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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”

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).