Study Notes

Hosea 5:1-10:15


As we have been studying the book of Hosea, we have gotten God's perspective on the sin of the Jews. Tonight, we will cover six chapters as God proclaims their guilt and warns them of their judgment.

5:1-2 Everyone Is Guilty

God proclaims to the nation that all are guilty, the priests and the people are equally in sin and will be equally judged. They have

5:3-7 Their Deeds Will Not Allow Them To Return To The Lord

Ephraim, as you recall, was one of the twelve tribes of Israel. They were situated at the south end of the nation of Israel, just to the north of the kingdom of Judah. This was the area that Jeroboam lived in when he conceived the idea to make the golden calves for the people to worship (1Kings 12:25-30) instead of going to the temple. Idolatry had run rampant in the area ever since.

5:8-11 Blow The Horn

The blowing of horns was an alarm alerting the people of a coming battle. God warns them that judgment is coming. Ephraim was bound and determined to follow the command of King Jeroboam, rather than the command of God.

This is a certain way to bring disaster and rebuke upon ourselves - following man's command instead of God's. The disciples of Jesus knew this, for when they were warned by the Council not to preach or teach any longer in Jesus' name, they responded,

Acts 5:29 ..."We must obey God rather than men."

5:12-13 Ephraim Went To Assyria

God brought progressive punishment upon the people, giving them many chances to turn from their sin. Like a moth eating a garment, or rottenness affecting the storehouse, it progressed gradually. But instead of turning to the Lord in repentance, Ephraim turned to Yaw-RABE king of Assyria. We read about this in our study of 2Kings 16.

But the entire Assyrian army could not stave off the judgment of God upon the nation of Israel.

5:14-15 I Will Go Away

Because they had not acknowledged their guilt and repented of it, God proclaimed that he was going away and returning to His place.

When the Lord leaves, you're really in hot water. You recall the story of Samson, how he had failed to deny sin, and flagrantly violated the commands of God. When he found himself in a bind, he said,

Judg. 16:20-21 ..."I will go out as at other times and shake myself free." But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. Then the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze chains, and he was a grinder in the prison.

The Lord had left, and Samson's strength was gone. May we learn to always abide in Him, that we need never fear that the Lord would leave us.

6:1-3 He Will Revive And Raise Us

Hosea proclaims to his people, "Let's return to the Lord. Let's get right with Him. Yes, He has proclaimed judgment, but the Lord delights in showing mercy to the repentant sinner."

Now, a number of Bible commentators have tried to say that this is a Messianic prophecy, proclaiming the resurrection of Christ on the third day. But I don't see that as being the clear interpretation, and only would be concluded after the fact. I think what Hosea is saying is clear: the Lord wants to be graceful, but repentance is required. Although judgment is coming, if the people turn from their sin, it would only be a matter of days before God revived them and raised them up.

6:4-6 The Word As A Sword

We have all heard the writer of the book of Hebrews proclaim,

Hebr. 4:12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

This is no mere word picture. As the word is proclaimed by the prophets, the judgment is sure. It hews people in pieces. Jesus is described in the book of Revelation in this way:

Rev. 19:15 And from His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may smite the nations...

Rev. 19:21 And the rest were killed with the sword which came from the mouth of Him who sat upon the horse, and all the birds were filled with their flesh.

God only wanted their loyalty, not their religious rituals with no heart behind them. Since the people of Hosea's day were unfaithful and lacking loyalty, they were slain by the Word.

6:7 Like Adam

I have heard many people make comments against Eve for her sin in the garden. But it is interesting to me that Adam is always the one blamed for the original sin. Eve is only mentioned by name twice in the New Testament, and both times in the context of being deceived. However, Adam is said to be responsible for passing the sin nature to each of us.

Rom. 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam...

1Cor. 15:21-22 For since by a man {came} death, by a man also {came} the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Why? There are several possibilities. The most obvious is that Eve was deceived, but Adam sinned knowingly. It is also possible that since Adam was the authority in the relationship as the husband, that he was made accountable.

6:8-11 A Murderous Band Of Priests

This is how corrupt things had gotten in Israel - not only had crime increased, but even the priests were ambushing and murdering people!

Whether it was because people were travelling towards Jerusalem, or going to Shechem, a city of refuge, I do not know. But regardless of their motivation, it was a heinous crime. Many people in the history of the church have been guilty of this same transgression, as the crusades well document.

