The Bible – Old Testament
1 Hear this, O priests, Pay attention, O house of Israel, O household of the king, give ear! It is you who are called to judgment. For you have become a snare at Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
In their perversity they have sunk into wickedness, and I am rejected by them all.
I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; Now Ephraim has played the harlot, Israel is defiled.
Their deeds do not allow them to return to their God; For the spirit of harlotry is in them, and they do not recognize the LORD.
The arrogance of Israel bears witness against him; Ephraim stumbles in his guilt, and Judah stumbles with them.
With their flocks and their herds they shall go to seek the LORD, but they shall not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them.
They have been untrue to the LORD, for they have begotten illegitimate children; Now shall the new moon devour them together with their fields.
2 3 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah! Sound the alarm in Beth-aven: «Look behind you, O Benjamin!»
Ephraim shall become a waste on the day of chastisement: Against the tribes of Israel I announce what is sure to be.
4 The princes of Judah have become like those that move a boundary line; Upon them I will pour out my wrath like water.
5 Is Ephraim maltreated, his rights violated? No, he has willingly gone after filth!
6 I am like a moth for Ephraim, like maggots for the house of Judah.
7 When Ephraim saw his infirmity, and Judah his sore, Ephraim went to Assyria, and Judah sent to the great king. But he cannot heal you nor take away your sore.
For I am like a lion to Ephraim, like a young lion to the house of Judah; It is I who rend the prey and depart, I carry it away and no one can save it from me.
8 I will go back to my place until they pay for their guilt and seek my presence.
1  Mizpah: probably the Mizpah in Transjordan is meant; cf ⇒ Joshua 11:8. Tabor: the mountain that dominates the valley of Jezreel.
2 [8-14] This passage refers to the Syro-Ephraimite war of 735-734 B.C., when a coalition of Arameans and Israelites attempted to dethrone the king of Judah. Judah repulsed the attempt with the aid of Assyria, and the latter devastated both Aram and Israel; cf ⇒ 2 Kings 16:5-9. Hosea condemns both Israel and Judah for the war.
3  A vision of invasion, from Gibeah and Ramah in northern Judah, into Israel.
4  Like those that move a boundary line: comparison of the invaders to a classic case of social injustice; cf ⇒ Deut 19:14; ⇒ 27:17; ⇒ Proverb 23:10-11.
5  Gone after filth: by allying himself with Aram.
6  Moth . . . maggots: internal corruption will work the Lord’s punishment on both Israel and Judah.
7  Ephraim went . . . the great king: in 738 B.C. the Israelite King Manahem had to pay tribute to the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, whose vassal he became (⇒ 2 Kings 15:19-20). Under the threat of the Syro-Ephraimite invasion King Ahaz of Judah also submitted himself and his country to Tiglath-pileser (⇒ 2 Kings 16:7-9). «The great king» was the title used by the Assyrian kings.
8  The Lord withdraws himself from Israel, hoping for its repentance.