2 Return, 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
ב שׁוּבָה 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.