The Lord’s Covenant Lawsuit against the Nation Israel
4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, you Israelites!
For the LORD has a covenant lawsuit against the people of Israel.
For there is neither faithfulness nor loyalty in the land,
nor do they acknowledge God.
4:2 There is only cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery.
They resort to violence and bloodshed.
4:3 Therefore the land will mourn,
and all its inhabitants will perish.
The wild animals, the birds of the sky,
and even the fish in the sea will perish.
The Lord’s Dispute against the Sinful Priesthood
4:4 Do not let anyone accuse or contend against anyone else:
for my case is against you priests!
4:5 You stumble day and night,
and the false prophets stumble with you;
You have destroyed your own people!
4:6 You have destroyed my people
by failing to acknowledge me!
Because you refuse to acknowledge me,
I will reject you as my priests.
Because you reject the law of your God,
I will reject your descendants.
4:7 The more the priests increased in numbers,
the more they rebelled against me.
They have turned their glorious calling
into a shameful disgrace!
4:8 They feed on the sin offerings of my people;
their appetites long for their iniquity!
4:9 I will deal with the people and priests together:
I will punish them both for their ways,
and I will repay them for their deeds.
4:10 They will eat, but not be satisfied;
they will engage in prostitution, but not increase in numbers;
because they have abandoned the LORD
by pursuing other gods.
Judgment of Pagan Idolatry and Cultic Prostitution
4:11 Old and new wine
take away the understanding of my people.
4:12 They consult their wooden idols,
and their diviner’s staff answers with an oracle.
The wind of prostitution blows them astray;
they commit spiritual adultery against their God.
4:13 They sacrifice on the mountaintops,
and burn offerings on the hills;
they sacrifice under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
because their shade is so pleasant.
As a result, your daughters have become cult prostitutes,
and your daughters-in-law commit adultery!
4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit prostitution,
nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery.
For the men consort with harlots,
they sacrifice with temple prostitutes.
It is true: “A people that lacks understanding will come to ruin!”
Warning to Judah: Do Not Join in Israel’s Apostasy!
4:15 Although you, O Israel, commit adultery,
do not let Judah become guilty!
Do not journey to Gilgal!
Do not go up to Beth Aven!
Do not swear, “As surely as the LORD lives!”
4:16 Israel has rebelled like a stubborn heifer!
Soon the LORD will put them out to pasture
like a lamb in a broad field!
4:17 Ephraim has attached himself to idols;
Do not go near him!
The Shameful Sinners Will Be Brought to Shame
4:18 They consume their alcohol,
then engage in cult prostitution;
they dearly love their shameful behavior.
4:19 A whirlwind has wrapped them in its wings;
they will be brought to shame because of their idolatrous worship.