December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Israel is a luxuriant vine whose fruit matches its growth. The more abundant his fruit, the more altars he built; The more productive his land, the more sacred pillars he set up.
- Their heart is false, now they pay for their guilt; God shall break down their altars and destroy their sacred pillars.
- If they would say, "We have no king"-- Since they do not fear the LORD, what can the king do for them?
- 2 Nothing but make promises, swear false oaths, and make alliances, While justice grows wild like wormwood in a plowed field!
- 3 The inhabitants of Samaria fear for the calf of Beth-aven; The people mourn for it and its priests wail over it, because the glory has departed from it.
- It too shall be carried to Assyria, as an offering to the great king. Ephraim shall be taken into captivity, Israel be shamed by his schemes.
- The king of Samaria shall disappear, like foam upon the waters.
- The high places of Aven shall be destroyed, the sin of Israel; thorns and thistles shall overgrow their altars. Then they shall cry out to the mountains, "Cover us!" and to the hills, "Fall upon us!"
- Since the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel. There they took their stand; war was not to reach them in Gibeah.
- 4 Against the wanton people I came and I chastised them; I gathered troops against them when I chastised them for their two crimes.
- Ephraim was a trained heifer, willing to thresh; I myself laid a yoke upon her fair neck; Ephraim was to be harnessed, Judah was to plow, Jacob was to break his furrows:
- "Sow for yourselves justice, reap the fruit of piety; Break up for yourselves a new field, for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain down justice upon you."
- But you have cultivated wickedness, reaped perversity, and eaten the fruit of falsehood. Because you have trusted in your chariots, and in your many warriors,
- 5 Turmoil shall break out among your tribes and all your fortresses shall be ravaged As Salman ravaged Beth-arbel in time of war, smashing mothers and their children.
- So shall it be done to you, Bethel, because of your utter wickedness: At dawn the king of Israel shall perish utterly.
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1  Sacred pillars: see note on Hosea 3:4.
2  Justice . . . like wormwood: the administration of justice, which should have been the mainstay of the people, has in corrupt hands become another instrument of oppression; cf Amos 6:13.
3  The calf of Beth-aven: see notes on Hosea 4:15; 8:4-6.
4  Their two crimes: possibly the outrage described in Jdgs 19 is conceived as a double crime, of adultery and murder. Or the prophet regards the proclamation of the monarchy (cf 1 Sam 10:23-24) as a crime.
5  As Salman ravaged Beth-arbel: allusion to an invasion not otherwise mentioned in the Bible. Salman may have been the Moabite king of this name mentioned in an inscription of Tiglath-pileser III. There were several Beth-arbels in Palestine; this one was probably in Transjordan.
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