Hosea 1–4; Matthew 18:1–20

Hosea Illustration

Hosea

The word of the Lord that came to Hosea, the son of Beeri, ain the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of bJeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.

Hosea's Wife and Children

When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, cGo, take to yourself a wife of whoredom and have dchildren of whoredom, for ethe land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord. So he went and took Gomer, the daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son.

And the Lord said to him, Call his name Jezreel, for in just a little while fI will punish the house of Jehu for the blood of Jezreel, and gI will put an end to the kingdom of the house of Israel. And on that day hI will break the bow of Israel iin the Valley of Jezreel.

She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the Lord said to him, jCall her name No Mercy,1 for kI will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But lI will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the Lord their God. I mwill not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.

When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the Lord said, nCall his name Not My People,2 for oyou are not my people, and I am not your God.3

10 4 Yet pthe number of the children of Israel shall be qlike the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. rAnd sin the place where it was said to them, oYou are not my people, it shall be said to them, tChildren5 of uthe living God. 11 And vthe children of Judah and the children of Israel shall be gathered together, and wthey shall appoint for themselves one head. And they shall go up from the land, for great shall be the day of Jezreel.

Israel's Unfaithfulness Punished

6 Say to your brothers, xYou are my people,7 and to your sisters, yYou have received mercy.8

Plead with your mother, plead

for zshe is not my wife,

and I am not her husband

that she put away aher whoring from her face,

and her adultery from between her breasts;

lest bI strip her naked

and make her as cin the day she was born,

and dmake her like a wilderness,

and make her like a parched land,

and kill her with thirst.

eUpon her children also I will have no mercy,

fbecause they are children of whoredom.

For gtheir mother has played the whore;

she who conceived them has acted shamefully.

For hshe said, I will go after my lovers,

who igive me my bread and my water,

my wool and my flax, my oil and my drink.

Therefore jI will hedge up her9 way with thorns,

and kI will build a wall against her,

so that she cannot find her paths.

She shall pursue her lovers

but not overtake them,

and she shall seek them

but shall not find them.

lThen she shall say,

I will go and return to mmy first husband,

lfor it was better for me then than now.

And nshe did not know

that it was oI who gave her

pthe grain, the wine, and the oil,

and who lavished on qher silver and gold,

rwhich they used for Baal.

Therefore sI will take back

my grain in its time,

and my wine in its season,

and sI will take away my wool and my flax,

which were to cover her nakedness.

10  Now tI will uncover her lewdness

in the sight of her lovers,

and no one shall rescue her out of my hand.

11  uAnd I will put an end to all her mirth,

her feasts, her vnew moons, her vSabbaths,

and all her wappointed feasts.

12  And xI will lay waste her vines and her fig trees,

yof which she said,

These are zmy wages,

which my lovers have given me.

I will make them a forest,

aand the beasts of the field shall devour them.

13  And bI will punish her for cthe feast days of the Baals

when she burned offerings to them

and dadorned herself with her ring and jewelry,

and went after her lovers

and forgot me, declares the Lord.

The Lord's Mercy on Israel

14  Therefore, behold, I will allure her,

and ebring her into the wilderness,

and fspeak tenderly to her.

15  And there I will give her her vineyards

and make the Valley of Achor10 a door of hope.

And there she shall answer gas in the days of her youth,

as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.

16 And hin that day, declares the Lord, you will call me My Husband, and no longer will you call me My Baal. 17 For iI will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, and they shall be remembered by name no more. 18 And jI will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And kI will abolish11 the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in lsafety. 19 And I will betroth you to me mforever. nI will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. 20 nI will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And oyou shall know the Lord.

21  And pin that day qI will answer, declares the Lord,

I will answer the heavens,

and they shall answer the earth,

22  and the earth shall answer the grain, the wine, and the oil,

and they shall answer rJezreel,12

23  and sI will sow her for myself in the land.

