprise xxvii that your daughters go whoring and your brides commit adultery?

14. I will not call to account your daughters for whoring nor your brides for adultery — after all, you yourse lves xxviii go off with whores and with temple prostitutes they offer sacrifices: a people with no understanding will surely fall.

15. Even though you are a whore, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God, let Yehudah/ Yah's Praise not incur guilt. Don't come into xxix, don't go up to Bayt Aven/ the House of Idolatry xxx, don't swear by the life of YHWH.

16. For like a stubborn heifer has Israel been stubborn — will YHWH now graze him in broad pastures like a sheep?

17. Ephraim is attached to idols — let him be.

18. They turn to drunkenness and debauchery, xxxi their lust is immeasurable, degradation is their defense.

19. The wind has bound her up in her wings; they shall be ashamed [on account] of their offerings.

Chapter 5

1. Hear this, you Priests...

Listen, bayt Yisrael/ all you xxxii Contenders-with-God...

Give ear, you royal leaders xxxiii...

Upon you is the judgement for you have been a snare to Mitzpah/ Conscience xxxiv and a net spread over Tabor/ Purity. xxxv

2. but malicious corruption you deepened and I am the informer xxxvi against all of you. xxxvii

3. I know Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes; Yisrael/ Contender-with-God has not hidden from me — now you whore, Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes, [you] defile yourself, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God.

4. They do not give away their deeds and turn back toward their God; instead xxxviii, the spirit of whoring is within them, and YHWH they do not know.

5. He will humiliate the Pride xxxix of Yisrael/ Contender-with-God before its very eyes and Yisrael/ Contender-with-God and Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes will stagger beneath the load xl of their injustice — as Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise will totter with them.

6. With their flocks and with their herds xli they will go to seek YHWH but they will not find him for he has repudiated them.

7. With YHWH they have been faithless for they have borne alien children; now their portion shall be consumed [within the] month.

8. Sound the shofar in, a trumpet in Ramah/ the High Place, shout in Bayt Aven/ the House of Idolatry...[they are] after you, Binyamin/ Son of the Right!

9. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes will be just that xliion a day of rebuke, among the elite of Yisrael/ Contender-with-God [will] I make known the truth!

10. The officers of Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise have been like intruders — upon them I will pour out my wrath like water.

11. Oppressed is Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes; judgment is broken — to — pieces because he has willingly gone after vanity.

12. And I will be like a moth xliii to Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes and like rot to Bet Y'hudah/ the House of Yah's Praise.

13. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes saw his disease and Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise his wound; so Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes went to Asshur/ I Will Behold and sent emissaries to the king of Yarev/ Increase xliv — [but] he will not be able to bring healing to you nor cure you of your wounds.

14. For I will be like a lion to Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes, like a young lion to bayt Y'hudah/ the House of Yah's Praise: I, I will tear and move on; I will carry off and no one will rescue.

15. I will go and return to my place until they acknowledge their guilt, [until] they seek my face — [for] in their distress, they will seek urgently for me.

Chapter 6

1.Come let us return to YHWH, for he has torn [us] and he can heal us, cut us and can bind us.

2. After two days, he will breathe new life into us, on the third day he will re — establish us and we will live in his presence.

3. Let us come — to — know, let us pursue knowledge of YHWH — like the dawn he will surely arise and come like rain upon us, like the late rain [upon] the land.

4. What can I do for you, Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes; what can I do for you, Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise when your loving — kindness is like the morning cloud, like the dew that so quickly disappears. x lv

5. Accordingly, I have hewn them through the Nevi'im/ Those Who Cry Out What They've Seen, slain them with the word of my mouth and the judgments upon you will go forth like light.

6. For loving — kindness I desire and not sacrifice and knowledge of God is better than offerings.

7. But they, to a man, have transgressed my covenant; they have betrayed me there.

8. Gil'ad/ Witness[ing] Ruins is a city of evildoers with blood in their tracks.

9. Like outlaws waiting — to — ambush is the fraternity of priests; they commit murder on the road to Shechem/ Early, they behave lecherously.

10. In bayt Yisrael/ the house of those who Contend — with — God, I have seen something horrible: There Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes whored; Yisrael/ Contender-with-God defiled.

