The prophetic message against the sins of the priests of northern Israel begins in Hosea 4:4. In this chapter, beginning with verse 1, this message of judgment is not only directed to the priests, but also to the king and to the high officials of the kingdom of Israel. It was an announcement of the judgment to come. They had made places of idol worship at Mizpah and on the slope of Mt. Tabor (5:1). Those who invented the golden calf worship and the king who had introduced Baal worship into Israel, did not hesitate to slaughter the true worshipers of God (5:2). The cause of such wickedness and degradation was their idol worship and the spirit of whoredom in them. Their intentional disobedience against God in making golden calves and the introduction of the Sidonian Baal worship into Israel were a direct rejection of God’s instructions and His law. Such people were not able to have a true love relationship with God (5:4).
Because they offered sacrifices to God without repentance and total surrender to Him, God would not accept their offerings (5:6). The people did not serve God having a faithful loving relationship with Him. They served the Sidonian god Baal and increased idol worshipers throughout Israel.
The end of verse 7 may be read, “A month shall devour them and their heritage.” A month was 30 days, and the 30 days could be prophetically interpreted as 30 year, each day for a year. Actually from the end of the reign of Jeroboam II (753 BC) to the destruction of Samaria (722 BC) and the surrounding cities was about 30 years. Hosea 5:8-9 depicts the sure coming of Assyria to destroy the northern kingdom of Israel (5:13).
Judah also became a nation of idol worshipers like Israel (5:10, 12, 14). To them, God would become like a moth that eats clothing, and become the cause of rottenness that makes food inedible. He would also be like a strong lion that attacks people and cattle, and nobody would be able to save them from the lion.
Until they acknowledge their sins and seek forgiveness from God, He could not bless them, nor could He restore a good relationship with them as their Creator and Redeemer (5:15). He is always willing to restore a good relationship with us. We need to recognize that holiness as a people is wholeness to God and total dedication to Him.
Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Ph.D.