7:1-2 I Remember All Their Wickedness

God here makes the statement, "They do not consider that I remember all their wickedness." God cannot forget sin. Hebrews 9 says,

Hebr. 9:22 ...without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

It is not enough to simply "turn over a new leaf" or "make a new start." Someone who "gets religion' and starts living right may decrease the number of sins that they commit, but cannot erase the past. Thus, it is necessary that Christ's blood wash away our sins in order to be forgiven of God.

7:3-9 Like An Oven

The people's passion for wickedness are compared to a baker's oven which burns without even being fed. It burns everything placed inside of it.

7:10-12 Like A Dove In A Net

In these verses, God compares them to a "silly dove" which is easily caught in a net. With no sense of self-preservation, no instinct which tells them to turn away from what will be their end, they run headlong towards destruction.

7:13-16 Worldly Sorrow

When God would bring judgment, they would weep, but theirs were not tears of repentance. The Bible says that there are two kinds of sorrow. Paul said,

2Cor. 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to {the will} {of} God produces a repentance without regret, {leading} to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

There is godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. When difficulty arises, many tears may be shed, but no repentance made. This does not bring God's mercy, but leads to judgment.

8:1-4 We Know Thee

When judgment was coming, the people would cry out to God, "We are Israel! Your chosen people! We know you!" But their actions proved that they did not know Him. In the day of judgment, Jesus tells us,

Matt. 7:22-23 "Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

The Israelites had begun with choosing a king instead of being governed by God. And they had continued down that path during their history. Wicked and idolatrous kings populated the throne, and others arose by assassination. But God had not chosen them. He says, "Though you claim to know Me, I do not know you."

8:5-7 Incapable Of Innocence

In contradiction to every other religion in the world, it is true that God cannot be made by man. The calves they were worshipping were not God. And any one of them with conviction should have recognized that. But they were incapable of innocence.

Sow The Wind, Reap The Whirlwind

Sowing and reaping is a common illustration in the Bible. It makes sense to us when we read,

Gal. 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

When you sow, you receive back much more. These Israelites steeped in idolatry were worshipping nothing. It was like sowing the wind. And yet, they would receive back much more - the whirlwind. Assyria was coming, and would accomplish the judgment of God.

8:8-10 A Vessel In Which No One Delights

The worse the opposition became, the worse Israel's reputation became. They soon not had to buy their allies. God describes them as a vessel in which no one delights.

Do you have a cup or bowl in the cupboard at your house that no one wants to use? Maybe the bowl was cracked and it was glued back together. The cup is getting old and gross, with the picture half-worn off and chipping. No one wants it. This is how Israel was becoming in the sight of the nations around her.

8:11-14 The Scriptures Were A Strange Thing

God gave them the Word in quantity. He made sure that it was complete and that they had access to it. But it was still regarded as something strange.

How many people today have a Bible in the house? How many hotel rooms have Bibles on the dresser or in a drawer? And yet the Word is still considered strange.

9:1-5 Like Mourners' Bread

God was disgusted at what made the Israelites happy. Although they lived in sin, they continued to practice their traditional feasts and make sacrifices, supposedly to Him. But God would have no part of it.

The bread they offered to the Lord was like mourners' bread. Anything that came in contact with the dead or their mourners was deemed by the law as unclean, defiled, and polluted. This was how God viewed their sacrifices - as unclean.

9:6-10 Days Of Punishment

Memphis is one of the capital cities of Egypt. The Egyptians were going to be used to bring God's judgment against the Jews. You recall that Pharaoh Neco brought great trouble to them in 2Kings 23.

9:11-17 Barrenness And Miscarriage

No matter how many children the idolatrous Israelites would have, their population would still become extinct, for the Lord was bringing judgment.

10:1-2 The More Fruit, The More Altars

God points out here that the more they received in blessing, the further they turned from the Lord. It really makes me wonder why we always want to be more wealthy and have more things.

10:3-4 Worthless Oaths

The Israelites would soon come to the point where they had no king at all, knowing that God had judged them. They would make promises and oaths to get back in His favor, but He would see their true hearts. Their oaths were worthless.

10:5-7 Future Of The Calf

Although the Israelites worshiped their idol, it would be carried away. What kind of God do you have? Can He be stolen?

10:8-10 Their Double Guilt

What was Israel's "double guilt?" Jeremiah tells us,

Jer. 2:13 "For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, The fountain of living waters, To hew for themselves cisterns, Broken cisterns, That can hold no water.

In other words, they had first forsaken the Lord, and second, turned to idols as substitutes.

10:11-15 Because Of Your Wickedness

God's appeals to the nation can be summed up in this verse:

Hosea 10:12 Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the LORD...

God wanted to bless a repentant people. But they would not listen to reason.

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