11. Even for you, Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise, there will be a harvest when once again I turn [their evil actions] back upon them. x lvi

Chapter 7

1. I am the restorer of balance x lvii to Yisrael/ Contender-with-God...

Revealed is the guilt of Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes and the wickedness of Shomron/ Guardians in their treacherous actions: thieves within; mobs without.

2. The consciences are silent, x lviii but I will remember all of their evil; now their actions will come around xlix, they are before myl eyes.

3. With evil they bring joy to a king, and to officials with lies.

4. Adulterers — all of them! [Hot for it] like a baker's ovenli, pausing from their arousal only until the kneading of the dough leads to its rising.

5. By day our king became depraved lii, princes grew fevered with wine, he reached out his hand to his cronies. liii

6.They stoke their passion like a furnace; liv all night their baker sleeps then flares like a blazing fire.

7. All of them grow hot like an oven and incinerate their just leaders; lv their [rightful] kings have fallen and not one of them calls out to me.

8. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes is among the peoples, rotting away; Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes is like a cake that hasn't been turned. lvi

9. Strangers have devoured his strength and he doesn't even know it; his hair has grown white and he doesn't even know it. lvii

10. Although Yisrae'sl/ Contender-with-God's pride has become shame in his own eyes, lviii they do not turn back [to me]; YHWH their God they do not seek...even with all of this.

11. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes is like a silly dove without a brain in its head lix —

They have cried out to Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Places! They have gone to Asshur/ I Will Behold!

12. When they go, I will spread over them my net, lx like birds from the heavens, I will bring them down, I will rebuke them — they have heard this as a witnessing — congregation.

13. Oy! to them for fleeing from me; they will be destroyed because they have risen up against me. I would have redeemed them but they have but they have spoken lies about me.

14. They were not heart[felt] in their cries to me even as they lay wailing upon their beds...for grain and wine they allow themselves to be swept along [with the crowd] but from me they turn away.

15. I trained them, I strengthened their arms and they consider evil against me!

16. They have [ostensibly] returned back to me like a boomerang, but they have not [accepted] my yoke; their officers will fall by the sword because of their angry words, [because of] this kvetching, in Eretz Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Places.

Chapter 8

1. Blow the shofar lxi like [the cry of ]an eagle over B'nai Yisrael/ God-contending Children because they transgressed my covenant and been faithless to my Torah..

2. To me Yisrael/ Contender-with-God cries out, "My God, we [do] know you. lxii

3. Israel rejects the good; [instead] they pursue the enemy.

4. They have made kings for themselves, but not from me; [appointed] officers who I do not know — of their si lver and their gold they make idols in order to cut [covenants] lxiii

5. Your calf he rejects, Shomron/ Guardians — my anger burns against them! Will they never be able to cleanse themselves? —

6. It [came] from Yisrael/ Contender-with-God — their craftsmen made it; it is not a god. I will chisel away lxiv at [your] calf, Shomron/ Guardians!

7. They will sow the wind and reap the whirlwind; stalks without ears, without the hope of grain and if, by chance, they fruit, it will be swallowed by strangers.

8. Yisrael/ Contender-with-God [itself] has already been swallowed up by the nations, like a useless vessel.

9. For they have gone up to Asshur/ I Will Behold [like] a wild ass, alone, Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes has hired lovers.

10. They will give [themselves] to the nations and now I will go and harvest; lxv their riches will shrink lxvifrom the tribute [imposed] king and officers.

11. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes has [built] more altars in order to sin; to him they are altars for sinning.

12. I have written for him a great Torah but he has thought of it as something alien.

13. As for the sacrifices they burn for me — they are [merely] flesh so let them eat of them. YHWH does not want them; now he remembers [only] their iniquity, he will call — them — to — account for their sins, it is to Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Places that they will return. lxvii

14. Yisrael/ Contender-with-God has forgotten the one who made them and built palatial temples. Y'hudah/ Yah's Praise has proliferated walled cities — I will send fire into his cities and it will devour their palaces.

Chapter 9

1. Be not joyous, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God, as other peoples rejoice for you have whored away from your God, you "loved" for the wages of whoring on every grain threshing floor.

2. Threshing floor and wine press will not provide for them, wine will disavow her.

3. No more to dwell in YHWH's land, but Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes will return to Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Places instead and in Asshur/ I Will Behold they will eat unclean food.

