Hosea 9

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  • Hosea 9:1.
  • Masoretic Text: Do not rejoice, Israel, like the peoples exult, for you have whored from your God. You have loved hire on all the grain threshing floors.

    Septuagint: Do not rejoice, Israel, nor exult like the peoples, for you have whored from your God. You have loved gifts on all the grain threshing floors.


    Harvesttime provided an occasion for rejoicing. Israel, or the people of the ten-tribe kingdom, were not to rejoice like other peoples who gave credit to their fertility deities for bountiful harvests. YHWH, the real source of all blessings, was the One whom the Israelites should have been acknowledging with thanksgiving. Grateful praise to their God should have uniquely distinguished their rejoicing, but the people had whored. By looking to fertility deities to assure good crops, the Israelites proved themselves to be like an adulterous wife, violating the covenant which bound them to YHWH as a wife to her husband. On account of their unfaithfulness to their God, they would not enjoy abiding blessings and would be deprived of the reason for exultation. While other peoples might rejoice, the Israelites would not be able to do so, for the harvests would prove to be disappointing.

    The “hire” the people loved was what they perceived to be the payment they received from the deities they adored. Apparently they considered the grain on all the threshing floors to be a gift from the lifeless deities to whom they sacrificed and whom they worshiped with debased rituals, including ceremonial prostitution. The people’s perceived hire was like the payment a prostitute receives for her services.

  • Hosea 9:2.
  • Masoretic Text: The threshing floor and the press will not feed them, and the wine will disappoint [them].

    Septuagint: The threshing floor and the press did not know them, and the wine disappointed them.


    Both the Hebrew and Greek word for “press” could designate a winepress or a press for extracting olive oil. Translators commonly have chosen the rendering “winepress.” As a food item, however, olive oil was essential, and “wine” or “new wine” is mentioned later. Therefore, the more likely meaning may be a press for crushing olives. The Good News Translation (Second Edition) conveys this meaning. “But soon you will not have enough grain and olive oil, and there will be no wine.”

    The Israelites had strayed from YHWH and looked to fertility deities to grant them bountiful harvests. As a consequence of their unfaithfulness, the amount of grain obtained from the threshing operation and olive oil from the vat would be insufficient to nourish them. Adverse weather conditions, insect infestations, and agricultural disruption and devastation from military invasions would have been factors in greatly reducing grain, olive, and grape harvests. A poor grape harvest meant that the amount of new wine would be disappointing.

    According to the reading of the Septuagint, the threshing floor and press did not recognize the Israelites. This could be understood to mean that the threshing floor and the press did not provide what the people needed for food, as if not acknowledging their desire for essential nourishment.

  • Hosea 9:3.
  • Masoretic Text: They will not remain in the land of YHWH, and Ephraim will return to Egypt, and they will eat unclean [things] in Assyria.

    Septuagint: They did not remain in the land of the Lord. Ephraim remained in Egypt, and they will eat unclean [things] among the Assyrians.


    In the Septuagint, the verbs, with the exception of the phrase mentioning the Assyrians, are in the aorist tense, which is usually translated as a past tense. Perhaps the meaning is that, because the Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom, had proved unfaithful to YHWH, they were as persons not remaining or residing in the God-given land but proved themselves to be like residents in idol-worshiping Egypt. In their deep inner selves and their affections, they were still abiding there. (Compare Acts 7:39.) Another possibility is that their not remaining in the land YHWH had given them and residing in Egypt were so certain of fulfillment as to be referred to as an accomplished reality. Their dwelling in Egypt could be as refugees or as slaves. (Deuteronomy 28:68)


    By reason of the promise to Abraham, the Israelites received the land of Canaan. (Genesis 12:7) As a God-given land, it was the “land of YHWH.” On account of the people’s unfaithfulness, they would not be permitted to continue residing in the land. (Deuteronomy 28:63, 64)

    Ephraim, as the dominant tribe, represents the people of the ten-tribe kingdom. Their return to Egypt could be as slaves, as suppliants for aid to cast off the Assyrian yoke, or as refugees. (Deuteronomy 28:68; 2 Kings 17:3, 4; Jeremiah 42:14) If the return is to be regarded as leading to having to eat what is unclean among the Assyrians, the reference would be to a return with a view to forming an alliance. This effort on the part of Hoshea resulted in Assyrian punitive action that brought the ten-tribe kingdom to its end. (2 Kings 17:4-6) Another possibility is that Egypt is being referred to representatively as designating a land of enslavement. This would mean that, instead of continuing to reside in the “land of YHWH,” the Israelites would dwell in a land of captivity.

