1 Then you will tell your brothers, ‘Ammi: you are my people.’ You will tell your sisters, ‘Ruhamah: he loves you.’
The Lord warns the Israelites
2 My children, warn your mother! She is no longer my wife. I am not her husband. Tell her that she must stop living like a prostitute. She must stop having sex with other men instead of me. 3 If she does not return to me, I will remove all her clothes. She will have nothing to wear, like the day when she was born. She will be ashamed. Her life will be useless and empty, like a dry land that has no water. Then I will leave her to die because she has no water to drink. 4 I will not show love to her children, because she became pregnant with them as a prostitute. 5 Yes, their mother has lived as a prostitute. She became pregnant because she had sex with other men instead of with her husband. She should be ashamed. She herself said, ‘I will go and sleep with my lovers. They give me food and water. They give me wool, linen, olive oil and wine.’
2:2Here, Hosea is saying things in a special way. When he says ‘your mother’, he means the people of Israel. They have not been faithful to him, like Gomer has not been a faithful wife to Hosea. God is like a judge who will punish his people. Their land will become useless, like a desert.
2:5Israel is like a girl. When she was born, she had nothing. God gave her the things that she needed to live. Later, she stopped being faithful to God. The men that she loved were false gods. But God wants her to return to him.
6 So I will stop her living like that. I will put thorn bushes around her, like a wall. Then she will not be able to go anywhere that she likes. 7 She will run after her lovers, but she will not catch them. She will look for them, but she will not find them. Then she will say, ‘Now I will return to my husband, as before. Life was better for me then than it is now.’
8 She did not realize that I was the one who gave her everything that she needed. I gave her grain, wine and olive oil. I even gave her lots of silver and gold. But she used my gifts to worship Baal instead of me. 9 So now I will take back the grain and the new wine that I gave her at harvest time. I will take away the wool and the linen. She will have no clothes to cover her bare body. 10 I will remove her clothes for all her lovers to see her as she really is. Nobody will be able to rescue her from my power.
11 I will stop the festivals that she enjoys each year. I will stop her feasts at the times of a new moon and on Sabbath days. I will stop all her parties. 12 I will destroy her vines and her fig trees. She said that those were the things that her lovers paid to her. But I will make her gardens become like a forest. Only wild animals will eat the fruit from those trees. 13 I will punish her because she burned incense to the idols of Baal. I will punish her because she made herself beautiful with jewels when she went to sleep with her lovers. I will punish her because she did those things but she forgot about me.
2:11The festivals were special days when the people worshipped God. But God was angry because Israel's festivals 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 day for special meals.
That is what the Lord says.
The Lord still loves his people
14 But listen! One day, I will speak kind words to her. I will lead her into the wilderness. I will tell her that I love her. 15 There, I will give her the vineyards that she had before. I will change Trouble Valley into a place where there is hope. She will be happy with me there, as she was when she was young. That was the time when she came out of Egypt.
2:14The wilderness was the place where God first became like Israel's husband. See verses 16, 19, 20.
2:15Trouble Valley (the valley of Achor) was the place where an Israelite man did not obey God. See Joshua 7:24-26.
2:15The Israelites had been slaves in Egypt. God rescued them and they travelled through the wilderness to the special land that God would give them as their new home.
16 The Lord says this: When that happens, you will call me, ‘My husband’. You will never again call me, ‘Baal, my master’. 17 I will never again let you speak the names of the idols of Baal.
18 At that time, I will make a promise that nothing will hurt my people. I will make an agreement with the wild animals, with the birds in the fields and with the animals that move along the ground. I will remove from their land all the weapons that soldiers use to fight wars. I will destroy their swords and their bows and arrows. I will allow my people to live safely in peace.
19 Israel, I will make you my wife for ever.
I will promise to help you in a way that is right and fair.
I will be kind to you with a faithful love.
2:19The Lord is speaking to Israel as if she is his wife.
20 I will promise to be a faithful husband for you.
Then you will know me as the Lord.
21 The Lord says this:
At that time, I will answer your prayers.
I will put clouds in the sky,
and the clouds will send rain to the earth.
22 The earth will feed the grain, the wine and the olive oil.
My people will be happy to say, ‘Jezreel: God plants.’
23 I will plant them safely in the land.
I will show love to ‘No love’ (Lo-Ruhamah).
I will say to ‘Not my people’ (Lo-Ammi), ‘You are my people.’
2:23Lo-Ruhamah means ‘No love’. Lo-Ammi means ‘Not my people’. See Hosea 1:6-9.
And they will say to me, ‘You are my God.’