Hosea 6

The Word Made Fresh

1So now let us return to the LORD who has wounded us,
for the LORD can heal us.
God has struck us down and God can bandage us.
2God will revive us in two days and lift us up on the third day,
and then we will be able to live in God’s sight.
3So, let us strive to know the LORD;
God will come like showers of spring rain that water the earth.
4What can I do with you, Ephraim and Judah?
Your love is like the morning clouds and dew that goes away quickly.
5That is why I have used the prophets to cut them to pieces
and killed them with my words; my judgment shines like the light.
6What I really want is steadfast love, not sacrifice
What I really want is for you to know God, not just sacrifices.
7But like Adam they disobeyed the agreement
and dealt falsely with me.
8Gilead is a city filled with wicked people
who track blood wherever they walk.
9Just as thieves lie in wait for the victim, the priests band together.
They commit murder on the road to Shechem, terrible crimes.
10I have seen horrible things in the house of Israel.
Ephraim has played the prostitute and Israel is defiled.
11A harvest is planned for you as well, Judah,
for the time to come when I restore your fortunes.


1-3: Many scholars believe these verses represent Hosea’s rendition of the shallow religious promises of the people of Israel and Judah: They think all they have to do is make a show of repentance and God will quickly reverse their fortunes in a matter of a couple of days.

4-6: God responds by declining any interest in sacrifices, but rather in a lasting change of heart that reflects God’s own steadfast love.

7-11: Other cities are named — Adam, Gilead, and Shechem — and their transgressions documented. The priests, he says, are no better than murderers. For this Ephraim (Israel) will be punished. Judah’s punishment has also been assigned to a later “harvest.”


Sin always leads to downfall.