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Israel’s sins and coming punishment

Hear the Lord’s word,
        people of Israel;
    for the Lord has a dispute
        with the inhabitants of the land.
    There’s no faithful love or loyalty,
        and no knowledge of God in the land.
Swearing, lying, murder,
        together with stealing and adultery are common;
        bloody crime followed by bloody crime.
Therefore, the earth itself becomes sick,
        and all who live on it grow weak;
        together with the wild animals
            and the birds in the sky,
        even the fish of the sea are dying.
Yet let no one protest,
        and let no one complain.

    Listen, priest, I am angry with your people.[a]
You will stumble by day;
        and at nighttime so will your prophet,
        and I will destroy your mother.
My people are destroyed
        from lack of knowledge.
    Since you have rejected knowledge,
        so I will reject you from serving me as a priest.
    Since you have forgotten the Instruction of your God,
        so also I will forget your children.
The more they increased,
        the more they sinned against me;
        they exchanged their glory for shame.
They feed on the sin of my people;
        they set their hearts on evil things.
The priest will be just like the people;
    I will punish them for their ways,
        and judge them for their deeds.
10 They will eat but not be satisfied;
    they will have sex like prostitutes,
        but they will not have children,
    because they have rejected the Lord
        to devote themselves to 11 false religious practices.

Description of Israel’s idolatry

    Wine and new wine
        destroy understanding.
12 My people take advice from a piece of wood,
    and their divining rod gives them predictions.
        A spirit of prostitution has led them astray;
        they have left God to follow other gods.
13 They offer sacrifices on mountaintops,
        and make entirely burned offerings on hills;
    they offer sacrifices under various green trees,
        because their shade is pleasant.
    Therefore, your daughters act like prostitutes,
        and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters because they act like prostitutes,
        nor your daughters-in-law because they commit adultery;
    for the men themselves visit prostitutes,
        and offer sacrifices with consecrated workers at temples;
    so now the people without sense must come to ruin.
15 Israel, even though you act like a prostitute,
        don’t let Judah become guilty.
    Don’t enter into Gilgal,
        or go up to Beth-aven,
        and don’t swear, “As the Lord lives.”
16 Like a stubborn cow Israel is stubborn.
Now the Lord will tend them,[b]
        as the Lord tends a lamb in a pasture.
17 Ephraim is associated with idols—
        let him alone!
18 Though they have stopped drinking,
        they continue to behave like prostitutes;
        indeed, they “love”; shame is their pride.
19 The wind has wrapped her in its wings;
        they will be ashamed of their sacrifices.


  1. Hosea 4:4 Heb uncertain
  2. Hosea 4:16 Or her

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