    Unclean things would include everything that the Mosaic law declared as unacceptable for nourishment. (Leviticus 11:2-43) Among the Assyrians, the exiled Israelites would be forced to eat defiled food.

  • Hosea 9:4.
  • Masoretic Text: They will not pour out wine to YHWH, and they will not please him with their sacrifices. Like mourners’ bread [are their sacrifices] to them; all those eating it will be defiled. For their bread [is] for their soul. It will not come to the house of YHWH.

    Septuagint: They have not poured out wine to the Lord, and their sacrifices have not been pleasing to him. Like mourners’ bread [are their sacrifices] to them; all those eating them will be defiled. For their bread [loaves] [are] for their souls. They will not enter into the house of the Lord.

    Note: There is a measure of obscurity, requiring the addition of words. Translations vary. “Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners; all who eat them will be unclean.” (NIV) “None of your sacrifices will please him—they will be unclean like food offered to the dead.” (CEV) “Such sacrifices shall be like mourners’ bread; all who eat of it shall be defiled.” (NRSV) “Theirs will be like mourners’ bread, that makes unclean all who eat of it.” (NAB) In the Tanakh, the position of these words is changed to make them definitely apply to the situation of the exiles among the Assyrians. “But Ephraim shall return to Egypt and shall eat unclean food in Assyria. It shall be for them like the food of mourners, all who partake of which are defiled.”


    This could apply while the Israelites were still in their land or after their being taken into exile. The previous mention of Assyria does, however, seem to favor applying the words to the period of the exile.

    If regarded from the standpoint of their yet being in their land, the meaning would be that all their libations or drink offerings and their other sacrifices were unacceptable. In the land, the unfaithful Israelites presented offerings at the centers for calf worship. This made their sacrifices as defiling or polluting as the bread of mourning. (Deuteronomy 26:14; Jeremiah 16:7)

    The word “soul” can also mean “desire,” “appetite,” or “oneself.” Translators have variously rendered the phrase “for their soul”—“to satisfy your hunger” (CEV), “for themselves” (NAB), and “only for their hunger” (Tanakh). This could mean that, although the Israelites ate to satisfy themselves, they had nothing to present as an acceptable offering to YHWH. Instead of going to Jerusalem for worship, they frequented the centers set aside for calf worship.

    In the land of their exile, the survivors of the Assyrian conquest would have been unable to pour out drink offerings to YHWH. They could not have presented acceptable sacrifices. Just like polluted bread, the bread mourners would eat, whatever food the exiles had was defiled. It was only for themselves. As exiles, they could not go to YHWH’s temple in Jerusalem.

  • Hosea 9:5.
  • Masoretic Text: What will you do on the day of a festal season and on the day of a festival of YHWH?

    Septuagint: What will you do in the day of assembly and in the day of a festival of the Lord?


    Both the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint use the singular word for “day.” This could mean that the reference is to a specific day of assembly or festal season and that the expression “festival of YHWH” simply may be a parallel designation. The New American Bible makes this meaning explicit in its rendering: “What will you do on the festival day, the day of the LORD’s feast?”

    In the ten-tribe kingdom, the special festival day fell on the fifteenth of the eighth month (mid-October to mid-November) and resembled the festival of ingathering or booths observed one month earlier at Jerusalem. Although calf worship was divinely disapproved, the unfaithful Israelites, as in the wilderness, associated God’s name therewith. (Exodus 32:1-7; 1 Kings 12:28; 2 Kings17:25-28) If the question pertains to the time of the exile (which, based on the context, seems likely), the thought would be, How can the people do anything to keep the festival at its appointed time? Deprived of their centers for worship and as exiles in a foreign land, they were not free to observe it. Moreover, they had little reason for rejoicing on account of plentiful harvests.

