Hosea 2:2-13

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.