The Lord has come to his people through Hosea and presents their actions, from the priests, to the people, and to their King and says in Hosea 5:4 “Their deeds do not permit them to return them to God. Because a spirit of whoredom is in their midst, they do not know Yahweh”. They say in Hosea 6:1–3 Come, let us return to Yahweh … He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up … He will come … like the spring rain”. But the Lord knows their hearts and answers in Hosea 6:4 “What will I do with you … Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early in the morning”. And then the Lord set his expectation for them in Hosea 6:6 “I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings”. It is really the same message today in Romans 3:23–26 for all have sinned … being justified as a gift by his grace … by faith in Jesus. Will you have faith in God?
A Spirit of Whoredom is in Their Midst
This message in Hosea 5:1 is first to the Priests who should be directing the people to righteousness and holiness but the Lord rejected them as his Priests in Hos 4:6. Then it is to the house of Israel, the people themselves because God did not make the covenant with the Priests or the King, he made the covenant with the people. The sad thing is, they had been separated because Solomon turned from the Lord in 1 Kings 11:6. This should have been a time for them to rise up as Gods people, instead, they also were led into idolatry. Then, the Lord addresses the King, because the people had rejected God and asked for a king to lead them in 1 Samuel 10:17–19 so the king is not free of guilt here.
We don’t understand the significance of these locations but “As Mizpah and Tabor mean a “watch tower,” and a “lofty place,” (it is) a fit scene for hunters, playing on the words, the prophet implies, in the lofty place in which I have set you, whereas ye ought to have been the watchers of the people, guarding them from evil, ye have been as hunters entrapping them into it [Jerome]”1 Then he says in Hosea 5:2 “they dug a deep pit in Shittim” and “Shittim was the place where the Israelites were enticed into false worship by seductive means (Nu 25:1 ff.).”2 so the Lords statement is not unfounded and not without a history of refusing God’s calls to them. Now God says to them in
Hosea 5:4 Their deeds do not permit them to return them to God. Because a spirit of whoredom is in their midst, they do not know Yahweh.
There is no longer a “godly seed”, no children to raise up in the ways of the Lord. The Lord has given them an object lesson through Hosea’s own children and now ads, “the new moon”, in
Hosea 5:7 They have dealt faithlessly with Yahweh because they have borne illegitimate children. Now the new moon will devour them with their fields.
The Sabbath, and the days God had established for the feasts were not days for any other worship “The new moon was a traditional day for sacrifice and ritual feasting (Num 28:11–15; 1 Sam 20:5, 26). The celebration of the appearance of the new moon, starting the new month … Isa 1:13.”3
In Their Distress They Will Search Me
The Lord says “blow the horn … sound the alarm” in Hosea 5:8 and “I will reveal what is true” in Hosea 5:9. But there are those that knew what they were doing and they will be dealt with severely in
Hosea 5:10 The princes of Judah have become like those who remove a landmark; on them I will pour out my wrath like water.
This might seem a small thing to us, but in their time, “the removal of a landmark was a serious crime; in Israel it was a violation of the Law of Moses (Dt 19:14; 27:17). Removing landmarks could be represented as changing ancient customs and laws (Prv 22:28; 23:10; cf. Jb 24:2)”.4 so it was not just the marking of borders that God was concerned about, it was the setting aside of the revelation, the covenants, that God had made with Abraham, through Moses, and was speaking to them about in their day through Hosea.
The worst part of this is that God was for them. God was always there for them when they called on him. But here, they didn’t call on God, the went instead “to the great king” in their world at the time in
Hosea 5:13 And when Ephraim saw his illness, and Judah his wound, Ephraim went to Assyria, he sent to the great king. But he was unable to cure you and heal your wound.
So, the Lord says, I’ll wait in
Hosea 5:15 I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face; in their distress they will search me.
Come, Let Us Return to Yahweh
They respond to the Lord in their time of trouble. There isn’t help for them anywhere else so they say in
Hosea 6:1–3 Come, let us return to Yahweh; because it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck us down and will bind us up. 2 He will revive us after two days; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live in his presence. 3 Let us know, let us press on to know Yahweh; his rising is sure like the dawn. He will come like the showers to us, like the spring rain that waters the earth.
Yes, God will come “like the spring rain” when they come with their whole hearts. They haven’t and the Lord says to them in
Hosea 6:4 What will I do with you, O Ephraim? What will I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early in the morning.
They think that if they appease God, everything will be made right but this isn’t a problem to fix in a day or two or three. They need to change their thinking, they need to change their hearts toward God. How is it that they didn’t trust God and come to him knowing his love for them and showing their “steadfast love” for him in
Hosea 6:6–7 Because I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, and knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings. 7 But like Adam, they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me.
There are places like this where we understand how God feels about the actions of people and here is one in
Hosea 6:10 In the house of Israel I have seen something horrible; Ephraim’s unfaithfulness is there. Israel is defiled.
This happened with Adam, it happened in the time of Noah, it is happening as Hosea records it here, and not long after, it happens with the Southern kingdom and the terrible truth is, it still happens today and there are still those that are perishing.
But God, knowing the fallen nature in man, has made a way in
Romans 3:23–26 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 being justified as a gift by his grace, through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus 25 whom God made publicly available as the mercy seat through faith in his blood, for a demonstration of his righteousness, because of the passing over of previously committed sins, 26 in the forbearance of God, for the demonstration of his righteousness in the present time, so that he should be just and the one who justifies the person by faith in Jesus.
He came and walked among us, He paid the legal price for our sin and gave us the gift of life, if we will only believe and have faith in Jesus Christ.
By Their Wickedness They Make the King Glad
Foreigners Devour His Strength
- Hosea 5:1–7 A Spirit of Whoredom is in Their Midst
- Hosea 5:8–15 In Their Distress They Will Search Me
- Hosea 6:1–10 Come, Let Us Return to Yahweh
- Hosea 4:10-19
- Hosea 5:1-15
- Hosea 6:1-11
- Hosea 7:1-16
- 1. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 654). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
- 2. Binns, L. E. (1942). Hosea. In C. Gore, H. L. Goudge, & A. Guillaume (Eds.), A New Commentary on Holy Scripture: Including the Apocrypha (Vol. 1, p. 560). New York: The Macmillan Company.
- 3. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ho 5:7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
- 4. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Landmark. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 1307). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.