Hosea chapter 4

Israel had violated the Covenant. The priests were the worst of all people. But the people were guilty too.

 


 

ISRAEL HAD VIOLATED THE COVENANT

 

VERSE 1. Hear the LORD’s word, you children of Israel; for the LORD has a charge against the inhabitants of the land: “Indeed there is no truth, nor goodness, nor knowledge of God in the land.

charge. The Hebrew word is “reev.” It means indictment. The LORD God has an indictment against them.

 

VERSE 2. There is cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and committing adultery; they break boundaries, and bloodshed causes bloodshed.

The Israelites had violated five of the Ten Commandments:

  • cursing (this means calling down a curse on another person)
  • lying
  • murder
  • stealing
  • adultery

 

VERSE 3. Therefore the land will mourn, and everyone who dwells in it will waste away, with all living things in her, even the animals of the field and the birds of the sky, yes, the fish of the sea also die.

 

THE PRIESTS WERE THE WORST OF ALL PEOPLE

 

VERSE 4. “Yet let no man bring a charge, neither let any man accuse; for your people are like those who bring charges against a priest.

bring charges against a priest. That is, “With you is my grievance, O priests!” (NAB translation).

 

VERSE 5. You will stumble in the day, and the prophet will also stumble with you in the night; and I will destroy your mother.

 

VERSE 6. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I will also reject you, that you may be no priest to me. Because you have forgotten your God’s Torah, I will also forget your children.

NKJV translation. My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; Because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

destroyed for lack of knowledge. In our day, many people languish with a lack of knowledge of Jesus Christ and the faith. They perish for lack of hope. They need the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They need us Christians to exercise the Ministry of Evangelism.

 

VERSE 7. As they were multiplied, so they sinned against me. I will change their glory into shame.

 

VERSE 8. They feed on the sin of my people, and set their heart on their iniquity.

They feed on the sin of my people. The priests were profoundly greedy. They fed on the sins of the people by encouraging them to multiply the hypocritical sacrifices which the LORD God hated.

 

VERSE 9. It will be, like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and will repay them for their deeds.

 

VERSE 10. They will eat, and not have enough. They will play the prostitute, and will not increase; because they have abandoned giving to the LORD.

NIV translation. They will eat but not have enough; they will engage in prostitution but not flourish, because they have deserted the Lord to give themselves 11 to prostitution; old wine and new wine take away their understanding.

they have deserted the Lord. Literally: “for the Lord they have forsaken to obey” (NASB translation).

 

VERSE 11. Prostitution, wine, and new wine take away understanding.

Prostitution. The priests had been promoting fertility cult prostitution. But it would not succeed.

 

THE PEOPLE WERE GUILTY TOO

 

VERSE 12. My people consult with their wooden idol, and answer to a stick of wood. Indeed the spirit of prostitution has led them astray, and they have been unfaithful to their God.

 

VERSE 13. They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and burn incense on the hills, under oaks and poplars and terebinths, because its shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the prostitute, and your brides commit adultery.

 

VERSE 14. I will not punish your daughters when they play the prostitute, nor your brides when they commit adultery; because the men consort with prostitutes, and they sacrifice with the shrine prostitutes; so the people without understanding will come to ruin.

Isaiah 57:3. But draw near here, you sons of a sorceress, you offspring of adulterers and prostitutes.

 

VERSE 15. “Though you, Israel, play the prostitute, yet don’t let Judah offend; and don’t come to Gilgal, neither go up to Beth Aven, nor swear, ‘As the LORD lives.’

 

VERSE 16. For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will the LORD feed them like a lamb in a meadow.

a stubborn heifer. To refer to somebody as a heifer is not complimentary:

Judges 14:18. The men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? What is stronger than a lion?” He said to them, “If you hadn’t plowed with my heifer, you wouldn’t have found out my riddle.”

Jeremiah 50:11. Because you are glad, because you rejoice, O you who plunder my heritage, because you are wanton as a heifer that treads out the grain, and neigh as strong horses;

Hosea 4:16. For Israel has behaved extremely stubbornly, like a stubborn heifer. Then how will the LORD feed them like a lamb in a meadow.

 

VERSE 17. Ephraim is joined to idols. Leave him alone!

 

VERSE 18. Their drink has become sour. They play the prostitute continually. Her rulers dearly love their shameful way.

 

VERSE 19. The wind has wrapped her up in its wings; and they shall be disappointed because of their sacrifices.

 


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