1 There is much that the people in Israel do from morning to night.
But it has no value and it destroys things.
The people also do not say true things.
Israel's rulers and Assyria's rulers come together to agree about things.
They carry their olive oil to Egypt.
12:1God promised to keep Israel safe. But Israel's people looked to other countries so that they could be safe. The Hebrew uses the word ‘wind’. This means something that has no value (see Ecclesiastes 1:6; 1:14). People burned oil to give them light.
2 The Lord says,
‘I want to take Judah's people to a court.
I will punish Jacob's family for the way that they have lived.
I will punish them for the things that they have done.
3 Their ancestor Jacob held on to his brother's foot.
He did that when they were both inside their mother's body.
12:3This is a true story about Jacob's name. We can read it in Genesis 25:21-26.
When Jacob was a man, he fought with God.
4 Jacob fought against the angel and Jacob won.
He cried and he asked for blessings.
He met God at Bethel. God spoke with him there.
5 This was the Lord God Almighty.
The Lord is his name.
6 So you must return to your God.
You must love each other. You must be fair in your rules.
You must be patient. And you must wait for your God to do what he wants.
7 There are traders here who are not fair.
They use false weights when they measure things to sell.
8 Ephraim's people say, “We are rich! We are now very rich!
Because we are rich, people will not find any sin in us.”
9 But I am the Lord your God.
I brought you out of Egypt.
I will make you live in tents again,
like you did for your special festivals.
10 I spoke to the prophets. I gave them many visions.
12:10A vision is something like a dream but you might not be asleep.
I told parables so that they could teach my lessons to the people,’ God is saying.
12:10A parable is a kind of story that means something.
11 The people in Gilead are very bad.
They are not worth anything.
12:11Hosea is perhaps thinking about a murder in Gilead (see Hosea 6:8). Gilead was a city where many bad things happened. It is possible that Assyria had destroyed Gilead at this time. That is why the city would not be worth anything.
There are many very bad idols in Gilead.
These idols are not worth anything.
They gave animals as sacrifices at Gilgal.
Their altars will become like stones in a field.
12 Our ancestor Jacob ran away to the country called Aram.
He worked there so that he could get a wife.
He kept sheep safe so that he could pay for her.
13 The Lord used a prophet to bring Israel's people out of Egypt.
He used a prophet to keep them safe.
14 Ephraim's people have made the Lord very angry.
They have killed many people.
So I will punish them.
This is because of the wrong things that they have done.
They will know that the Lord will think very badly about them.