Bible Commentaries
Hosea 5

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-15

Hosea 5:1 . Ye have been a snare and a net spread upon Tabor. This was a high mountain of Galilee, in the lot of Zebulon, called by the Greeks Itabyricum, having a plain on the top. Idolatry has everywhere spread a net, and laid a snare for the people by music, drunkenness, and fornication.

Hosea 5:11 . Ephraim willingly walked after the commandment. Later critics read, “after vanity.”

Hosea 5:13 . Sent to king Jareb, as in Hosea 10:6. The LXX read Jareim. This name is not found in the list of the Assyrian kings, Genesis 11:0., but they often assumed new titles. Jareb might be a viceroy of the Assyrians. Others turn the word Jareb to designate protector, as is implied in their paying tribute to Assyria. See 2 Kings 1:3.

Hosea 5:15 . I will return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face. This refers to the ascension of Christ, whom the heavens must receive till the times of the restitution of all things. Acts 3:21. Our Lord told the jews in the temple, that they should not see him till they sung his joyful advent: Blessed is the king that cometh in the name of the Lord.


This chapter opens with a bold address to the apostate priests, the first of sinners, and to the people, drawn aside, and to the king, who in a short time would have no kingdom. We see how much the sins of men may be aggravated by many circumstances attending them. Notice is here taken of the aggravation of the sins of Israel; they were the effect of contrivance and deliberation; they were very injurious to others, not only to those whom they murdered, but to those they enticed to idolatry. And their sins, with every circumstance attending them, were all known to God, and none of their profound contrivances were hid from him; this they well knew. They had dealt treacherously with the Lord, and violated the most sacred engagements. God had rebuked them for it again and again, by his judgments and by his prophets, and had solemnly declared what would surely be the consequence. Yet they went on in sin, and at the same time showed a great deal of pride in their privileges and blessings. Let us attend to these circumstances, as aggravations of sin; and be cautious, lest we incur the same heavy charge. We see what is the duty of impenitent sinners. It is the Lord’s work to convert sinners; without his grace all their attempts will be ineffectual. But something is to be done by them, and it is expected from them. They must frame their doings, consider their ways, and the consequences of their actions. It becomes them also to listen to the reproofs and exhortations which are given them, and make use of the means of reformation; then God will communicate his grace. But if they will not do this; if they expect his grace, or hope that by sacrifices or any religious services, they shall make their peace with him, it is a high affront to the Majesty of heaven, and he will withdraw himself from them.

See the importance of a steady opposition to all impositions upon liberty, and upon conscience. The Israelites willingly walked after idolatrous commandments, therefore God gave them up to their oppressors. Idolatry was the religion of the court, enforced by penal law; yet here the people are threatened and condemned for conforming to it. Those who subject their consciences to their rulers in religious matters, may justly be left to feel the weight of arbitrary government. When the boundaries of conscience and religion are removed, a deluge of misery breaks in. To stand firm in defence of religious liberty, is the most likely way to maintain and protect our civil rights.

Observe the design of God in afflictions, and to what purposes they should be improved. God corrects men that they may be humbled, acknowledge their offences, and seek him earnestly; that they may feel the burden of sin, as well as of affliction, and seek reconciliation with God. It is a sign of a slothful impious spirit, not to pray before afflictions come; but to be afflicted and not pray earnestly shows a stupid, senseless, incorrigible spirit. Let the afflicted stir up themselves to take hold of God; for they that seek him earnestly shall find him.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Hosea 5". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.