Hosea 6 - Outline of Hosea (Menu page)
A. The LORD's case against Israel (4:1-6:3)
     3. Israel's Restoration envisioned (5:15-6:3) (continued from previous chapter)
1. Come, and let us return unto the LORD:
for he hath torn, and he will heal us;
he hath smitten, and he will bind
{ie., bandage} us up.
2 After two days will he revive us:
in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, [if] we follow on to know the LORD:
his going forth is prepared as the morning;
and he shall come unto us as the rain,
as the latter [and] former rain unto the earth.
Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us...- Hos 5:14,15; Deu 32:39; 1Sam 2:6-8
Here, the nation begins to acknowledge that the One whom they offended was not only just to judge them, but He is also merciful to save.
...he will revive us {ie., give us life}... he will raise us up {ie., cause us to stand}... we shall live {having become alive} in His sight...
The nation which the lion tore, will be raised up out of death. Their dry bones will be restored to live for God (Eze 37:1-14). But when and how will this occur? The prophetic answer is on their tongues.
...after two days... in the third day...-
This expression has multiple meanings. All of which are valid, and fit together, like the layers of an onion.
Israel's restoration will come...
  1. in a short period of time...- (See the way a similar expression is used in Luk 13:32,33.) When the nation acknowledges their sin and turns to the LORD, it will not be long before their restoration is complete. Hos 3:5; Rom 11:26
  2. through the death and resurrection of Christ...-
    • As pictured in Hos 3:2, He paid the price to redeem His own from the slave market of sin (Mark 8:31; 10:45).
    • His resurrection, on the third day, "according to the scriptures," is a fulfilment of the prophetic statement of v.2 (1Cor 15:3,4).
    • The nation's resurrection is linked, by scripture, to His resurrection, even prior to their realization that He has provided their redemption (Isa 26:18,19).
  3. following two millennia of dispersion, the nation will be revived and caused to stand. (Note that a 'day' can refer to a thousand years, 2Pet 3:8). In the third millennium, they will 'live in His sight,' during the one thousand year reign of the Messiah, on the earth (Rev 20:4; also see Rom 11:26,27).
Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD...-
Israel had not known the LORD, for they had pursued false lovers (Hos 5:3,4), but in that day, they will know Him (2:20; Joh 17:3). Who is He?
his going forth is prepared as the morning...-
King David used a similar expression, to describe the King whom God would raise up from his seed to occupy his throne forever (2Sam 23:3,4). The Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as this One (Rev 22:16).
he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth.-
This speaks of the first and second comings of Christ.
In the verse before us, the 'latter' is mentioned before the 'former,' because Israel will not recognize this One until He comes the second time. Only in the day of His power, will they realize that the victory was won at His first coming. Psalm 110

B. The LORD's case against Israel expanded (6:4-11:11)
1. Israel's Guilt and Punishment (6:4-8:14)
     a. Convicted of transgression by God's Word, they deal more treacherously with Him (6:4-7:7)
          1. The corruption of the priests (6:4-11)
4. O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee?
O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?
for your goodness [is] as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
5 Therefore have I hewed [them] by the prophets;
I have slain them by the words of my mouth:
and thy judgments [are as] the light [that] goeth forth.
O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee?
Words from hearts returning to the LORD (6:1-3) would have been beautiful to the LORD's ears, but He knew their hearts. Those words would be spoken by a yet future generation. Until then, the LORD Himself is torn with emotion.
     He yearned to draw them to Himself. But they would not come. For all that He had said and done to move them toward repentance, they would not respond. His heart was broken, as Hosea's heart for his unfaithful wife, or as parents' hearts break for a wayward child.
...for your goodness {HB=checed, kindness, faithfulness} is as a morning cloud...-
Their words were empty. Their promises to be faithful, were as fleeting as the morning fog.
     In contrast, His love for them is substantial, sustained and sustaining, as the former and the latter rains upon which the harvest depends. Men who speak, from hearts that reject God's Word, are like 'clouds without water' (Jude 11,12; Isa 55:10,11).
     In His mercy, He would judge them by His Word. (Note the relationship of the Hebrew word 'checed' [translated 'mercy,' 'merciful,' 'lovingkindness] in the following verses: Psa 119:41; Psa 119:76; Psa 138:2; Hos 4:1). So, in the next chapters, the LORD continues to develop His case against His wayward people, from His Word, with a view toward bringing about their salvation.
Therefore, have I hewed them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of my mouth...-
God's Word cuts to the heart. It exposes underlying sin (Heb 4:12). Yet, some, whose hearts are convicted, refuse to be converted (Acts 5:33).
...my judgments are as the light that goeth forth...-
God's Word is pure and penetrating, exposing the hidden darkness within the recesses of the heart.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice;
and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant:
there have they dealt treacherously against me.
For I desired mercy {HB=checed}, and not sacrifice...-
Jesus quoted v.6, in Mat 9:13; 12:7, in order to correct the legalistic Pharisees, who were judging people by their outward adherence to ritual. The meaning is brought out further in Mark 12:28-34.
     The LORD desired His people to serve Him with their whole heart. But they had lost sight of God's desire, and had become focused on the externalities of religious ritual. If they had given their hearts to Him, there would have been no need for sin offerings (Jer 7:22,23), and He would have made them a nation of priests (Ex 19:5-8). But when they forfeited that role through their sin, God established the Levitical priesthood and sacrificial system, to provide atonement {ie., covering} for sin.
But they, like men {lit., 'like Adam,' or 'like any man,' 'like mankind'}, have transgressed the covenant...-
The priests had also corrupted themselves, in going beyond the bounds of God's covenant and leading the people in idolatrous worship. (For this reason, in Hosea's day, God was speaking to the nation through the prophets [v.5], rather than through the priests.)
there have they dealt treacherously against me.-
The priests had betrayed the One who had commissioned them as His representatives among the people.
8 Gilead [is] a city of them that work iniquity, [and is] polluted with blood.
9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man,
[so] the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.
Gilead... a city of them that work iniquity... polluted with blood.-
Gilead {ie., Ramoth-Gilead} was one of the cities where the priests lived (1Chr 6:64,80), and also one of the cities of refuge (Deu 4:41-43; Josh 20:1-8; 21:38). The cities of refuge were intended as a temporary safety zone, for the individual who accidentally killed a neighbor, while he waited for the case to be investigated and judged. But in the eyes of the LORD, this city of priests had become a haven for intentional murderers. The road to it was polluted {lit., 'tracked with heel marks of blood'}.
     While the corrupt priests may have sheltered murderers, the LORD identifies the priests themselves as the guilty parties.
...so the company of priests murder...-
The priests were spiritual murderers. They were not leading the people into life, through the knowledge of the LORD (v.2,3). Instead, they were leading them to destruction, through idolatry (spiritual adultery) and lewdness (the sexual perversions associated with idolatry, eg., Jer 13:27).
10 I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel:
there [is] the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
11 Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee,
when I returned the captivity of my people.
I have seen an horrible thing {ie., a cause of trembling and dread}...-
Though confronted and convicted by the Word of God, neither Israel nor Judah would respond.
...he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned {ie., turned back} the captivity of my people.-
Therefore, the LORD had determined that the whole nation (northern and southern kingdoms together) would be cut down in His wrath (ultimately, in the Time of Jacob's Trouble) before their captivity would be reversed at their Messiah's return.

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