Bible: Hosea 4-10

The Lord’s Covenant Lawsuit against the Nation Israel

4:1 Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites! 1 

For the Lord has a covenant lawsuit 2  against the people of Israel. 3 

For there is neither faithfulness nor loyalty in the land,

nor do they acknowledge God. 4 

4:2 There is only cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery.

They resort to violence and bloodshed. 5 

4:3 Therefore the land will mourn,

and all its inhabitants will perish. 6 

The wild animals, 7  the birds of the sky,

and even the fish in the sea will perish.

The Lord’s Dispute against the Sinful Priesthood

4:4 Do not let anyone accuse or contend against anyone else: 8 

for my case is against you priests! 9 

4:5 You stumble day and night,

and the false prophets stumble with you;

You have destroyed your own people! 10 

4:6 You have destroyed 11  my people

by failing to acknowledge me!

Because you refuse to acknowledge me, 12 

I will reject you as my priests.

Because you reject 13  the law of your God,

I will reject 14  your descendants.

4:7 The more the priests increased in numbers,

the more they rebelled against me.

They have turned 15  their glorious calling

into a shameful disgrace!

4:8 They feed on the sin offerings of my people;

their appetites long for their iniquity!

4:9 I will deal with the people and priests together: 16 

I will punish them both for their ways,

and I will repay them for their deeds.

4:10 They will eat, but not be satisfied;

they will engage in prostitution, but not increase in numbers;

because they have abandoned the Lord

by pursuing other gods. 17 

Judgment of Pagan Idolatry and Cultic Prostitution

4:11 Old and new wine

take away the understanding of my people. 18 

4:12 They consult their wooden idols,

and their diviner’s staff answers with an oracle.

The wind of prostitution blows them astray;

they commit spiritual adultery 19  against their God.

4:13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops,

and burn offerings on the hills;

they sacrifice 20  under oak, poplar, and terebinth,

because their shade is so pleasant.

As a result, your daughters have become cult prostitutes,

and your daughters-in-law commit adultery!

4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit prostitution,

nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.

For the men consort with harlots,

they sacrifice with temple prostitutes.

It is true: 21  “A people that lacks understanding will come to ruin!

Warning to Judah: Do Not Join in Israel’s Apostasy!

4:15 Although you, O Israel, commit adultery,

do not let Judah become guilty!

Do not journey to Gilgal!

Do not go up to Beth Aven! 22 

Do not swear, “As surely as the Lord lives!

4:16 Israel has rebelled 23  like a stubborn heifer!

Soon 24  the Lord will put them out to pasture

like a lamb in a broad field! 25 

4:17 Ephraim has attached himself to idols;

Do not go near him!

The Shameful Sinners Will Be Brought to Shame

4:18 They consume their alcohol,

then engage in cult prostitution;

they dearly love their shameful behavior.

4:19 A whirlwind has wrapped them in its wings;

they will be brought to shame because of their idolatrous worship. 26 

Announcement of Sin and Judgment

5:1 Hear this, you priests!

Pay attention, you Israelites! 27 

Listen closely, 28  O king! 29 

For judgment is about to overtake you! 30 

For you were like a trap 31  to Mizpah, 32 

like a net 33  spread out to catch Tabor. 34 

5:2 Those who revolt are knee-deep in slaughter, 35 

but I will discipline them all. 36 

5:3 I know Ephraim all too well; 37 

the evil of 38  Israel is not hidden from me.

For you have engaged in prostitution, O Ephraim;

Israel has defiled itself. 39 

5:4 Their wicked deeds do not allow them to return to their God;

because a spirit of idolatry 40  controls their heart, 41 

and they do not acknowledge the Lord.

5:5 The arrogance of Israel testifies against it;

Israel and Ephraim will be overthrown 42  because 43  of their iniquity.

Even Judah will be brought down 44  with them.

The Futility of Sacrificial Ritual without Moral Obedience

5:6 Although they bring their flocks and herds 45 

to seek 46  the favor of the Lord, 47 

They will not find him –

he has withdrawn himself from them!

5:7 They have committed treason 48  against the Lord,

because they bore illegitimate children.

Soon 49  the new moon festival will devour them and their fields.

The Prophet’s Declaration of Judgment

5:8 Blow the ram’s horn in Gibeah!

Sound the trumpet in Ramah!

Sound the alarm in Beth Aven! 50 

Tremble in fear, 51  O Benjamin!

