The Charge Against Israel

Hos 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites, because the LORD has a charge to bring against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
no acknowledgment of God in the land.

Hos 4:2 There is only cursing, lying and murder,
stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
and bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Cursing, lying and murder, stealing and adultery – Here is a summary of five of the Ten Commandments (cf. Lk 18:20).  Although quoted out of order, this summary indicates that the Israelites have broken the entire Decalogue: a hearer, having listened to this list, would be thinking, ‘What about the others?’  And his mind would immediately go back to the original statement.  By making the hearers think in this kind of way, Hosea’s message is much more effective than if he has simply quoted the Ten Commandments verbatim.  (See Fee & Stuart, How The Read The Bible For All Its Worth, 2nd ed., p171).

Hos 4:3 Because of this the land mourns,
and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field and the birds of the air
and the fish of the sea are dying.

Hos 4:4 “But let no man bring a charge,
let no man accuse another,
for your people are like those
who bring charges against a priest.

Hos 4:5 You stumble day and night,
and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother—

Hos 4:6 my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

“Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
I also will ignore your children.

Hos 4:7 The more the priests increased,
the more they sinned against me;
they exchanged their Glory for something disgraceful.

Hos 4:8 They feed on the sins of my people
and relish their wickedness.

Hos 4:9 And it will be: Like people, like priests.
I will punish both of them for their ways
and repay them for their deeds.

Hos 4:10 “They will eat but not have enough;
they will engage in prostitution but not increase,
because they have deserted the LORD
to give themselves

Hos 4:11 to prostitution,
to old wine and new,
which take away the understanding

Hos 4:12 of my people.
They consult a wooden idol
and are answered by a stick of wood.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
they are unfaithful to their God.

Hos 4:13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar and terebinth,
where the shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution
and your daughters-in-law to adultery.

Hos 4:14 “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
and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes—
a people without understanding will come to ruin!

Hos 4:15 “Though you commit adultery, O Israel,
let not Judah become guilty.

“Do not go to Gilgal;
do not go up to Beth Aven.
And do not swear, ‘As surely as the LORD lives!’

Hos 4:16 The Israelites are stubborn,
like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the LORD pasture them
like lambs in a meadow?

Hos 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
leave him alone!

Hos 4:18 Even when their drinks are gone,
they continue their prostitution;
their rulers dearly love shameful ways.

Hos 4:19 A whirlwind will sweep them away,
and their sacrifices will bring them shame.