And tI uwill have mercy on No Mercy,13

and vI will say to Not My People,14 wYou are my people;

and he shall say, You are my God.

Hosea Redeems His Wife

And the Lord said to me, xGo again, love a woman who is loved by another man and is an adulteress, even as the Lord loves the children of Israel, though they turn to other gods and love cakes of raisins. So I bought her for fifteen shekels of silver and a yhomer and a lethech15 of barley. And I said to her, You must zdwell as mine for many days. You shall not play the whore, or belong to another man; so will I also be to you. For the children of Israel zshall dwell many days awithout king or prince, bwithout sacrifice or cpillar, without dephod or ehousehold gods. Afterward fthe children of Israel shall return and gseek the Lord their God, and hDavid their king, iand they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the jlatter days.

The Lord Accuses Israel

kHear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,

for lthe Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land.

There is no faithfulness or steadfast love,

and mno knowledge of God in the land;

nthere is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery;

they break all bounds, and obloodshed follows bloodshed.

Therefore pthe land mourns,

and all who dwell in it languish,

qand also the beasts of the field

and the birds of the heavens,

rand even the fish of the sea are taken away.

sYet let no one contend,

and let none accuse,

for with you is tmy contention, O priest.16

You shall stumble by day;

the prophet also shall stumble with you by night;

and I will destroy uyour mother.

My people are destroyed vfor lack of knowledge;

wbecause you have rejected knowledge,

I reject you xfrom being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,

yI also will forget your children.

zThe more they increased,

the more they sinned against me;

aI will change their glory into shame.

bThey feed on the sin17 of my people;

they are greedy for their iniquity.

cAnd it shall be like people, like priest;

I will punish them for their ways

and repay them for their deeds.

10  dThey shall eat, but not be satisfied;

they shall play the whore, but not multiply,

because they have forsaken the Lord

to cherish 11 whoredom, wine, and new wine,

which etake away the understanding.

12  My people finquire of a piece of wood,

and their walking staff gives them oracles.

For ga spirit of whoredom has led them astray,

and they have left their God to play the whore.

13  hThey sacrifice on the tops of the mountains

and burn offerings on the hills,

iunder oak, poplar, and terebinth,

because their shade is good.

Therefore your daughters play the whore,

and your brides commit adultery.

14  I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,

nor your brides when they commit adultery;

for jthe men themselves go aside with prostitutes

and sacrifice with kcult prostitutes,

and a people lwithout understanding shall come to ruin.

15  Though you play the whore, O mIsrael,

let not mJudah become guilty.

nEnter not into oGilgal,

nor go up to pBeth-aven,

and swear not, As the Lord lives.

16  Like a stubborn heifer,

Israel is stubborn;

can the Lord now feed them

like a lamb in a broad pasture?

17  qEphraim is joined to idols;

rleave him alone.

18  When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring;

stheir rulers18 dearly love shame.

19  tA wind has wrapped them19 in its wings,

and they shall ube ashamed because of their sacrifices.


Who Is the Greatest?

18 tAt that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, Truly, I say to you, unless you uturn and vbecome like children, you wwill never enter the kingdom of heaven. xWhoever humbles himself like this child is the wgreatest in the kingdom of heaven.

yWhoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but zwhoever causes one of these alittle ones who believe in me to sin,1 it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Temptations to Sin

Woe to the world for btemptations to sin!2 cFor it is necessary that temptations come, dbut woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! eAnd if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into fthe eternal fire. eAnd if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the fhell3 of fire.

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

10 See that you do not despise gone of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven htheir angels always isee the face of my Father who is in heaven.4 12 jWhat do you think? kIf a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? 13 And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. 14 So lit is not the will of my5 Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.

If Your Brother Sins Against You

15 mIf your brother sins against you, ngo and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have ogained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established pby the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If he refuses to listen to them, qtell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, rlet him be to you as sa Gentile and sa tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, twhatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed6 in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you uagree on earth about anything they ask, vit will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are wgathered in my name, xthere am I among them.