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Hosea summons the Israelites to hear the LORD’s indictment against them because they have abandoned their covenant God and given themselves to apostasy.
The LORD accuses the priests for their failure to keep the law and for their neglect of their responsibilities. The LORD will reject their priestly status; they and the people they are misleading will be end up in the same boat.
The LORD describes in great detail Israel’s involvement in the Canaanite fertility rites of Baal worship. He threatens to judge them accordingly.
In the midst of leveling additional accusations against Israel for playing the harlot by following pagan ways that violate their covenant with God, the LORD through Hosea warned Judah not to follow Israel because she is headed to destruction.
Hosea 4 begins the second major section of the book and constitutes the first collection of judgment oracles pronounced by the prophet. In this passage, the LORD confronts the nation Israel for her apostasy. He then accuses and condemns the priests for their failure to teach the covenantal laws to the people and for their self-seeking attitude in their priestly duties. Having condemned the priests, the LORD turns His attention again to Israel and describes her engagement in the Canaanite fertility rites of Baal worship. And while leveling new accusations against Israel, the LORD warns Judah not to imitate her sister because she is headed for an unpleasant surprise. The chapter’s outline is as follows: