Passage: Hosea 10, 11, 12 (RSV)

Hosea 10

1Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased the more altars he built; as his country improved he improved his pillars.
2Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars, and destroy their pillars.
3For now they will say: "We have no king, for we fear not the LORD, and a king, what could he do for us?"
4They utter mere words; with empty oaths they make covenants; so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.
5The inhabitants of Sama'ria tremble for the calf of Beth-a'ven. Its people shall mourn for it, and its idolatrous priests shall wail over it, over its glory which has departed from it.
6Yea, the thing itself shall be carried to Assyria, as tribute to the great king. E'phraim shall be put to shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.
7Sama'ria's king shall perish, like a chip on the face of the waters.
8The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. Thorn and thistle shall grow up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us, and to the hills, Fall upon us.
9From the days of Gib'e-ah, you have sinned, O Israel; there they have continued. Shall not war overtake them in Gib'e-ah?
10I will come against the wayward people to chastise them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are chastised for their double iniquity.
11E'phraim was a trained heifer that loved to thresh, and I spared her fair neck; but I will put E'phraim to the yoke, Judah must plow, Jacob must harrow for himself.
12Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of steadfast love; break up your fallow ground, for it is the time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain salvation upon you.
13You have plowed iniquity, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies. Because you have trusted in your chariots and in the multitude of your warriors,
14therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people, and all your fortresses shall be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-ar'bel on the day of battle; mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
15Thus it shall be done to you, O house of Israel, because of your great wickedness. In the storm the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.

Hosea 11

1When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.
2The more I called them, the more they went from me; they kept sacrificing to the Ba'als, and burning incense to idols.
3Yet it was I who taught E'phraim to walk, I took them up in my arms; but they did not know that I healed them.
4I led them with cords of compassion, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one, who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.
5They shall return to the land of Egypt, and Assyria shall be their king, because they have refused to return to me.
6The sword shall rage against their cities, consume the bars of their gates, and devour them in their fortresses.
7My people are bent on turning away from me; so they are appointed to the yoke, and none shall remove it.
8How can I give you up, O E'phraim! How can I hand you over, O Israel! How can I make you like Admah! How can I treat you like Zeboi'im! My heart recoils within me, my compassion grows warm and tender.
9I will not execute my fierce anger, I will not again destroy E'phraim; for I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst, and I will not come to destroy.
10They shall go after the LORD, he will roar like a lion; yea, he will roar, and his sons shall come trembling from the west;
11they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt, and like doves from the land of Assyria; and I will return them to their homes, says the LORD.
12E'phraim has encompassed me with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah is still known by God, and is faithful to the Holy One.

Hosea 12

1E'phraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a bargain with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.
2The LORD has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and requite him according to his deeds.
3In the womb he took his brother by the heel, and in his manhood he strove with God.
4He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor. He met God at Bethel, and there God spoke with him --
5the LORD the God of hosts, the LORD is his name:
6"So you, by the help of your God, return, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God."
7A trader, in whose hands are false balances, he loves to oppress.
8E'phraim has said, "Ah, but I am rich, I have gained wealth for myself": but all his riches can never offset the guilt he has incurred.
9I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; I will again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the appointed feast.
10I spoke to the prophets; it was I who multiplied visions, and through the prophets gave parables.
11If there is iniquity in Gilead they shall surely come to nought; if in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls, their altars also shall be like stone heaps on the furrows of the field.
12(Jacob fled to the land of Aram, there Israel did service for a wife, and for a wife he herded sheep.)
13By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt, and by a prophet he was preserved.
14E'phraim has given bitter provocation; so his LORD will leave his bloodguilt upon him, and will turn back upon him his reproaches.

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