Hosea 6
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  “Come, let us turn back to Hashem: He attacked, and He can heal us; He wounded, and He can bind us up.

א  לְכוּ וְנָשׁוּבָה אֶל־יְהוָה כִּי הוּא טָרָף וְיִרְפָּאֵנוּ יַךְ וְיַחְבְּשֵׁנוּ׃

2  In two days He will make us whole again; On the third day He will raise us up, And we shall be whole by His favor.

ב  יְחַיֵּנוּ מִיֹּמָיִם בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁלִישִׁי יְקִמֵנוּ וְנִחְיֶה לְפָנָיו׃

3  Let us pursue obedience to Hashem, And we shall become obedient. His appearance is as sure as daybreak, And He will come to us like rain, Like latter rain that refreshes the earth.”

ג  וְנֵדְעָה נִרְדְּפָה לָדַעַת אֶת־יְהוָה כְּשַׁחַר נָכוֹן מוֹצָאוֹ וְיָבוֹא כַגֶּשֶׁם לָנוּ כְּמַלְקוֹשׁ יוֹרֶה אָרֶץ׃

4  What can I do for you, Efraim, What can I do for you, Yehuda, When your goodness is like morning clouds, Like dew so early gone?

ד  מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה־לְּךָ אֶפְרַיִם מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה־לְּךָ יְהוּדָה וְחַסְדְּכֶם כַּעֲנַן־בֹּקֶר וְכַטַּל מַשְׁכִּים הֹלֵךְ׃

5  That is why I have hewn down the neviim, Have slain them with the words of My mouth: And the day that dawned [brought on] your punishment.

ה  עַל־כֵּן חָצַבְתִּי בַּנְּבִיאִים הֲרַגְתִּים בְּאִמְרֵי־פִי וּמִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ אוֹר יֵצֵא׃

6  For I desire goodness, not sacrifice; Obedience to Hashem, rather than burnt offerings.

KEE KHE-sed kha-FATZ-tee v’-lo ZA-vakh v’-DA-at e-lo-HEEM may-o-LOT

ו  כִּי חֶסֶד חָפַצְתִּי וְלֹא־זָבַח וְדַעַת אֱלֹהִים מֵעֹלוֹת׃

6:6  For I desire goodness, not sacrifice

Chapter 6 explains Hashem‘s reluctance to answer His people in their distress, despite their apparent repentance (6:1-3). God points to the fleeting and superficial nature of their request, stating, “your goodness is like morning clouds” (6:4). Hoshea then makes one of his most revolutionary declarations: Sacrificial acts alone, the basis of all ancient religions, have no value without an accompanying commitment to living a moral life.  He says “For I desire goodness, not sacrifice, obedience to Hashem rather than burnt offerings.”  Although we no longer offer sacrifices, to this day there are those who get caught up in the superficial, ritual aspects of religion.  In this verse, Hoshea calls on us to act properly in our dealings with other people and to strengthen our awareness of, and commitment to, Hashem.  Once these interpersonal behaviors are ingrained in us, then rituals become meaningful.1 comment

7  But they, to a man, have transgressed the Covenant. This is where they have been false to Me:

ז  וְהֵמָּה כְּאָדָם עָבְרוּ בְרִית שָׁם בָּגְדוּ בִי׃

8  Gilad is a city of evildoers, Tracked up with blood.

ח  גִּלְעָד קִרְיַת פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן עֲקֻבָּה מִדָּם׃

9  The gang of kohanim is Like the ambuscade of bandits Who murder on the road to Shechem, For they have encouraged depravity.

ט  וּכְחַכֵּי אִישׁ גְּדוּדִים חֶבֶר כֹּהֲנִים דֶּרֶךְ יְרַצְּחוּ־שֶׁכְמָה כִּי זִמָּה עָשׂוּ׃

10  In the House of Yisrael I have seen A horrible thing; Efraim has fornicated there, Yisrael has defiled himself.

י  בְּבֵית יִשְׂרָאֵל רָאִיתִי שעריריה [שַׁעֲרוּרִיָּה] שָׁם זְנוּת לְאֶפְרַיִם נִטְמָא יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

11  Even Yehuda has reaped a harvest of you! When I would restore My people’s fortunes,

 

יא  גַּם־יְהוּדָה שָׁת קָצִיר לָךְ בְּשׁוּבִי שְׁבוּת עַמִּי׃

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Hosea 6

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