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Hosea Four

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

Hosea 4:2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.

Hosea 4:3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

Hosea 4:4 Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.

Hosea 4:5 Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.

Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

lack of knowledge. When people lack the knowledge of God, it is because they have rejected the knowledge already received, which could have led them to God. “Unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mark 4:24).

Hosea 4:7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.

Hosea 4:8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.

Hosea 4:9 And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.

like people, like priest. One of the great tragedies in the long war against God has been the defection of so many religious leaders from the true Word of God, leading their people into compromise and apostasy. This, sadly, is as true in modern Christendom as in ancient Israel.

Hosea 4:10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.

Hosea 4:11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.

Hosea 4:12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.

their stocks, and their staff. The stocks were idols made of wood (compare Jeremiah 2:27). The “staff” may be a divining rod, such as many have used since ancient times to “witch” for water or metals in the earth. Perhaps more likely, it is synonymous with “stock.”

Hosea 4:13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

Hosea 4:14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.

Hosea 4:15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth.

Beth-aven. The town of Beth-aven (meaning “house of vanities”) had long been a center of idol worship and immorality. The northern kingdom had become enamored of it, and Hosea was warning Judah not to do the same. The same had become true of Gilgal.

Hosea 4:16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

Hosea 4:17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.

Ephraim. Ephraim, as the largest and strongest of the ten tribes in the northern kingdom of Israel, is referred to as synonymous with all Israel. By this time, all ten of these tribes were so consumed by idolatry that they were beyond hope of revival. As a result, God instructed Hosea and other prophets to quit trying (compare Genesis 6:3). Their remaining burden was to call Judah to retain her faith in the true God (Hosea 4:15) rather than following Israel.

Hosea 4:18 Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.

Hosea 4:19 The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.