The sins that will cause God to punish the people in Israel
15 ‘Israel's people, you live like a prostitute. But do not let Judah's people also do wrong things. Do not worship at Gilgal or at Beth Aven. Do not say promises there in the name of the Lord. Do not say, “As the Lord lives”. 16 Israel's people are like a young cow. This young cow does not let you lead it. It is not possible to feed my people. A farmer takes young sheep to a field where there is much grass. I want to be kind to my people as the farmer is kind to those young sheep. 17 The people in Israel have become friends with idols. Let them go their own way. 18 After they have drunk wine, they are happy to be with prostitutes. They do not think about what people will say about them. 19 A wind will take them away. Now they cannot think any longer. Their sacrifices will cause people to think bad things about them.’
4:15Hosea's message is sometimes the same as Amos's message (Amos 5:5). Neither of them want Israel's people to worship at Gilgal or at Beth Aven. Gilgal was an important place for Israel's people. They stopped there after they crossed the Jordan river (Joshua 4:19). Beth Aven means ‘House of Very Bad Things’. It is Hosea's name for Bethel, which means ‘House of God’.
4:19God does not want to wait. It is time for God to judge them.
1 ‘Listen to this, you priests! Be careful how you listen, people in Israel! Listen, you that belong to the family of kings! I (God) have decided what to do with you. You have tried to catch people at Mizpah. You were like a net on the ground at Tabor. 2 The people who will not obey me have killed very many people. So I will tell them all that they should not have done it. And I will punish them. 3 I know what the people from Ephraim are like. They cannot hide from me. They live like a prostitute and they have become very bad. 4 Israel's people have done bad things. This makes it impossible for them to return to their God. They are like prostitutes. They do not know the Lord. 5 Israel's people think that they are too good. This is something that has made me angry with them. Their sins cause them to fall. But Judah's people will fall with them. 6 They take their sheep and cows to offer as sacrifices to the Lord. But it does not help them. They cannot find the Lord because he has left them. 7 They have not obeyed the Lord. Their children are not his. They have times when they enjoy themselves at the beginning of every month. But at the beginning of the month I will destroy their fields and they themselves will die.’
5:1There were two places called Mizpah in Israel. One place was in Gilead, east of the Jordan river. The other place was Mizpah in Benjamin's country. The word ‘catch’ means that the leaders tried to take people away from God.
5:1Tabor is a mountain. Perhaps bad things happened there.
5:3Ephraim was the name that people used for the Northern Kingdom of Israel.
5:6Israel's people thought that many sacrifices were important. The people will try to find God, but God has left them.