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Hosea: Chapter 6

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“Come, let us return to the LORD; for it is he who has torn, and he will heal us; he has struck down, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will raise us up, that we may live before him. 3 Let us know, let us press on to know the LORD; his appearing is as sure as the dawn; he will come to us like the showers, like the spring rains that water the earth.” 4 What shall I do with you, O Ephraim? What shall I do with you, O Judah? Your love is like a morning cloud, like the dew that goes away early. 5 Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have killed them by the words of my mouth, and my c Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain judgment goes forth as the light. 6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.


But at d Cn: Heb to a king who will contend Adam they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt faithlessly with me. 8 Gilead is a city of evildoers, tracked with blood. 9 As robbers lie in wait e Gk Syr: Heb your for someone, so the priests are banded together; f Cn: Heb like they murder on the road to Shechem, they commit a monstrous crime. 10 In the house of Israel I have seen a horrible thing; Ephraim's whoredom is there, Israel is defiled. 11 For you also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed.

When I would restore the fortunes of my people,


a Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain

b Cn: Heb to a king who will contend

c Gk Syr: Heb your

d Cn: Heb like

Text Commentary view alone
Commentary spanning earlier chapters

5.1–6.6 : The people do not know the Lord.

5.1 :

The judgment, in a legal sense. Mizpah, a fortress city on the border between Judah and Israel (1 Kings 15.22 ), probably housed, like many border towns, a sanctuary. Tabor, a mountain in the north of Palestine, overlooking the Jezreel valley (Ps 89.12 ); probably the site of a sanctuary (Deut 33.18–19 ).

2 :

Shittim, a border town in Transjordan; the final encampment of the Israelites before they crossed the Jordan; also site of an infamy (Num 25.1–9 ).

3–4 :

Note the word play with “knowledge”: The LORD knows (is aware of) Ephraim ('s deeds) but they do not know (demonstrate loyalty toward) the LORD.

5–7 :

Because of their disloyalty, the LORD will not be available to the people at festivals.

5 :

Israel's pride, also in 7.10 .

6 :

They shall go, in pilgrimage festivals.

7 :

New moon shall devour, meaning obscure.

8–14 :

In the day of punishment the LORD will become the enemy of Israel (Am 9.2–4 ). This section may refer to the Syro‐Ephraimite War (2 Kings 15.27–30 ) in 735, when Israel under Pekah formed a coalition with Syria to force Judah to join a rebellion against Assyria.

8 :

Blow the horn, the alarm signal used by sentinels. Gibeah, Ramah, Benjaminite towns just north of Jerusalem, situated on the path an invading army would take approaching from the south (Isa 10.28–32 ); Bethaven, see 4.15n. This may refer to a Judahite counterattack after the Syro‐Ephraimite initiative failed.

10–14 :

There is no defense against God.

10 :

Remove the landmark, a landmark is a boundary marker, defining the extent of property. See Deut 19.14; 27.17; Prov 22.28; 23.10 .

13 :

Went to Assyria, Hoshea, the final king in Samaria (732–722 BCE), sought to appease Assyria in the wake of Pekah's failed rebellion (2 Kings 16.3 ).

5.15–6.6 :

God punishes not to annihilate but in order to inspire repentance. This section is in the form of a dialogue.

6.2 :

The punishment is temporary. Two daysthird day, idiomatic expression for a brief period of time.

3 :

Spring rains, the latter (March‐April) rains (Deut 11.14 ).

4–6 :

A summary of the entire speech.

4 :

See the similar questions in 11.8 .

6 :

A persistent theme of the prophets (Am 5.22–24; Mic 6.6–8 ).

6.7–11a : An unholy gazetteer.

7 :

At Adam, a town in central Transjordan, close to where the Israelites crossed the Jordan (Josh 3.16 ).

8 :

Men from Gilead participated in the assassination of King Pekahiah (2 Kings 15.25 ).

9 :

Shechem, a major Ephraimite town, 12 km (7 mi) southeast of Samaria.

6.11b–7.7 : A corrupt people and government.

7.1 :

The theme of healing again ( 5.13; 6.1 ). Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom.

4 :

The time between the kneading of the dough and its fermentation is apparently when the oven was hottest.

5 :

Day of our king, perhaps at an enthronement.

7 :

Devour their rulers, four Israelite kings were assassinated between 747 and 732.

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