    The Tanakh departs from the use of the singular, giving a broader meaning to the verse. “What will you do about feast days, about the festivals of the LORD?” If the broader meaning is to be understood, this would also include the weekly sabbath and, at the start of each month, the festival of the new moon. (See the comments under 2:11.)

  • Hosea 9:6.
  • Masoretic Text: For, look! They are going from ruin. Egypt will gather them. Moph will bury them. The treasure of their silver—weeds will possess; thorns [will be in] their tents.

    Septuagint: Therefore, look! They are going out from the distress of Egypt, and Memphis will receive them and Machmas will bury them. Ruin will possess their silver; thorns [will be] in their tents.


    The rendering of the Septuagint differs from the Masoretic Text. Perhaps the “distress of Egypt” refers to when the Israelites were enslaved in the land. Although they had gone out from that land of oppression, they would return, die, and be buried there. In view of their burial at Machmas, their being received at Memphis may be as dead bodies.

    According to an emended reading, the words “from ruin” would be “to Assyria.” This emendation does not have the support of the Septuagint, and no Dead Sea Scroll fragment for this verse has been found.

    The transliteration of the Hebrew “Moph” is generally regarded as meaning Memphis and is usually translated as such.

    The Hebrew word qimmósh is a collective singular and may designate various kinds of weeds. Common renderings are “nettles” (Margolis, NRSV), “weeds” (CEV, NAB, Tanakh), and “briers” (NIV).

    The Hebrew term chóach is a collective singular and appears to apply to a variety of thorny or prickly plants. The usual rendering is “thorns.”


    “Going from ruin” or “devastation” may be understood to apply to the Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom when fleeing from their land to escape the Assyrian invasion and devastation of the land. Like the survivors of the destruction of Jerusalem decades later, Israelites from the northern kingdom may have sought refuge in Egypt. (Jeremiah 43:4-7) Instead of being able to return to their homeland, the escapees would die in Egypt, where they thought themselves to be safe. Seemingly, as dead bodies, they would be gathered and then buried. (Compare Jeremiah 8:2, where a different Hebrew word for “gather” is linked with burial.) Memphis, a prominent Egyptian city, was known for its extensive burial grounds. For this reason, this city may have been mentioned as the place for burial.

    Possibly “treasure of their silver” designates precious or costly items. Translations have variously rendered the Hebrew as “precious things of silver” (NRSV), “silver treasures” (CEV, NAB), and “treasures of silver” (NIV). Such treasure would have been found in the royal palace and edifices of the wealthy, and the sites would become places where weeds would flourish. In the territory of the ten-tribe kingdom, the former tents or dwellings of the escapees would be devastated, with thorny plants taking over.

  • Hosea 9:7.
  • Masoretic Text: The days of visitation have come; the days of recompense have come. Israel will know—a fool [is] the prophet; raging [is] the man of the spirit—because great [is] your iniquity and great [the] hostility.

    Septuagint: The days of vengeance have come; the days of your recompense have come. And Israel will be afflicted like the prophet, the deranged, spirit-moved man. Because of the abundance of your iniquities, your madness has increased.


    The Masoretic Text is obscure, and the Septuagint reading differs considerably in the second half of this verse. In an effort to convey something meaningful, translators have added words. The result has been a variety of meanings.

    The Septuagint reading suggests that the prophet is a false prophet, for Israel’s future affliction is compared to that of such a prophet. It appears that the prophet is also identified as a man moved by a spirit other than that of YHWH. On account of the people’s continuing to pile up a record of iniquities, the level of their madness or senselessness increased.

