Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:
1Shomron must bear her guilt, For she has defied her God. They shall fall by the sword, Their infants shall be dashed to death, And their women with child ripped open.
אתֶּאְשַׁם שֹׁמְרוֹן כִּי מָרְתָה בֵּאלֹהֶיהָ בַּחֶרֶב יִפֹּלוּ עֹלְלֵיהֶם יְרֻטָּשׁוּ וְהָרִיּוֹתָיו יְבֻקָּעוּ׃
2Return, O Yisrael, to Hashem your God, For you have fallen because of your sin.
SHU-vah yis-ra-AYL AD a-do-NAI e-lo-HE-kha KEE kha-SHAL-ta ba-a-vo-NE-kha
בשׁוּבָה יִשְׂרָאֵל עַד יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי כָשַׁלְתָּ בַּעֲוׂנֶךָ׃
14:2 Return, O Yisrael, to Hashem your God
Hoshea concludes his prophecy with a direct cry to Israel to repent and return to Hashem. This is a central theme of Hoshea’s prophecies; in this short book, the Hebrew word for ‘return,’ shuv (שוב), appears twenty-five times. Hoshea holds out hope that if the people wholeheartedly repent and return, the upcoming devastation can still be avoided. But for that to happen, two things must occur. First, the people must recognize that their sinfulness has led to their predicament, as he says “you have fallen because of your sin.” More importantly, the commentators note that Hoshea uses the word ad (עד), which means ‘to,’ instead of el (אל) which means ‘towards.’ For repentance to work, it cannot be a fleeting fancy or a mere turning in God’s direction. Rather, the people must embrace a sincere commitment to renew the relationship with God and return, not just towards, but all the way to Hashem.
3Take words with you And return to Hashem. Say to Him: “Forgive all guilt And accept what is good; Instead of bulls we will pay [The offering of] our lips.
גקְחוּ עִמָּכֶם דְּבָרִים וְשׁוּבוּ אֶל־יְהֹוָה אִמְרוּ אֵלָיו כָּל־תִּשָּׂא עָוׂן וְקַח־טוֹב וּנְשַׁלְּמָה פָרִים שְׂפָתֵינוּ׃
4Assyria shall not save us, No more will we ride on steeds; Nor ever again will we call Our handiwork our god, Since in You alone orphans find pity!”
דאַשּׁוּר לֹא יוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ עַל־סוּס לֹא נִרְכָּב וְלֹא־נֹאמַר עוֹד אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְמַעֲשֵׂה יָדֵינוּ אֲשֶׁר־בְּךָ יְרֻחַם יָתוֹם׃
5I will heal their affliction, Generously will I take them back in love; For My anger has turned away from them.
האֶרְפָּא מְשׁוּבָתָם אֹהֲבֵם נְדָבָה כִּי שָׁב אַפִּי מִמֶּנּוּ׃
6I will be to Yisrael like dew; He shall blossom like the lily, He shall strike root like a Lebanon tree.
ואֶהְיֶה כַטַּל לְיִשְׂרָאֵל יִפְרַח כַּשּׁוֹשַׁנָּה וְיַךְ שָׁרָשָׁיו כַּלְּבָנוֹן׃
7His boughs shall spread out far, His beauty shall be like the olive tree's, His fragrance like that of Lebanon.
זיֵלְכוּ יֹנְקוֹתָיו וִיהִי כַזַּיִת הוֹדוֹ וְרֵיחַ לוֹ כַּלְּבָנוֹן׃
8They who sit in his shade shall be revived: They shall bring to life new grain, They shall blossom like the vine; His scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
חיָשֻׁבוּ יֹשְׁבֵי בְצִלּוֹ יְחַיּוּ דָגָן וְיִפְרְחוּ כַגָּפֶן זִכְרוֹ כְּיֵין לְבָנוֹן׃
9Efraim [shall say]: “What more have I to do with idols? When I respond and look to Him, I become like a verdant cypress.” Your fruit is provided by Me.
טאֶפְרַיִם מַה־לִּי עוֹד לָעֲצַבִּים אֲנִי עָנִיתִי וַאֲשׁוּרֶנּוּ אֲנִי כִּבְרוֹשׁ רַעֲנָן מִמֶּנִּי פֶּרְיְךָ נִמְצָא׃
10He who is wise will consider these words, He who is prudent will take note of them. For the paths of Hashem are smooth; The righteous can walk on them, While sinners stumble on them.
ימִי חָכָם וְיָבֵן אֵלֶּה נָבוֹן וְיֵדָעֵם כִּי־יְשָׁרִים דַּרְכֵי יְהֹוָה וְצַדִּקִים יֵלְכוּ בָם וּפֹשְׁעִים יִכָּשְׁלוּ בָם׃