ב אֶפְרַיִם רֹעֶה רוּחַ וְרֹדֵף קָדִים כָּל־הַיּוֹם כָּזָב וָשֹׁד יַרְבֶּה וּבְרִית עִם־אַשּׁוּר יִכְרֹתוּ וְשֶׁמֶן לְמִצְרַיִם יוּבָל׃
4 In the womb he tried to supplant his brother; Grown to manhood, he strove with a divine being,
ה וָיָּשַׂר אֶל־מַלְאָךְ וַיֻּכָל בָּכָה וַיִּתְחַנֶּן־לוֹ בֵּית־אֵל יִמְצָאֶנּוּ וְשָׁם יְדַבֵּר עִמָּנוּ׃
6 Yet Hashem, the God of Hosts, Must be invoked as “Hashem.”
ו וַיהֹוָה אֱלֹהֵי הַצְּבָאוֹת יְהֹוָה זִכְרוֹ׃
7 You must return to your God! Practice goodness and justice, And constantly trust in your God.
ז וְאַתָּה בֵּאלֹהֶיךָ תָשׁוּב חֶסֶד וּמִשְׁפָּט שְׁמֹר וְקַוֵּה אֶל־אֱלֹהֶיךָ תָּמִיד׃
8 A trader who uses false balances, Who loves to overreach,
ח כְּנַעַן בְּיָדוֹ מֹאזְנֵי מִרְמָה לַעֲשֹׁק אָהֵב׃
9 Efraim thinks, “Ah, I have become rich; I have gotten power! All my gains do not amount To an offense which is real guilt.”
ט וַיֹּאמֶר אֶפְרַיִם אַךְ עָשַׁרְתִּי מָצָאתִי אוֹן לִי כָּל־יְגִיעַי לֹא יִמְצְאוּ־לִי עָוׂן אֲשֶׁר־חֵטְא׃
י וְאָנֹכִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרָיִם עֹד אוֹשִׁיבְךָ בָאֳהָלִים כִּימֵי מוֹעֵד׃
11 When I spoke to the Neviim; For I granted many visions, And spoke parables through the Neviim.
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.1 comment
15 Efraim gave bitter offense, And his Lord cast his crimes upon him And requited him for his mockery.
טו הִכְעִיס אֶפְרַיִם תַּמְרוּרִים וְדָמָיו עָלָיו יִטּוֹשׁ וְחֶרְפָּתוֹ יָשִׁיב לוֹ אֲדֹנָיו׃