5:9 Ephraim will be ruined in the day of judgment! 52 

What I am declaring 53  to the tribes of Israel will certainly take place! 54 

The Oppressors of the Helpless Will Be Oppressed

5:10 The princes of Judah are like those who move boundary markers.

I will pour out my rage on them like a torrential flood! 55 

5:11 Ephraim will be oppressed, 56  crushed 57  under judgment, 58 

because he was determined to pursue worthless idols. 59 

The Curse of the Incurable Wound

5:12 I will be like a moth to Ephraim,

like wood rot 60  to the house of Judah.

5:13 When Ephraim saw 61  his sickness

and Judah saw his wound,

then Ephraim turned 62  to Assyria,

and begged 63  its great king 64  for help.

But he will not be able to heal you!

He cannot cure your wound! 65 

The Lion Will Carry Israel Off Into Exile

5:14 I will be like a lion to Ephraim,

like a young lion to the house of Judah.

I myself will tear them to pieces,

then I will carry them off, and no one will be able to rescue them!

5:15 Then I will return again to my lair

until they have suffered their punishment. 66 

Then they will seek me; 67 

in their distress they will earnestly seek me.

Superficial Repentance Breeds False Assurance of God’s Forgivene

6:1Come on! Let’s return to the Lord!

He himself has torn us to pieces,

but he will heal us!

He has injured 68  us,

but he will bandage our wounds!

6:2 He will restore 69  us in a very short time; 70 

he will heal us in a little while, 71 

so that we may live in his presence.

6:3 So let us acknowledge him! 72 

Let us seek 73  to acknowledge 74  the Lord!

He will come to our rescue as certainly as the appearance of the dawn,

as certainly as the winter rain comes,

as certainly as the spring rain that waters the land.”

Transitory Faithfulness and Imminent Judgment

6:4 What am I going to do with you, O Ephraim?

What am I going to do with you, O Judah?

For 75  your faithfulness is as fleeting as the morning mist; 76 

it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew! 77 

6:5 Therefore, I will certainly cut 78  you into pieces at the hands of the prophets; 79 

I will certainly kill you 80  in fulfillment of my oracles of judgment; 81 

for 82  my judgment 83  will come forth like the light of the dawn. 84 

6:6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice;

I delight 85  in acknowledging God, not simply in whole burnt offerings. 86 

Indictments Against the Cities of Israel and Judah

6:7 At Adam 87  they broke 88  the covenant;

Oh how 89  they were unfaithful 90  to me!

6:8 Gilead is a city full of evildoers; 91 

its streets are stained with bloody footprints! 92 

6:9 The company of priests is like a gang of robbers,

lying in ambush to pounce on a victim.

They commit murder on the road to Shechem;

they have done heinous crimes!

6:10 I have seen a disgusting thing in the temple of Israel:

there Ephraim practices temple prostitution

and Judah defiles itself.

6:11 I have appointed a time to reap judgment 93  for you also, O Judah!

If Israel Would Repent of Sin, God Would Relent of Judgment

Whenever I want to restore the fortunes of my people, 94 

7:1 whenever I want to heal Israel,

the sin of Ephraim is revealed,

and the evil deeds of Samaria are exposed.

For they do what is wrong;

thieves break into houses,

and gangs rob people out in the streets.

7:2 They do not realize 95 

that I remember all of their wicked deeds.

Their evil deeds have now surrounded them;

their sinful deeds are always before me. 96 

Political Intrigue and Conspiracy in the Palace

7:3 The royal advisers delight the king with their evil schemes,

the princes make him glad with their lies.

7:4 They are all like bakers, 97 

they 98  are like a smoldering oven;

they are like a baker who does not stoke the fire

until the kneaded dough is ready for baking.

7:5 At the celebration 99  of their king, 100 

his princes become inflamed 101  with wine;

they conspire 102  with evildoers.

7:6 They approach him, all the while plotting against him.

Their hearts are like an oven;

their anger smolders all night long,

but in the morning it bursts into a flaming fire.

7:7 All of them are blazing like an oven;

they devour their rulers.

All of their kings fall

and none of them call on me!

Israel Lacks Discernment and Refuses to Repent

7:8 Ephraim has mixed itself like flour 103  among the nations;

Ephraim is like a ruined cake of bread that is scorched on one side. 104 

7:9 Foreigners are consuming what his strenuous labor produced, 105 

but he does not recognize it!

His head is filled with gray hair,

but he does not realize it!

7:10 The arrogance of Israel testifies against him,

yet they refuse to return to the Lord their God!

In spite of all this they refuse to seek him!

Israel Turns to Assyria and Egypt for Help

7:11 Ephraim has been like a dove,

easily deceived and lacking discernment.

They called to Egypt for help;

they turned to Assyria for protection.

7:12 I will throw my bird net over them while they are flying,

I will bring them down like birds in the sky;

I will discipline them when I hear them flocking together.

Israel Has Turned Away from the Lord

7:13 Woe to them! For they have fled from me!

Destruction to them! For they have rebelled against me!

I want to deliver 106  them,

but they have lied to me.

7:14 They do not pray to me, 107 

but howl in distress on their beds;

They slash themselves 108  for grain and new wine,

but turn away from me.

7:15 Although I trained and strengthened them, 109 

they plot evil against me!

7:16 They turn to Baal; 110 

they are like an unreliable bow.

Their leaders will fall by the sword

because their prayers to Baal 111  have made me angry.

So people will disdain them in the land of Egypt. 112 

God Will Raise Up the Assyrians to Attack Israel

8:1 Sound the alarm! 113 

An eagle 114  looms over the temple of the Lord!

For they have broken their covenant with me, 115 

and have rebelled against my law.

8:2 Israel cries out to me,

“My God, we acknowledge you!

8:3 But Israel has rejected what is morally good;

so an enemy will pursue him.

The Political and Cultic Sin of Israel

8:4 They enthroned kings without my consent! 116 

They appointed princes without my approval! 117 

They made idols out of their silver and gold,

but they will be destroyed! 118 

8:5 O Samaria, he has rejected your calf idol!

My anger burns against them!

They will not survive much longer without being punished, 119 

even though they are Israelites!

8:6 That idol was made by a workman – it is not God!

The calf idol of Samaria will be broken to bits.

The Fertility Cultists Will Become Infertile

8:7 They sow the wind,

and so they will reap the whirlwind!

The stalk does not have any standing grain;

it will not produce any flour.

Even if it were to yield grain,

foreigners would swallow it all up.

8:8 Israel will be swallowed up among the nations;

they will be like a worthless piece of pottery.

The Willful Donkey and the Wanton Harlot

8:9 They have gone up to Assyria,

like a wild donkey that wanders off.

Ephraim has hired prostitutes as lovers. 120 

8:10 Even though they have hired lovers among the nations, 121 

I will soon gather them together for judgment. 122 

Then 123  they will begin to waste away

under the oppression of a mighty king. 124 

Sacrifices Ineffective without Moral Obedience

8:11 Although Ephraim has built many altars for sin offerings,

these have become altars for sinning!

8:12 I spelled out my law for him in great detail,

but they regard it as something totally unknown 125  to them!

8:13 They offer up sacrificial gifts to me,

and eat the meat,

but the Lord does not accept their sacrifices. 126 

Soon he will remember their wrongdoing,

he will punish their sins,

and they will return to Egypt.

8:14 Israel has forgotten his Maker and built royal palaces,

and Judah has built many fortified cities.

But I will send fire on their cities;

it will consume their royal citadels.

Fertility Cult Festivals Have Intoxicated Israel

9:1 O Israel, do not rejoice jubilantly 127  like the nations,

for you are unfaithful 128  to your God.

You love to receive a prostitute's wages 129 

on all the floors where you thresh your grain.

9:2 Threshing floors and wine vats will not feed the people, 130 

and new wine only deceives them. 131 

Assyrian Exile Will Reverse the Egyptian Exodus

9:3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land.

Ephraim will return to Egypt;

they will eat ritually unclean food in Assyria.

9:4 They will not pour out drink offerings of wine to the Lord;

they will not please him with their sacrifices.

Their sacrifices will be like bread eaten while in mourning;

all those who eat them will make themselves ritually unclean.

For their bread will be only to satisfy their appetite;

it will not come into the temple of the Lord.

9:5 So what will you do on the festival day,

on the festival days of the Lord?

No Escape for the Israelites This Time!

9:6 Look! 132  Even if 133  they flee from the destruction,

Egypt will take hold 134  of them,

and Memphis will bury them.

The weeds will inherit the silver they treasure 135 

thorn bushes will occupy their homes. 136 

9:7 The time of judgment 137  is about to arrive! 138 

The time of retribution 139  is imminent! 140 

Let Israel know! 141 

Israel Rejects Hosea’s Prophetic Exhortations

The prophet is considered a fool 142 

the inspired man 143  is viewed as a madman 144 

because of the multitude of your sins

and your intense 145  animosity.

