Hosea 4

1People of Israel, listen to the Lord’s message! The Lord will tell his argument against the people that live in this country. “People in this country don’t really know God. The people are not true and loyal to God. 2The people swear, lie, kill, and steal. They do the sin of adultery, and they have their babies. The people murder again and again. 3So the country is like a person crying for the dead, and all of its people are weak. Even the animals of the field, the birds of the sky, and the fish in the sea are dying. 4No person should argue or blame another person. Priest, my argument is with you! 5You ˻(priests)˼ will fall in the daytime. And at night, the prophet will also fall with you. And I will destroy your mother. 6“My people are destroyed because they have no knowledge. You have refused to learn. So I will refuse to let you be a priest for me. You have forgotten the law of your God, so I will forget your children. 7They became proud! They sinned more and more against me. So I will change their glory to shame. 8“The priests joined in the people’s sins. They wanted more and more of those sins. 9So the priests are no different than the people. I will punish them for the things they did. I will pay them back for the wrong things they did. 10They will eat, but they will not be satisfied! They will do sexual sins, but they will not have babies. Why? Because they left the Lord and became like prostitutes. 11“Sexual sins, strong drink, and new wine will ruin a person’s ability to think straight. 12My people are asking pieces of wood for advice. They think those sticks will answer them. Why? Because they have chased after those false gods like prostitutes. They left their God and became like prostitutes. 13They make sacrifices on the tops of the mountains and burn incense on the hills under oak trees, poplar trees, and elm trees. The shade under those trees looks nice. So your daughters lie under those trees like prostitutes. And your daughters-in-law do their sexual sins. 14“I can’t blame your daughters for being prostitutes, or your daughters-in-law for doing sexual sins. The men go and sleep with prostitutes. They go and offer sacrifices with the temple prostitutes. So, those foolish people are destroying themselves. 15“Israel, you act like a prostitute. But don’t let Judah be guilty. Don’t go to Gilgal or go up to Beth-aven. Don’t use the Lord’s name to make promises. Don’t say, 'As the Lord lives ...!’ 16The Lord has given many things to Israel. He is like a shepherd that takes his sheep to a large field with much grass. But Israel is stubborn. Israel is like a young cow that runs away again and again. 17Ephraim has joined his idols. So leave him alone. 18“Ephraim has joined their drunkenness. Let them continue to be prostitutes. Let them be with their lovers. 19They went to those gods for safety, and they have lost their ability to think. Their sacrifices bring them shame.”

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