Bible: Hosea 4-10
The Lord’s Covenant Lawsuit against the Nation Israel
4:1 Hear the word of the
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
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
4:16 Israel has rebelled 23 like a stubborn heifer!
Soon 24 the
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
For judgment is about to overtake you! 30
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;
and they do not acknowledge the
5:5 The arrogance of Israel testifies against it;
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
They will not find him –
he has withdrawn himself from them!
5:7 They have committed treason 48 against the
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
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
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,
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
6:1 “Come on! Let’s return to the
He himself has torn us to pieces,
but he will heal us!
He has injured 68 us,
but he will bandage our wounds!
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
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?
it disappears as quickly as dawn’s dew! 77
6:6 For I delight in faithfulness, not simply in sacrifice;
Indictments Against the Cities of Israel and Judah
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.
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
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
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,
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
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
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
9:5 So what will you do on the festival day,
on the festival days of the
No Escape for the Israelites This Time!
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
Let Israel know! 141
Israel Rejects Hosea’s Prophetic Exhortations
The prophet is considered a fool 142 –
because of the multitude of your sins
and your intense 145 animosity.
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
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.
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
But what can a king do for us anyway?”
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
Its people will mourn over it;
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;
10:7 Samaria and its king will be carried off 180
like a twig 181 on the surface of the waters.
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?
I will gather nations together to attack them, 187
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
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