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FRAMEWORKS: Hosea 6: Israel's ongoing unrepentance


[Preliminary Comment: Chapter 5 had been a chapter of warning of judgment and now in this chapter Hosea presents Israel with the possibility of repentance lifting off that impending threat [v.1-3] but the Lord then points out that Israel's tendering repentance was always so short lived as to be unreal [v.4] and so judgment will come [v.5]. The Lord had wanted heart-change not religious ritual [v.6] but that had not been forthcoming.

He then moves on to cite a number of towns, to the east of the Jordan, that through history had shown godless, warlike tendencies again and again [v.7-9] and this now seems climaxed in their idolatry [v.10] that will incur God's judgment. Judah may look on and feel secure, but they should realise that they too will be held accountable if they go down this path [v.11]. Another chapter of confrontation of their sins that will incur God's judgment. Aside: we tend to think of ‘Israel' focused on Samaria and the north but we should also realise that it included all the land to the east as well.]



v.1-3 Our part, His responses


v.1  ‘Come, let us return to the Lord.
He has torn us to pieces
    but he will heal us;
he has injured us
    but he will bind up our wounds.
v.2  After two days he will revive us;
    on the third day he will restore us,
    that we may live in his presence.
v.3   Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
     he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.'


[Notes: Yes, says Hosea, He has dealt with us [v.1] but if we return to Him and acknowledge Him [v.1,3] then He will return with blessings on us.]


v.4 But the Lord points out their love that seems to evaporate so quickly


v.4  ‘What can I do with you, Ephraim?
    What can I do with you, Judah?
Your love is like the morning mist,
    like the early dew that disappears.

[Notes: It's all very well saying these things but Israel's fine words about repentance and their love for God, just seem to disappear so quickly.]


v.5 Because of this unreality, they will incur God's judgment


v.5  Therefore I cut you in pieces with my prophets,
    I killed you with the words of my mouth –
    then my judgments go forth like the sun.

[Notes: Judgment is staved off by repentance but that is not forthcoming.]


v.6 God looks for heart change not religious ritual


v.6  For I desire mercy, not sacrifice,
    and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings.

[Notes: A principle that Jesus picked up [see Mt 9:13,12:7] God wants to see heart-change not merely performing religious ritual that can almost be ungodly.]


v.7 Their covenant breaking was not something new


v.7  As at Adam, they have broken the covenant;
    they were unfaithful to me there.

[Notes: In Josh 3:16 we see this place named Adam near the Jordan, a place where apparently Israel had been unfaithful, even as they are now.]


v.8 Another place of rebellion in a similar location


v.8  Gilead is a city of evildoers,
    stained with footprints of blood.

[Notes: Gilead, both a town and a region, was further up the Jordan, another place that had known conflict [e.g. Judg 10-12,21] and had acquired a poor reputation.]


v.9 Shechem likewise


v.9  As marauders lie in ambush for a victim,
    so do bands of priests;
they murder on the road to Shechem,
    carrying out their wicked schemes.

[Notes: From early days Shechem likewise had a bad reputation [e.g.   Gen 34, Judg 9, 1 Kings 12.]


v.10 Idolatry is everywhere in Israel


v.10  I have seen a horrible thing in Israel:
    there Ephraim is given to prostitution,
    Israel is defiled.


[Notes: The truth is that idolatry and rejection of God is seen throughout the whole region known as ‘Israel' as distinct from ‘Judah'.]


v.11 But Judah, you too will be held accountable


v.11  ‘Also for you, Judah,
    a harvest is appointed.


[Notes: Judah should not think they could escape censure if they go down the same path.

The various places named in this chapter appear to provide Hosea with examples of the unrighteousness of Israel that had blighted this land from long back but which is spread throughout their region.]



Continue to Chapter 7