Verse 1 – Come and let us return to the Lord; for He has torn, but He will heal us; He has stricken, but He will bind us up.
Verse 2 – After two days He will revive us; on the third day He will raise us up, that we may live in His sight.
Some believe this verse refers to Christ’s two days in the grave and raised to life the third. However, look how it is worded; it says after two days “He” will revive “us”, and the third day He will raise “us” up. I believe these days spoke of, remain a mystery. Maybe Hosea was telling them to spend some time repenting and when they were done, God would raise them up to new life. They spent 70 years in captivity, so the short time they thought it would last was false.
Verse 3 – Let us know, let us pursue the knowledge of the Lord. His going forth is established as the morning; He will come to us like the rain, like the latter and former rain to the earth.
As sure as morning comes, just as sure as the former and later rains supply the earth with nutrition, learn to know our God and He will be there.
Verse 4 – “O Ephraim, what shall I do to you? O Judah, what shall I do to you? For your faithfulness is like a morning cloud, and like the early dew it goes away.
Many find it easy and comfortable to maintain the appearance of being committed without a deep sense of loyalty. But our loyalty should line up with our actions.
Verse 5 – Therefore I have hewn them by the prophets, I have slain them by the words of My mouth; and your judgments are like light that goes forth.
“Hewn them by the prophets” – Since the people despised His gentle warnings, just as men hewn stones out of a quarry with hard blows and sharp instruments, these warnings would be harsher to break their stony hearts.
Verse 6 – For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
Rituals and worship that is not accompanied by faithfulness and love, is not based on the knowledge of God. The affectionate knowledge of God, which fills the mind and heart with reverence of His majesty, will bring knowledge , goodness, love of His holiness, trust in all His promises, and submission to His will.
Verse 7 – “But like men they transgressed the covenant; there they dealt treacherously with Me.
Verse 8 – Gilead is a city of evildoers, and is defiled with blood.
Verse 9 – As band of robbers lie in wait for a man, so the company of priests murder on the way to Shechem; surely they commit lewdness.
Gilead was once a city of refuge designated by Joshua (Joshua 20:1, 2, 7, 8). It was a halting place for people on their way to Jerusalem for the feasts. They had turned it into a place where bands of evil priests were lying in wait to murder travelers passing through.
Verse 10 – I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: There is the harlotry of Ephraim; Israel is defiled.
Verse 11 – Also, O Judah, a harvest is appointed for you, when I return the captives of My people.
Hosea injects a strong warning to Judah not to follow the same way the northern kingdom did. But Judah thought because the temple was located in Jerusalem, that same judgment would not come to them.