Hosea 5 - Outline of Hosea (Book Notes menu page)
A. The LORD's case against Israel (4:1-6:3) (continued from chapter 4)
1. Israel's guilt exposed (4:1-19)
2. Israel's Judgment announced (5:1-14)
1. Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel;
and give ye ear, O house of the king;
for judgment [is] toward you,
because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
2 And the revolters are profound to make slaughter,
though I [have been] a rebuker of them all.
Hear ye this, O priests... house of Israel... house of the king...-
Although their judgment was now unavoidable, the LORD graciously warned the nation and their leaders, of its imminence. As we saw in chapter 4, the people and their leaders were alike...
  • in willful ignorance of God's Word (4:6-9) and
  • in their embrace of false gods, as they sought guidance by consulting idols, and corrupted themselves in the guise of worship (4:12).
The priests, the king, etc. {called 'rulers,' lit., "shields," in 4:18}, who should have protected the people against error, were themselves carried away on the wind of false doctrine (4:19), and soon would be carried away by the wind of judgment.
because you have been a snare... and a net spread......-
Through their embrace with spiritual adultery, the leaders had entrapped God's people in a net of error, which covered the entire nation, from Mizpah (near the southern border of the northern kingdom) to Mount Tabor (in the northern region).
and the revolters {ie., those who 'turn aside' (from truth)} were profound to make slaughter...-
An alternate translation, of v.2, reads: "And the apostates are deeply resolved to slaughter victims in sacrifice... though I have been (and will be) a rebuker of them all." [GWms]
     The LORD had continually sent His prophets, who spoke against their ungodly ways. Yet, they had committed themselves to worship false gods. As their sacrifices were slain in vain, so, those who sacrificed would also be cut off in spiritual death. Yet, they would not listen to His warnings. Hos 6:9; 9:15; Jer 6:28; 25:4-7
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me:
for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, [and] Israel is defiled.
4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God:
for the spirit of whoredoms [is] in the midst of them,
and they have not known the LORD.
I know Ephraim...- There is nothing hidden from the LORD. Amos 3:2; Heb 4:13; Rev 3:15
...they have not known [Me].-
They had heard His admonitions, but they gave them no attention. There was no change in their lives, for they were willfully under the influence of another spirit, other than His. Psa 36:1-3; Joh 3:19,20; 2The 2:11,12
5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face:
therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity;
Judah also shall fall with them.
6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD;
but they shall not find [him]; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
7 They have dealt treacherously
{ie., deceitfully} against the LORD:
for they have begotten strange children:
now shall a month devour them with their portions.
The pride of Israel doth testify to his face...-
The word for pride {HB=ga'own}, is sometimes used in a positive sense, to refer to the 'excellency' or 'majesty' of the LORD, who is the glory of His people, Israel (eg., Ex 15:6,7, 'excellency'). Applying the word in that sense here, the LORD Himself had directly addressed them concerning their errors. Because they would not heed His counsel, judgment was near at hand.
     In the negative sense, this word is used of the 'arrogance' of those who refuse to heed God's Word (eg., Lev 26:18,19, 'pride').
...therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity, Judah also shall fall with them.-
The LORD is clear concerning the consequences of disregarding His Word. God's Word saves or destroys, depending on whether it is accepted or rejected.
     Judah's fall was also certain, for she was following in her sister's ways, in spite of the warning given to her (Hos 4:15). Judah went into captivity to Babylon, about a hundred years after the northern kingdom was taken captive by Assyria.
They shall go with their flocks... to seek the LORD, but they shall not find him...-
They would bring their sacrificial animals and make a show of seeking the LORD. But their outward religious rituals and their professed repentance, would be futile, because He knew their hearts were far from Him (v.3). The LORD distances Himself from the advances of fleshly religion. Isa 1:11-15; Prov 21:27
they have begotten strange children...-
The children of the nation were strange to {alienated from} God. They had no knowledge of the God of Israel (due to their elders' neglect of God's commands, Deu 6:4-7).
...now shall a month {or, 'new moon'} devour them with their portions.-
A month is a brief period. So, their judgment was not far off.
The judgment would consume the people, along with the possessions which they imagined were the rewards of their misdirected religiosity. They had forsaken the LORD (Psa 73:26,27; 119:57) for the things of this world, which would soon be taken away (cp. Psa 17:14; Isa 57:6; Hab 1:16).
8. Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, [and] the trumpet in Ramah:
cry aloud [at] Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke:
among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound:
[therefore] I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
Blow ye the cornet {HB=shofar}... the trumpet... cry aloud...-
These are the sounds of alarm and battle, which mark the approaching judgment.