9:8 The prophet 146  is a watchman 147  over Ephraim 148  on behalf of God, 149 

yet traps 150  are laid for him along all of his paths; 151 

animosity rages against him in the land 152  of his God.

The Best of Times, the Worst of Times

9:9 They have sunk deep into corruption 153 

as in the days of Gibeah.

He will remember their wrongdoing.

He will repay them for their sins.

9:10 When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the wilderness.

I viewed your ancestors 154  like an early fig on a fig tree in its first season.

Then they came to Baal-Peor and they dedicated themselves to shame

they became as detestable as what they loved.

The Fertility Worshipers Will Become Infertile

9:11 Ephraim will be like a bird;

what they value 155  will fly away.

They will not bear children –

they will not enjoy pregnancy –

they will not even conceive! 156 

9:12 Even if they raise their children,

I will take away every last one of them. 157 

Woe to them!

For I will turn away from them.

9:13 Just as lion cubs are born predators, 158 

so Ephraim will bear his sons for slaughter.

9:14 Give them, O Lord

what will you give them?

Give them wombs that miscarry,

and breasts that cannot nurse! 159 

9:15 Because of all their evil in Gilgal,

I hate them there.

On account of their evil deeds,

I will drive them out of my land. 160 

I will no longer love them;

all their rulers are rebels.

9:16 Ephraim will be struck down 161 

their root will be dried up;

they will not yield any fruit.

Even if they do bear children,

I will kill their precious offspring.

9:17 My God will reject them,

for they have not obeyed him;

so they will be fugitives among the nations.

Israel is Guilty of Fertility Cult Worship

10:1 Israel was a fertile vine

that yielded fruit.

As his fruit multiplied,

he multiplied altars to Baal. 162 

As his land prospered,

they adorned the fertility pillars.

10:2 Their heart is slipping;

soon they will be punished for their guilt.

The Lord 163  will break their altars;

he will completely destroy their fertility pillars.

The Lord Will Punish Israel by Removing Its Kings

10:3 Very soon they will say, “We have no king

since we did not fear the Lord.

But what can a king do for us anyway?

10:4 They 164  utter empty words, 165 

taking 166  false oaths and making empty 167  agreements.

Therefore legal disputes sprout up

like poisonous weeds 168  in the furrows of a plowed field.

The Calf Idol and Idolaters of Samaria Will Be Exiled

10:5 The inhabitants 169  of Samaria will lament 170  over the calf idol 171  of Beth Aven. 172 

Its people will mourn over it;

its idolatrous priests will wail 173  over it, 174 

because its splendor will be taken from them 175  into exile.

10:6 Even the calf idol 176  will be carried to Assyria,

as tribute for the great king. 177 

Ephraim will be disgraced;

Israel will be put to shame because 178  of its wooden idol. 179 

10:7 Samaria and its king will be carried off 180 

like a twig 181  on the surface of the waters.

10:8 The high places of the “House 182  of Wickedness 183  will be destroyed;

it is the place where Israel sins.

Thorns and thistles will grow up over its altars.

Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”

and to the hills, “Fall on us!

Failure to Learn from the Sin and Judgment of Gibeah

10:9 O Israel, you have sinned since the time 184  of Gibeah,

and there you have remained.

Did not war overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?

10:10 When I please, 185  I will discipline them; 186 

I will gather nations together to attack them, 187 

to bind them in chains 188  for their two sins. 189 

Fertility Imagery: Plowing, Sowing, and Reaping

10:11 Ephraim was a well-trained heifer who loved to thresh grain;

I myself put a fine yoke 190 on her neck.

I will harness Ephraim.

Let Judah plow! 191 

Let Jacob break up 192  the unplowed ground for himself!

10:12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,

reap unfailing love.

Break up the unplowed ground for yourselves,

for it is time to seek the Lord,

until he comes and showers deliverance 193  on you.

10:13 But you have plowed wickedness;

you have reaped injustice;

you have eaten the fruit of deception.

Because you have depended on your chariots; 194 

you have relied 195  on your many warriors.

Bethel Will Be Destroyed Like Beth Arbel

10:14 The roar of battle will rise against your people;

all your fortresses will be devastated,

just as Shalman devastated 196  Beth Arbel on the day of battle,

when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.

10:15 So will it happen to you, O Bethel, 197 

because of your great wickedness!

When that day dawns, 198 

the king of Israel will be destroyed. 199 

NET Bible Study Environment