“Wine has robbed my people of their understanding. 12 They ask a piece of wood for advice! They think a stick can tell them the future! Longing after idols has made them foolish. They have played the prostitute, serving other gods and deserting their God. 13 They offer sacrifices to idols on the mountaintops. They go up into the hills to burn incense in the pleasant shade of oaks, poplars, and terebinth trees.
“That is why your daughters turn to prostitution, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery. 14 But why should I punish them for their prostitution and adultery? For your men are doing the same thing, sinning with whores and shrine prostitutes. O foolish people! You refuse to understand, so you will be destroyed.
15 “Though you, Israel, are a prostitute, may Judah not be guilty of such things. Do not join the false worship at Gilgal or Beth-aven,[a] and do not take oaths there in the Lord’s name. 16 Israel is stubborn, like a stubborn heifer. So should the Lord feed her like a lamb in a lush pasture? 17 Leave Israel[b] alone, because she is married to idolatry. 18 When the rulers of Israel finish their drinking, off they go to find some prostitutes. They love shame more than honor.[c] 19 So a mighty wind will sweep them away. Their sacrifices to idols will bring them shame.
4:15Beth-aven means “house of wickedness”; it is being used as another name for Bethel, which means “house of God.”
4:17Hebrew Ephraim, referring to the northern kingdom of Israel.
4:18As in Greek version; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
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