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Hosea 4

God’s Case against His People

1 Hear the word of the LORD,

O children of Israel,

for the LORD has a case

against the people of the land:

“There is no truth, no loving devotion,

and no knowledge of God in the land!

2 Cursing and lying,

murder and stealing,

and adultery are rampant;

one act of bloodshed follows another.

3 Therefore the land mourns,

and all who dwell in it will waste away

with the beasts of the field and the birds of the air;

even the fish of the sea disappear.

4 But let no man contend;

let no man offer reproof;

for your people are like those

who contend with a priest. a 

5 You will stumble by day,

and the prophet will stumble with you by night;

so I will destroy your mother—

6 My people are destroyed

for lack of knowledge.

Because you have rejected knowledge,

I will also reject you as My priests.

Since you have forgotten the law of your God,

I will also forget your children.

7 The more they multiplied,

the more they sinned against Me;

they exchanged their Glory b 

for a thing of disgrace.

8 They feed on the sins c of My people

and set their hearts on iniquity.

9 And it shall be

like people, like priest.

I will punish both of them for their ways

and repay them for their deeds.

10 They will eat but not be satisfied;

they will be promiscuous but not multiply.

For they have stopped obeying the LORD.

11 Promiscuity, wine, and new wine

take away understanding.

12 My people consult their wooden idols,

and their divining rods inform them.

For a spirit of prostitution leads them astray

and they have played the harlot against their God.

13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops

and burn offerings on the hills,

under oak, poplar, and terebinth,

because their shade is pleasant.

And so your daughters turn to prostitution

and your daughters-in-law to adultery.

14 I will not punish your daughters

when they prostitute themselves,

nor your daughters-in-law

when they commit adultery.

For the men themselves go off with prostitutes

and offer sacrifices with shrine prostitutes.

So a people without understanding

will come to ruin.

15 Though you prostitute yourself, O Israel,

may Judah avoid such guilt!

Do not journey to Gilgal,

do not go up to Beth-aven, d 

and do not swear on oath,

‘As surely as the LORD lives!’

16 For Israel is as obstinate

as a stubborn heifer.

Can the LORD now shepherd them

like lambs in an open meadow?

17 Ephraim e is joined to idols;

leave him alone!

18 When their liquor is gone,

they turn to prostitution;

their rulers f dearly love disgrace.

19 The whirlwind has wrapped them g in its wings,

and their sacrifices will bring them shame.



4 a Or for My case is against you, O priests
7 b Or they exchanged their glorious God (Syriac); MT I will exchange their glory
8 c Or the sin offerings
15 d Beth-aven means house of wickedness . This is a derogatory term for Bethel, which means house of God ; see 1 Kings 12:28–29.
17 e That is, the northern kingdom of Israel
18 f Hebrew her shields
19 g Hebrew has wrapped her

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