The Lord gave this message to Hosea son of Beeri during the years when Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah were kings of Judah, and Jeroboam son of Jehoash was king of Israel.
When the Lord first began speaking to Israel through Hosea, he said to him, “Go and marry a prostitute, so that some of her children will be conceived in prostitution. This will illustrate how Israel has acted like a prostitute by turning against the Lord and worshiping other gods.”
So Hosea married Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she became pregnant and gave Hosea a son.
And the Lord said, “Name the child Jezreel, for I am about to punish King Jehu’s dynasty to avenge the murders he committed at Jezreel. In fact, I will bring an end to Israel’s independence.
I will break its military power in the Jezreel Valley.”
Soon Gomer became pregnant again and gave birth to a daughter. And the Lordsaid to Hosea, “Name your daughter Lo-ruhamah—‘Not loved’—for I will no longer show love to the people of Israel or forgive them.
But I will show love to the people of Judah. I will free them from their enemies—not with weapons and armies or horses and charioteers, but by my power as the Lord their God.”
After Gomer had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she again became pregnant and gave birth to a second son.
And the Lord said, “Name him Lo-ammi—‘Not my people’—for Israel is not my people, and I am not their God.
“Yet the time will come when Israel’s people will be like the sands of the seashore—too many to count! Then, at the place where they were told, ‘You are not my people,’ it will be said, ‘You are children of the living God.’
Then the people of Judah and Israel will unite together. They will choose one leader for themselves, and they will return from exile together. What a day that will be—the day of Jezreel—when God will again plant his people in his land.
At the time of those events,” says the Lord,
“when I restore the prosperity of Judah and Jerusalem,
I will gather the armies of the world
into the valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I will judge them
for harming my people, my special possession,
for scattering my people among the nations,
and for dividing up my land.
They threw dice[
] to decide which of my people
would be their slaves.
They traded boys to obtain prostitutes
and sold girls for enough wine to get drunk.
“What do you have against me, Tyre and Sidon and you cities of Philistia? Are you trying to take revenge on me? If you are, then watch out! I will strike swiftly and pay you back for everything you have done.
You have taken my silver and gold and all my precious treasures, and have carried them off to your pagan temples.
You have sold the people of Judah and Jerusalem to the Greeks, so they could take them far from their homeland.
“But I will bring them back from all the places to which you sold them, and I will pay you back for everything you have done.
I will sell your sons and daughters to the people of Judah, and they will sell them to the people of Arabia,[
] a nation far away. I, the Lord, have spoken!”
Say to the nations far and wide:
“Get ready for war!
Call out your best warriors.
Let all your fighting men advance for the attack.
Hammer your plowshares into swords
and your pruning hooks into spears.
Train even your weaklings to be warriors.
Come quickly, all you nations everywhere.
Gather together in the valley.”
And now, O Lord, call out your warriors!
“Let the nations be called to arms.
Let them march to the valley of Jehoshaphat.
There I, the Lord, will sit
to pronounce judgment on them all.
Swing the sickle,
for the harvest is ripe.[
Come, tread the grapes,
for the winepress is full.
The storage vats are overflowing
with the wickedness of these people.”
Thousands upon thousands are waiting in the valley of decision.
There the day of the Lord will soon arrive.
The sun and moon will grow dark,
and the stars will no longer shine.
The Lord’s voice will roar from Zion
and thunder from Jerusalem,
and the heavens and the earth will shake.
But the Lord will be a refuge for his people,
a strong fortress for the people of Israel.
“Then you will know that I, the Lord your God,
live in Zion, my holy mountain.
Jerusalem will be holy forever,
and foreign armies will never conquer her again.
In that day the mountains will drip with sweet wine,
and the hills will flow with milk.
Water will fill the streambeds of Judah,
and a fountain will burst forth from the Lord’s Temple,
watering the arid valley of acacias.
But Egypt will become a wasteland
and Edom will become a wilderness,
because they attacked the people of Judah
and killed innocent people in their land.
“But Judah will be filled with people forever,
and Jerusalem will endure through all generations.
I will pardon my people’s crimes,
which I have not yet pardoned;
and I, the Lord, will make my home
in Jerusalem with my people.”
Listen, you people of Israel! Listen to this funeral song I am singing:
“The virgin Israel has fallen,
never to rise again!
She lies abandoned on the ground,
with no one to help her up.”
The Sovereign Lord says:
“When a city sends a thousand men to battle,
only a hundred will return.
When a town sends a hundred,
only ten will come back alive.”
Now this is what the Lord says to the family of Israel:
“Come back to me and live!
Don’t worship at the pagan altars at Bethel;
don’t go to the shrines at Gilgal or Beersheba.
For the people of Gilgal will be dragged off into exile,
and the people of Bethel will be reduced to nothing.”
Come back to the Lord and live!
Otherwise, he will roar through Israel[
] like a fire,
devouring you completely.
Your gods in Bethel
won’t be able to quench the flames.
You twist justice, making it a bitter pill for the oppressed.
You treat the righteous like dirt.
It is the Lord who created the stars,
the Pleiades and Orion.
He turns darkness into morning
and day into night.
He draws up water from the oceans
and pours it down as rain on the land.
The Lord is his name!
With blinding speed and power he destroys the strong,
crushing all their defenses.
How you hate honest judges!
How you despise people who tell the truth!
You trample the poor,
stealing their grain through taxes and unfair rent.
Therefore, though you build beautiful stone houses,
you will never live in them.
Though you plant lush vineyards,
you will never drink wine from them.
For I know the vast number of your sins
and the depth of your rebellions.
You oppress good people by taking bribes
and deprive the poor of justice in the courts.
So those who are smart keep their mouths shut,
for it is an evil time.
Do what is good and run from evil
so that you may live!
Then the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies will be your helper,
just as you have claimed.
Hate evil and love what is good;
turn your courts into true halls of justice.
Perhaps even yet the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies
will have mercy on the remnant of his people.[
Therefore, this is what the Lord, the Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, says:
“There will be crying in all the public squares
and mourning in every street.
Call for the farmers to weep with you,
and summon professional mourners to wail.
There will be wailing in every vineyard,
for I will destroy them all,”
says the Lord.
What sorrow awaits you who say,
“If only the day of the Lord were here!”
You have no idea what you are wishing for.
That day will bring darkness, not light.
In that day you will be like a man who runs from a lion—
only to meet a bear.
Escaping from the bear, he leans his hand against a wall in his house—
and he’s bitten by a snake.
Yes, the day of the Lord will be dark and hopeless,
without a ray of joy or hope.
“I hate all your show and pretense—
the hypocrisy of your religious festivals and solemn assemblies.
I will not accept your burnt offerings and grain offerings.
I won’t even notice all your choice peace offerings.
Away with your noisy hymns of praise!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
Instead, I want to see a mighty flood of justice,
an endless river of righteous living.
“Was it to me you were bringing sacrifices and offerings during the forty years in the wilderness, Israel?
No, you served your pagan gods—Sakkuth your king god and Kaiwan your star god—the images you made for yourselves.
So I will send you into exile, to a land east of Damascus,” says the Lord, whose name is the God of Heaven’s Armies.