4. Don't offer wine libations to YHWH; your sacrifices are not pleasing to him. It will be for them like the bread of mourners — all who eat of it shall be defiled — for it is [merely] to fulfill their animal — like desires, lxviii and not a means of entering into the house of YHWH. lxix

Don't offer wine libations to YHWH; your sacrifices are not pleasing to him; lxx

5. [so now] what will you do on festivals, on a day dedicated lxxi to YHWH?

6. Look — they have become refugees — lxxii Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Places will gather them, Mof/ Established and Beautiful lxxiii will bury them; they delight in their si lver, [but] thistles will succeed them, [and] thorn bushes [will inhabit] in their tents.

7. The days of taking account have come; the days of recompense have arrived — know this, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God — the Navi/ One Who Cries Out What He's Seen has been made to seem foolish; the man of spirit has been driven mad by the magnitude of your iniquity; [by] the abundance of your enmity.

8. The watchman of Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes — a Navi/ One Who Cries Out What He's Seen — is God's companion lxxiv [yet] a trap ensnares him all along the way: enmity in the house of his God.

9. They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Givah/ the Height — he will remember their iniquities; he will call — them — to — account for their sins.

10. Like grapes in the wilderness did I find Yisrael/ Contender-with-God; like the first fruit of the fig — tree — thus in the beginning did I see your fathers...but they came to Ba'al Pe'or/ Hungry — mouthed God lxxv and dedicated themselves to that shameful [thing] and they were as detested as they once were loved.

11. The glory of Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes will fly off like a bird: no birth, no pregnancy, no conceiving.

12. And even if they raise their children, I will bereave them before adulthood — woe, indeed, to them when I turn away from them.

13. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes — just as I set my eyes on Tzor/ Flint, once rooted in a beautiful place — Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes shall bring his own children to the slaughter.

14. Give them, YHWH, give them what you will: a womb that miscarries and shriveled breasts.

15. In Gilgal/ Wheel is the [beginning of] their evil, for there I came to despise them because of their evil deeds — from my houses I will drive them, I will harvest their love no more, all their officers are insolent.

16. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes is beaten, their root is withered, they cannot bear fruit — and even if they do give birth, I will slay their treasured issue.

17. My God spurns them for they do not heed him; they shall be drifters among the nations.

Chapter 10

1. Yisrael/ Contender-with-God is like a wasted vine, and its fruit is just as worthless lxxvi — when his fruit was plentiful, countless were his [pagan] altars and when his land was bountiful, [idolatrous] pillars abounded.

2. Their hearts are shattered, now they know the consequences of their guilt; he himself will destroy their altars, pull down their pillars.

3. For now they say, "There is no king. Since we do not tremble lxxvii before YHWH what can the king do to us?"

4. They pronounce pronouncements; with false oaths they cut deals lxxviii and prosper like poison weeds on the furrows of the field.

5. The ca lves of Bayt Aven/ the House of Idolatry are a source of worry for the inhabitants of Shomron/ Guardians, for its people will mourn [the loss of] it, as will the priest who rejoiced in it, for its glory that has departed.

6. It, too, will be brought to Asshur/ I Will Behold, a gift to the king of Yarev/ Increase; Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes will be shamed, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God ashamed of its own counsel.

7. Silenced is Shomron/ Guardians monarchy, [it is] like foam on the surface of the water.

8. Destroyed are the raised places of Aven/ Idolatry — the sins of Israel — thorns and thistles will rise up upon their altars and they will say to the mountains, "Bury us!" and to the high places, "Fall on us!"

9. More than in the days of Givah/ the Height have you sinned, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God — there they stand: shall Givah/ the Height not be overtaken in a war against the children of iniquity?

10. When I so choose, I will yoke them and gather peoples against them; I will harness them for two furrows.

11. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes is a well — taught calf that loves to thresh, but I passed over her goodly neck; I will make Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes ride; Yehudah/ Yah's Praise will plow and Ya'akov/ Heel-grabber will break up the clods.

12. Sow righteousness for yourselves and you will reap loving — kindness; prepare for yourselves prepared ground lxxix for it is time to seek YHWH the he may come and rain down righteousness for you.

13. [But] you have plowed wickedness and reaped the burden of injustice; lxxx you have eaten the fruit of deceit because you trusted [only] your own means, only your scores of soldiers.

