The Bible – Old Testament
1 Protest against your mother, protest! for she is not my wife, and I am not her husband. Let her remove her harlotry from before her, her adultery from between her breasts,
2 Or I will strip her naked, leaving her as on the day of her birth; I will make her like the desert, reduce her to an arid land, and slay her with thirst.
I will have no pity on her children, for they are the children of harlotry.
3 Yes, their mother has played the harlot; she that conceived them has acted shamefully. “I will go after my lovers,” she said, “who give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.”
Since she has not known that it was I who gave her the grain, the wine, and the oil, And her abundance of silver, and of gold, which they used for Baal,
Therefore I will take back my grain in its time, and my wine in its season; I will snatch away my wool and my flax, with which she covers her nakedness.
So now I will lay bare her shame before the eyes of her lovers, and no one can deliver her out of my hand.
I will bring an end to all her joy, her feasts, her new moons, her sabbaths, and all her solemnities.
I will lay waste her vines and fig trees, of which she said, “These are the hire my lovers have given me”; I will turn them into rank growth and wild beasts shall devour them.
4 I will punish her for the days of the Baals, for whom she burnt incense While she decked herself out with her rings and her jewels, and, in going after her lovers, forgot me, says the LORD.
5 Therefore, I will hedge in her way with thorns and erect a wall against her, so that she cannot find her paths.
If she runs after her lovers, she shall not overtake them; if she looks for them she shall not find them. Then she shall say, “I will go back to my first husband, for it was better with me then than now.”
6 So I will allure her; I will lead her into the desert and speak to her heart.
From there I will give her the vineyards she had, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. She shall respond there as in the days of her youth, when she came up from the land of Egypt.
7 On that day, says the LORD, She shall call me “My husband,” and never again “My baal.”
Then will I remove from her mouth the names of the Baals, so that they shall no longer be invoked.
I will make a covenant for them on that day, with the beasts of the field, With the birds of the air, and with the things that crawl on the ground. Bow and sword and war I will destroy from the land, and I will let them take their rest in security.
8 I will espouse you to me forever: I will espouse you in right and in justice, in love and in mercy;
I will espouse you in fidelity, and you shall know the LORD.
On that day I will respond, says the LORD; I will respond to the heavens, and they shall respond to the earth;
The earth shall respond to the grain, and wine, and oil, and these shall respond to Jezreel.
I will sow him for myself in the land, and I will have pity on Lo-ruhama. I will say to Lo-ammi, “You are my people,” and he shall say, “My God!”
1  The Lord speaks of Israel, still using the example of Hosea’s wife.
2  I will strip her naked: contemporary documents indicate that this was a conventional punishment for adultery.
3  My lovers: the local fertility deities to whom, rather than to the Lord (⇒ Hosea 2:8(10)), the unfaithful Israelites attributed the produce of the land.
4  (15)The days of the Baals: ritual observances held in various local shrines in honor of Baal.
5 [14,15 (8,9)] The crop failures, blight, etc., sent by the Lord (⇒ Hosea 2:9-12(11-14)) have as their purpose to make Israel see the folly of her ways.
6 [16-17] Israel’s journey in the desert represents for Hosea the time of Israel’s fidelity, before it was corrupted by the ways of Canaan; cf ⇒ Jeremiah 2:2-7; ⇒ Amos 5:25. Thus, he pictures a restoration in terms of a new entry into the promised land.
7  My baal: the word means “lord, master.” It was commonly used by women of their husbands, but it is to be shunned as a title for the Lord because of its association with the pagan god Baal. Probably it had been so used by many Israelites, who saw little if any difference between the worship of the Lord and the worship of Baal.
8 [21-22] The Lord will once more espouse Israel; the qualities ascribed to the renewed people are the bridal gift (cf ⇒ Genesis 24:53) with which he will endow it. In right and in justice: two terms dear to Hosea, used by him especially to condemn the popular social injustice and corruption of the legal processes. Here they mean right conduct in general. Love: one of the most characteristic words of Hosea’s prophecy. It means a dutiful love, based on a social relation; here it refers to the covenant between God and his people. It is a love fulfilled by the performance of mutual obligations. Mercy: from the same root as the word translated pity in ⇒ Hosea 1:6; cf Hosea 1:25. And you shall know the LORD: another characteristic expression of Hosea; cf ⇒ Hosea 4:1; ⇒ 5:4; ⇒ 6:3, 6. It means not an abstract but a practical knowledge, i.e., acknowledgment of his will, obedience to his law.