1 The elder to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in truth, and not only I, but also all who know the truth,2 because of the truth that abides in us and will be with us forever:
3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father's Son, in truth and love.
Walking in Truth and Love
4 I rejoiced greatly to find some of your children walking in the truth, just as we were commanded by the Father.5 And now I ask you, dear lady—not as though I were writing you a new commandment, but the one we have had from the beginning—that we love one another.6 And this is love, that we walk according to his commandments; this is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, so that you should walk in it.7 For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not confess the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh. Such a one is the deceiver and the antichrist.8 Watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we[a] have worked for, but may win a full reward.9 Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting,11 for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.
12 Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete.
4 Hear the word of the Lord, O children of Israel, for the Lord has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or steadfast love, and no knowledge of God in the land; 2 there is swearing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break all bounds, and bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land mourns, and all who dwell in it languish, and also the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even the fish of the sea are taken away.
4 Yet let no one contend, and let none accuse, for with you is my contention, O priest.[a] 5 You shall stumble by day; the prophet also shall stumble with you by night; and I will destroy your mother. 6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.
7 The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame. 8 They feed on the sin[b] of my people; they are greedy for their iniquity. 9 And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds. 10 They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the Lord to cherish11 whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding. 12 My people inquire of a piece of wood, and their walking staff gives them oracles. For a spirit of whoredom has led them astray, and they have left their God to play the whore. 13 They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains and burn offerings on the hills, under 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 the men themselves go aside with prostitutes and sacrifice with cult prostitutes, and a people without understanding shall come to ruin.
15 Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Enter not into Gilgal, nor go up to Beth-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 Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone. 18 When their drink is gone, they give themselves to whoring; their rulers[c] dearly love shame. 19 A wind has wrapped them[d] in its wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
Punishment Coming for Israel and Judah
5 Hear this, O priests! Pay attention, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For the judgment is for you; for you have been a snare at Mizpah and a net spread upon Tabor. 2 And the revolters have gone deep into slaughter, but I will discipline all of them.
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hidden from me; for now, O Ephraim, you have played the whore; Israel is defiled. 4 Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. For the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not the Lord.
5 The pride of Israel testifies to his face;[e] Israel and Ephraim shall stumble in his guilt; Judah also shall stumble with them. 6 With their flocks and herds they shall go to seek the Lord, but they will not find him; he has withdrawn from them. 7 They have dealt faithlessly with the Lord; for they have borne alien children. Now the new moon shall devour them with their fields.
8 Blow the horn in Gibeah, the trumpet in Ramah. Sound the alarm at Beth-aven; we follow you,[f] O Benjamin! 9 Ephraim shall become a desolation in the day of punishment; among the tribes of Israel I make known what is sure. 10 The princes of Judah have become like those who move the landmark; upon them I will pour out my wrath like water. 11 Ephraim is oppressed, crushed in judgment, because he was determined to go after filth.[g] 12 But I am like a moth to Ephraim, and like dry rot to the house of Judah.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then Ephraim went to Assyria, and sent to the great king.[h] But he is not able to cure you or heal your wound. 14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, and like a young lion to the house of Judah. I, even I, will tear and go away; I will carry off, and no one shall rescue.
15 I will return again to my place, until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face, and in their distress earnestly seek me.
Hosea 4:4Or for your people are like those who contend with the priest
125 Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore. 3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. 4 Do good, O Lord, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! 5 But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the Lord will lead away with evildoers! Peace be upon Israel!
9 If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet. 10 Bloodthirsty men hate one who is blameless and seek the life of the upright.[a] 11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back.
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