Fertility Cult Festivals Have Intoxicated Israel
1 O Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly like the nations,
for you are unfaithful to your God.
You love to receive a prostitute’s wages
on all the floors where you thresh your grain.
2 Threshing floors and wine vats will not feed the people,
and new wine only deceives them.
Assyrian Exile Will Reverse the Egyptian Exodus
3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land.
Ephraim will return to Egypt;
they will eat ritually unclean food in Assyria.
4 They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the Lord;
they will not please him with their sacrifices.
Their sacrifices will be like bread eaten while in mourning;
all those who eat them will make themselves ritually unclean.
For their bread will be only to satisfy their appetite;
it will not come into the temple of the Lord.
5 So what will you do on the festival day,
on the festival days of the Lord?
No Escape for the Israelites This Time!
6 Look! Even if they flee from the destruction,
Egypt will take hold of them,
and Memphis will bury them.
The weeds will inherit the silver they treasure –
thorn bushes will occupy their homes.
7 The time of judgment is about to arrive!
The time of retribution is imminent!
Let Israel know!
Israel Rejects Hosea’s Prophetic Exhortations
The prophet is considered a fool –
the inspired man is viewed as a madman –
because of the multitude of your sins
and your intense animosity.
8 The prophet is a watchman over Ephraim on behalf of God,
yet traps are laid for him along all of his paths;
animosity rages against him in the land of his God.
The Best of Times, the Worst of Times
9 They have sunk deep into corruption
as in the days of Gibeah.
He will remember their wrongdoing.
He will repay them for their sins.
10 When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the wilderness.
I viewed your ancestors like an early fig on a fig tree in its first season.
Then they came to Baal-Peor and they dedicated themselves to shame –
they became as detestable as what they loved.
The Fertility Worshippers Will Become Infertile
11 Ephraim will be like a bird;
what they value will fly away.
They will not bear children –
they will not enjoy pregnancy –
they will not even conceive!
12 Even if they raise their children,
I will take away every last one of them.
Woe to them!
For I will turn away from them.
13 Just as lion cubs are born predators,
so Ephraim will bear his sons for slaughter.
14 Give them, O Lord –
what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry,
and breasts that cannot nurse!
15 Because of all their evil in Gilgal,
I hate them there.
On account of their evil deeds,
I will drive them out of my land.
I will no longer love them;
all their rulers are rebels.
16 Ephraim will be struck down –
their root will be dried up;
they will not yield any fruit.
Even if they do bear children,
I will kill their precious offspring.
17 My God will reject them,
for they have not obeyed him;
so they will be fugitives among the nations.