|Flock of wading birds in Hilpsford, UK (Chris Upson)|
Hear the word of Hashem, children of Israel! For Hashem has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
Swearing and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery--they break all bounds, and blood touches blood.
Therefore the land mourns, and every one that dwells in it is depressed, with the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven; the fishes of the sea also are taken away.In the Talmud (Pesachim 86a), Hosea is criticized for his attitude towards Israel:
'Your children have sinned' - he should have said 'They are your children! Children of your beloved ones, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob! Release your compassion on them!' Not only did he not say this, he also said: 'Master of the world! The whole world is yours, replace them with another people!'
In response, God said: 'What shall I do to this elder? I will tell him to take a prostitute for wife and bear children of prostitution, and then I will tell him to send her away. If he can send her away, then I too can send away Israel, as it says: 'And God said to Hosea: Go and take for you a wife of prostitution and children of prostitution.' (Hosea 2:1) and 'And he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblayim' (Hosea 1:3)...
After he had two sons and a daughter, God said to Hosea: 'You should have learned from Moses your teacher. When I spoke to him, he separated himself from his wife. You as well, separate yourself from her!' Hosea said: 'Master of the world, I have children from her, I cannot remove her, nor can I divorce her!'
God said: 'If this be the case with your wife, a prostitute, and your children, children of prostitution, and you do not know whether they are yours or whether they belong to others, how should it be with Israel, who are my children, children of my tests, children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, one of the four possessions I acquired in this world: Torah (...) heaven and earth (...) the Holy Temple(...) Israel; and you said to replace them with another people?