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God Accuses Israel


Hear the word of the L ord, O people of Israel;

for the L ord 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 play the whore, but not multiply;

because they have forsaken the L ord

to devote themselves to 11whoredom.


The Idolatry of Israel

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 whoredom 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 commit adultery.


I will not punish your daughters when they play the whore,

nor your daughters-in-law when they commit adultery;

for the men themselves go aside 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 L ord lives.”


Like a stubborn heifer,

Israel is stubborn;

can the L ord now feed them

like a lamb in a broad pasture?



Ephraim is joined to 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.


I now return to that passage of the Prophet, in which he says, They shall eat and shall not be satisfied, and again, They shall play the wanton and shall not increase; because Jehovah have they left off to attend to. The Prophet here again proclaims the judgment which was nigh the Israelites. And first, he says, They shall eat and shall not be satisfied; in which he alludes to the last verse. For the priests gaped for gain, and their only care was to satisfy their appetites. Since then their cupidity was insatiable, which was also the cause why they conceded sinful liberty to the people, he now says, They shall eat and shall not be satisfied. The Prophet intimates further by these words, that men are not sustained by plenty or abundance of provisions, but rather by the blessing of God: for a person may devour much, yet the quantity, however large, may not satisfy him; and this we find to be often the case as to a voracious appetite; for in such an instance, the staff of bread is broken, that is, the Lord takes away support from bread, so that much eating does not satisfy. And this is the Prophet’s meaning, when he says, They shall eat and shall not be satisfied The priests thought it a happy time with them, when they gathered great booty from every quarter; God on the contrary declares, that it would be empty and useless to them; for no satisfying effect would follow: however much they might greedily swallow up, they would not yet be satisfied.

He afterwards adds, They shall play the wanton and shall not increase; that is, “However much they might give the reins to promiscuous lusts, I will not yet suffer them to propagate: so far shall they be from increasing or generating an offspring by lawful marriages, that were they everywhere to indulge in illicit intercourse, they would still continue barren.” The Prophet here, in a word, testifies that the ungodly are deceived, when they think that they can obtain their wishes by wicked and unlawful means; for the Lord will frustrate their desires. The avaricious think, when they have much, that they are sufficiently defended against all want; and when penury presses on all others, they think themselves beyond the reach of danger. But the Lord derides this folly: “Gather, gather great heaps; but I will blow on your riches, that they may vanish, or at least yield you no advantage. So also strive to beget children; though one may marry ten wives, or everywhere play the wanton, he shall still remain childless.” Thus we see that a just punishment is inflicted on profane men, when they indulge their own lusts: they indeed promise to themselves a happy issue; but God, on the other hand, pronounces upon them his curse.

He then adds, They have left Jehovah to attend, that is that they may not attend or serve him. Here the Prophet points out the source and the chief cause of all evils, and that is, because the Israelites had forsaken the true God and his worship. Though they indeed retained the name of God, and were wont, even boldly, to set up this plea against the Prophets, that they were the children of Abraham, and the chosen of the supreme God, he yet says that they were apostates. How so? Because whosoever keeps faith with God, keeps himself also under the tuition of his word, and wanders not after his own inventions; but the Israelites indulged themselves in any thing they pleased. Since then it is certain that they had shaken off the yoke of the law, it is no wonder that the Prophet says, that they had departed from the Lord. But we ought to notice the confirmation of this truth, that no one can continue to keep faith with God, except he observes his word and remains under its tuition. Let us now proceed —

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