14. A tumult will arise among your people and all of your fortress will be despoiled as Bet Arbayl/ Where God Lies in Wait lxxxi was despoiled by Shalman/ Well — being on a day of war when the mother with her children was torn to pieces. lxxxii

15. This is what Bet El/ God's House has done to you because of you evil evildoing — upon the dawn silenced, yes silenced will be the king of Yisrael/ Contender-with-God.

Chapter 11

1. When Yisrael/ Contender-with-God was a youth, I loved him; [from the time of] Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place I called him my son.

2. [But when] they called to them and indeed they went their own way: they sacrificed to idols; they offered incense to images.

3. I taught Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes to walk, taking them by their arms — but they have no idea that I am their Healer.

4. I pulled them [to me] with the threads of their humanity, and with the bond of love; lxxxiii I was for them like one who removes lxxxiv the bit lxxxv from their mouths lxxxvi and holds food out to them.

5. No — you will return to Eretz Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place; Asshur/ I Will Behold is their king since they have refused to return [to me].

6.His city will be stricken by the sword; consumed by his own designs, by the result of his untruth.

7. My people remain undecided about returning to me; they are called to arise but no one ascends.

8. How can I give you up, Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes; how can I surrender you, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God? How can I give you up like Admah/ Earthy, or make you like Tzevo'im/ Warlike — I have had a change of heart, only comfort is kindled [within me].

9. I will not act upon my fierce indignation for am God, and not a man; my holiness in within you — I will not come to you like a city — state, [seeking to expand its empire].

10. In YHWH's wake lxxxviithey will go; he roars like a lion, he roars and his children come quivering back from the sea.

11. They come quivering from Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place like a bird, like a dove from the land of Asshur/ I Will Behold and I will settle them in their homes —

so spoke YHWH

Chapter 12

1. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes surrounds me with deceit and Yisrael/ Contender-with-God with fraud (but Yehudah/ Yah's Praise yet rules with God, with holiness and faith.

2. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes tends the wind and runs after the windstorm; every day he adds mendacity to larceny — they cut a covenant with Asshur/ I Will Behold, they bring oil to Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place.

3. YHWH has contended with Yehudah/ Yah's Praise and called Ya'akov/ Heel — grabber to account for his ways, what goes around will come around. lxxxviii

4. In the womb he grabbed his brother's heel and in the fullness of his strength, he struggled with divinity.

5. He wrestled with an angel and prevailed, he wept and implored him; at Bet El/ God's House he would find him and there, speak with him.

6. YHWH, the God of hosts, YHWH — remember this —

7. You must return to your God: be guardians of loving — kindness and justice, trust always in God.

8. He is an [inside] trader with dishonest scales in his hand; he loves exploitation.

9. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes said, "Hah! I'm rich! I'm powerful! There is not to be found in anything I do any wrongdoing that could be considered sin."

10. I, YHWH, [have been] your God since Eretz Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place; I will again let you dwell in your tents as in the days of meeting lxxxix

11. I have spoken to the Nevi'im/ Those Who Cry Out What They've Seen, I have [given them] visions and by means of the Nevi'im/ Those Who Cry Out What They've Seen I've given over parables.

12. If Gil'ad/ Witness[ing] Ruins is emptiness, how could there be a purpose to sacrificing in Gilgal/ Wheel or for their altars [now only] heaps of stones on the furrowed field?

13. Ya'akov/ Heel — grabber fled to the field of Aram/ Infinite Heavens and Israel served for a wife, for a wife he safeguarded [sheep].

14. By a Navi/ One Who Cries Out What He's Seen YHWH lifted up Yisrael/ Contender-with-God from Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place, by a Navi/ One Who Cries Out What He's Seen they were safeguarded.

15. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes has provoked bitter anger: his blood[guilt] shall be left upon him; his God shall turn his contempt back upon him.

Chapter 13

1. When Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes spoke there was trembling, he was exalted in Yisrael/ Contender-with-God from Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place, but incurred guilt through the ba'al and died.

2. Now they collect sins, making for themselves a molten image; molten images of si lver — made entirely by craftsmen — these they understand; they say, "To these should a person sacrifice" — calf kissers are they!

3. Accordingly they will be like the clouds of the morning, like dew so early gone,xc like chaff blown from the threshing floor, like smoke from a chimney.

4. I, YHWH, [have been] your God since Eretz Mitzrayim/ the Narrow Place — you have never known a God but me, you have had no redeemer but me.