    Whereas the Septuagint says that Israel will be afflicted, the Masoretic Text states that Israel will know. The sense in which Israel will know, however, is not stated. Numerous translators have understood this to mean that Israel is to be informed about the coming judgment. “Let Israel know this.” (NIV) “Let Israel know it!” (NAB, Tanakh) Others render the words to indicate that Israel will experience the punishment and recognize it as merited. “You will get what you deserve, and you will know it.” (CEV)

    A number of translations have added words to make it explicit that the people are speaking disrespectfully of the prophet. “‘The prophets are crazy!’ the people shout. ‘The inspired men are mad!’ So they taunt, for the nation is burdened with sin and shows only hatred for those who love God.” (NLT) “‘This prophet,’ you say, ‘is a fool. This inspired man is insane.’” (GNT, Second Edition) “Israel will consider the prophet to be a fool, and the man who is inspired to be insane, because of the abundance of your sins, and because your hostility is great.” (NJB) Such renderings suggest that the attitude of the Israelites toward the prophets was a consequence of their sins and their hatred for the prophets or their message.

    The last Hebrew word in this verse, mastémah, is found only in Hosea. The definition in Brown-Driver-Briggs lexicon is “animosity.” In the 2001 English revision of a lexicon based on Koehler’s German work, the definition is “persecution.”


    The visitation is one for punitive judgment. Israel had strayed from YHWH and adopted idolatrous practices. This was accompanied by moral breakdown and oppression. For having failed to live up to their covenant obligations, the people merited retribution. Through his prophet, YHWH revealed that the days for “visitation” and “recompense” were at hand.

    The Masoretic Text does not specify what Israel will know. Upon experiencing the punishment for their sins, they would not be ignorant about the reason for it. YHWH had announced the coming judgment through his prophets, and so the people would also know that it was YHWH’s judgment.

    Although the Israelites disregarded the true prophets, they were pleased with the utterances of the false prophets. (Compare Isaiah 9:15; Jeremiah 2:8; 5:12, 13, 31; 14:14, 15; 23:13; Micah 2:11; 3:5-7.) Therefore, in this setting of impending retribution, the designation “prophet” may be understood collectively of the false prophets. Unable to provide any dependable guidance and exposed as frauds in the time of recompense, they would be clearly identified as fools. “Man of the spirit” (as also suggested by the Septuagint reading) appears to parallel “prophet.” The false prophets behaved as persons possessed, but they were not moved by YHWH’s spirit. (Compare 1 Kings 18:25-29; Ezekiel 13:2-16.)

    The days of visitation or the days of retribution were at hand because of the people’s iniquities or law-defying conduct. They hated YHWH’s upright ways.

  • Hosea 9:8.
  • Masoretic Text: A watchman [for] Ephraim with my God [is the] prophet. A snare of a fowler [is] on all his ways; hostility [is] in the house of his God.

    Septuagint: A watchman [for] Ephraim with God [is the] prophet. A crooked snare [is] on all his ways. In the house of the Lord, they established madness.


    Both the Masoretic Text and the Septuagint reading are obscure, resulting in renderings with different meanings. Either Ephraim or the prophet is represented as the watchman.

    “Ephraim watches for my God.” (Tanakh) “Ephraim [was] a watchman with my God, a prophet.” (NAS) “Is Ephraim a watchman with my God?” (Darby) Ephraim liegt auf der Lauer gegen meinem Gott. (Ephraim lies in wait against my God.) (F. E. Schlachter, German)

    “The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim.” (NRSV) “A prophet is Ephraim’s watchman with God.” (NAB) “The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim.” (NIV) “A prophet watches over Ephraim with my God.” (NJB)


    These words are part of a message of judgment and, therefore, do not appear to present Ephraim (representing the ten-tribe kingdom of Israel as the dominant tribe) in a favorable light. It does not appear likely that Ephraim would be described as a “watchman with God” or as one who presumptuously had assumed that position.

    The true prophets were watchmen, raising their voice to warn the people of impending judgment and directing them to take positive action to avoid calamity. (Compare Jeremiah 6:17; Ezekiel 3:17-21; 33:2-20.) Their message was the word of YHWH. They were “with God,” being in a special relationship with him as his servants, and he was with them, backing them up. (Compare Jeremiah 1:7, 8.)

