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1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

4 Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.

5 Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.

6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.

8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.

9 And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.

10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.

11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.

12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.

13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.

15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth.

16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.

18 Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.

19 The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Commentary for Hosea 4

God's judgments against the sins of the people. (1-5) and of the priests. (6-11) Idolatry is reproved, and Judah is admonished. (12-19)1-5 Hosea reproves for immorality, as well as idolatry. There was no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God in the land: it was full of murders, #2Ki 21:16|. Therefore calamities were near, which would desolate the country. Our sins, as separate persons, as a family, as a neighbourhood, as a nation, cause the Lord to have a controversy with us; let us submit and humble ourselves before Him, that he may not go on to destroy.

6-11 Both priests and people rejected knowledge; God will justly reject them. They forgot the law of God, neither desired nor endeavoured to retain it in mind, and to transmit the remembrance to their posterity; therefore God will justly forget them and their children. If we dishonour God with that which is our honour, it will, sooner or later, be turned into shame to us. Instead of warning the people against sin, from the consideration of the sacrifices, which showed what an offence sin was to God, since it needed an atonement, the priests encouraged the people to sin, since atonement might be made at so small an expense. It is very wicked to be pleased with the sins of others, because they may turn to our advantage. What is unlawfully gained, cannot be comfortably used. The people and the priests hardened one another in sin; therefore justly shall they share in the punishment. Sharers in sin must expect to share in ruin. Any lust harboured in the heart, in time will eat out all its strength and vigour. That is the reason why many professors grow so heavy, so dull, so dead in the way of religion. They have a liking for some secret lust, which takes away their hearts.

12-19 The people consulted images, and not the Divine word. This would lead to disorder and sin. Thus men prepare scourges for themselves, and vice is spread through a people. Let not Judah come near the idolatrous worship of Israel. For Israel was devoted to idols, and must now be let alone. When sinners cast off the easy yoke of Christ, they go on in sin till the Lord saith, Let them alone. Then they receive no more warnings, feel no more convictions: Satan takes full possession of them, and they ripen for destruction. It is a sad and sore judgment for any man to be let alone in sin. Those who are not disturbed in their sin, will be destroyed for their sin. May we be kept from this awful state; for the wrath of God, like a strong tempest, will soon hurry impenitent sinners into ruin.

Commentary by Matthew Henry, 1710.

Discussion for Hosea 4

  • Norm
    Holy Father, let America turn from their stocks and embrace You most High God as the day draweth near for the godly to cease in the land! Amen. Proverbs 7:22 He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks Jeremiah 3:9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks. 10:8 But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. Hosea 4:12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.
  • Chuck
    america is under gods judgement like israel was we have aborted countless
    number of unborn children and sold body parts, we have legalized sodomy
    we have the cult of islam wanting to take over america in a subtle way like
    satan, we have a leader who is one himself america repent and turn to the real
    jesus christ for salvation before it is too late a great falling away is here. 1tim4-1
  • John madden for verse 10
    Sin never satisfies only but for a season.it leaves us empty after were done..and they were not giveing any thought of god. sin blurrs our view of god so as to think he is winking at our sin
  • David young
    Israel in the days of hosea sound like Amereica today.The total disrespect for the Ten Commandments is what destroyed them as a nation and a people.And with the invention of the ACLU they have successfuly remove god from the voices in our students mouths to the removal of the Ten Commandments from ours court rooms.This is why god said my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
  • Terkesha Harrison for verse 6
    Yes just as I thought his people knowing him but there hearts are far from him
  • Kenneth Zimba for verse 6
    Lacking of knowledge is a deliberate thing, because God has revealed Himself to man Ignorance has no defence Acts 14:16-17 ' ' Who in bygone generations allowed all Nations to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filing our hearts with food and gladness ' '. Our maker has to all generations shown Himself to man in a language he understands, lacking of knowledge is not a defense.

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Bible Trivia

For the lack of what did the Lord rebuke Israel through Hosea?
  • Truth and mercy
  • Knowledge of God
  • Love and joy
  • 1 and 2
  • 2 and 3