Martin J Clarke
October 4, 2015
“What shall I do with you?”
Hosea 6:4 -11:11 ESV
What shall I do with you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do with you, O Judah?
Your love is like a morning cloud,
like the dew that goes early away.
Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of my mouth,
and my judgment goes forth as the light.
For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice,
the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.
But like Adam they transgressed the covenant;
there they dealt faithlessly with me.
Gilead is a city of evildoers,
tracked with blood.
As robbers lie in wait for a man,
so the priests band together;
they murder on the way to Shechem;
they commit villainy.
In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing;
Ephraim’s whoredom is there; Israel is defiled.
For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed,
when I restore the fortunes of my people.
When I would heal Israel,
the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed,
and the evil deeds of Samaria;
for they deal falsely;
the thief breaks in,
and the bandits raid outside.
But they do not consider
that I remember all their evil.
Now their deeds surround them;
they are before my face.
By their evil they make the king glad,
and the princes by their treachery.
They are all adulterers;
they are like a heated oven
whose baker ceases to stir the fire,
from the kneading of the dough
until it is leavened.
On the day of our king, the princes
became sick with the heat of wine;
he stretched out his hand with mockers.
For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue;
all night their anger smolders;
in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.
All of them are hot as an oven,
and they devour their rulers.
All their kings have fallen,
and none of them calls upon me.
Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples;
Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Strangers devour his strength,
and he knows it not;
gray hairs are sprinkled upon him,
and he knows it not.
The pride of Israel testifies to his face;
yet they do not return to the Lord their God,
nor seek him, for all this.
Ephraim is like a dove,
silly and without sense,
calling to Egypt, going to Assyria.
As they go, I will spread over them my net;
I will bring them down like birds of the heavens;
I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.
Woe to them, for they have strayed from me!
Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me!
I would redeem them,
but they speak lies against me.
They do not cry to me from the heart,
but they wail upon their beds;
for grain and wine they gash themselves;
they rebel against me.
Although I trained and strengthened their arms,
yet they devise evil against me.
They return, but not upward;
they are like a treacherous bow;
their princes shall fall by the sword
because of the insolence of their tongue.
This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Israel Will Reap the Whirlwind
Set the trumpet to your lips!
One like a vulture is over the house of the Lord,
because they have transgressed my covenant
and rebelled against my law.
To me they cry,
“My God, we—Israel—know you.”
Israel has spurned the good;
the enemy shall pursue him.
They made kings, but not through me.
They set up princes, but I knew it not.
With their silver and gold they made idols
for their own destruction.
I have spurned your calf, O Samaria.
My anger burns against them.
How long will they be incapable of innocence?
For it is from Israel;
a craftsman made it;
it is not God.
The calf of Samaria
shall be broken to pieces.
For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads;
it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield,
strangers would devour it.
Israel is swallowed up;
already they are among the nations
as a useless vessel.
For they have gone up to Assyria,
a wild donkey wandering alone;
Ephraim has hired lovers.
Though they hire allies among the nations,
I will soon gather them up.
And the king and princes shall soon writhe
because of the tribute.
Because Ephraim has multiplied altars for sinning,
they have become to him altars for sinning.
Were I to write for him my laws by the ten thousands,
they would be regarded as a strange thing.
As for my sacrificial offerings,
they sacrifice meat and eat it,
but the Lord does not accept them.
Now he will remember their iniquity
and punish their sins;
they shall return to Egypt.
For Israel has forgotten his Maker
and built palaces,
and Judah has multiplied fortified cities;
so I will send a fire upon his cities,
and it shall devour her strongholds.
The Lord Will Punish Israel
Rejoice not, O Israel!
Exult not like the peoples;
for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
You have loved a prostitute’s wages
on all threshing floors.
Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
and the new wine shall fail them.
They shall not remain in the land of the Lord,
but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.
They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord,
and their sacrifices shall not please him.
It shall be like mourners’ bread to them;
all who eat of it shall be defiled;
for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
it shall not come to the house of the Lord.
What will you do on the day of the appointed festival,
and on the day of the feast of the Lord?
For behold, they are going away from destruction;
but Egypt shall gather them;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;
thorns shall be in their tents.
The days of punishment have come;
the days of recompense have come;
Israel shall know it.
The prophet is a fool;
the man of the spirit is mad,
because of your great iniquity
and great hatred.
The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim with my God;
yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,
and hatred in the house of his God.
They have deeply corrupted themselves
as in the days of Gibeah:
he will remember their iniquity;
he will punish their sins.
Like grapes in the wilderness,
I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree
in its first season,
I saw your fathers.
But they came to Baal-peor
and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
Even if they bring up children,
I will bereave them till none is left.
Woe to them
when I depart from them!
Ephraim, as I have seen, was like a young palm planted in a meadow;
but Ephraim must lead his children out to slaughter.
Give them, O Lord—
what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
and dry breasts.
Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal;
there I began to hate them.
Because of the wickedness of their deeds
I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no more;
all their princes are rebels.
Ephraim is stricken;
their root is dried up;
they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
I will put their beloved children to death.
My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Israel 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.
Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will break down their altars
and destroy their pillars.
For now they will say:
“We have no king,
for we do not fear the Lord;
and a king—what could he do for us?”
They utter mere words;
with empty oaths they make covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field.
The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
for the calf of Beth-aven.
Its people mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests—
those who rejoiced over it and over its glory—
for it has departed from them.
The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
as tribute to the great king.
Ephraim shall be put to shame,
and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.
Samaria’s king shall perish
like a twig on the face of the waters.
The 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 on us.”
From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel;
there they have continued.
Shall not the war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah?
When I please, I will discipline them,
and nations shall be gathered against them
when they are bound up for their double iniquity.
Ephraim was a trained calf
that loved to thresh,
and I spared her fair neck;
but I will put Ephraim to the yoke;
Judah must plow;
Jacob must harrow for himself.
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the Lord,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors,
therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people,
and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,
because of your great evil.
At dawn the king of Israel
shall be utterly cut off.
The Lord’s Love for Israel
When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
I led them with cords of kindness,
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.
They shall not return to the land of Egypt,
but Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
The sword shall rage against their cities,
consume the bars of their gates,
and devour them because of their own counsels.
My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.
How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
They shall go after the Lord;
he will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the Lord.