Hosea 7

1 ‘Yes, I want to make the people of Israel healthy again,

but I see how great their sins are.

Samaria's people do many evil things.

They deceive one another,

they take things from other people's homes,

and they attack people in the streets to rob them.

2 They do not understand that I remember all their sins.

The wicked things that they do are everywhere.

Wherever they go, I see their sins very clearly.

7:2God sees everything. When he looks at Israel's people, he sees their sins.

The king does not rule well

3 The king is happy to see the evil things that his people do.

The leaders are also happy when the people cheat and tell lies.

4 None of them serves me faithfully.

They are always ready to do bad things,

like an oven that has a hot fire inside it.

When the baker is ready to bake his bread,

he makes the fire even hotter.

7:4Bakers were people who cooked bread in large ovens, which were very hot. Israel's leaders were like the hot fire of an oven. They were ready to do bad things whenever there was a chance.

5 On a day when the king has a feast,

the leaders drink too much wine.

The king and the leaders join with other people to do foolish things.

6 But the leaders are planning to murder the king.

Their anger is like the fire of an oven.

It burns slowly inside them all through the night.

But in the morning the fire is too strong to hold.

7 They are so angry that they kill their rulers.

Now all their kings are dead.

None of them calls out to me for help.’

Israel's people refuse to change

8 ‘Ephraim's people have mixed themselves with people of other nations.

7:8Ephraim was another name for Israel, the northern kingdom of God's people.

So they have become useless, like bread that is not properly cooked.

7:8Israel's leaders thought that Assyria might attack them. So they went to ask for help from Egypt, Syria and Philistia. They did not trust God to help them.

9 Foreign people have taken away Israel's strength.

But the Israelites do not realize what is happening!

They have become like an old man with grey hair.

But they do not realize how weak they are.

10 Israel's people are too proud to change.

This shows that they are guilty.

They still refuse to turn back to me, the Lord their God.

In all their troubles, they do not look for my help.

11 Ephraim has become like a silly dove.

7:11Doves sometimes fly around without any purpose. The Israelites had become like that. It was easy for other countries to fight against them.

He cannot decide where to go.

The Israelites ask Egypt to help them.

Then they decide to ask Assyria instead.

12 When they fly around like that,

I will throw my net over them.

I will catch them like birds that fly in the sky.

I will punish them as they join together to do evil things.

13 Terrible trouble will happen to them,

because they have gone away from me.

They have turned against me, so they will die.

I wanted to rescue them,

but they have told lies about me.

14 They do not pray and trust me to help them.

Instead, they lie down on their beds and they weep loudly.

They cut their bodies to get grain and wine.

7:14When they cried and they cut themselves, they wanted to please the false gods, so that they would get wine and food.

They turn away from me.

15 I taught them what was right. I made them strong.

But now they have decided to do evil things against me.

16 They do not look up to me for help.

They are as useless as a bow that cannot shoot an arrow properly.

Their leaders are proud of their own strength,

but they will die in battle.

Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.’