Hosea 4
Contemporary English Version

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.+

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.+

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+

are charmed by+ idols.

Leave those people alone!

18You get drunk, then sleep

with prostitutes;

you would rather be vulgar

than lead a decent life.+

19And so you will be swept away+

in a whirlwind

for sacrificing to idols.


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.
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.”
4.17 Israel: The Hebrew text has “Ephraim,” the leading tribe of the northern kingdom of Israel, which sometimes stands for the whole kingdom.
4.17 charmed by: Or “joined to.”
4.18 life: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 18.
4.19 And so … swept away: Or “And so you will be ashamed.”

Contemporary English Version, Second Edition (CEV®)

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