    Some translations represent Hosea as the watchman over Ephraim. “Israel, the LORD sent me to look after you.” (CEV) “God has sent me as a prophet to warn his people Israel.” (GNT, Second Edition) Such interpretive renderings, however, require adding more words than the literal Hebrew or Greek would allow. Possibly “watchman” may be understood as a collective singular, including all the prophets whom YHWH used as his watchmen for the people in the ten-tribe kingdom.

    Translators have generally rendered the verse as applying to YHWH’s prophet or prophets, and this does appear to fit the context better than an application to false prophets who did prove to be a snare to the people. The Israelites disregarded the words of YHWH’s spokesmen, seeking to entrap them as a fowler does birds. Though living at a later time and in the kingdom of Judah, Jeremiah had this experience: “I was like a gentle lamb led to the slaughter. And I did not know it was against me that they devised schemes, saying, ‘Let us destroy the tree with its fruit, let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will no longer be remembered!’” (Jeremiah 11:19, NRSV)

    Ephraim or the people of the ten-tribe kingdom were in a covenant relationship with YHWH. In that sense, they could be referred to as the “house of [the prophet’s] God.” In that very house, where they should have been treated with respect deserving of servants of YHWH, prophets faced animosity, hostility or enmity. According to the reading of the Septuagint, the people firmly established madness or derangement in that “house.” They acted toward YHWH’s true prophets as persons who had lost their senses.

  • Hosea 9:9.
  • Masoretic Text: They went deep into corruption as [in the] days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; he will visit their sins.

    Septuagint: They have been corrupted according to the days of the hill. He will remember his iniquities; he will avenge his sins.


    In the Septuagint, the Hebrew name “Gibeah” is rendered according to its meaning “hill.” This meaning, however, does not give any indication about the degree of the corruption or debasement. The name of the city fits the context better.

    Septuagint manuscripts vary in reading either “his” or “their.” Rahlfs’ printed text, based primarily on Codex Vaticanus, Codex Sinaiticus, and Codex Alexandrinus, reads “his.” The apparent antecedent is “Ephraim.”


    The deep corruption or the level of degradation to which the Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom had sunk proved to be like that in the “days of Gibeah,” with apparent reference to the horrendous sex crime committed in this city of Benjamin. During the period of the judges, a Levite, with his concubine and servant, planned to stay overnight in Gibeah. On seeing them in the public square, an old man, originally from the territory of Ephraim, invited them to stay with him. Later, a mob of men arrived at the host’s home, intending to rape the Levite. The protests of the host were ignored and, apparently in desperation, the Levite turned his concubine over to the mob. They so abused her all night that she died in the morning. (Judges 19:12-28)
    Because the Israelites of the ten-tribe kingdom had sunk to a level of shocking corruption, YHWH would not forget their iniquity, leaving it unpunished. They would experience his punitive visitation as a recompense for their sins.

  • Hosea 9:10.
  • Masoretic Text: Like grapes in a wilderness, I found Israel. Like an early fig on a fig tree in its first [year], I saw your fathers. They went to Baal-peor and dedicated themselves to shame, and they became detestable ones like their loved [thing].

    Septuagint: Like a grape [cluster] in the wilderness, I found Israel. And like [watched-for fruit] on an early fig tree, I saw their fathers. They went to Baal-peor and separated [themselves] to shame, and the loved [things] became like the loathsome [things].

    Note: The Greek word skopós means “lookout,” “watcher,” “watchman,” or “sentry.” In this context, however, this term appears to denote the “watched-for fruit,” the object on which the eye focuses.


