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An introduction to Hosea
Hosea was a prophet to the Northern Kingdom from the day of King Jeroboam II (793-753 B.C.) down through the fall to the Assyrians in 721 B.C., found in II Kings 17 (see notes). Verse 1 shows us that he prophesied down to Hezekiah's reign (715-686 B.C. - Southern Kingdom). The metaphorical content of this prophecy revolves around Hosea's dysfunctional family. He was commanded by God to choose a wife from among prostitutes, who subsequently did not remain faithful to him after their marriage. This was to serve as an object lesson of Israel's shortcoming in their faithfulness to God. Israel's love for false gods and idols through their history is many times characterized as harlotry by the Old Testament prophets. The names of Hosea's children were also significant with regard to the actions of Israel toward God. Hosea had a tough life; besides the pressures of giving unpopular prophecies to his nation, he also had a challenging home life.
Incidentally, as the most influential among the tribes comprising the Northern Kingdom of Israel, Ephraim is often mentioned in Hosea's prophecies as characterizing all of Israel. The other prophets of the Old Testament often do the same.
How about Hosea's wife and those kids (Hosea 1)
1 The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
2 The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
3 So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.
4 And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel.
5 And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel.
6 And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away.
7 But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
8 Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son.
9 Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God.
10 Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.
11 Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
God told Hosea to take an unfaithful wife. He did so; her name was Gomer. All of the children that she bore were given names with prophetic meanings...bad prophetic meanings.
Those names all looked toward the fall of Israel to the Assyrians in 721 B.C., found in II Kings 17 (see notes). However, verse 10 looks forward to a time when Israel and Judah would again be reunited, and they would once again appoint their own leader. While it is true that they were reunited in their land when they returned in the latter part of the 6th century B.C. after the exile, they were still under the authority of other nations at that time, and did not choose their own leaders, nor were they permitted to have a king. After the fall of Israel, Judah also fell (except Jerusalem) and finally Jerusalem itself was completely overthrown in 586 B.C. (II kings 24-25, see notes); that was after 20 years of puppet kings. Israel, as a self governing nation, did not exist until May 14, 1948 when Israel once again was constituted as an independent nation.
Verses 6 and 7 are particularly significant here in Hosea's prophecy concerning the fall of Israel to the Assyrians, but not Jerusalem at that time. Notice the prophecy of Israel's fall in verse 6, "I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away." In contrast, notice the survival of Judah (at least with regard to the Assyrians) in verse 7, "But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen." This celebrated miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem is found in II Kings 18:13-19:37, II Chronicles 32:9-22 and Isaiah 36-37 (see notes).
The object lesson applied (Hosea 2)
1 Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
2 Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
3 Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst.
4 And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms.
5 For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
6 Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths.
7 And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.
8 For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.
9 Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.
10 And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand.
11 I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.
12 And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them.
13 And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
14 Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.
15 And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
16 And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.
17 For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.
18 And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely.
19 And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
21 And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth;
22 And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel.
23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
Chapter 2 is based on the parallel between God’s relation to Israel and Hosea’s relation to Gomer. Hosea's family was a picture of Israel's unfaithfulness to God. They went after other gods just as an unfaithful wife goes after other men. That's the picture of of the first 13 verses of chapter 2. Hosea's prophecy makes use of the following names in verse 1 to symbolically describe Israel's relationship to God:
In verse 7 we get the sense of the analogy given here: Just as a prostitute pursues her lovers, so Israel seeks after false gods. However, God blocks her way to success, and she decides to return back to her husband (God). In verse 8 we see that God withheld the basic staples from Israel in their pursuit of false gods. As a matter of fact, Israel's futile attempt at success without God is seen down through verse 13.
However, beginning with verse 14, we see the restoration of the unfaithful wife/Israel. We get a couple more symbolic names in verse 16:
While we see a partial fulfillment in the return from exile in 535 B.C. (Ezra 1, see notes) that's not the complete fulfillment. There's coming a day when they will turn back toward their God, and God will show them favor with complete self rule. That's the yet-future millennium, also characterized in this passage as a period when even predatory animals will be tamed (verse 18), as is also described in Isaiah 11:6-9 (see notes).
1 Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
2 So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley:
3 And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.
4 For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim:
5 Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
It would appear that Gomer, Hosea's wife, was back to her old trade, if she ever actually left it. God tells Hosea to buy her back, which he does with the silver and barley of verse 2. She's to give up her relationships with the other men. The object lesson here is as follows: Just as Hosea redeemed his wife, God will redeem Israel. The fulfillment of this is in the millennium to come. Note the reference to David, their king, in verse 5, making it clearly Messianic in fulfillment. So...just as they would experience defeat and subjection in verse 4, they would once again come to their land and have their King David ruling over them (verse 5) in the yet-future kingdom age (aka millennium). Verse 5 emphasizes "David their king." Without that phrase, one might assign the fulfillment of these verses to the return of the exiles in 535 B.C. However, with David added to the prophetic mix here, this is definitely not to be fulfilled until the millennium to come.
