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Hosea 4

Missing the Point

1 Hear the word of the LORD, O people of Israel; for the LORD has an indictment against the inhabitants of the land. There is no faithfulness or loyalty, and no knowledge of God in the land. 2 Swearing, lying, and murder, and stealing and adultery break out; bloodshed follows bloodshed. 3 Therefore the land mourns, and all who live in it languish; together with the wild animals and the birds of the air, even the fish of the sea are perishing. [...] 5:15 I will return again to my place until they acknowledge their guilt and seek my face. In their distress they will beg my favor: 6:1 "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 judgment goes forth as the light. 6 For I desire steadfast love and not sacrifice, the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.

Chew on This

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Musings

God makes a case against Israel for breaking the covenant. Israel is violating most of the ten commandments; they aren't faithful to God; nor do they seem to have any relationship (or knowledge) of God. Everything suffers as a result since the covenant includes all creation. Therefore, in Verse 5:15, God abandons Israel. Hosea then calls for Israel to repent. The three-day restoration cycle probably reinterprets a Canaanite fertility mythology showing that it is God who is in control of the rain and who can bring them true help. Finally the excerpts end with sort of a lament that neither Israel or Judah heed their prophets (or God) and what God really wants is their hearts, not their rituals.


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