‘Messing about,’ – Hosea 4.

Hear the word of the Lord, O people of Israel;
 for the Lord has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land.

There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land.

Swearing, lying, and murder,
 and stealing and adultery break out;
 bloodshed follows bloodshed.

Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish;

together with the wild animals
 and the birds of the air,
 even the fish of the sea are perishing.

Yet let no one contend,
 and let none accuse,
 for with you is my contention, O priest.

You shall stumble by day;
 the prophet also shall stumble with you by night,
 and I will destroy your mother.

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge;
 because you have rejected knowledge,
 I reject you from being a priest to me.

And since you have forgotten the law of your God,
 I also will forget your children.

The more they increased,
 the more they sinned against me;
 they changed their glory into shame.

They feed on the sin of my people;
 they are greedy for their iniquity.

And it shall be like people, like priest;
 I will punish them for their ways,
 and repay them for their deeds.

They shall eat, but not be satisfied;
 they shall fuck, but not multiply;

because they have forsaken the Lord
 to devote themselves to fucking.

Wine and new wine
 take away the understanding.

My people consult a piece of wood,
 and their divining-rod gives them oracles.

For a spirit of fucking has led them astray,
 and they have played the whore, forsaking their God.

They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains,
 and make offerings upon the hills,
 under oak, poplar, and terebinth,
 because their shade is good.

Therefore your daughters play the whore,
 and your daughters-in-law fuck.

I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,
 nor your daughters-in-law when they fuck;

for the men themselves go and fuck with whores,
 and sacrifice with temple prostitutes;

thus a people without understanding comes to ruin.

Though you play the whore, O Israel,
 do not let Judah become guilty.

Do not enter into Gilgal,
 or go up to Beth-aven,
 and do not swear,

‘As the Lord lives.’

Like a stubborn heifer,
 Israel is stubborn;

can the Lord now feed them
 like a lamb in a broad pasture?

Ephraim is fucking idols—

let him alone.

When their drinking is ended, they indulge in sexual orgies;
 they love lewdness more than their glory.

A wind has wrapped them in its wings,

and they shall be ashamed because of their altars.

  1. Tim Barnett said:


    What is the deal with the explicit language? You clearly made the inclusion for a purpose? I’m just not sure why? Shock, maybe? For me, it distracts from the text itself. These verses carry enough force without any synonymous creativity. I’ll stick with the ESV over the JTV.



  2. jt* said:

    “What is the deal with the explicit language? You clearly made the inclusion for a purpose? I’m just not sure why? Shock, maybe?”

    That’s just it Tim! You hit the nail on the head right there. Talk of being a ‘whore’ and ‘playing the whore’ just doesn’t quite carry the *offensiveness* of what the prophet is describing here (at least not to our ears). We Christians in the 21st century can read over a text like Hosea and not feel at all offended or judged.

    “You played the whore.”

    Ok, so what? I’ll just read over that.

    “You were fucking around.”

    What? Hold on now, we all know God doesn’t talk to his people like that!

    I think that’s precisely the point the prophet was making.

    To Israel’s ears these words stung. Do they have the same effect on us today? Not in my experience.

    Whore. Whoring. Played the whore.

    People don’t really talk like this.

    FUCK. FUCKING. FUCKING AROUND. Now that shit is offensive. I’m personally offended by that.

    Perhaps this gives us a glimpse of the offensiveness of our idolatry to God. He is jealous after all. He desires us to be a pleasant aroma but our idolatry smells like shit and you better believe that’s offensive.

    For example, check out 4:17.

    The NRSV translates it as, “Ephraim is joined to idols…” The NIV says the same thing. But this sort of language fails to capture the offensiveness of the act.

    “Joined to idols.” You realize what the prophet is saying here right? The idols legs are spread wide-open and Ephraim has climbed right in. When we hear “joined to idols,” what we should really hear is “fucking idols.”


    Not to be crass or cheap.

    But because that’s how offensive our idolatry is to God.

  3. it’s hard to hear and to read it like that, but I think your right on bro. We hear it and respond to it a whole new way when it’s actually offensive to us.
    It royally blows, but our God is a jealous God.
    The first two of the ten commandments deal with God being a jealous God. And whenever I see something more than once in the Bible I have learned that God means business on that subject.
    So God is pissed when the Israelites are giving themselves over to idols emotionally, physically, spiritually, and economically.
    So your right on Turtle, we need to be offended and change our idolotrous ways.

    and ps. consider yourself added to my blogroll

  4. JB said:

    As much as I see your point in how you use the ‘f’ word to be offensive, to grab our attention and remind us of the offensiveness of our idolatry, I think it’s still missing an element. Whoring is more than “fucking around”, it’s prostitution, it’s selling ourselves. We sell ourselves into the idolatry…
    And for the record, I still find the terms whore and whoring offensive, maybe that’s because I’m a female and am more sensitive to words that describe females and I in no way would want to be labeled with them. (When it comes to my own walk in faith, I know I often play the whore, thanks be to God for loving me, forgiving me and pulling me continuously from the whore houses in my life.)

  5. jt* said:

    That’s a fair point JB. I appreciate your insight as a woman and sister in Christ. I pray that I too would continue to, along with you, know what it feels like to not only betray Christ but also what it feels like to be welcomed home and forgiven.

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