Bible Commentaries

Hosea 4

Verses 1-19

In any attempt to analyze and tabulate the teaching in this second division of the Book it must be remembered that the prophetic utterances cannot be treated as verbatim reports. As they here appear, they are rather the gathering up of the notes or leading ideas of a long period of preaching. These notes fall into three distinct cycles, pollution and its cause, pollution and its punishment, and the love of Jehovah.

In dealing with pollution and its cause the prophet first preferred a general charge against the nation. Israel was summoned to attend and hear the word of the Lord, because He had a controversy with the people. They were charged with being without truth and mercy and knowledge of God, which resulted in the spread of all kinds of evil. The result was to be seen in the mourning land, the languishing people, and man's loss of dominion over nature. The prophet next declared the cause of the sin, and more carefully described the results. The cause was the pollution of the priests. Priest and prophet stumbled, and the people were destroyed for lack of knowledge. As the priests multiplied they sinned, and their glory was turned to shame. The result was the pollution of the people. The example of the priests issued in lack of understanding. The prophet declared that God would not punish for the smaller offense of physical harlotry, but for the more terrible outrage of spiritual adultery which lay behind it. In this connection he counseled Judah to take warning from the terrible example of Israel.