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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 6

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


Let Us Return Unto The Lord

-- Hosea Six --

Israel had sinned grievously. They had become idolatrous. Sin had taken them far from the one true and loving God. God had promised that Israel would be left to face the consequences of her sins. “I will return again to My place Till they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.” ( Hos_5:15 ) The thought of being left in our sins, without God, should bring us to our knees. Sadly, Judah was not too far behind Israel.

Hosea pictured the goodness of God in receiving and reviving His penitent people. God always promised to receive those that repent. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” ( 2Ch_7:14 ) God was prepared to receive His people again, if only they would turn their hearts to Him.

The goodness or faithfulness of both Israel and Judah was like an early morning cloud. It did not last and went quickly away. Through His prophet God pronounced coming judgment upon those nations. His judgment was as sure and certain as the coming of morning light.

Sadly, Israel felt very righteous. However, their religion was only outward show. This led God to say, “For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, And the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” ( Hos_6:6 ) While practicing an outward religion Israel was disobedient against God and treacherous in dealing with others.

Gilead was specifically called out by God as a city that had done wickedly. They worked iniquity and were polluted with blood. Murder was their sin! God asked, “Though Gilead has idols-Surely they are vanity-Though they sacrifice bulls in Gilgal, Indeed their altars shall be heaps in the furrows of the field.” ( Hos_12:11 ) He looked upon the sinfulness of both Israel and Judah as a “horrible thing.”

Verses 1-3

Return to the Lord and live Hos_6:1-3 : In much the same way as Hosea had appeal to his own unfaithful wife to return to him the prophet now pleaded with Israel to return to God. “Come, and let us return to the LORD; For He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.” ( Hos_6:1 ) Hosea knew God to be forgiving, merciful and compassionate. He was a God of severeity, but He was also a God of goodness. ( Rom_11:22 ) No doubt but Hosea knew the words of Deu_32:39 , “Now see that I, even I, am He, And there is no God besides Me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; Nor is there any who can deliver from My hand.” Friends, God will revive you and restore you if you repent and obey!

Verses 3-4

Righteousness must be continual Hos_6:3-4 : God caused both Israel (Ephraim) and Judah to think of their sad spiritual condition by asking “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? He wanted them to be fully aware of the punishment they deserved because of their transgressions. Their faithfulness or goodness was like to morning cloud or it was like the dew on the ground in the early morning. Their righteous was there for a short time and then quickly gone away. They had forgotten that God expected, desired and deserved continual righteousness.

God had sent his prophets to shape and mold Israel spiritually by His word. The word of His mouth is the tool that He uses even this day, to shape men for eternity. God’s word is like a fire that burns the impurities from our life. It is also like a hammer to mold and shape us into the likeness of the Almighty. Jeremiah said, “Is not My word like a fire?" says the LORD, "And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?” ( Jer_23:29 ) It is by the word of God that His judgments go forth as the light.

Verses 6-8

Remembering God’s covenant Hos_6:6-8 : Gomer had broken the covenant that she had made with Hosea. She had become an unfaithful wife treacherous companion. Israel had likewise broken her covenant with God. God desired obedience with a merciful heart. Israel only gave empty sacrifices to God. Their relationship with God should have been more important to them than any burnt offerings that they might sacrifice. Yet their lives could only be described as spiritual emptiness and failure.

God sadly said, “But like men they transgressed the covenant; There they dealt treacherously with Me.” ( Hos_6:7 ) They like men or like Adam transgressed God’s covenant. God’s covenant with Adam was simple and easy to be understood, yet in rebellion he transgressed. Israel transgressed the covenant of God by their treacherous and ungodly living. Their wickedness was a grief to the heart of the Creator.

Gilead is a city that represented how Israel had worked iniquity. Iniquity has to do with the evil that is in the heart that then found place in the life of the person. Their lives were polluted by the blood of their worthless sacrifices and by the blood of those that were murdered in their godless society. When humanity lacks respect for God there will be manifest a lack of respect for human life.

Verses 9-11

Returning the covenant of God’s people Hos_6:9-11 : Both Israel and Judah had become very corrupt. Instead of helping the hurting they had become a “troop of robbers” waiting to harm some individual. The priest had become a company of murderers. God had said to the priest, “Hear this, O priests! Take heed, O house of Israel! Give ear, O house of the king! For yours is the judgment, Because you have been a snare to Mizpah And a net spread on Tabor.” ( Hos_5:1 ) Their evil society had been described in the said words, “Hear the word of the LORD, You children of Israel, For the LORD brings a charge against the inhabitants of the land: There is no truth or mercy Or knowledge of God in the land.” ( Hos_4:2 )

Jeremiah gave a similar picture to that painted by Hosea. He wrote, “Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations'?” ( Jer_7:9-10 ) God observed the horrible idolatry of both Israel and Judah. He said, “I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled. Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you, When I return the captives of My people.” ( Hos_6:10-11 ) Sadly He used a severe period of captivity to bring Judah to her knees. The great need was for a return to God’s covenant by His covenant people. Israel would be destroyed because of her sinfulness. Judah would be preserved so that the Christ, man’s hope for redemption could be born.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 6". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hosea-6.html. 2014.
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