"The first three chapters conclude the personal allegory of
Hosea. Hos 4-14 are the more literal and detailed application to the nation of
Israel -- their sins, the judgments to come upon them, and the ultimate
THE LORD HAS A CHARGE TO BRING AGAINST YOU: Called "the
LORD's accusation" in Mic 6:2.
NO ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF GOD IN THE LAND: And where there
is no "knowledge", the people will perish (v 6).
Instead of these virtues, He observed swearing (cursing
others), deception, murder, stealing, adultery, violence, and continual
bloodshed. These were things He had forbidden in His covenant. He identified
violations of at least five of the Ten Commandments (numbers 3, 9, 6, 8, and 7).
Violent crimes were so common that they seemed to follow one another without
BLOODSHED FOLLOWS BLOODSHED: The progression of these
sins will lead to death: cp Psa 1; Jam 1:13; Eccl 8:11; Gen 11:6. Specifically,
this may have reference to the contentions about the throne of Israel: Shallum,
Menahem, Pekah, Hoshea, etc (2Ki 21:16; 2Ch 24:20-22).
"The earth dries up and withers, the world languishes and
withers, the exalted of the earth languish" (Isa 24:4).
LET NO MAN BRING A CHARGE, LET NO MAN ACCUSE ANOTHER:
Or, better, "and no man brought a charge, no man accused another". Basic and
fundamental indifference to the sins of others. And thus a lax situation grows
PRIEST: Apparently, even the priests -- who should have
been the teachers of the Law -- were equally guilty with the other
Priests (v 4), and even the "prophets" (here) likewise have
"stumbled", and fallen into gross sin.
I WILL DESTROY YOUR MOTHER: Mother here = the capital
city (cp Gal 4:26), in this case Samaria.
MY PEOPLE ARE DESTROYED FROM LACK OF KNOWLEDGE: Because
right knowledge is the prerequisite, although it is not the guarantee, of right
actions. "Therefore my people will go into exile for lack of understanding" (Isa
THEY EXCHANGED GLORY FOR SOMETHING DISGRACEFUL: God had
blessed the Israelites by increasing their numbers, but their response to this
blessing had been to increase their sinning against Him. Consequently He would
change their glory, a large population (or perhaps Yahweh Himself), into shame;
He would reduce their numbers (and withdraw from them). Cp Rom 1:23, where
"exchanging the Glory" sig to worship idols rather than the One True
THEY FEED ON THE SINS OF MY PEOPLE AND RELISH THEIR
WICKEDNESS: Israel's priests were feeding on the "sin offerings" that the
people brought to their pagan shrines. Yet, since these offerings were to idols,
it was as though the priests really fed on the people's sins. The priests
desired these offerings, which meant they desired the people to practice
idolatry so they would bring more sacrifices.
Or, alternatively, the priests were feeding on the legitimate
"sin offerings" which were brought to Yahweh, and so they were happy to
encourage the people in their various sins, knowing that this would result in
more sin offerings being brought to Yahweh, and thus more bounty being brought
to them, the priests!
With this may be compared the practices of the Roman Catholic
"priesthood", which more or less encourages sin -- knowing that priestly
"indulgences" and "forgiveness" and "blessings" for a sinful laity will bring
more and more money into the Church's coffers!
LIKE PEOPLE, LIKE PRIESTS: "It will be the same for
priest as for people" (Isa 24:2).
THEY WILL EAT BUT NOT HAVE ENOUGH: Those who serve the
flesh and its weaknesses and indulgences are never completely satisfied (cp Lev
WHICH TAKE AWAY THE UNDERSTANDING: The practice of
idolatry (spiritual harlotry), with its emphasis on drinking wine, had turned
the heart of the Israelites from Yahweh. Along with their heart for God went
their realistic understanding of what was best for them, which He had revealed.
Thus it may be seen that sin, indulged in over time, is highly deceitful, or
deceptive (Jer 17:9) -- the conscience is dulled, or seared, and finally one can
no longer discern between good and evil (cp also 1Co 6:16). Cp Pro 6:32; 20:1;
23:27-35; Isa 5:12; 28:7; Luke 21:34; Rom 13:11-13.
A WOODEN IDOL... A STICK OF WOOD: Contemptuous
descriptions of the idols: cp Isa 44:9-20.
THEY SACRIFICE ON THE MOUNTAINTOPS AND BURN OFFERINGS OF
THE HILLS, UNDER OAK, POPLAR, AND TEREBINTH: They worshipped their idols on
the tops of hills and under trees because they enjoyed worshipping at their
convenience (cf 2KI 17:10,11). This was as bad as the daughters of the
Israelites practicing harlotry and adultery with male cult prostitutes (cf Deu
23:17,18; 1KI 14:24).
WHERE THE SHADE IS PLEASANT: Where the shadows of the
thick groves provide a measure of privacy, and protection, to commit their
abominable acts. "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men
loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does
evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds
will be exposed" (John 3:19,20). "This is the way of an adulteress: She eats and
wipes her mouth and says, 'I've done nothing wrong' " (Pro 30:20).
Cp Amo 7:17: "our wife will become a prostitute."
I WILL NOT PUNISH YOUR DAUGHTERS...: Does this mean
that they have grown so vile that no amount of chastening (Heb 12:6-12; Pro
3:11) can have any hope of saving them?
Or, alternatively, I will "not ONLY" punish the women, but I
will ALSO punish the men!
THOUGH YOU COMMIT ADULTERY, O ISRAEL, LET NOT JUDAH BECOME
GUILTY: Though all hope seems to be lost for Israel (the Northern Kingdom),
there is still some hope that Judah (the Southern Kingdom) will see her terrible
example and be led to repentance and right actions.
GILGAL: Gilgal and Beth-aven were scenes of abominable
pagan rites and sacrifices (cf Hos 9:15; 12:11; Amos 4:4; 5:5).
BETH AVEN: Lit, "the house of wickedness", a name
changed by the prophet from "Beth-el", which means "the house of God".
A STUBBORN HEIFER: Israel worshiped a heifer as though
it were their god. But they were, themselves, the "heifer" -- stubborn and
EPHRAIM IS JOINED TO IDOLS; LEAVE HIM ALONE!: Since
Ephraim, the largest tribe in the Northern Kingdom that stood for the whole
nation, had abandoned her Shepherd for idols, He called others to leave her
alone also. He would abandon her to the judgment that would come inevitably from
pursuing sin (cp Rom 1:18-32). Ephraim had become incorrigible.
EVEN WHEN THEIR DRINKS ARE GONE, THEY CONTINUE THEIR
PROSTITUTION: Even when the Israelites were not under the influence of
liquor (v 11), they still played the harlot continually.
THEIR RULERS DEARLY LOVE SHAMEFUL WAYS: The rulers of
the people, who were to be as shields protecting the general populace, also
loved the sins that brought shame on the nation. Cp Mic 7:3: "The ruler demands
gifts, the judge accepts bribes, the powerful dictate what they desire -- they
all conspire together."
A WHIRLWIND WILL SWEEP THEM AWAY: Sym violence, and
speed, of their conquerors (cp Psa 18:10).
THEIR SACRIFICES WILL BRING THEM SHAME: They will
discover how inadequate their idols really are (Hos 10:6). "You will be ashamed
because of the sacred oaks in which you have delighted; you will be disgraced
because of the gardens that you have chosen" (Isa 1:29).