Hosea 4

God’s Case against Israel

1 Hear the word of the Lord, a people of Israel,
for the Lord has a case b
against the inhabitants of the land:
There is no truth, c no faithful love, d
and no knowledge of God e in the land!
2 Cursing, f lying, g murder, h stealing, i
and adultery j are rampant;
one act of bloodshed follows another. k
3 For this reason the land mourns, l
and everyone who lives in it languishes,
along with the wild animals m and the birds of the sky;
even the fish of the sea disappear. n
4 But let no one dispute; o let no one argue,
for My case is against you priests.
Text emended; MT reads argue, and your people are like those contending with a priest
Hb obscure
5 You will stumble by day; s
the prophet will also stumble with you by night.
And I will destroy your mother. t
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. u
Because you have rejected knowledge, v
I will reject you w from serving as My priest.
Since you have forgotten the law of your God, x
I will also forget your sons.

7 The more they multiplied, y
the more they sinned against Me.
Alt Hb tradition, Syr, Tg read They
will change their honor
Ancient Jewish tradition reads My honor
into disgrace. ab
8 They feed on the sin
Or sin offerings
of My people; ad
they have an appetite for their transgressions. ae
9 The same judgment will happen
to both people and priests. af
I will punish them for their ways ag
and repay them for their deeds.
10 They will eat but not be satisfied; ah
they will be promiscuous ai but not multiply.
For they have abandoned their devotion to the Lord. aj
11 Promiscuity, ak wine, and new wine
take away one’s understanding. al

12 My people consult their wooden idols, am
and their divining rods inform them.
For a spirit of promiscuity leads them astray; an
they act promiscuously ao
in disobedience to
Lit promiscuously from under
their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops, aq
and they burn offerings on the hills, ar
and under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, as
because their shade is pleasant.
And so your daughters act promiscuously
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters
when they act promiscuously
or your daughters-in-law
when they commit adultery,
for the men themselves go off with prostitutes at
and make sacrifices with cult prostitutes. au
People without discernment are doomed. av

Warnings for Israel and Judah

15 Israel, if you act promiscuously,
don’t let Judah become
guilt/guilty: The liability to be punished for a fault, a sin, an act, or an omission unless there is forgiveness or atonement; the term normally concerns an objective fact, not a subjective feeling.
Do not go to Gilgal ax
or make a pilgrimage to Beth-aven,
= House of Wickedness
and do not swear an oath: As the Lord lives! ba
16 For Israel is as obstinate as a stubborn cow. bb
Can the Lord now shepherd them
like a lamb in an open meadow? bc
17 Ephraim is attached to idols; bd
leave him alone! be
18 When their drinking is over,
they turn to promiscuity.
Israel’s leaders
Lit Her shields; Ps 47:9; 89:18
fervently love disgrace.
Hb obscure

19 A wind with its wings will carry them off,
Lit wind will bind it in its wings
and they will be ashamed of their sacrifices.
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