Hosea 4
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Listen to this chapter in Hebrew:

1  Hear the word of Hashem, O people of Yisrael! For Hashem has a case Against the inhabitants of this land, Because there is no honesty and no goodness And no obedience to Hashem in the land.

shim-U d’-var a-do-NAI b’-NAY yis-ra-AYL KEE REEV la-do-NAI im yo-sh’-VAY ha-A-retz KEE ayn e-MET v’-ayn KHE-sed v’-ayn DA-at e-lo-HEEM ba-A-retz

א  שִׁמְעוּ דְבַר־יְהֹוָה בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל כִּי רִיב לַיהֹוָה עִם־יוֹשְׁבֵי הָאָרֶץ כִּי אֵין־אֱמֶת וְאֵין־חֶסֶד וְאֵין־דַּעַת אֱלֹהִים בָּאָרֶץ׃

 4:1  No obedience to Hashem in the land

Hoshea begins to outline Hashem’s case against His people by stating that there is no truth, no mercy, and no “da’at Elokim” in the land. Da’at Elokim is translated here as ‘obedience to Hashem,’ but literally means ‘knowledge of Hashem.’ From this negative statement, we can see Hoshea’s conception of the ideal person: One who is honest, kind, and “knows” God. To “know God” is reminiscent of the Bible’s description of the ideal, intimate relationship between husband and wife, described as, “Now the man knew his wife Chava” (Genesis 4:1). The ideal relationship described by this term encompasses not only the physical dimension, but includes total comprehension or knowledge of the other. Through study of the Bible and the world which God created, we can come as close as possible to understand and to know Hashem.1 comment

2  [False] swearing, dishonesty, and murder, And theft and adultery are rife; Crime follows upon crime!

ב  אָלֹה וְכַחֵשׁ וְרָצֹחַ וְגָנֹב וְנָאֹף פָּרָצוּ וְדָמִים בְּדָמִים נָגָעוּ׃

3  For that, the earth is withered: Everything that dwells on it languishes— Beasts of the field and birds of the sky— Even the fish of the sea perish.

ג  עַל־כֵּן תֶּאֱבַל הָאָרֶץ וְאֻמְלַל כָּל־יוֹשֵׁב בָּהּ בְּחַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמָיִם וְגַם־דְּגֵי הַיָּם יֵאָסֵפוּ׃

4  “Let no man rebuke, let no man protest!” For this your people has a grievance against [you], O Kohen!

ד  אַךְ אִישׁ אַל־יָרֵב וְאַל־יוֹכַח אִישׁ וְעַמְּךָ כִּמְרִיבֵי כֹהֵן׃

5  So you shall stumble by day, And by night a Navi shall stumble as well, And I will destroy your kindred.

ה  וְכָשַׁלְתָּ הַיּוֹם וְכָשַׁל גַּם־נָבִיא עִמְּךָ לָיְלָה וְדָמִיתִי אִמֶּךָ׃

6  My people is destroyed because of [your] disobedience! Because you have rejected obedience, I reject you as My Kohen; Because you have spurned the teaching of your God, I, in turn, will spurn your children.

ו  נִדְמוּ עַמִּי מִבְּלִי הַדָּעַת כִּי־אַתָּה הַדַּעַת מָאַסְתָּ וְאֶמְאָסְאךָ מִכַּהֵן לִי וַתִּשְׁכַּח תּוֹרַת אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶשְׁכַּח בָּנֶיךָ גַּם־אָנִי׃

7  The more they increased, the more they sinned against Me: I will change their dignity to dishonor.

ז  כְּרֻבָּם כֵּן חָטְאוּ־לִי כְּבוֹדָם בְּקָלוֹן אָמִיר׃

8  They feed on My people’s sin offerings, And so they desire its iniquity.

ח  חַטַּאת עַמִּי יֹאכֵלוּ וְאֶל־עֲוׂנָם יִשְׂאוּ נַפְשׁוֹ׃

9  Therefore, the people shall fare like the Kohanim: I will punish it for its conduct, I will requite it for its deeds.

ט  וְהָיָה כָעָם כַּכֹּהֵן וּפָקַדְתִּי עָלָיו דְּרָכָיו וּמַעֲלָלָיו אָשִׁיב לוֹ׃

