Hosea 6

The people say that they are sorry

1 ‘Listen! We should return to serve the Lord.

He has torn us to pieces, but now he will make us well again.

He has hurt us, but now he will make our wounds better.

6:1Israel's people think that it will be easy for them to return to God. They think that he will quickly forget about their sins.

2 He will soon make us strong again.

After three days, we will have new lives.

Then we can live together with him.

3 We should respect the Lord's authority.

We must try to know him better.

Then he will certainly come to rescue us.

He will come to us as surely as the sun appears each morning.

He will help us as surely as the rain comes in spring

and it makes the ground wet for plants to grow.’

The Lord replies

4 ‘People of Ephraim and Judah, can I forgive you so easily?

Your love for me soon disappears.

It goes away as quickly as mist or dew in the morning.

6:4Mist is like a cloud near the ground. It makes small drops of water on the ground, called dew. These usually come early in the morning and they do not stay for a long time.

5 I sent my prophets to warn you.

They gave you my messages that I would punish you.

Now that punishment will certainly happen to you!

I will suddenly come to judge you,

like the sun that rises at dawn.

6 It is faithful love that makes me happy.

That would be better than your sacrifices to me.

You should know me as your God.

That would be better than your burnt offerings.

7 Like Adam, my people did not obey the covenant that I had made with them.

6:7‘Like Adam’ may mean the man that God created in the beginning. Or it may mean ‘at Adam’, the place where the Israelites went into Canaan.

They did not serve me faithfully.

8 All the people of Gilead do evil things.

The blood from their murders lies on the streets.

9 The priests join together like robbers.

They hide themselves and they are ready to attack.

They wait on the road to Shechem,

ready to murder people who pass that way.

6:9Shechem was an important city.

They have done wicked things.

10 I have seen people do disgusting things in Israel.

Like a prostitute, Ephraim's people serve false gods.

Yes, the Israelites have made themselves unclean.

11 People of Judah, I will also punish you when the right time comes.

But I do want to bring my people back.’