4:1-5 Hosea reproves for immorality, as well as idolatry. There was no truth, mercy, or knowledge of God in the land: it was full of murders, 2Ki 21:16. Therefore calamities were near, which would desolate the country. Our sins, as separate persons, as a family, as a neighbourhood, as a nation, cause the Lord to have a controversy with us; let us submit and humble ourselves before Him, that he may not go on to destroy.
Ho 4:1-19. Henceforth the Prophet Speaks Plainly and without Symbol, in Terse, Sententious Propositions.
In this chapter he reproves the people and priests for their sins in the interregnum which followed Jeroboam's death; hence there is no mention of the king or his family; and in Ho 4:2 bloodshed and other evils usual in a civil war are specified.
1. Israel—the ten tribes.
controversy—judicial ground of complaint (Isa 1:18; Jer 25:31; Mic 6:2).
no … knowledge of God—exhibited in practice (Jer 22:16).