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The Lord and Israel His Spouse[a]

Accuse your mother, accuse!
    for she is not my wife,
    and I am not her husband.[b]
Let her remove her prostitution from her face.
    her adultery from between her breasts,

Or I will strip her naked,[c]
    leaving her as on the day of her birth;
I will make her like the wilderness,
    make her like an arid land,
    and let her die of thirst.
I will have no pity on her children,
    for they are children of prostitution.
Yes, their mother has prostituted herself;
    she who conceived them has acted shamefully.
For she said, “I will go after my lovers,[d]
    who give me my bread and my water,
    my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.”(A)
[e]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 will not overtake them;
    if she seeks them she will not find them.
Then she will say,
    “I will go back to my first husband,
    for I was better off then than now.”(B)

10 She did not know
    that it was I who gave her
    the grain, the wine, and the oil,
I who lavished upon her silver,
    and gold, which they used for Baal,[f]
11 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,
    which were to cover her nakedness.
12 Now I will lay bare her shame
    in full view of her lovers,(C)
    and no one can deliver her out of my hand.(D)
13 I will put an end to all her joy,
    her festivals, her new moons, her sabbaths—
    all her seasonal feasts.
14 I will lay waste her vines and fig trees,
    of which she said, “These are the fees
    my lovers have given me”;
I will turn them into rank growth
    and wild animals shall devour them.
15 I will punish her for the days of the Baals,[g]
    for whom she burnt incense,
When she decked herself out with her rings and her jewelry,
    and went after her lovers—
    but me she forgot—oracle of the Lord.(E)

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Footnotes

  1. 2:4–25 The section contains three oracles of doom (vv. 4–6, 7–9, 10–15), a transition (vv. 16–17), and three oracles of salvation (vv. 18–19, 20–22, 23–25).
  2. 2:4 The Lord speaks of Israel, still using the example of Hosea’s wife.
  3. 2:5 I will strip her naked: it was the husband’s responsibility to provide food and clothing for his wife (Ex 21:10) and now, because of her adultery, he takes back his support.
  4. 2:7 My lovers: even though Israel had experienced the Lord as the God of the desert, covenant and conquest, the people were inclined to turn to the local fertility deities, the Baals, who were believed to be responsible for agricultural success. They easily forgot that the Lord provides them with everything (v. 10; cf. Dt 7:13), and thus prostituted themselves by worshiping other gods.
  5. 2:8 The crop failures sent by the Lord are meant to make Israel see the folly of its ways.
  6. 2:10 For Baal: as an offering to Baal or to make statues of Baal.
  7. 2:15 The days of the Baals: feast days of the Baal cult (v. 13), or the whole period of Israel’s apostasy.

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