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The Blue Letter Bible

Hosea 4 :: New King James Version (NKJV)

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God’s Charge Against Israel
The LORD’s Controversy with Israel
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:1 - Hear the word of the LORD,
You children of Israel,
For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land:

“There is no truth or mercy
Or knowledge of God in the land.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:2 - By swearing and lying,
Killing and stealing and committing adultery,
They break all restraint,
With bloodshed upon bloodshed.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:3 - Therefore the land will mourn;
And everyone who dwells there will waste away
With the beasts of the field
And the birds of the air;
Even the fish of the sea will be taken away.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:4 - “Now let no man contend, or rebuke another;
For your people are like those who contend with the priest.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:5 - Therefore you shall stumble in the day;
The prophet also shall stumble with you in the night;
And I will destroy your mother.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:6 - My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.
Because you have rejected knowledge,
I also will reject you from being priest for Me;
Because you have forgotten the law of your God,
I also will forget your children.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:7 - “The more they increased,
The more they sinned against Me;
I will change[fn] their glory[fn] into shame.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:8 - They eat up the sin of My people;
They set their heart on their iniquity.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:9 - And it shall be: like people, like priest.
So I will punish them for their ways,
And reward them for their deeds.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:10 - For they shall eat, but not have enough;
They shall commit harlotry, but not increase;
Because they have ceased obeying the LORD.
The Idolatry of Israel
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:11 - “Harlotry, wine, and new wine enslave the heart.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:12 - My people ask counsel from their wooden idols,
And their staff informs them.
For the spirit of harlotry has caused them to stray,
And they have played the harlot against their God.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:13 - They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops,
And burn incense on the hills,
Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths,
Because their shade is good.
Therefore your daughters commit harlotry,
And your brides commit adultery.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:14 - “I will not punish your daughters when they commit harlotry,
Nor your brides when they commit adultery;
For the men themselves go apart with harlots,
And offer sacrifices with a ritual harlot.[fn]
Therefore people who do not understand will be trampled.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:15 - “Though you, Israel, play the harlot,
Let not Judah offend.
Do not come up to Gilgal,
Nor go up to Beth Aven,
Nor swear an oath, saying, ‘As the LORD lives’—
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:16 - “For Israel is stubborn
Like a stubborn calf;
Now the LORD will let them forage
Like a lamb in open country.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:17 - “Ephraim is joined to idols,
Let him alone.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:18 - Their drink is rebellion,
They commit harlotry continually.
Her rulers dearly[fn] love dishonor.
Unchecked Copy BoxHos 4:19 - The wind has wrapped her up in its wings,
And they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
NKJV Footnotes
Following Masoretic Text, Septuagint, and Vulgate; scribal tradition, Syriac, and Targum read They will change.
Following Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Syriac, Targum, and Vulgate; scribal tradition reads My glory.
Compare Deuteronomy 23:18
Hebrew is difficult; a Jewish tradition reads Her rulers shamefully love, ‘Give!’

New King James Version, © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

The text of the New King James Version (NKJV) appearing on or deriving from this or any other web page is for personal use only. Any other use of the NKJV must be in conformity with the Quotation Policy for the New King James Version. For more information about the New King James Version, the Quotation Policy, and for inquiries about permission to use the New King James Version, go to

For more information on this translation, see the NKJV Preface.

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