5. I knew you in the wilderness, in a drought — stricken land.

6. When they were satisfied, their egos xci swelled and because of this, they forgot me.

7. I became to them like a lion, like a leopard watching along the road.

8. I will fall upon them like a bear bereaved of her cubs and tear open their closed hearts; I will devour them there like a lion, as by a wild beast of the field shall they be torn.

9. You have destroyed yourself, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God for you are against me, your [only] Help.

10. Now where is your king that he might save you in all of your cities, your judges to whom you said, "Give me a king and officers, [too]"?

11. In my anger, I'll give you a king and in my rage take him away!

12. Bound up are the iniquities of Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes; stored up are his sins.

13. The agony of birthing has come upon him — but he is [like] a child, not a wise [old] man, now is not the time to stand [helplessly by] the birthstool.

14. From the hand of Sheol I would have ransomed them, from death itself would I have redeemed them —

Death, where are your plagues? Sheol, where is your pestilence?

Consolation has been hidden from my eyes.

15. Though he is fruitful along with [his] brothers, from YHWH's east wind is coming from the wilderness, his source will dry up, his spring shall become arid; it will plunder treasures, every splendid thing.

Chapter 14

1. Shomron/ Guardians must bear her guilt for she has rebelled against her God —

By the sword shall they fall, their infants shall be torn to pieces, their pregnant women ripped open. xcii

2. Return, Yisrael/ Contender-with-God, to YHWH your God for you have stumbled and transgressed.

3. Take with you words and return to YHWH, say to him, "May you forgive all of our iniquities and accept the good — instead of bulls, we will make restitution with our the words of our mouths. xciii

4. Asshur/ I Will Behold will not rescue us, no longer will we ride upon horses, we will never again call the work of our hands, "God" for you in you alone does the orphan find compassion.

5. I will turn them in the right direction, xciv I will love them unconditionally now that my anger has turned away from them.

6. I will be like dew to Yisrael/ Contender-with-God — he will blossom like a lily; send out roots like [the cedars of] Livanon/ White — moon.

7. His branches will spread forth, he will become glorious like an olive tree, his scent like Livanon/ White — moon.

8. Those who dwell in his shade will turn to God; they will revive the grain, cause the vine to flourish; they will be remembered like the wine of Livanon/ White — moon.

9. Efrayim/ Dust and Ashes [will say]: "What have I to do anymore with idols — I answer him and behold him; I am like a luxuriant cypress"

Your fruit shall be brought forth from me.

10. One who is wise will understand these [things]; the prudent will know them [well]:

The ways of YHWH are straightforward; the righteous walk upon them [with ease] but the wicked [surely] fall.


i The one who appeals for salvation, from the verb "to be delivered, saved or helped." I have deliberately left the question as to whether Hoshea is an advocate for God or Israel ambiguous.

ii Alternatively, Yah is my automatic weapon.

iii Seizer/ Caesar. Pun intended.

iv A more accurate translation would be Godwrestlers, but in the context of Hoshea, the antipathy of the people toward God overwhelms the aspect of intimacy with God that "wrestling" suggests. Therefore, Yisrael is translated throughout as Contenders-with-God.


vi Alternatively, "Finale" or "Completion."

vii From fig — cake.

viii The colloquial translation implies an unexpected or undesirable pregnancy, as opposed to the more neutral term, "conceived."


x Alternately, "Wombless"

xi Literally, "lovers."

xii Translation of this term is difficult as the usage seems to equate the female sexual anatomy with shame and disgrace.

xiii Both ishi and ba'ali mean husband, but the first connotes equality between Ish and Isha, man and woman, while the latter means "boss." It also refers to the pagan god, ba'al, much as Adon (Lord) may refer either to YHWH or to a man of higher status than the speaker.

xiv The verb "to know" carries both the meaning of intellectual apprehension and sexual intimacy. Cf. Robert Heinlein's "grok," which enters English from the Martian of his novel Stranger in a Strange Land; perhaps "intimately understand."

xv More literally, "plant" or "sow."

xvi A change in vocalization permits the following reading: "Go yet again and love a woman who is the beloved of evil."

xvii Literally, "stay with" or "dwell."

xviii As were customarily used to mark sacred sites.

