4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the
LORD a hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the
land, because [there is] no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge
of God in the land.
(a) Because the people would not obey the admonitions of the
Prophets, he accuses them before the judgment seat of
God, against whom they chiefly offended; (Isa 7:13)
(Zec 12:10 Mic 6:1,2).
4:2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and
committing adultery, they break out, and b blood toucheth
(b) In every place appears a liberality to most wicked
vices, so that one follows right after another.
4:4 Yet c let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy
people [are] as they that strive with the priest.
(c) As though he would say that it was in vain to rebuke
them, for no man can endure it: indeed, they will speak
against the prophets and priests whose office it is
chiefly to rebuke them.
4:5 Therefore shalt thou fall in the d day, and the prophet
also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy
thy e mother.
(d) You will both perish together as one, because the former
would not obey, and the other, because he would not
(e) That is, the synagogue in which you boast.
4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because f
thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that
thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing g thou hast
forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy
(f) That is, the priests will be cast off, because for lack
of knowledge they are not able to execute their charge,
and instruct others; (De 33:3, Mal 2:7).
(g) Meaning the whole body of the people, who were weary
with hearing the word of God.
4:7 As they were h increased, so they sinned against me:
[therefore] will I change their glory into shame.
(h) The more I was beneficial to them.
4:8i They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their
heart on their iniquity.
(i) That is, the priests seek to eat the people's offerings,
and flatter them in their sins.
4:9 And there shall be, like people, like k priest: and I will
punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.
(k) Signifying that as they have sinned together, so will
they be punished together.
4:10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall l
commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have
left off to take heed to the LORD.
(l) Showing that their wickedness will be punished in all
ways: for even though they think by the multitude of
wives to have many children, yet they will be deceived
of their hope.
4:11m Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
(m) In giving themselves to pleasures, they become like
4:12 My n people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff
declareth unto them: for the o spirit of whoredoms hath
caused [them] to err, and they have gone a whoring from
under their God.
(n) Thus he speaks by derision in calling them his people,
who now because of their sins they were not his people:
for they sought help from stocks or wooden images and
sticks or idols.
(o) They are carried away with madness.
4:13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn
incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms,
because the shadow thereof [is] good: therefore your
daughters shall p commit whoredom, and your spouses shall
(p) Because they take away God's honour, and give it to
idols: therefore he will give them up to their lusts,
so that they will dishonour their own bodies; (Ro 1:28).
4:14 I will not q punish your daughters when they commit
whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for
themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice
with harlots: therefore the people [that] doth not
understand shall fall.
(q) I will not correct your shame to bring you to proper
living, but will let you run headlong to your own
4:15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, [yet] r let not
Judah offend; and come not ye unto s Gilgal, neither go
ye up to t Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth.
(r) God complains that Judah is infected, and wants them to
learn to return in time.
(s) For even though the Lord had honoured this place by his
presence, yet because it was abused by their idolatry,
he did not want his people to resort there.
(t) He calls Bethel, that is, the house of God, Bethaven,
that is, the house of iniquity, because of their
abominations set up there, signifying that no place is
holy, where God is not purely worshipped.
4:16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the
LORD will feed them as a u lamb in a large place.
(u) God will so disperse them, that they will not remain in
any certain place.
4:18 Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom
continually: her rulers [with] shame do love, x Give ye.
(x) They are so shameless in receiving bribes, that they
command men to bring them to them.
4:19 The wind hath y bound her up in her wings, and they shall
be ashamed because of their sacrifices.