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Yahweh Has an Indictment

Hear the word of Yahweh, O children of Israel,
for Yahweh has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.
There is no faithfulness or loyalty,
    there is no knowledge of God in the land.
Swearing and lying,
    murdering and stealing,
        and adultery break out,[a]
    and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Therefore the land mourns,
    and all those living in it languish
with the animals of the field,
    and the birds of the heaven,
    and even the fish of the sea
        are being swept away.
Yet, let no one contend,
    and let no one accuse,
for with you, O priest, is my contention.[b]
You will stumble by day,
    and the priest also will stumble
        with you at night.
And I will destroy your mother;
    My people are destroyed
        for lack of knowledge;
because you have rejected knowledge,
    I reject you from acting as a priest for me.[c]
And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
    I will also forget your children.[d]
When they became many, their sin increased against me;
    they changed[e] their glory into shame.
They feed on the sin of my people,[f]
    they are greedy[g] for their iniquity.
And it will be like people, like priest;
I will punish them[h] for their[i] ways,
    and I will requite them[j] for their[k] deeds.
10 They will eat and not be satisfied;
    they will play the whore and not multiply,
because they have forsaken Yahweh to devote themselves to
11     whoredom.[l]
Wine and new wine take away the understanding.[m]
12     My people,
consult their wooden idols,[n]
    and their divining rod gives them oracles;
because a spirit of whoredom led them astray,
    and they played the whore from under their God.[o]
13 On the tops of the mountains they sacrifice,
    and on the hills they make offerings,
under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
    because their[p] shade is good.
Therefore your daughters play the whore,
    and all your daughters-in-law[q] commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters[r] when they play the whore,
    or your daughters-in-law[s] when they commit adultery;
because they go aside with whores,
    and they sacrifice with temple prostitutes,
        a people that does not understand comes to ruin.
15 Even though you, O Israel, are playing the whore,
    do not let Judah become guilty;
do not enter Gilgal,
    or go up to Beth-aven;
and do not swear,
    As Yahweh lives!”[t]
16 Indeed, like a stubborn heifer,
    Israel is stubborn;
Now Yahweh will feed them,
    like a lamb in broad pasture.[u]
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
    let him alone.
18 When their drinking has ended,
    they surely indulge in sexual orgies.
    They love lewdness more than their[v] glory.
19 A wind has wrapped them[w] in its wings,
    and they will be ashamed because of their altars.


  1. Hosea 4:2 The LXX adds “and adultery breaks out in the land”
  2. Hosea 4:4 The Hebrew is unclear; the NASB translates “For your people are like those who contend with the priest”
  3. Hosea 4:6 Or “to me”
  4. Hosea 4:6 Hebrew “sons”
  5. Hosea 4:7 Hebrew uncertain; MT “I will exchange”
  6. Hosea 4:8 Literally “They eat the sins of my people”
  7. Hosea 4:8 Literally “they lift up their throat”
  8. Hosea 4:9 Hebrew “him”
  9. Hosea 4:9 Hebrew “his”
  10. Hosea 4:9 Hebrew “him”
  11. Hosea 4:9 Hebrew “his”
  12. Hosea 4:11 Literally “to watch over whoredom”
  13. Hosea 4:11 Literally “take away heart”
  14. Hosea 4:12 Literally “their wood”
  15. Hosea 4:12 That is, “they played the whore forsaking their God”; See Ezek 23:5
  16. Hosea 4:13 Hebrew “its”
  17. Hosea 4:13 Or “brides”
  18. Hosea 4:14 Literally “I will not visit sins upon your daughters”
  19. Hosea 4:14 Or “brides”
  20. Hosea 4:15 Literally “the life of Yahweh”
  21. Hosea 4:16 Or “Can Yahweh feed them, like a lamb in broad pasture?”
  22. Hosea 4:18 Hebrew “her”
  23. Hosea 4:19 Hebrew “her”