Hosea - Chapter 12

1Efraim surrounds Me with deceit, The House of Yisrael with guile. (But Yehuda stands firm with Hashem And is faithful to the Holy One.)

אסְבָבֻנִי בְכַחַשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וּבְמִרְמָה בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה עֹד רָד עִם־אֵל וְעִם־קְדוֹשִׁים נֶאֱמָן׃

2Efraim tends the wind And pursues the gale; He is forever adding Illusion to calamity. Now they make a covenant with Assyria, Now oil is carried to Egypt.

באֶפְרַיִם רֹעֶה רוּחַ וְרֹדֵף קָדִים כָּל־הַיּוֹם כָּזָב וָשֹׁד יַרְבֶּה וּבְרִית עִם־אַשּׁוּר יִכְרֹתוּ וְשֶׁמֶן לְמִצְרַיִם יוּבָל׃

3Hashem once indicted Yehuda, And punished Yaakov for his conduct, Requited him for his deeds.

גוְרִיב לַיהֹוָה עִם־יְהוּדָה וְלִפְקֹד עַל־יַעֲקֹב כִּדְרָכָיו כְּמַעֲלָלָיו יָשִׁיב לוֹ׃

4In the womb he tried to supplant his brother; Grown to manhood, he strove with a divine being,

דבַּבֶּטֶן עָקַב אֶת־אָחִיו וּבְאוֹנוֹ שָׂרָה אֶת־אֱלֹהִים׃

5He strove with an angel and prevailed— The other had to weep and implore him. At Beit El [Yaakov] would meet him, There to commune with him.

הוָיָּשַׂר אֶל־מַלְאָךְ וַיֻּכָל בָּכָה וַיִּתְחַנֶּן־לוֹ בֵּית־אֵל יִמְצָאֶנּוּ וְשָׁם יְדַבֵּר עִמָּנוּ׃

6Yet Hashem, the God of Hosts, Must be invoked as “Hashem.”

ווַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַצְּבָאוֹת יְהֹוָה זִכְרוֹ׃

7You must return to your God! Practice goodness and justice, And constantly trust in your God.

זוְאַתָּה בֵּאלֹהֶיךָ תָשׁוּב חֶסֶד וּמִשְׁפָּט שְׁמֹר וְקַוֵּה אֶל־אֱלֹהֶיךָ תָּמִיד׃

8A trader who uses false balances, Who loves to overreach,

חכְּנַעַן בְּיָדוֹ מֹאזְנֵי מִרְמָה לַעֲשֹׁק אָהֵב׃

9Efraim thinks, “Ah, I have become rich; I have gotten power! All my gains do not amount To an offense which is real guilt.”

טוַיֹּאמֶר אֶפְרַיִם אַךְ עָשַׁרְתִּי מָצָאתִי אוֹן לִי כָּל־יְגִיעַי לֹא יִמְצְאוּ־לִי עָוׂן אֲשֶׁר־חֵטְא׃

10I Hashem have been your God Ever since the land of Egypt. I will let you dwell in your tents again As in the days of old,

יוְאָנֹכִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם עֹד אוֹשִׁיבְךָ בָאֳהָלִים כִּימֵי מוֹעֵד׃

11When I spoke to the Neviim; For I granted many visions, And spoke parables through the Neviim.

יאוְדִבַּרְתִּי עַל־הַנְּבִיאִים וְאָנֹכִי חָזוֹן הִרְבֵּיתִי וּבְיַד הַנְּבִיאִים אֲדַמֶּה׃

12As for Gilad, it is worthless; And to no purpose have they Been sacrificing oxen in Gilgal: The altars of these are also Like stone heaps upon a plowed field.

יבאִם־גִּלְעָד אָוֶן אַךְ־שָׁוְא הָיוּ בַּגִּלְגָּל שְׁוָרִים זִבֵּחוּ גַּם מִזְבְּחוֹתָם כְּגַלִּים עַל תַּלְמֵי שָׂדָי׃

13Then Yaakov had to flee to the land of Aram; There Yisrael served for a wife, For a wife he had to guard [sheep].

יגוַיִּבְרַח יַעֲקֹב שְׂדֵה אֲרָם וַיַּעֲבֹד יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאִשָּׁה וּבְאִשָּׁה שָׁמָר׃

14But when Hashem Brought Yisrael up from Egypt, It was through a Navi; Through a Navi they were guarded.

uv-na-VEE he-e-LAH a-do-NAI et yis-ra-AYL mi-mitz-RA-yim uv-na-VEE nish-MAR

ידוּבְנָבִיא הֶעֱלָה יְהֹוָה אֶת־יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִם וּבְנָבִיא נִשְׁמָר׃

 12:14  Through a Navi they were guarded

In verses 13 and 14, Hoshea ties together two stories from Israel’s history: Yaakov’s sojourn in Aram and Israel’s slavery in Egypt. Both places served as refuge. Aram was Yaakov’s asylum from his brother’s wrath, and Egypt provided sustenance for Yaakov’s family during the famine. However, in both of those places, the experiences turned sour. Yaakov was deceived by Laban into working for his wives under strenuous conditions, and ultimately had to flee back to Israel. The Egyptians also took advantage of their guests and enslaved the Israelites. Hoshea uses the Hebrew word shamar (שמר), meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to guard,’ to connect the two episodes. At the end of verse 13, he writes that Yaakov guarded Laban’s sheep from danger, while at the end of verse 14, he says that Hashem guarded Israel through His prophet and led them out of Egypt to safety.

15Efraim gave bitter offense, And his Lord cast his crimes upon him And requited him for his mockery.

טוהִכְעִיס אֶפְרַיִם תַּמְרוּרִים וְדָמָיו עָלָיו יִטּוֹשׁ וְחֶרְפָּתוֹ יָשִׁיב לוֹ אֲדֹנָיו׃