Hosea 4
Israel Is Unfaithful
1Israel, listen
as the Lord accuses
everyone in the land!
No one is faithful or loyal
or truly cares about God.
2Cursing, dishonesty, murder,
robbery, unfaithfulness—
these happen all the time.
Violence is everywhere.
3And so your land is a desert.
Every living creature is dying—
people and wild animals,
birds and fish.
The Lord Warns the Priests
4Don't accuse just anyone!
Not everyone is at fault.
My case is against you,
the priests.#4.4 priests: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 4. Hosea may have had in mind only one priest, possibly the chief priest.
5You and the prophets
will stumble day and night;
I'll silence your mothers.
6You priests have rejected me,
and my people are destroyed
by refusing to obey.
Now I'll reject you and forget
your children, because you
have forgotten my Law.
7By adding more of you priests,
you multiply the number
of people who sin.
Now I'll change your pride
into shame.
8You encourage others to sin,
so you can stuff yourselves
on their sin offerings.
9That's why I will punish
the people for their deeds,
just as I will punish
you priests.
10Their food won't satisfy,
and having sex at pagan shrines
won't produce children.
My people have rebelled
11and have been unfaithful
to me, their Lord.
God Condemns Israel's Idolatry
My people, you are foolish
because of too much pleasure
and too much wine.
12You expect wooden idols
and other objects of wood
to give you advice.
Lusting for sex at pagan shrines
has made you unfaithful
to me, your God.
13You offer sacrifices
on mountaintops and hills,
under oak trees, and wherever
good shade is found.
Your own daughters
and daughters-in-law
sell themselves for sex.
14But I won't punish them.
You men are to blame,
because you go to prostitutes
and offer sacrifices with them
at pagan shrines.
Your own foolishness
will lead to your ruin.
15Israel, you are unfaithful,
but don't lead Judah to sin.
Stop worshiping at Gilgal
or at sinful Bethel.#4.15 sinful Bethel: The Hebrew text has “Beth-Aven,” which means “house of sin” or “house of nothing,” referring to “Bethel,” which means “house of God.”
And quit making promises
in my name—the name
of the living Lord.
16You are nothing more
than a stubborn cow—
so stubborn that I, the Lord,
cannot feed you like lambs
in an open pasture.
17You people of Israel#4.17 Israel: The Hebrew text has “Ephraim,” the leading tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, which sometimes stands for the whole kingdom.
are charmed by#4.17 charmed by: Or “joined to.” idols.
Leave those people alone!
18You get drunk, then sleep
with prostitutes;
you would rather be vulgar
than lead a decent life.#4.18 life: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18.
19And so you will be swept away#4.19 And so … swept away: Or “And so you will be ashamed.”
in a whirlwind
for sacrificing to idols.

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

© 2006 American Bible Society. All rights reserved.

Learn More About Contemporary English Version Interconfessional Edition