    For one to unexpectedly find grapes in a wilderness or an early fig on a fig tree would occasion delight. In this state, YHWH initially found Israel or their forefathers. At divine direction, the Israelites obediently followed Moses into the wilderness. (Compare Jeremiah 2:2.) The obedient response soon changed to a spirit of complaint and rebellion. Then, as their wandering in the wilderness was nearing its end, many Israelite men became involved in worshiping Baal-peor. With Moabite and Midianite women, they sacrificed to this deity, shared in the sacrificial meal, and yielded to the allurement of cultic prostitution. (Numbers 25:1-3, 6, 17, 18; Deuteronomy 4:3; Psalm 106:28 ) Baal-peor or the Baal of Peor was something shameful, disgusting, or loathsome from YHWH’s standpoint. When the men separated themselves from YHWH, attaching themselves to this foreign deity, they dedicated themselves to “shame” or the “shameful thing.” Through their actions, the “shameful thing” had become their “loved thing,” an object to which they attached themselves. In doing so, they became as loathsome or detestable as what had become their “loved thing.”

  • Hosea 9:11.
  • Masoretic Text: Ephraim—their glory will fly away like a bird, from bearing and from the womb and from conception.

    Septuagint: Ephraim—like a bird has flown away, [so have] their glories, from births and labor pains and conceptions.

    Note: A measure of obscurity in the Hebrew and Greek requires adding words to convey something meaningful.


    The glory, honor, or dignity that Ephraim (the dominant tribe of the ten-tribe kingdom representing the entire realm) once enjoyed would vanish as when birds fly away. In the fulfillment, the Assyrian forces devastated the land, captured the capital Samaria, and exiled the survivors.

    A kingdom derived its glory from having numerous subjects. (Proverbs 14:28) Therefore, the tremendous loss of life during the Assyrian conquest and the exile of the survivors left no trace of the former glory. Not a vestige remained of the prosperous, independent northern kingdom of earlier years.

    During the period of divine judgment, nothing would occur to restore the former glory even partially. Without any Israelite inhabitants in the land, no child would be born, no baby would develop in the womb, and no woman would conceive.

  • Hosea 9:12.
  • Masoretic Text: But if they raise their sons, I will bereave them of man; for also woe [is] to them when I turn away from them.

    Septuagint: For even if they should rear their children, childless they will become of men; for also woe is to them—my flesh from them.

    Note: In the Septuagint, the final phrase (“my flesh from them”) is obscure. Perhaps this is to be understood from the standpoint of Hosea. Being Israelites as he was, the people were of the same flesh. (Compare Genesis 29:14.)


    Even if the possibility of raising sons existed, they would have no future. By means of his instrument (which proved to be Assyria), YHWH would cause bereavement. The sons would perish.

    The expression “bereave them of man” has been commonly understood to mean that no one would survive—“bereave them of every one” (NIV), “bereave them until no one is left” (NRSV), and “make them childless, till not one is left” (NAB). Another possibility is that, even if they did rear sons, the children would not attain to manhood.

    YHWH’s leaving the Israelites meant that they would be without his aid and protection, totally helpless and at the mercy of ruthless enemies. This is the reason for the expression of “woe.” Dire calamity was certain to befall the Israelites.

  • Hosea 9:13.
  • Masoretic Text: Ephraim [is], as I saw Tyre, planted in a pasture, and Ephraim [is] to deliver his sons for slaughter.

    Septuagint: Ephraim, in [the] way I saw [him], placed [his] children for prey, and Ephraim [is] to bring out his children for piercing.

    Note: The Septuagint reading suggests that YHWH observed that Ephraim’s (the ten-tribe kingdom’s) course had endangered the children or subjects. Historically, this path included forming military alliances. Through the competing alliances with Assyria and Egypt, the people of the realm found themselves placed in the position of prey, to be slaughtered by the beastly power of Assyria.


    Ephraim (the dominant tribe representing the ten-tribe kingdom) was like Tyre, flourishing and prosperous as if planted in a lush pasture. YHWH saw Ephraim, like Tyre, enjoying this desirable condition. While Hosea served as YHWH’s prophet, Ephraim regained a measure of prosperity. (2 Kings 14:23-27) This, however, was to end. Ephraim or the ten-tribe kingdom would be forced to give up the “sons,” children or subjects to be slaughtered in war. This occurred during the Assyrian conquest of the realm.

  • Hosea 9:14.
  • Masoretic Text: Give to them, YHWH; what will you give? Give to them a barren womb and dry breasts.

