December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 Rejoice not, O Israel, exult not like the nations! For you have been unfaithful to your God, loving a harlot's hire upon every threshing floor.
- Threshing floor and wine press shall not nourish them, the new wine shall fail them.
- They shall not dwell in the LORD'S land; Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food.
- 2 They shall not pour libations of wine to the LORD, or proffer their sacrifices before him. Theirs will be like mourners' bread, that makes unclean all who eat of it; Such food as they have shall be for themselves; it cannot enter the house of the LORD.
- 3 What will you do on the festival day, the day of the LORD'S feast?
- When they go from the ruins, Egypt shall gather them in, Memphis shall bury them. Weeds shall overgrow their silver treasures, and thorns invade their tents.
- They have come, the days of punishment! they have come, the days of recompense! Let Israel know it! "The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad!" Because your iniquity is great, great, too, is your hostility.
- A prophet is Ephraim's watchman with God, yet a fowler's snare is on all his ways, hostility in the house of his God.
- 4 They have sunk to the depths of corruption, as in the days of Gibeah; He shall remember their iniquity and punish their sins.
- 5 Like grapes in the desert, I found Israel; Like the first fruits of the fig tree in its prime, I considered your fathers. When they came to Baal-peor and consecrated themselves to the Shame, they became as abhorrent as the thing they loved.
- The glory of Ephraim flies away like a bird: no birth, no carrying in the womb, no conception. Were they to bear children, I would slay the darlings of their womb.
- Even though they bring up their children, I will make them childless, till not one is left. Woe to them when I turn away from them!
- Ephraim, as I saw, was like Tyre, planted in a beauteous spot; But Ephraim shall bring out his children to the slayer.
- 6 Give them, O LORD! give them what? Give them an unfruitful womb, and dry breasts!
- 7 All their wickedness is in Gilgal; yes, there they incurred my hatred. Because of their wicked deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no longer; all their princes are rebels.
- Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit.
- My God will disown them because they have not listened to him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.
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1 [1-2] Upon every threshing floor: an allusion to harvest festivals in honor of Baal, to whom the Israelites had attributed the fertility of the land; cf Hosea 2:7.
2  Mourners' bread: bread eaten at funeral rites; cf Deut 26:13-14. Contact with a corpse made a person ritually unclean, together with everything he touched. Such bread could not be offered to the Lord.
3  The LORD'S feast: doubtless the autumn feast of Booths, the most important of the Israelite public celebrations; cf Lev 23:34.
4  The days of Gibeah: a reference to the outrage committed at Gibeah in the days of the Judges (Judges 19:22-30).
5  At Baal-peor (Numbers 25:1-5) the Israelites consecrated themselves to Baal, here called the Shame.
6  An unfruitful womb: this appears to be a reversal of the ancient blessing of Joseph contained in Genesis 49:25-26 in which the increase, hence fruitfulness, promised to the patriarch is even signified by the name of his son Ephraim, on whose descendants the prophet now invokes the curse of extinction.
7  Gilgal: see note on Hosea 4:15.
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