10  Truly, they shall eat, but not be sated; They shall swill, but not be satisfied, Because they have forsaken Hashem To practice

י  וְאָכְלוּ וְלֹא יִשְׂבָּעוּ הִזְנוּ וְלֹא יִפְרֹצוּ כִּי־אֶת־יְהֹוָה עָזְבוּ לִשְׁמֹר׃

11  lechery. Wine and new wine destroy The mind of

יא  זְנוּת וְיַיִן וְתִירוֹשׁ יִקַּח־לֵב׃

12  My people: It consults its stick, Its rod directs it! A lecherous impulse has made them go wrong, And they have strayed from submission to their God.

יב  עַמִּי בְּעֵצוֹ יִשְׁאָל וּמַקְלוֹ יַגִּיד לוֹ כִּי רוּחַ זְנוּנִים הִתְעָה וַיִּזְנוּ מִתַּחַת אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃

13  They sacrifice on the mountaintops And offer on the hills, Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths Whose shade is so pleasant. That is why their daughters fornicate And their daughters-in-law commit adultery!

יג  עַל־רָאשֵׁי הֶהָרִים יְזַבֵּחוּ וְעַל־הַגְּבָעוֹת יְקַטֵּרוּ תַּחַת אַלּוֹן וְלִבְנֶה וְאֵלָה כִּי טוֹב צִלָּהּ עַל־כֵּן תִּזְנֶינָה בְּנוֹתֵיכֶם וְכַלּוֹתֵיכֶם תְּנָאַפְנָה׃

14  I will not punish their daughters for fornicating Nor their daughters-in-law for committing adultery; For they themselves turn aside with whores And sacrifice with prostitutes, And a people that is without sense must stumble.

יד  לֹא־אֶפְקוֹד עַל־בְּנוֹתֵיכֶם כִּי תִזְנֶינָה וְעַל־כַּלּוֹתֵיכֶם כִּי תְנָאַפְנָה כִּי־הֵם עִם־הַזֹּנוֹת יְפָרֵדוּ וְעִם־הַקְּדֵשׁוֹת יְזַבֵּחוּ וְעָם לֹא־יָבִין יִלָּבֵט׃

15  If you are a lecher, Yisrael— Let not Yehuda incur guilt— Do not come to Gilgal, Do not make pilgrimages to Beit Aven, And do not swear by Hashem!

טו  אִם־זֹנֶה אַתָּה יִשְׂרָאֵל אַל־יֶאְשַׁם יְהוּדָה וְאַל־תָּבֹאוּ הַגִּלְגָּל וְאַל־תַּעֲלוּ בֵּית אָוֶן וְאַל־תִּשָּׁבְעוּ חַי־יְהֹוָה׃

16  Ah, Yisrael has balked Like a stubborn cow; Therefore, Hashem will graze him On the range, like a sheep.

טז  כִּי כְּפָרָה סֹרֵרָה סָרַר יִשְׂרָאֵל עַתָּה יִרְעֵם יְהֹוָה כְּכֶבֶשׂ בַּמֶּרְחָב׃

17  Efraim is addicted to images— Let him be.

יז  חֲבוּר עֲצַבִּים אֶפְרָיִם הַנַּח־לוֹ׃

18  They drink to excess— Their liquor turns against them. They “love” beyond measure— Disgrace is the “gift”

יח  סָר סָבְאָם הַזְנֵה הִזְנוּ אָהֲבוּ הֵבוּ קָלוֹן מָגִנֶּיהָ׃

19  Which the wind is bringing; They shall garner shame from their sacrifices.

יט  צָרַר רוּחַ אוֹתָהּ בִּכְנָפֶיהָ וְיֵבֹשׁוּ מִזִּבְחוֹתָם

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Hosea 4

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