    Septuagint: Give to them, Lord; what will you give to them? Give to them a barren womb and dry breasts.


    Because the people had abandoned YHWH and chosen to engage in idolatry and the degraded practices associated therewith, Hosea recognized they deserved to be punished. His question was, What should YHWH give to them as a repayment? No womb should bear and no breast should provide life-sustaining milk for a baby.

    Possibly Hosea’s words constitute a compassionate wish that women be spared the horror of seeing their offspring mercilessly slain. It would be preferable for them to remain barren and unable to nurse babies. (Compare Luke 23:29.)

  • Hosea 9:15.
  • Masoretic Text: All their evil [was] in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of their evil practices, I will cast them out of my house. No more will I love them. All their princes [are] rebellious.

    Septuagint: All their evils [were] in Galgal, for there I hated them. Because of their evil practices, I will cast them out of my house. By no means will I continue loving them. All their rulers [are] rebellious.


    Both in Greek and Hebrew, the last word can describe either rebellious or stubborn ones.

    In the Septuagint, there are two different words for “not,” the significance being “by no means,” “definitely not,” or “absolutely not.”


    The evil or evils committed in Gilgal are not specified. Other references in Hosea and Amos suggest that the city served as a prominent center for idolatry. (Hosea 4:15; 12:11 [12]; Amos 4:4) The Israelites, by forsaking YHWH and choosing to venerate other deities, incurred his hatred. Like an adulteress, the people proved disloyal to the covenant obligations that bound them to YHWH as a wife to her husband.

    Their evil practices included ceremonial prostitution, child sacrifice, and unrestrained drinking at the cultic sites, and cruel oppression of the poor. (2 Kings 17:7-17; Hosea 4:13, 14; Amos 2:6-8; 8:4-6) On account of their evil practices, YHWH would cease to recognize them as his people, members of his house or household. They had forfeited their right to continue living in the land he had given them. In the fulfillment, YHWH allowed the Assyrians to conquer the ten-tribe kingdom and to deport the survivors. Loss of their God-given land constituted their complete ouster from his house as a rejected people. As a cast-off people, the Israelites would not be recipients of YHWH’s love. Especially their rulers had demonstrated a stubborn and rebellious spirit toward YHWH. No king in the ten-tribe kingdom abandoned the cult of calf worship that Jeroboam, the first monarch, instituted to prevent his subjects from going to Jerusalem for worship.

  • Hosea 9:16.
  • Masoretic Text: Ephraim has been beaten. Their root is dried up. They will not produce fruit. Even if they do generate, I will also kill the desired [fruits] of their womb.

    Septuagint: Ephraim has suffered. He has dried up to his roots. No more will he bear fruit. For even if they do generate, I will kill the desires of their womb.


    Ephraim (the people of the ten-tribe kingdom as represented by the dominant tribe) had suffered or experienced beating from Assyrian aggression. Even prior to the capture of Samaria, Assyrian campaigns under Tiglath-pileser III had devastated much of the territory of the ten-tribe kingdom. Many Israelites living east of the Jordan and in the northern part of the realm perished or were deported. (2 Kings 15:19, 20, 29; 1 Chronicles 5:6, 26) Ephraim’s roots had indeed dried up. Prospects for recovery—the producing of fruit—were nonexistent.

    Offspring would constitute the “desired fruit of the womb.” Yet, even if children were born, they would face a dismal future. In the fulfillment of the prophetic word, YHWH killed them when he permitted the Assyrians to overthrow Samaria, completing the conquest of the ten-tribe kingdom.

  • Hosea 9:17.
  • Masoretic Text: My God will reject them, for they have not listened to him, and they will be wanderers among the nations.

    Septuagint: God will reject them, for they have not listened to him, and they will be wanderers among the nations.


    YHWH repeatedly sent his prophets to Israel, warning them of the consequences for violating their covenant obligations. The people, however, refused to listen to YHWH’s words conveyed to them through his prophets. Therefore, he would reject them, leaving them at the mercy of their enemies. Ripped from their land, the survivors of military aggression would find themselves as despised wanderers among the nations.