Context: The divided kingdom of Israel, composed of ten of the tribes of Jacob, has slipped into a state of degeneracy. The prophet Hosea, speaking during her dark period, warns the nation of its doom because it has rejected God. The prophet realizes that the blame for Israel's sinfulness rests with the wicked priests. Thus he delivers to the people the word of the Lord:
Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.
Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.
They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.
And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.