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God Accuses Israel

Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel,
    for the Lord has a dispute
    with the inhabitants of the land:
There is no truth or mercy,
    and no knowledge of God in the land.
Swearing, lying, and killing,
    and stealing and adultery
break out,
    and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land dries up,
    and everyone who lives in it withers
with the beasts of the field
    and the birds of the sky;
    even the fish of the sea disappear.

Yet let no one contend,
    and let none reprove another,
for your people are like those
    that contend with a priest.[a]
You will stumble in the day,
    and the prophet also will stumble with you in the night,
and I will destroy your mother.
    My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.

Because you have rejected knowledge,
    I will reject you from being My priest.
And because you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I will also forget your children.
As they increased, so they sinned against Me.
    I will change[b] their glory[c] into shame.
They feed upon the sin of My people,
    and they are greedy for their iniquity.
It will be like people, like priest.
    I will punish them for their ways
    and reward them for their deeds.

10 They will eat, but not be satisfied;
    they will play the whore, but not multiply,
because they have forsaken the Lord
by devoting themselves to 11     harlotry;
wine and new wine
    take away understanding.

The Idolatry of Israel

12 My people seek counsel from their wood,
    and their staff informs them.
For the spirit of harlotry has led them astray,
    and they have played the whore in defiance of their God.
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains,
    and burn incense upon the hills
under oak, poplar, and elm
    because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
    and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.

14 I will not punish your daughters
    when they play the whore,
nor your daughters-in-law
    when they commit adultery.
For the men separate themselves with whores,
    and they sacrifice with cult prostitutes.
    A people without understanding will come to ruin.

15 Though you play the whore, O Israel,
    do not let Judah offend.

Do not come to Gilgal,
    or go up to Beth Aven,
    and do not swear, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn.
Now will the Lord feed them
    like a lamb in a wide pasture?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
    let him alone.
18 Their drink has soured,
    they have played the whore continually.
    Her rulers dearly love shame.
19 A wind has wrapped her in its wings,
    and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.


  1. Hosea 4:4 Meaning of Heb. uncertain.
  2. Hosea 4:7 MT; Ancient Heb. tradition They will change.
  3. Hosea 4:7 MT; Ancient Heb. tradition My glory.

The Charge Against Israel

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
    because the Lord has a charge(A) to bring
    against you who live in the land:(B)
“There is no faithfulness,(C) no love,
    no acknowledgment(D) of God in the land.(E)
There is only cursing,[a] lying(F) and murder,(G)
    stealing(H) and adultery;(I)
they break all bounds,
    and bloodshed follows bloodshed.(J)
Because of this the land dries up,(K)
    and all who live in it waste away;(L)
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea are swept away.(M)

“But let no one bring a charge,
    let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
    who bring charges against a priest.(N)
You stumble(O) day and night,
    and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother(P)
    my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.(Q)

“Because you have rejected knowledge,
    I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law(R) of your God,
    I also will ignore your children.
The more priests there were,
    the more they sinned against me;
    they exchanged their glorious God[b](S) for something disgraceful.(T)
They feed on the sins of my people
    and relish their wickedness.(U)
And it will be: Like people, like priests.(V)
    I will punish both of them for their ways
    and repay them for their deeds.(W)

10 “They will eat but not have enough;(X)
    they will engage in prostitution(Y) but not flourish,
because they have deserted(Z) the Lord
    to give themselves 11 to prostitution;(AA)
old wine(AB) and new wine
    take away their understanding.(AC)
12 My people consult a wooden idol,(AD)
    and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.(AE)
A spirit of prostitution(AF) leads them astray;(AG)
    they are unfaithful(AH) to their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
    and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak,(AI) poplar and terebinth,
    where the shade is pleasant.(AJ)
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution(AK)
    and your daughters-in-law to adultery.(AL)

14 “I will not punish your daughters
    when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
    when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots(AM)
    and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes(AN)
    a people without understanding(AO) will come to ruin!(AP)

15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery,
    do not let Judah become guilty.

“Do not go to Gilgal;(AQ)
    do not go up to Beth Aven.[c](AR)
    And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’(AS)
16 The Israelites are stubborn,(AT)
    like a stubborn heifer.(AU)
How then can the Lord pasture them
    like lambs(AV) in a meadow?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
    leave him alone!
18 Even when their drinks are gone,
    they continue their prostitution;
    their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
19 A whirlwind(AW) will sweep them away,
    and their sacrifices will bring them shame.(AX)


  1. Hosea 4:2 That is, to pronounce a curse on
  2. Hosea 4:7 Syriac (see also an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition); Masoretic Text me; / I will exchange their glory
  3. Hosea 4:15 Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).

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