The Meaning of Hosea 5:4 Explained

Hosea 5:4

KJV: They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.

YLT: They give not up their habitual doings, To turn back unto their God, For a spirit of whoredoms is in their midst, And Jehovah they have not known.

Darby: Their doings do not allow them to return unto their God; for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they know not Jehovah.

ASV: Their doings will not suffer them to turn unto their God; for the spirit of whoredom is within them, and they know not Jehovah.

What does Hosea 5:4 Mean?

Verse Meaning

The cultic practices of the Israelite idolaters had ensnared them so they could not return to their real God. The spirit of a harlot had taken them over; they had become sin addicts. Consequently they did not acknowledge (know) Yahweh.

Context Summary

Hosea 5:1-15 - God's Rebuke Of Apostasy
The prophet continues his grave indictment of his people. The court and the priesthood were chiefly responsible for the awful degeneracy that was eating out the national heart. The seductions of idolatry that abounded everywhere resembled the snares and nets set by hunters on the wooded heights of Gilead and Tabor.
Suddenly, within a month, Hosea 5:7, an alarm sounds from hill to hill. The foreign invader has entered the country and is slowly marching southward. Even Benjamin is threatened. Ephraim must suffer because of the institutions of Omri and Ahab, Hosea 5:11; and Judah, because her princes were grasping and fraudulent. Though message after message was sent to procure the help of Jareb-a symbolical name for Assyria, "the warlike," he would not be able to avert the approaching dissolution of the Jewish state. You cannot stop the dry-rot by grand alliances. Nothing can save a nation in whose heart the worst forms of corruption are being nourished, except a wholesale return of God and a seeking of His face. It is certain that if this lesson were profoundly learned and then practiced, the horrors of a world in arms would come to a speedy and a blessed end. [source]

Chapter Summary: Hosea 5

1  The judgments of God are denounced against the priests, people, and princes,
9  both of Israel and Judah, for their manifold sins
15  An intimation is given of mercy on their repentance

What do the individual words in Hosea 5:4 mean?

Not they do direct their deeds Toward turning to their God For the spirit of harlotry is in their midst and Yahweh they do know
לֹ֤א יִתְּנוּ֙ מַ֣עַלְלֵיהֶ֔ם לָשׁ֖וּב אֶל־ אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֑ם כִּ֣י ר֤וּחַ זְנוּנִים֙ בְּקִרְבָּ֔ם וְאֶת־ יְהוָ֖ה יָדָֽעוּ

יִתְּנוּ֙  they  do  direct 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: יָתַן 
Sense: to give, put, set.
מַ֣עַלְלֵיהֶ֔ם  their  deeds 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct, third person masculine plural
Root: מַעֲלִיל 
Sense: deed, practice.
לָשׁ֖וּב  Toward  turning 
Parse: Preposition-l, Verb, Qal, Infinitive construct
Root: שׁוּב  
Sense: to return, turn back.
אֱלֹֽהֵיהֶ֑ם  their  God 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct, third person masculine plural
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
ר֤וּחַ  the  spirit 
Parse: Noun, common singular construct
Root: רוּחַ  
Sense: wind, breath, mind, spirit.
זְנוּנִים֙  of  harlotry 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural
Root: זְנוּנִים  
Sense: adultery, fornication, prostitution.
בְּקִרְבָּ֔ם  is  in  their  midst 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: קֶרֶב  
Sense: midst, among, inner part, middle.
יְהוָ֖ה  Yahweh 
Parse: Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יהוה 
Sense: the proper name of the one true God.
יָדָֽעוּ  they  do  know 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: דָּעָה 
Sense: to know.