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Hosea 4 New Century Version (NCV)

The Lord’s Word Against Israel

People of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message.
    The Lord has this
    against you who live in the land:
“The people are not true, not loyal to God,
    nor do those who live in the land even know him.
Cursing, lying, killing, stealing and adultery are everywhere.
    One murder follows another.
Because of this the land dries up,
    and all its people are dying.
Even the wild animals and the birds of the air
    and the fish of the sea are dying.

God’s Case Against the Priests

“No one should accuse
    or blame another person.
Don’t blame the people, you priests,
    when they quarrel with you.
You will be ruined in the day,
    and your prophets will be ruined with you in the night.
I will also destroy your mother.[a]
My people will be destroyed,
    because they have no knowledge.
You have refused to learn,
    so I will refuse to let you be priests to me.
You have forgotten the teachings of your God,
    so I will forget your children.
The more priests there are,
    the more they sin against me.
I will take away their honor
    and give them shame.
Since the priests live off the sin offerings of the people,
    they want the people to sin more and more.
The priests are as wrong as the people,
    and I will punish them both for what they have done.
    I will repay them for the wrong they have done.

10 “They will eat
    but not have enough;
they will have sexual relations with the prostitutes,
    but they will not have children,
because they have left the Lord
    to give themselves to 11 prostitution,
to old and new wine,
    which take away their ability to understand.

God’s Case Against the People

12 “My people ask wooden idols for advice;
    they ask those sticks of wood to advise them!
Like prostitutes, they have chased after other gods
    and have left their own God.
13 They make sacrifices on the tops of the mountains.
    They burn offerings on the hills,
under oaks, poplars, and other trees,
    because their shade is nice.
So your daughters become prostitutes,
    and your daughters-in-law are guilty of adultery.

14 “But I will not punish your daughters
    for becoming prostitutes,
nor your daughters-in-law
    for their sins of adultery.
I will not punish them,
    because the men have sexual relations with prostitutes
and offer sacrifices with the temple prostitutes.
    A foolish people will be ruined.

15 “Israel, you act like a prostitute,
    but do not be guilty toward the Lord.
Don’t go to Gilgal
    or go up to Beth Aven.[b]
Don’t make promises,
    saying, ‘As surely as the Lord lives . . .’
16 The people of Israel are stubborn
    like a stubborn young cow.
Now the Lord will feed them
    like lambs in the open country.
17 The Israelites have chosen to worship idols,
    so leave them alone.
18 When they finish their drinking,
    they completely give themselves to being prostitutes;
    they love these disgraceful ways.
19 They will be swept away as if by a whirlwind,
    and their sacrifices will bring them only shame.


  1. 4:5 mother Refers to the nation of Israel here.
  2. 4:15 Gilgal . . . Beth Aven Cities in Israel where people worshiped false gods.
New Century Version (NCV)

The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Hosea 4 New International Version (NIV)

The Charge Against Israel

Hear the word of the Lord, you Israelites,
    because the Lord has a charge to bring
    against you who live in the land:
“There is no faithfulness, no love,
    no acknowledgment of God in the land.
There is only cursing,[a] lying and murder,
    stealing and adultery;
they break all bounds,
    and bloodshed follows bloodshed.
Because of this the land dries up,
    and all who live in it waste away;
the beasts of the field, the birds in the sky
    and the fish in the sea are swept away.

“But let no one bring a charge,
    let no one accuse another,
for your people are like those
    who bring charges against a priest.
You stumble day and night,
    and the prophets stumble with you.
So I will destroy your mother
    my people are destroyed from lack of knowledge.

“Because you have rejected knowledge,
    I also reject you as my priests;
because you have ignored the law of your God,
    I also will ignore your children.
The more priests there were,
    the more they sinned against me;
    they exchanged their glorious God[b] for something disgraceful.
They feed on the sins of my people
    and relish their wickedness.
And it will be: Like people, like priests.
    I will punish both of them for their ways
    and repay them for their deeds.

10 “They will eat but not have enough;
    they will engage in prostitution but not flourish,
because they have deserted the Lord
    to give themselves 11 to prostitution;
old wine and new wine
    take away their understanding.
12 My people consult a wooden idol,
    and a diviner’s rod speaks to them.
A spirit of prostitution leads them astray;
    they are unfaithful to their God.
13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops
    and burn offerings on the hills,
under oak, poplar and terebinth,
    where the shade is pleasant.
Therefore your daughters turn to prostitution
    and your daughters-in-law to adultery.

14 “I will not punish your daughters
    when they turn to prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law
    when they commit adultery,
because the men themselves consort with harlots
    and sacrifice with shrine prostitutes
    a people without understanding will come to ruin!

15 “Though you, Israel, commit adultery,
    do not let Judah become guilty.

“Do not go to Gilgal;
    do not go up to Beth Aven.[c]
    And do not swear, ‘As surely as the Lord lives!’
16 The Israelites are stubborn,
    like a stubborn heifer.
How then can the Lord pasture them
    like lambs in a meadow?
17 Ephraim is joined to idols;
    leave him alone!
18 Even when their drinks are gone,
    they continue their prostitution;
    their rulers dearly love shameful ways.
19 A whirlwind will sweep them away,
    and their sacrifices will bring them shame.


  1. Hosea 4:2 That is, to pronounce a curse on
  2. Hosea 4:7 Syriac (see also an ancient Hebrew scribal tradition); Masoretic Text me; / I will exchange their glory
  3. Hosea 4:15 Beth Aven means house of wickedness (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means house of God).
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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