Hosea 5

Judgment Against Israel

1 “Hear this, you priests! Pay attention, you Israelites! Listen, royal house! This judgment is against you: You have been a snare at Mizpah, a net spread out on Tabor.
2 The rebels are knee-deep in slaughter. I will discipline all of them.
3 I know all about Ephraim; Israel is not hidden from me. Ephraim, you have now turned to prostitution; Israel is corrupt.
4 “Their deeds do not permit them to return to their God. A spirit of prostitution is in their heart; they do not acknowledge the LORD.
5 Israel’s arrogance testifies against them; the Israelites, even Ephraim, stumble in their sin; Judah also stumbles with them.
6 When they go with their flocks and herds to seek the LORD, they will not find him; he has withdrawn himself from them.
7 They are unfaithful to the LORD; they give birth to illegitimate children. When they celebrate their New Moon feasts, he will devour[a] their fields.
8 “Sound the trumpet in Gibeah, the horn in Ramah. Raise the battle cry in Beth Aven[b] ; lead on, Benjamin.
9 Ephraim will be laid waste on the day of reckoning. Among the tribes of Israel I proclaim what is certain.
10 Judah’s leaders are like those who move boundary stones. I will pour out my wrath on them like a flood of water.
11 Ephraim is oppressed, trampled in judgment, intent on pursuing idols.[c]
12 I am like a moth to Ephraim, like rot to the people of Judah.
13 “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his sores, then Ephraim turned to Assyria, and sent to the great king for help. But he is not able to cure you, not able to heal your sores.
14 For I will be like a lion to Ephraim, like a great lion to Judah. I will tear them to pieces and go away; I will carry them off, with no one to rescue them.
15 Then I will return to my lair until they have borne their guilt and seek my face— in their misery they will earnestly seek me.”

Hosea 5 Commentary

Chapter 5

The Divine judgments against Israel. (1-7) Approaching desolations threatened. (8-15)

Verses 1-7 The piercing eye of God saw secret liking and disposition to sin, the love the house of Israel had to their sins, and the dominion their sins had over them. Pride makes men obstinate in other sins. And as Judah was treading in the same steps, they would fall with Israel. By dealing treacherously with the Lord, men only deceive themselves. Those that go to seek the Lord with their flocks and their herds only, and not with their hearts and souls, cannot expect to find him; nor shall any speed who do not seek the Lord while he may be found. See how much it is our concern to seek God early, now, while it is the accepted time, and the day of salvation.

Verses 8-15 The destruction of impenitent sinners is not mere talk, to frighten them, it is a sentence which will not be recalled. And it is a mercy that we have timely warning given us, that we may flee from the wrath to come. Compliance with the commandments of men, who thwart the commandments of God, ripens a people for ruin. The judgments of God are sometimes to a sinful people as a moth, and as rottenness, or as a worm; as these consume the clothes and the wood, so shall the judgments of God consume them. Silently, they shall think themselves safe and thriving, but when they look into their state, shall find themselves wasting and decaying. Slowly, for the Lord gives them space to repent. Many a nation; as well as many a person, dies of a consumption. Gradually, God comes upon sinners with lesser judgments, to prevent greater, if they will be wise, and take warning. When Israel and Judah found themselves in danger, they sought the protection of the Assyrians, but this only helped to make their wound the worse. They would be forced to apply to God. He will bring them home to himself, by afflictions. When men begin to complain more of their sins than of their afflictions, then there begins to be some hope of them; and when under the conviction of sin, and the corrections of the rod, we must seek the knowledge of God. Those who are led by severe trials to seek God earnestly and sincerely, will find him a present help and an effectual refuge; for with him is plenteous redemption for all who call upon him. There is solid peace, and there only, where God is.

