Hosea 6 - Outline of Hosea (Book Notes menu page)
A. The LORD's case against Israel (4:1-6:3)
1. Israel's guilt exposed (4:1-19)
2. Israel's Judgment announced (5:1-14)
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...-
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. cp. Hos 5:14,15; Deu 32:39; 1Sam 2:6-8
...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...- (This is the sense of a similar expression 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 fulfillment of the prophetic statement of v.2 (1Cor 15:3,4).
    • The nation's resurrection is linked, by scripture, to His bodily resurrection, which would occur long before their realization that He paid the price of 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 23:3-5). The Lord Jesus Christ identified Himself as this One (Rev 22:16). Just as there is no earthly power that can prevent the dawn of a new day, so, the fore-ordained rise of God's King, in power and great glory, is absolutely certain.
he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain upon the earth.-
In Israel, the former and latter rains are essential to a good harvest. The former {HB= yoreh, early} rains come in the Fall, at the beginning of the winter growing season, after the seed is in the ground. The latter {HB= malqosh, from a root which means 'gathering, gleaning'} rains come in the Spring, just prior to the harvest (which occurs between the feasts of First Fruits and Pentecost).
     But, here, the rain, which nourishes and refreshes the earth, is a person ("He shall come unto us...").
This speaks of the first and second comings of Christ.
  • the former rain - Deu 32:1-4; John 7:37-43; 5:39,40; 1:11-13; Luk 13:34,35; cp. Hos 5:15
    For the Church, the season, to sow the seed of God's Word (the Gospel of Christ) throughout the world, extends between Christ's first and second comings. This is the 'mystery' period of the King's absence from His Kingdom (Matthew ch.13), which began after His ascension, and which will close after He returns to take Church Age believers unto Himself (1The 4:16,17).
  • the latter rain - Acts 3:19-23; Psa 72:6-19
    Following the Rapture of the Church, during the Time of Jacob's Trouble, Israel, as a nation, will eventually recognize and receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Messiah. Then, He will return to the earth, deliver them from their enemies, and bring in the time of refreshing with the establishment of His Messianic Kingdom. Consider: Psalm 110
       Note the order, in v.3, where the 'latter' rain precedes the 'former' rain. In either case, Christ Himself is the rain, who brings refreshing. After Israel receives Him (at the latter rain), the whole world will enter a 'new season' of refreshing (depicted as renewed 'former rains').
As promised, Israel's 'time of refreshing' will come in the distant future. But in the near term, the LORD's prophecy, through Hosea, returns to the judgment of the nation.
B. The LORD's case against Israel expanded (6:4-11:11)
1. Israel's Guilt and Punishment (6:4-8:14)
  1. 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 1:11,12; cf. Isa 55:10,11).
     In His mercy, He would judge them by His Word. (Note the relationship of God's Word to the Hebrew word 'checed' [translated 'mercy,' 'merciful,' 'lovingkindness] in the following verses: Psa 119:41; 119:76; 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).
...thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth... (cp. Psa 19:7-14; 119:130) -
God's Word is pure and penetrating, exposing the hidden darkness within the recesses of the heart. He exercises true justice, according to the light of His Word. There is nothing hidden from Him (Heb 4:12,13).
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, like all other men, 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 (both the northern and southern kingdoms) 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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