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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.


The verb לקח lakech, means to take away; and this sense is also admissible that wine and wantonness take possession of the heart; but I take its simpler meaning, to take away. But it is not a general truth as most imagine, who regard it a proverbial saying, that wantonness and wine deprive men of their right mind and understanding: on the contrary, it is to be restricted, I doubt not, to the Israelites; as though the Prophet had said, that they were without a right mind, and like brute animals, because drunkenness and fornication had infatuated or fascinated them. But we may take both in a metaphorical sense; as fornication may be superstition, and so also drunkenness: yet it seems more suitable to the context to consider, that the Prophet here reproaches the Israelites for having petulantly cast aside every instruction through being too much given to their pleasures and too much cloyed. Since then the Israelites had been enriched with great plenty, God had given way to abominable indulgences, the Prophet says, that they were without sense: and this is commonly the case with such men. I will not therefore treat here more at large of drunkenness and fornication.

It is indeed true, that when any one becomes addicted to wantonness, he loses both modesty and a right mind, and also that wine is as it were poisonous, for it is, as one has said, a mixed poison: and the earth, when it sees its own blood drank up intemperately, takes its revenge on men. These things are true; but let us see what the Prophet meant.

Now, as I have said, he simply directs his discourse to the Israelites, and says, that they were sottish and senseless, because the Lord had dealt too liberally with them. For, as I have said, the kingdom of Israel was then very opulent, and full of all kinds of luxury. The Prophet then touches now distinctly on this very thing: “How comes it that ye are now so senseless, that there is not a particle of right understanding among you? Even because ye are given to excesses, because there is among you too large an abundance of all good things: hence it is, that all indulge their own lusts; and these take away your heart.” In short, God means here that the Israelites abused his blessings, and that excesses blinded them. This is the meaning. Let us now go on —

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