1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
2 By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood.
3 Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.
4 Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest.
5 Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother.
6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
7 As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.
8 They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity.
9 And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.
10 For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD.
11 Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart.
12 My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God.
13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.
14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.
15 Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth.
16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place.
17 Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.
18 Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye.
19 The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
In this chapter, the sin of Israel's embracing false gods is once again the theme. Verse 1 sets the tone for the chapter, "Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land." Again, let me remind you, from their first king, Jeroboam, they never served God. He immediately erected two calves for worship, and that became their form of basic worship in the Northern Kingdom. When they wandered away from the base religion to Baal, Molech and others, they would from time to time come back to their basic worship, the two calves. They were unfaithful to the one true God from their very beginning. Even their two-calf priests are given dishonorable mention in verses 4-11. Their culpability is identified here.
We see in verses 12-14 that the people of Israel were worshiping and looking for leadership from false gods rather than from their own true God. Judah is mentioned in verse 15. They had their problems of going after other gods as well, but their base religion was the worship of the one true God. When they went back to basics, that's where they went. The prophets often identify the deviation from serving Jehovah as spiritual harlotry. Ephraim is mentioned in verse 17 as the most influential of the tribes comprising the Northern Kingdom.
Let's face it; they've been bad (Hosea 5)
1 Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor.
2 And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all.
3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled.
4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD.
5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them.
6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them.
7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.
8 Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin.
9 Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be.
10 The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.
12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.
13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
14 For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.
15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
This chapter is devoted to Hosea's prophecy against the sin of the Northern Kingdom known as Israel. As stated above, sometimes the Northern Kingdom is referred to as Ephraim, one of the Northern Tribes. Their spiritual leadership, the two-calf priests, are clearly implicated in verse 1. There's the spiritual harlotry in Hosea 5:3, "I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled." The resulting consequences are seen in verses 4-9. The civil leadership of Israel is indicted in verse 10. They will be chastised until "they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face" (verse 15). They did not acknowledge their sins and fell to the Assyrians in 721 B.C. Verse 5 says, "Judah also shall fall with them." Jerusalem itself (within Judah) did not fall until 586 B.C. (to the Babylonians), but the rest of the land of Judah (Southern Kingdom) did fall prey to the Assyrians along with the inhabitants of the Northern Kingdom.
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 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.
Verses 1-3 have been at the center of significant prophetic discussion for those who insist upon setting a time table for the second coming of Jesus Christ. Let's take a close look at these three verses:
Hosea 6:1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
Hosea 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
Hosea 6:3 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.
There are your controversial words in verse 2, "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up." What does that mean? Many have coupled Hosea 6:2 with II Peter 3:8 (see notes), "But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." They contend that, because of the precedent of standardizing God's time in II Peter 3:8, the "two days" in verse 2 really means 2,000 years. Therefore it is believed by some that the second coming of Jesus Christ will take place after 2,000 years from whatever the beginning point is in verse 2. Ahhhhh...here's our first big obstacle. If you marry Hosea 6:2 with II Peter 3:8 (and I don't), you then have a doctrine that says Israel will be revived "after two days," but from when - the fall of Israel in 721 B.C. or the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.? Or perhaps the countdown should start at the birth of Jesus...or perhaps his death. Maybe the countdown should start at the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 A.D. Theories abound...each selecting one of the events listed here as the starting point for the countdown of verse 2. One more variable is to be considered here: What kind of years are we talking about, actual or prophetic? An actual solar year is 365.2522 days long, while prophecy often uses 360-day years for prophetic purposes. With 360-day years, 1,000 years would actually be 986 solar years.
