1 Then you will tell your brothers, ‘You are my people.’ And you will tell your sisters, ‘He has loved you.’
The Lord speaks to the people in Israel
2 My children, argue with your mother. Tell her that she is wrong. Tell that to her because she is not my wife. And I am not her husband. Tell her that she must stop living like a prostitute. She must take away the men that she loved from between her breasts. 3 If she does not do that, I will take away all her clothes. It will be like the day when she was born. I will leave her to die. She will die because she will have no water. I will let her stay in a dry desert. 4 I will not show great love to her children. They are the children of a prostitute. 5 This prostitute does not think about what she does. She herself said, ‘I will go to the men that I love. They give me food and water, clothes and cloth, oil from trees and wine.’
6 So I, the Lord, will put something in the way of your (Israel's people's) road. I will use plants that hurt. I will build a wall so that she cannot find her way. 7 She will run after the men that she loves. But she will not catch them. She will look for them, but she will not catch them. Then she will say, ‘I will return to my first husband (God). Life was better for me when I was with him. Life was better then than it is now.’
2:7Verse 2 In this chapter, Hosea is saying things in a special way. He is saying, ‘God is like a judge who will decide things about Israel's people.’ He will decide them in a ‘court’. When he says ‘your mother’, he means all the people in Israel.
2:7Verses 3-5 Israel is like a girl. When this girl was born, she needed God. But when she grew up, she went to other men for help. The men that she loved were the Baals (idols).
8 She (Israel) did not believe that I had given grain, wine and oil from trees to her. She thought that another god had given them to her. It was I who gave her plenty of silver and gold. She used this silver and gold when she wanted to worship Baal. 9 So I will take back my grain at the time when it is ready. I will take back my new wine when it is ready. I will take back the clothes that should have covered her bare body. 10 Then all the men who loved her will see her without any clothes. They will see her as bad as she is. Nobody will be able to take her from my power. 11 I will stop the special times when she enjoys herself. I will stop her festivals and the meals that she has at a new moon. 12 I will destroy her grapes and her fruit trees. She said that men loved her. These men paid her with those things. But I will change her gardens. They will become like a wild forest. Wild animals will come and they will eat from those plants. 13 I will punish her for the times that she burnt special plants to the god, Baal. I will punish her because she wore special stones. Then she could run after the men who loved her. But she forgot me. I, the Lord, tell you this.
2:13Verse 11 Israel had holy holidays. These were special days when the people worshipped God. But God was angry because Israel's holy holidays became days for the god, Baal. The god, Baal was an idol. God wanted people to rest on a special day. But this, too, became a holiday for special meals.
The Lord's love for his people
14 So I will speak words of love to bring her back to me. I will lead her into the desert and I will speak kind words to her. 15 There, I will give back to her the vineyards that she had before. I will change Trouble Valley into a place where there is hope. Then she will answer me like the time that she came out of Egypt. 16 Then, at a future time, she will call me her husband. She will not call me her god, Baal again. 17 I will never let her speak the name of the god, Baal again. Then people will not use Baal's names again. 18 At that time, I will promise to do things for Israel's people. I will cause the animals in the fields and the birds in the sky to be their friends. I will cause the animals that move along the ground to be their friends too. I also will break the things that Israel's people used in war. I will remove the things that men use to fight in wars. None of these things will remain in the land. My people will live in a time when people do not attack them. They will be safe.
19 I will make you my wife for ever.
I will be good and fair. I will always love you and I will always show mercy to you.
I will make you mine for ever.
20 I will keep my promise so that we belong together.
Then you will respect me, the Lord.
21 At that time, I will speak to the sky,
so that rain will fall on the earth.
22 The ground will give back grain, wine and oil from trees.
They will have an answer for Jezreel.
23 I will plant many seeds on Israel's land.
To Lo-Ruhamah, I will show great love.
To Lo-Ammi, I will say, ‘You are my people.’
And they will say to me,
‘You are my God.’
2:23Verse 14 The desert was the place where God first became like Israel's husband. See verses 16, 19, 20.
2:23Verse 15 Trouble Valley (the Valley of Achor) was a place where a man from Israel did not obey God (Joshua 7:24).
2:23Verse 19 Again, Hosea says what the judge will do. But this time it is a message about love.
2:23Verse 23 The names Lo-Ruhamah and Lo-Ammi mean ‘No Great Love’ and ‘Not My People’. See 1:6-9.