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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 5

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


Israel Had Been Wicked

-- Hosea Five --

Hosea five pictures God's prophecy of destruction and punishment against the Northern Kingdom known as Israel. These people are sometimes called Ephraim. The priests, rulers and the people had committed spiritual whoredom against God. Hear the words of Hos_5:3 , "I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." Their spiritual idolatry had led them far away from their Creator and had even had a negative impact on Judah. God had withdrawn Himself from them and now they would feel the consequences of their sinfulness. ( Hos_5:6 )

"Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke" and Judah could not escape her punishment. God said the punishment will come, "till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face." ( Hos_5:15 ) Israel went into Assyrian captivity in 721 B.C. to face the consequences of their wickedness. Sin had overtaken the house of Israel. They were full of pride. They sought the Lord with their flocks and herds but not with their heart. Now they must deal with the result of their idolatry. "Therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them."

God gave these people the opportunity to repent but they were unwilling to change. Their punishment came slowly like a moth or like rottenness. It would take the rod of correction to cause Israel to seek the Lord. God said, "For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him." ( Hos_5:14 )

Verses 1-4

Israel is defiled -- Hos_5:1-4 : It was the duty of the priest to lead the people into worship of the true God. Instead they set a snare and got the people caught in the snare of idolatry. At Mizpah and Mount Tabor even the royal family had become a trap for the people instead of a blessing. In the instructions that God gave to Aaron concerning the priesthood He said, "And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean; And that ye may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD hath spoken unto them by the hand of Moses." ( Lev_10:10-11 ) The priest had failed miserably by not fulfilling their responsibility before God.

At the very place of worship the priest had despised the authority of God. In their ungodliness they were so treacherous that even murder was not outside of their evil schemes. God knew all about Israel and He found them unacceptable to Him. He said, "Thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." ( Hos_5:2 ) Ephraim, the capital was guilty, as was all of Israel. Much of the evil in Israel had its beginning in Ephraim. The people had become so corrupt that their evil deeds kept them from returning to God. The spirit of spiritual whoredom kept the people form knowing the Lord God. Their spiritual whoredom had also lead to the practice of physical whoredom. They were corrupted more and more by evil.

Verses 5-7

The pride of Israel -- Hos_5:5-7 : The pride of Israel contributed to their sins. Pride is: (1) an overvalued sense of one's own personal value or an excessively high opinion of oneself, (2) arrogant or disdainful conduct, (3) haughtiness or conceit. The pride of Israel testified to their guilt and pride also caused Judah to stumble. The corruption of Israel caused God to withdraw Himself from them. Even when they came to offer their sheep and cattle as sacrifices God had no pleasure in it. It is true that God called for the sacrifices, but the people had to first give God their heart.

Sadly, the people of Israel had been unfaithful to the Lord God. They had worshipped idols. They had produced children by prostitution. They had "dealt treacherously against the LORD." ( Hos_5:7 ) He promised, "Now shall a month devour them with their portions." In a very short time all of their possessions shall be devoured. Their disobedience brought sure and certain destruction.

Verses 8-12

An opportunity to repent -- Hos_5:8-12 : God said, Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin. ( Hos_5:8 ) Trumpets were used to warn a nation that they were under attack. This warning was to be heard in Gibeah, Ramah, and sinful Bethel. Benjamin was told to watch out! This warning provided them the opportunity for repentance. This was a prediction that Israel would be attacked by the Assyrians and that there would be the captivity of the ten tribes. God gave His solemn promise that Israel would be wiped out.

Judah is similarly now brought into the prediction. Her leaders were also like a bunch of crooks that moved boundary markers. They likewise would be flooded with God's anger. Wickedness and spiritual whoredom destined the people of God to be invaded by the heathen nations. Ephraim is oppressed and broken by God's judgment. They got what they deserved for worshipping useless idols. The commandments they kept were not God's commandments, but those of Jeroboam where he told the people to worship idols at Dan and Bethel. ( 1Ki_12:28-33 ) Both Judah and Israel would feel God's wrath. Just as a moth and rottenness attacks material things and destroys them, just so the Lord promised that His unfaithful people would soon be attacked. God gave them opportunity but they simply would not repent.

Verses 13-15

Seeking the Lord -- Hos_5:13-15 : Sadly when the punishment started God's people turned to Assyria for help. How sad, "When Israel and Judah saw their sickness and wounds, Israel asked help from Assyria. Jareb is "A symbolical name for Assyria." Assyria could not help or cure Israel of her wounds. Many turn to the wrong source for help when they should turn only to God.

It grieves the heart of God when His people look to strangers for help instead of to Him. His anger was pictured in the words, "So I'll become a fierce lion attacking Israel and Judah. I'll snatch and carry off what I want, and no one can stop me." It is a tragic sin to lose faith in God. Appealing to someone else for help will always fail! The appeal to others for help brought no help, but it did bring down the wrath of God.

It must have been very difficult for God to leave His people in the hands of the heathen. God said, "I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early." ( Hos_5:15 ) God's people would be left in the hands of their enemies until they became desperate and begged for my help. The purpose of this punishment was to cause the people to see their sins and to come to repentance.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 5". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hosea-5.html. 2014.
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