One theory with which I am familiar counts from the crucifixion of Jesus which they calculate to be 33 A.D. Add to that date 1,972 years (986 x 2) and you get year 2005. Whoa...that just happens to be the exact year in which I am writing this paragraph for the first time! In addition to the basic assumption that Hosea 6:2 and II Peter 3:8 (see notes) are married to each other, there's another big problem here with this theory - the calendar itself. Our years today are rendered (theoretically) from the birth of Jesus, as calculated by a Catholic monk who lived in the 6th century A.D. by the name of Dionysius Exiguus. In preparing this for the Roman Catholic Church, Dionysius overlooked two significant pieces of data in his calculations. His first oversight was that Herod was still living when Jesus was born, a Biblical fact (Matthew 2, see notes). That's the reason why reference books and Bibles generally render the birth of Jesus at 4 B.C.; that's the latest Herod could have died according to the calendar created by Dionysius. However, there was one more oversight - year 0. In his calculations, Dionysius counted only a single year between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D.; in reality, there are two. That being the case, it is accepted by nearly all Bible scholars that Jesus could not have been crucified later than 30 A.D. As you can see, those who are convinced that Hosea 6:2 and II Peter 3:8 (see notes) are to be taken together have a problem with prophetic years being counted from the crucifixion of Jesus. That period of time actually concluded by no later than 2002. As far as using the crucifixion of Jesus as the starting point, that part of the theory does make sense, inasmuch as Daniel's prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 (see notes) does reference the crucifixion as a significant event in Israel's future.
But wait! Some say that the countdown should have started in 70 A.D. at the destruction of the temple. That theory is particularly problematic in that Israel's reality didn't significantly change in 70 A.D. They were, for all effective purposes, under Roman domination before and after 70 A.D.; they had been under a foreign entity's rule since 586 B.C. True, there were a handful of years of Jewish rebellion between 586 B.C. and 70 A.D., but nothing that established Israel as its own self-governing nation.
In my thinking, the beginning of the countdown for Hosea 6:2 is not the biggest problem for the Hosea 6:2/II Peter 3:8 theorists; the exegesis of the verse itself is the biggest problem. Two Hebrew prepositions are used to establish a time frame in that verse, "min" (after) and "be" (in) ie. "after two days" and "in the third day." Both are accurate renderings of their respective Hebrew prepositions. That being the case, if one considers the Hosea 6:2/II Peter 3:8 linkage proposition here as fact, then after 2,000 years and in the next 1,000 years is the correct way to understand Hosea 6:2. That provides a 1,000-year latitude for fulfillment. Thus, for the theory cited above to be accurately rendered, "in the third day" could be understood to be any time from 2002 A.D. until 2988 A.D., if one renders the crucifixion as the starting point. Let's face it; a 986-year window takes all the fun out of that prophecy for those of us who are living at the beginning of that so-rendered "third day."
In summary, it doesn't seem likely to me that Peter intended II Peter 3:8 (see notes) to be more than a way of expressing the extent of God's longsuffering in the following verse when he says in II Peter 3:9, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." In other words, how does one explain what's taking God so long in verse 9? Well...verse 8 does; with God, it's not really very long at all. It would seem to be a significant exegetical stretch to make it say more than that.
So...what does Hosea 6:2 mean then? Well...that's a stumper, but let me tell you what I think Hosea may be expressing. Israel, as a nation, died in 586 B.C. There's little question about verse 3 there; it speaks of the restoration and Messianic rule in the yet-future millennium. The beginning of the return of the exiles in 535 B.C. to their land did not meet the criteria of Messianic rule; it must be a reference to the millennium. That being the case, Hosea compares the nation of Israel to one who is dead. While the body is intact, resurrection seems possible, as in the resurrection of the boy at the hand of Elisha in II Kings 4 (see notes). However, when decay sets in on the third day, resurrection begins to seem less plausible as in the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 (see notes) at the hand of Jesus. Who can forget the words of Lazarus' sister, Martha, in John 11:39 when she says, "Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days." I think that Hosea is probably saying that when it seems hopeless for Israel to resurrect, it will happen. With the Messianic component of verse 3, I think these verses were not fulfilled at the declaration of Israel's independence in 1948, although that was a good, healthy start. When Jesus is the Messiah, that will be the fulfillment. Now, in the year 2013, I'm looking with anticipation at the geopolitical turmoil in the Middle East.
6:4 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.
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.
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.
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.
7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.
2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.
3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.
4 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.
5 In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.
6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.
7 They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.
8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.
10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.
11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
12 When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.
13 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.
14 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.
15 Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.
16 They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
This kind of reminds me of the Mom who says, "I give and I give and I give, and what thanks do I get!" Here's Israel starting out with the one true God as their protector, but they were completely ungrateful and turned to the false gods. These two chapters condemn Israel for their lack of confidence in God and their unfaithfulness to him.
Incidentally, pay close attention Hosea 6:6, "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings." Hosea is calling for sacrifice, but sacrifice that is based upon proper attitudes toward God - Israel's shortcoming. Jesus quoted this verse in Matthew 9:13 (see notes), "But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance." Jesus again quotes this verse in Matthew 12:7 (see notes), "But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." He uses Hosea's prophecy to rebuke the Pharisees in both passages.
In these two chapters we clearly see an indictment against both Israel and Judah for their idolatry.