Gibeah... Ramah... Beth-aven {ie., Beth-el}...-
These cities, which were located along the southern boundary of the northern kingdom, would be overrun by the armies from the north, as they swallowed up the whole land.
after thee, O Benjamin...-
On the south side of that border, was the territory of Benjamin, one of the two tribes in the southern kingdom.
The battle which consumed the northern kingdom, would overflow into the southern kingdom, giving them a taste of the judgment which would come to Judah, in due time (a hundred years later).
The princes of Judah are like them that remove the bound...-
Removing or moving boundary markers was a serious crime (Deu 19:14; 27:17).
The message is that Judah is also guilty, and worthy of punishment.
11 Ephraim [is] oppressed [and] broken in judgment,
because he willingly walked after the commandment.
12 Therefore [will] I [be] unto Ephraim as a moth,
and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
Ephraim [is] oppressed [and] broken in judgment...- Whereas Judah's judgment was coming,
the destruction of the southern kingdom was upon them.
...because he willingly walked after the commandment.-
That is, the nation preferred to follow the commandments of ungodly leaders, rather than the commandments of God. The kings of the northern kingdom had led their people away from the LORD. The people had readily discarded God's Law to follow the commands of kings like Jeroboam I (1Kings 12:28-30), Omri and Ahab (Micah 6:16).
...I will be to Ephraim as a moth... to the house of Judah as rottenness...-
Both work their destruction unseen: one in a closet, the other beneath the floor. In both cases, destruction is discovered suddenly: the suit of clothes is riddled with holes; the floor collapses. The difference is in the time that ellapses until the destruction is complete. Moths do their damage in a few days, while wooden beams may take many years to rot away.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah [saw] his wound,
then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb:
yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
14 For I [will be] unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah:
I, [even] I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue [him].
When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound... sent to king Jareb...-
When confronted with judgment, Ephraim (Israel) and Judah would both seek help from Assyria and/or other nations. The Hebrew parallelism, in this verse, suggests that Judah would also seek help from "king Jareb."
     'Jareb' {meaning: 'he contends,' or 'one who is contentious'} is the name Hosea assigns to the king of Assyria, in his day. Israel's trust in this king would meet with disappointment. In a similar way, Judah would put confidence in another nation, which would turn to contend with them, when the time of their downfall came upon them.
     During the period of Hosea's ministry (Hos 1:1), the kings of Israel and Judah made alliances with other nations (eg., Syria, Assyria, and Egypt), to strengthen themselves against other neighboring nations, and frequently against each other. For example, Judah's king Ahaz sought the aid of Tiglath-pilesar, king of Assyria to defend himself against the king of Israel who was allied with the king of Syria (2Kings 16:5-9). Prior to those alliances, Israel had been allied with Assyria (2Kin 15:17-20). Just a few years later, Assyria took the northern kingdom of Israel captive (2Kings ch.17) and then invaded Judah (2Kings ch.18), but the LORD protected Jerusalem on that occasion.
     The kings, to whom Israel and Judah turned in their times of trouble, would turn upon and contend {as 'Jareb'} with those who sought their help. Down through the centuries, Israel has been betrayed by unreliable allies. This will also be their sad experience, during the time of Jacob's Trouble, when the Antichrist will make and then break his strong covenant with them (Dan 9:27).
     But even the most reliable ally would be powerless to remedy judgment inflicted, by the hand of the LORD.
For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah...-
  • The mature lion carries the prey away, and none can deliver it from him. So, Israel would fall without remedy.
  • The young lion tears and goes away, returning later for the kill. So, Judah's judgment was sure to come (Amos 3:7,8). She would suffer damage at the time of Israel's captivity, but her captivity would be delayed. With time, the 'young lion' would reach maturity, and then, there would be no escape from judgment.

     3. Israel's Restoration envisioned (5:15-6:3)
15 I will go [and] return to my place,
till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face:
in their affliction they will seek me early.
With this verse, the view changes from Israel's imminent judgment to its eventual restoration.
The LORD has no delight in the destruction of His people. He desires that they would return to Him.
I will go and return to my place...-
The LORD distances Himself from Israel and Judah, during the long period of their dispersion (Hos 3:4,5).
But where is 'my place' to which He returns?
  • It is the place of mercy (Ex 25:21,22),
  • the place where sincere prayer is heard and answered (2Chr 7:14, see the context in vs.12-22),
  • the place where His covenant, with Israel, is forever preserved and remembered (Rev 11:19).
...till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face...-
This period of separation is temporary. It will end when the nation turns to Him.
...in their affliction {HB=tsarah, trouble, distress}, they shall seek me early {ie., earnestly, diligently}.-
Ultimately, this will be fulfilled in the future day of Jacob's Trouble (Deu 4:27-31; Jer 30:7).
The next several verses provide a preview of their prayer, in that day (Hosea 6:1-3).
[This section of the outline continues with these verses, in chapter 6. Click the link below.]

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