For the people – 2

“Denounce your mother, denounce her, for she is not my wife nor am I her husband. Let her rid her face of her whoring, and her breasts of her adultery, or else I will strip her naked, expose her as on the day she was born; I will make a wilderness of her, turn her into an arid land, and leave her to die of thirst. I will not love her children, since they are the children of whoring. Yes, their mother has played the whore, she who conceived them has disgraced herself. ‘I am going to court my lovers’ she said ‘who give me my bread and water, my wool, my flax, my oil and my drink.’ She would not acknowledge, not she, that I was the one who was giving her the corn, the wine, the oil, and who freely gave her that silver and gold of which they have made Baals.

“That is why, when the time comes, I mean to withdraw my corn, and my wine, when the season for it comes. I will retrieve my wool, my flax, that were intended to cover her nakedness; so will I display her shame before her lovers’ eyes and no one shall rescue her from my power. I will lay her vines and fig trees waste, those of which she used to say, ‘These are the pay my lovers gave me’; I am going to make them into thickets for the wild beasts to ravage. I will put an end to all her rejoicing, her feasts, her New Moons, her sabbaths and all her solemn festivals. I mean to make her pay for all the days when she burnt offerings to the Baals and decked herself with rings and necklaces to court her lovers, forgetting me. It is Yahweh who is speaking.

“That is why I am going to block her way with thorns, and wall her in so that she cannot find her way; she will chase after her lovers and never catch up with them, she will search for them and never find them. Then she will say, ‘I will go back to my first husband, I was happier then than I am today’. That is why I am going to lure her and lead her out into the wilderness and speak to her heart. I am going to give her back her vineyards, and make the Valley of Achor a gateway of hope. There she will respond to me as she did when she was young, as she did when she came out of the land of Egypt.

“When that day comes – it is Yahweh who speaks – she will call me, ‘My husband’, no longer will she call me, ‘My Baal’. I will take the names of the Baals off her lips, their names shall never be uttered again. When that day comes I will make a treaty on her behalf with the wild animals, with the birds of heaven and the creeping things of the earth; I will break bow, sword and battle in the country, and make her sleep secure. I will betroth you to myself for ever, betroth you with integrity and justice, with tenderness and love; I will betroth you to myself with faithfulness, and you will come to know Yahweh. When that day comes – it is Yahweh who speaks – the heavens will have their answer from me, the earth its answer from them, the grain, the wine, the oil, their answer from the earth, and Jezreel his answer from them. I will sow him in the country, I will love Unloved; I will say to No-People-of-Mine, ‘You are my people’, and he will answer, ‘You are my God'” (Hos 2:4-25).