Hosea 4

The Lord’s Word Against Israel

4 People of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message.
The Lord has this
against you who live in the land:
“The people are not true, not loyal to God,
nor do those who live in the land even know him.
2 Cursing, lying, killing, stealing and adultery are everywhere.
One murder follows another.
3 Because of this the land dries up,
and all its people are dying.
Even the wild animals and the birds of the air
and the fish of the sea are dying.

God’s Case Against the Priests

4 “No one should accuse
or blame another person.
Don’t blame the people, you priests,
when they quarrel with you.
5 You will be ruined in the day,
and your prophets will be ruined with you in the night.
I will also destroy your mother.[a]
6 My people will be destroyed,
because they have no knowledge.
You have refused to learn,
so I will refuse to let you be priests to me.
You have forgotten the teachings of your God,
so I will forget your children.
7 The more priests there are,
the more they sin against me.
I will take away their honor
and give them shame.
8 Since the priests live off the sin offerings of the people,
they want the people to sin more and more.
9 The priests are as wrong as the people,
and I will punish them both for what they have done.
I will repay them for the wrong they have done.

10 “They will eat
but not have enough;
they will have sexual relations with the prostitutes,
but they will not have children,
because they have left the Lord
to give themselves to 11 prostitution,
to old and new wine,
which take away their ability to understand.

God’s Case Against the People

12 “My people ask wooden idols for advice;
they ask those sticks of wood to advise them!
Like prostitutes, they have chased after other gods
and have left their own God.
13 They make sacrifices on the tops of the mountains.
They burn offerings on the hills,
under oaks, poplars, and other trees,
because their shade is nice.
So your daughters become prostitutes,
and your daughters-in-law are guilty of adultery.

14 “But I will not punish your daughters
for becoming prostitutes,
nor your daughters-in-law
for their sins of adultery.
I will not punish them,
because the men have sexual relations with prostitutes
and offer sacrifices with the temple prostitutes.
A foolish people will be ruined.

15 “Israel, you act like a prostitute,
but do not be guilty toward the Lord.
Don’t go to Gilgal
or go up to Beth Aven.[b]
Don’t make promises,
saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives . . .’
16 The people of Israel are stubborn
like a stubborn young cow.
Now the Lord will feed them
like lambs in the open country.
17 The Israelites have chosen to worship idols,
so leave them alone.
18 When they finish their drinking,
they completely give themselves to being prostitutes;
they love these disgraceful ways.
19 They will be swept away as if by a whirlwind,
and their sacrifices will bring them only shame.


  1. 4:5 mother Refers to the nation of Israel here.
  2. 4:15 Gilgal . . . Beth Aven Cities in Israel where people worshiped false gods.

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