Hosea 12
1All day long Israel chases
wind from the desert;
deceit and violence
are found everywhere.
Treaties are made with Assyria;
olive oil is taken to Egypt.
Israel and Judah condemned
2The LORD also brings charges
against the people of Judah,
the descendants of Jacob.
He will punish them
for what they have done.
3Even before Jacob was born,#Gn 25.26.#Gn 32.24-26.
he cheated his brother,#12.3 Jacob…cheated…brother: In Hebrew “Jacob” sounds like “cheat” and also like “heel”. Jacob grabbed his twin brother Esau by the heel at the time of their birth (see Genesis 25.26). Later he cheated him out of his rights and blessings as the firstborn son (see Genesis 25.29-34; 27.1-40).
and when he grew up,
he fought against God.#12.3 fought against God: See Genesis 32.22-32.
4At Bethel, Jacob wrestled#Gn 28.10-22.
with an angel and won;
then with tears in his eyes,
he asked for a blessing,
and God spoke to us#12.4 us: Hebrew; two ancient translations “him”. there.
5God's name is the LORD,
the LORD God All-Powerful.
6So return to your God.
Patiently trust him,
and show love and justice.
7Israel, you enjoy cheating
and taking advantage
of others.
8You say to yourself, “I'm rich!
I earned it all on my own,
without committing a sin.”#12.8 without…sin: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
The LORD is still the God of Israel
9Israel, I, the LORD,#Lv 23.42,43.
am still your God,
just as I have been
since the time
you were in Egypt.
Now I will force you
to live in tents once again,
as you did in the desert.#12.9 as…desert: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. This probably refers to the forty years of wandering through the desert after leaving Egypt, though it could refer to the “tents” (or “shelters”) in which the Israelites lived during the Festival of Shelters (see 9.5, 6).
10I spoke to the prophets—
often I spoke in visions.
And so, I will send my prophets
with messages of doom.
11Gilead is terribly sinful
and will end up ruined.
Bulls are sacrificed in Gilgal
on altars made of stones,
but those stones will be scattered
in every field.
12Jacob#12.12 Jacob: His name was later changed to Israel (see Genesis 32.28), and he became the ancestor of the nation by that name. escaped to Syria#12.12 Syria: The Hebrew text has “Aram”, probably referring to northern Syria in the region of Haran.#Gn 29.1-20.
where he tended sheep
to earn himself a wife.
13I sent the prophet Moses#Ex 12.50,51.
to lead Israel from Egypt
and to keep them safe.
14Israel, I will make you pay
for your terrible sins
and for insulting me.