Hosea 12
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Efraim compasseth Me about with lies and the house of Yisrael with deceit; and Yehudah is yet wayward towards God and towards the Holy One who is faithful.

א  סְבָבֻנִי בְכַחַשׁ אֶפְרַיִם וּבְמִרְמָה בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל וִיהוּדָה עֹד רָד עִם אֵל וְעִם קְדוֹשִׁים נֶאֱמָן.

2  Efraim striveth after wind and followeth after the east wind; all the day he multiplieth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with Ashur and oil is carried into Mitzrayim.

ב  אֶפְרַיִם רֹעֶה רוּחַ וְרֹדֵף קָדִים כָּל הַיּוֹם כָּזָב וָשֹׁד יַרְבֶּה וּבְרִית עִם אַשּׁוּר יִכְרֹתוּ וְשֶׁמֶן לְמִצְרַיִם יוּבָל.

3  Hashem hath also a controversy with Yehudah and will punish Yaakov according to his ways according to his doings will He recompense him.

ג  וְרִיב לַיהוָה עִם יְהוּדָה וְלִפְקֹד עַל יַעֲקֹב כִּדְרָכָיו כְּמַעֲלָלָיו יָשִׁיב לוֹ.

4  In the womb he took his brother by the heel and by his strength he strove with a godlike being;

ד  בַּבֶּטֶן עָקַב אֶת אָחִיו וּבְאוֹנוֹ שָׂרָה אֶת אֱלֹהִים.

5  So he strove with an angel and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto him; at Beit El he would find him and there he would speak with us;

ה  וַיָּשַׂר אֶל מַלְאָךְ וַיֻּכָל בָּכָה וַיִּתְחַנֶּן לוֹ בֵּית אֵל יִמְצָאֶנּוּ וְשָׁם יְדַבֵּר עִמָּנוּ.

6  But Hashem the God of hosts Hashem is His name.

ו  וַיהוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַצְּבָאוֹת יְהוָה זִכְרוֹ.

7  Therefore turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and justice and wait for thy God continually.

ז  וְאַתָּה בֵּאלֹהֶיךָ תָשׁוּב חֶסֶד וּמִשְׁפָּט שְׁמֹר וְקַוֵּה אֶל אֱלֹהֶיךָ תָּמִיד.

8  As for the trafficker the balances of deceit are in his hand. He loveth to oppress.

ח  כְּנַעַן בְּיָדוֹ מֹאזְנֵי מִרְמָה לַעֲשֹׁק אָהֵב.

9  And Efraim said: ‘Surely I am become rich I have found me wealth; in all my labours they shall find in me no iniquity that were sin.’

ט  וַיֹּאמֶר אֶפְרַיִם אַךְ עָשַׁרְתִּי מָצָאתִי אוֹן לִי כָּל יְגִיעַי לֹא יִמְצְאוּ לִי עָו‍ֹן אֲשֶׁר חֵטְא.

10  But I am Hashem thy God from the land of Mitzrayim; I will yet again make thee to dwell in tents as in the days of the appointed season.

י  וְאָנֹכִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם עֹד אוֹשִׁיבְךָ בָאֳהָלִים כִּימֵי מוֹעֵד.

11  I have also spoken unto the Naviim and I have multiplied visions; and by the ministry of the Naviim have I used similitudes.

יא  וְדִבַּרְתִּי עַל הַנְּבִיאִים וְאָנֹכִי חָזוֹן הִרְבֵּיתִי וּבְיַד הַנְּבִיאִים אֲדַמֶּה.

12  If Gilad be given to iniquity becoming altogether vanity in Gilgal they sacrifice unto bullocks; yea their altars shall be as heaps in the furrows of the field.

יב  אִם גִּלְעָד אָוֶן אַךְ שָׁוְא הָיוּ בַּגִּלְגָּל שְׁוָרִים זִבֵּחוּ גַּם מִזְבְּחוֹתָם כְּגַלִּים עַל תַּלְמֵי שָׂדָי.

13  And Yaakov fled into the field of Aram and Yisrael served for a wife and for a wife he kept sheep.

יג  וַיִּבְרַח יַעֲקֹב שְׂדֵה אֲרָם וַיַּעֲבֹד יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּאִשָּׁה וּבְאִשָּׁה שָׁמָר.

14  And by a Navi Hashem brought Yisrael up out of Mitzrayim and by a Navi was he kept.

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

יד  וּבְנָבִיא הֶעֱלָה יְהוָה אֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִּצְרָיִם וּבְנָבִיא נִשְׁמָר.

12:14  And by a prophet was he kept

In verses 13 and 14, Hosea ties two stories from Israel’s history together; Jacob’s sojourn in Aram and Israel’s slavery in Egypt. Both places served as refuge. Aram was Jacob’s asylum from his brother’s wrath, and Egypt was where Jacob’s family escaped famine. But in both places, the experiences turned sour. Jacob is deceived by Laban into working under strenuous conditions for his wives, and ultimately has to flee back to Israel. The Egyptians also take advantage of their guests and enslave the Israelites. Hosea uses the Hebrew word ‘shamar,’ to keep or to guard, in order to connect the two episodes. At the end of verse 13, he writes that Jacob kept/guarded Laban’s sheep from danger, while at the end of verse 14 God keeps/guards Israel through a prophet and leads them out of Egypt to safety.


15  Efraim hath provoked most bitterly; therefore shall his blood be cast upon him and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.

טו  הִכְעִיס אֶפְרַיִם תַּמְרוּרִים וְדָמָיו עָלָיו יִטּוֹשׁ וְחֶרְפָּתוֹ יָשִׁיב לוֹ אֲדֹנָיו.

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Hosea 11
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Hosea 12