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Bible Commentaries

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament

Hosea 6

Verse 1

Hos 6:1. This verse may be considered both as an exhortation and a predction. The Lord through his prophet exhorts the people to come to themselves and the prophet sees them doing so. See the comments on the last clause of Hos 5:15.

Verse 2

Hos 6:2. The numerals are used figuratively, meaning that he (the Lord) would punish them for a while, then receive them back again. This is one form of prediction that indicates the captivity and the return.

Verse 3

Hos 6:3. If we follow on to know the Lord is a fundamental principle of the Bible. Following the Lord effectively always includes the interest sufficient to learn about Him. It was taught by Jesus in Mat 11:29 where he says for men to "learn of him." But no one can truly learn what he should of the Lord unless he is a faithful follower of Him. Latter and former ["early”] rain. The significance of this expression will be better appreciated by remembering that the rainfall in Palestine was periodical. Also, that the latter rain came before the former or "early” rain with reference to the production of crops. I shall quote from Smith’s Bible Dictionary on this subject: “Raitu In the Bible ‘early rain* signifies the rain of the autumn, Deu 11:14, and 'latter rain’ the rain of spring. Proverbs IS; 15. For six months in the year, from May to October, no rain falls, the whole land becomes dry, parched and brown. The autumnal rains are eagerly looked for, to prepare the earth for the reception of the seed. These, the early rains, commence about the latter end of October, continuing through November and December. January and February are the coldest months, and snow falls, sometimes to the depth of a foot or more, at Jerusalem, but it does not lie long; it is very seldom seen along the coast and in the low plains. Rain continues to Call more or less during the month of March; it is very rare In April." Since the falling of these rains in their proper seasons meant much to the production of crops, the phrase is used to signify the blessings in general coining from the Lord.

Verse 4

Hos 6:4. The Lord frequently uses expressions that are common to man (Rom 6:19), in order to convey the thought to the ones involved. A human parent who was “at the end of his efforts" with his wayward children would likely speak in the manner of the first half of this verse. The reference to the dew or early cloud is to compare the instability or laek of permanence in the character of God's children.

Verse 5

Hos 6:5. Sewed them by the prophets is figurative and means that when God decreed to punish his people he would warn them about it by the voice of the prophets. See Jer 1:10 and Eze 43:3 for similar statements, and note the marginal reading at the latter place. Thy is a pronoun that stands for the wayward people of God, and their judgments are described to be as fickle as their goodness is in verse 4.

Verse 6

Hos 6:6. This verse is quoted by Jesus in Mat 12:7, and applied to the cruel and hypocritical Jews of His time. The statement has been perverted by false teaehers who wish to avoid a strict adherence to the New Testament teaching. They make it mean that Jesus is not as particular in having the "doctrinal” points observed as he is in "practical" religion. But that use of the passage does violence to the authority of Christ. The remark was made concerning the selfrighteous and grasping leaders among the Jews, who would oppress the poor to obtain gain, then think to come to the altar with a part of the possessions they had extorted from the poor, and try to make it right before the Lord by making a sacrifice. Under those circumstances the Lord would not want their sacrifices, but rather that they show mercy to the people whom they had defrauded. It will again be appropriate for the reader to see the note offered at Isa 1:10, in volume 3 of this COMHINTAEY.

Verse 7

Hos 6:7. The lexicon of Strong defines men as follows: "Ruddy, i. e., a human being (an individual, or the species, mankind, etc.)” In most Bibles the marginal reading gives the rendering "like Adam,” In Job 31:33 the text says, "as Adam," and the margin at that place says, “after the manner of men.” The thought in the verse is that Israel had followed the trend of mankind in general instead of conducting themselves as the servants of God, There means, with reference to the covenant; there is where they had dealt treacherously against Him.

Verse 8

Hos 6:8. Ollead is a word of various significance in the Bible, usually re fering to an extensive region of the land of the Jews. But it sometimes refers to a city and it is so used in this verse. The inhabitants of that city were sinners to a special degree and hence are mentioned in this specific manner. The particular evil of which they were guilty was murder.

Verse 9

Hos 6:9. Single or individual acts of lawlessness are bad enough, but when men conspire to commit sin as a group it Is much worse. That is what these Jews were doing, and they are likened to troops of robbers. Even the priests acted “in a body" or as the company of priests, and they did so by consent which means a conspiracy. Lewdness is an indefinite translation of the original in this place. The Hebrew is ZAMMAH and Strong defines it, "A plan, especially a bad one.” Hence the word is meant as an additional expression showing the spirit of conspiracy in which the priests acted. Lewdness, in its usual sense, is bad. and these people were guilty of that: but it was not the particular evil in the mind of the Lord here.

Verse 10

Hos 6:10. Both fleshly and spiritual whoredom were practiced in the Jewish nation, but the latter is evidently whaL the Lord has especially in mind here. Ephraim and Israel are named separately, because the capital of the latter was located in the possessions of the former.

Verse 11

Hos 6:11. A passing notice is given frequently to Judah (the 2-tribe kingdom), but the main subject of this book is the affairs of Israel (the 10 tribe kingdom). In the present verse a wide space of time is covered. The prophet sees into the future when Judah, like Israel, will be sent into captivity for idolatry, hut afterwards be returned t,o the home land,
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Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hosea 6". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. 1952.