xix Part of the priestly attire

xx Household idols or devices used for divination.

xxi Reading as a verb

xxii Literally, "night."

xxiii In Lurianic Kabbalah, "mother" is associated with the sefirah of binah, or understanding.

xxiv More literally, "the consequences of their deeds shall return to them."

xxv More literally, "they will engage in sexual excess but will not procreate."

xxvi Literally, "whoring, wine and new wine."

xxvii Literally, "therefore" or "accordingly."

xxviii Literally, "they"

xxix of fate?

xxx Mocking the usual name of Bet El, the house of God.

xxxi Literally, "whoring with whores"

xxxii Literally, "house"

xxxiii Literally, "royal household"

xxxiv From "conscience" or "scruple."

xxxv From to "clarify" or "purify"

xxxvi From to "deliver"; also, "to inform against"

xxxvii Literally, "them"

xxxviii Literally, "because"

xxxix Referring back to the elites mentioned in 5:1 above

xl Literally, "from"

xli Alluding the Exodus story, but with the opposite outcome. See especially Exodus 12:32 and 38.

xlii Literally, "desolate," "wasted" or "depopulated"

xliii that will eat them up as if they were a garment; see 5:7, above and 5:13, below.

xliv One is tempted to say, "to the king of affluence."

xlv That is, ephemeral and insubstantial.

xlvi That is, they too will harvest the fruits of their transgressions.

xlvii Literally, "healer;" this translation is meant to suggest that the healing occurs through the forthcoming chastisements.

xlviii Literally, "they don't say in their hearts"

xlix Reminiscent of the popular phrase, "what goes around, comes around."

l Literally, "against my face"

li This is an allusions to a particular type of meal offering, see for example Leviticus 2:4, as compared to 7:4 above. See also 7:8, below.

lii Literally, "sick"

liii Literally, "scoffers"

liv More literally, "their hearts like ovens"

lv Literally, "judges"

lvi Raw on one side, burnt on the other, an unfit offering. See 7:4 above.

lvii That is, the nation is at the end of its life.

lviii Literally, "in his face"

lix Literally, "heart"

lx Contrast this to the liturgy.

lxi Literally, "a shofar to your mouth"

lxii See 6:6, above

lxiii See 8:1, above

lxiv The double meaning of the verb is impossible to capture in English. The implication is that the chiseling of the idol is simultaneously a chastening of Israel.

lxv Literally, "gather them;" the implication is that now God will cause what has been sown by evil deeds to come to fruition. See 8:7.

lxvi Literally, "their numbers will weaken."

lxvii Instead of return to God

lxviii Literally, "for the [lowest level of] their souls."

lxix "Let it not come into the Temple" would be a more literal interpretation

lxx Although this clause opens the Hebrew verse, it seems to flow more naturally as translated above.

lxxi Literally, "a holiday."

lxxii Literally, "they have gone a way from destruction."

lxxiii Mof is the Hebrew name for the Egyptian city of Memphis. Memphis is a Greek name that means "established and beautiful." Shulman, Alan Richard, "Memphis" in Encyclopedia Judaica (cd — rom edition, version 1), 1997.

lxxiv Literally, "with God."

lxxv From "to open widely"

lxxvi Literally, "equal to it"

lxxvii Literally, "fear"

lxxviii Literally, "covenants"

lxxix More literally, "till the fallow ground for yourse lves"

lxxx May mean either "injustice" or "yoke," depending upon the vocalization. This translation attempts to evoke both meanings, even though the form of the work in the text clearly indicates the former meaning. However, given the context, the second meaning should not be overlooked.

lxxxi From "to lie in wait, lurk or ambush" and "God."

lxxxii "Dashed" or "crushed" captures some of the sound of the Hebrew verb, but those options miss the graphic impact of the verse.

lxxxiii More literally, "I drew them with human cords and with ropes of love."

lxxxiv Literally, "lifts up"

lxxxv Literally, "yoke"

lxxxvi Alternately, "the yoke from their lives"

lxxxvii Literally, "behind"

lxxxviii See note 22, above.

lxxxix There is an allusion here to the Tent of Meeting of the Torah.

xc See 6:4, above.

xci Literally, "hearts."

xcii See 10:14, above.

xciii Literally, "lips."

xciv Literally, "I will heal them of their misdirection (or waywardness, or backsliding)."

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