Hosea 9

God will tell the people in Israel what they must do

1 People in Israel, do not be happy at special times as the people in foreign countries do!

9:1Israel's people were happy at these special times. But they were happy for the wrong reasons. They thought that God was the god, Baal. They thought that God should bless the grain. They wanted God to do things in the same way as the god, Baal. Also, prostitutes visited the floors where people worked with the grain. Men stayed there at night so that nobody would rob anything.

You were like a prostitute and you left your God.

You are like a prostitute because men pay her to have sex.

She loves the money that they give to her.

And you loved all the grain that people gave to you.

So you have worshipped false gods on the floors where people work with grain.

2 But soon you will not have enough grain or wine.

There will be no more wine.

3 Israel's people will not stay in the Lord's land.

They will have to return to Egypt.

In Assyria, they will have to eat food that you should not eat.

4 Israel's people will not be able to offer wine to the Lord.

Their sacrifices will not make God happy.

People eat special bread when other people die. Their sacrifices will be like that bread.

Whoever eats that bread will not be holy.

This food will be only for themselves.

It will not come into the temple of the Lord.

5 Israel's people will not be able to enjoy special days.

9:5Maybe the ‘special days’ were in the autumn. This was when people brought in the plants from the fields.

Those are the special days when people remember God.

6 Perhaps Assyria will not destroy them.

But Egypt will take hold of the people.

Then people in Memphis will bury them.

9:6Memphis was a city in Egypt.

Weeds will grow over their valuable silver things.

Thorn bushes will grow in their homes.

7 The time for me to judge them is now!

Very soon I must punish them!

Israel's people will soon know it!

You say that God's prophets are fools.

You think that his messengers are crazy.

Because you are so bad, you have become enemies of God.

8 But the prophet is really God's messenger to make sure that Israel's people know things.

But people try to say bad things about me in the places where I go.

And people do not like a prophet in the house of God.

9 They have done some very bad sins.

They were like the sins that Israel's people did at Gibeah.

9:9Gibeah is where very bad things happened. See Judges 19; 20.

God will remember their very bad sins.

He will punish them for their sins.

The people in Israel will cause God to punish them by their worship of idols

10 The Lord says, ‘When I first found Israel,

it was as if I had found grapes in the desert.

When I saw your ancestors,

it was as if I had found early fruit on a fig tree.

9:10A fig is a kind of fruit.

But then they came to the god, Baal-Peor.

9:10Israel's people came to Baal-Peor (Numbers 25:1-5). Bad things happened there. Men from Israel had sex with women from Moab and Midian.

They began to worship that very bad idol.

They became like the idol that they loved very much.

11 Israel is great. But this special time will finish.

It will be like a bird.

There will be no more times when babies grow inside women.

There will be no more times when women give birth to babies.

There will be no more children.

12 But even if Israel's people have children,

I will cause the children to die.

There will be none that still live.

I will leave them. It will be very bad for them.

13 Lord, I can see that Ephraim's people are going to a difficult place.

They are going to someone who will kill them.’

14 Lord, give to these people the things that you want to give to them.

Make it impossible for their women to have babies!

Make it impossible for their breasts to give milk to their babies!

15 The Lord says, ‘They started to do all their very bad things at Gilgal.

9:15Gilgal was across the Jordan River from the god, Baal-Peor. It was an important place where people worshipped other gods. Amos also said bad things about Gilgal (Amos 4:4; 5:5). God was very angry about Gilgal. He wanted to stop the things that happened there.

It was there that I began not to like them in any way.

I will tell them that they must leave my country.

I will not love them any longer.

Their leaders have not obeyed me.

16 Ephraim's people are in bad trouble.

They are like a plant that has no water.

This plant will have no fruit.

They will have no children.

Even if they have children, I will kill the children.

They think that these children are very important.’

17 My God will refuse to accept them.

That is because they have not obeyed him.

They will have to travel from place to place in different countries.