Cross References 44

  • 1. S Job 10:2
  • 2. Hosea 6:9; Hosea 9:8
  • 3. S Jeremiah 5:26
  • 4. S Hosea 4:2
  • 5. Hosea 9:15
  • 6. Amos 5:12
  • 7. S Ezekiel 23:7; S Hosea 1:2; Hosea 6:10
  • 8. Hosea 7:10
  • 9. S Hosea 4:11
  • 10. S Jeremiah 4:22; S Hosea 4:6
  • 11. S Isaiah 3:9; S Jeremiah 2:19; Hosea 7:10
  • 12. S Ezekiel 14:7
  • 13. Hosea 14:1
  • 14. Micah 6:6-7
  • 15. S Proverbs 1:28; Isaiah 1:15; Ezekiel 8:6; Malachi 1:10
  • 16. S Isaiah 24:16; Hosea 6:7
  • 17. Hosea 2:4
  • 18. Isaiah 1:14
  • 19. S Hosea 2:11-12
  • 20. S Numbers 10:2; S Jeremiah 4:21; S Ezekiel 33:3
  • 21. Judges 19:12; Hosea 9:9; Hosea 10:9
  • 22. S Isaiah 10:29
  • 23. S Joshua 7:2; Hosea 4:15; Hosea 10:5
  • 24. S Isaiah 7:16
  • 25. Isaiah 37:3; Hosea 9:11-17
  • 26. Isaiah 46:10; Zechariah 1:6
  • 27. S Deuteronomy 19:14
  • 28. S Ezekiel 7:8
  • 29. Hosea 9:16; Micah 6:16
  • 30. S Job 13:28; S Isaiah 51:8
  • 31. S Job 18:16
  • 32. S Isaiah 7:16
  • 33. S Ezekiel 23:5; Hosea 7:11; Hosea 8:9; Hosea 12:1
  • 34. S Lamentations 5:6; Hosea 7:8; Hosea 10:6
  • 35. S Isaiah 3:7; Hosea 14:3
  • 36. Hosea 2:7; Jeremiah 30:12
  • 37. S Job 10:16; S Jeremiah 4:7; Amos 3:4
  • 38. Hosea 6:1
  • 39. S Deuteronomy 32:39; Micah 5:8
  • 40. S Isaiah 18:4
  • 41. S Leviticus 26:40
  • 42. S Numbers 21:7; S Psalms 24:6; S Hosea 3:5
  • 43. Psalms 50:15; S Jeremiah 2:27
  • 44. Isaiah 64:9; S Ezekiel 20:43

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. Or "Now their New Moon feasts" / "will devour them and"
  • [b]. "Beth Aven" means "house of wickedness" (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means "house of God" ).
  • [c]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.

Chapter Summary


The design of this chapter is to expose the sins of Israel and of Judah, and to declare the judgment of God upon them for them. Men of all ranks in Israel are summoned to attend to the charge brought against then, and the sentence on them, Ho 5:1. The charge exhibited is, that they were guilty of in, hating men to the slaughter of idolatrous sacrifices, though they had been sufficiently rebuked and corrected, Ho 5:1,2; of both corporeal and spiritual adultery, whereby they were defiled, and which was well known to the Lord, Ho 5:3; of obstinate persistence in impenitence, owing to the efficacy of an unclean spirit in them, and their want of the knowledge of God, Ho 5:4; of open pride, which stared them in the face, and for which they fell into calamities, and Judah with them, and should not be able with all their sacrifices to find favour with God, who had withdrawn himself from them, Ho 5:5,6; also of treacherous dealing with the Lord by their spiritual adultery, and begetting strange children, Ho 5:7; next their punishment is denounced, of which notice was to be given them by the sound of the trumpet, as an alarm of war, or as calling for mourning, Ho 5:8; since Ephraim would become desolate, of which notification had been made among the tribes, Ho 5:9; and wrath would be poured out in great abundance on the princes of Judah, who were very wicked men, Ho 5:10; and Ephraim would be oppressed and broken by the judgment of God, who would be as a moth unto them, and also rottenness to Judah, because they followed the commandments of men, Ho 5:11,12; and, what was still more provoking, when they were sensible of their calamities and distresses, they sought not help from the Lord, but from men that could do them no good; and therefore he threatens to be as a devouring lion to them, Ho 5:13,14; and yet the chapter concludes with a promise of the conversion of these people, after the Lord had dealt with them in an angry manner, Ho 5:15.

Hosea 5 Commentaries

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