Hosea 10

Because the people were rich, that caused them to worship idols

1 Israel is like a vine that has plenty of fruit.

10:1A vine is a plant that grapes grow on.

But Israel became more and more rich,

and so the people built more altars.

Their land became better and better.

So they could build special stones that they could worship.

2 Their minds are not honest.

But now they must understand that they have done wrong things.

The Lord will destroy their altars.

He will destroy their special stones.

3 Soon these people will say, ‘We have no king,

because we did not respect the Lord.

But even if we had a king now, he could not do anything to help us.’

4 They promise to do many things. But what they say is not true.

They agree about things with other countries.

People do not agree with each other in courts.

These things are like weeds that have poison.

Weeds that are growing in a field will soon grow into plants.

5 The people who live in Samaria will be afraid.

They will cry because their idol at Beth Aven has gone.

10:5People worshipped at Beth Aven. They worshipped a gold bull. Beth Aven was Hosea's name for Bethel. Beth Aven means ‘House of Very Bad Things’. Bethel means ‘House of God’.

Their very bad priests will cry too.

They were very happy with their beautiful idol.

But now someone will carry the idol away.

6 Assyria's people will carry the idol away.

10:6Assyria will take the idol away when they win the war.

It will be a gift for the king of Assyria.

Ephraim's people will feel very sad.

They will be very sorry that they worshipped their idol.

7 God will destroy Samaria and he will kill Samaria's king.

10:7King Hoshea was put in a prison in 723 BC (2 Kings 17:4).

He (the king) will be like a piece of wood that water carries away.

8 God will destroy these high places at Aven.

10:8Assyria destroyed Samaria in 722 BC. Nobody built it again.

These are places where Israel's people have sinned.

Weeds will grow on their altars.

Then the people will say to the mountains, ‘Hide us!’

They will say to the hills, ‘Fall on us!’

God will punish the people in Israel because of their sin

9 The Lord says, ‘Israel's people, you have sinned.

You have continued to sin since what happened at Gibeah.

10:9Hosea writes again about what he said in 9:9. Israel's people sinned very badly at the time of Gibeah. They were not able to stop doing this sin.

War destroyed those bad people at Gibeah.

10 Now I will punish Israel's people,

because of all their sins.

At a time that I choose, the many armies will join together to attack them.

They will cause Israel's people to become their slaves.

11 Ephraim's people are like a young cow that someone has taught.

They are like a cow that loves to walk on grain.

But I decided to be like someone who puts a yoke on the cow's beautiful neck.

I wanted to show Ephraim's people the right way,

so that they could work hard.

I wanted Judah's people to be like a farmer who breaks up the ground.

Jacob's people, too, must be like that.

10:11God wanted people to know him in the best way, like Jacob.

12 If a farmer plants good plants, those plants will grow.

He digs the ground to make the plants grow well.

You should be like that farmer.

Work hard to do what is right.

Then the Lord will bless you. That will be like your harvest.

It is time for you to turn to the Lord.

Then he will bless you, like rain that falls on the ground!

10:12The Hebrew word for ‘love’ means a love that never stops. This can be a love for another person or for God. The same thought is in 6:6.

13 But you are like a farmer who has planted bad things.

So your harvest is trouble.

You have worked hard to deceive people,

so now your food will be lies!

But you believed that you could help yourselves.

And you have trusted in your own strength.

You believed that your own soldiers could help you.

14 Your people will hear the noise of war.

Your enemies will destroy your strong places.

It will be like the time that King Shalman destroyed Beth-Arbel city in war.

10:14We do not know about the events at Beth-Arbel. We also do not know about Shalman. But very bad things happened in war then.

At that time, people killed mothers with their children.

15 The same thing will happen to you at Bethel.

That is because you did so many very bad things.

When that day begins, the king of Israel will die.’