“No truth, no mercy, no knowledge of God is in the land.”
This is Hosea 4:1b. No truth, no mercy and no knowledge of God in the lands of the ten northern Tribes of Israel. ‘Emeth (truth) in the Hebrew simply means that there is no stability in whatever someone teaches or advocates. This is probably a decent example of a rumor-mill.
The so-called truth changes like the weather. It takes time for knowledge to fade from the learned. Hosea 4 states that at this time of Hosea there is NO *KNOWLEDGE. He is talking about possessing knowledge of the God who lead their ancestors out of Egypt some 600 plus years earlier, is no longer wide spread. Other gods (which means priorities) have replaced the One God of Israel.
One might use the Hebrew epignosis or da’ath for translating to the English word knowledge. Both mean can mean recognition of or discernment depending on its intended use or meaning.
There is significance here when one recalls Proverbs 9:10…”Fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; knowledge of the Lord God is the beginning of understanding.” Without truth, how can there be knowledge? Without knowledge how can one have a basis of even simple understand? Simple reading of the Word of God does not always equal any depth of knowledge other than the fact that one read His Word. That comes with understanding. The Kingdom of Israel had lost all of this. Now the consequences….The Kingdome of Israel had lost the knowledge of serving God therefore they no longer rose to the level of of any understanding.
Hosea’s chapters 1, 2, & 3 are all about his family situations discussed in articles 1–5 on this website.
His family is a living examination of spiritual conditions within Israel all illustrated through his marriage with Gomer. This includes the specific meaning of the names Hosea gave to his three children born of Gomer. Hosea 4:3 is specific. The lands of the Kingdom of Israel will “languish” [v3, KJV]. This includes all being: the land itself, the beasts of the field and the fish in the waters. It will become barren. History proves this to be true. It happened as prophesied remaining that way for over 2,000 years. What we call Palestine today was a sandy deserted abandoned land before 1947.
Now he (Hosea) shifts to God’s direct issues with Israel. These issues can also be applied to modern times and those who call themselves members of the church; i.e. claiming Christianity; practicing religion. In this situation Hosea was NOT even preaching to the choir. If he was, it would sound like a choir that did not know what song to sing, all sang something in any key s/he wished, in a different timing, and all at the same time with different lyrics. What a concert Hosea must have felt he was attending.
Keep in mind that Gomer represented Israel and her children the civilians of Israel. In Hosea 4:5b it reads…”…and I will destroy your mother,” then in v6 God continues… “…and I will forget your children.” It all began with Israel losing the knowledge of God as their savior. No knowledge means that there is also no fear of God. An example in 2020 would be similar to someone ignoring or never knowing what it required to avoid the Coronavirus while continuing to walk in the midst of it. There was in Hosea’s time and will be in our modern time a thing called consequences…deadly consequences.
The Hebrew for “forgotten” is shâkêach meaning to put from one’s mind or to have never paid attention or been instructed. Even as in the CoVid 19 pandemic, the solution needed to be shoved down individual throats in the form of a ventilator and even then, over time it still didn’t work.
Verse 7: [ESV] “The more they increased, the more they sinned against me; I will change their glory into shame.” Just as in the 2020 pandemic, the more people increased in their violation of God’s laws, the more to their shame. Almost if not actually becoming social outcasts. The glory of an individual as part of society is replaced with something similar to wearing an old fashion leprosy sign stating…UNCLEAN!
Hosea 4:10-11 “They shall eat, but not be satisfied; they shall play the whore, but not multiply, because they have forsaken the LORD to cherish whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.”
JIV NOTE: Up to this point this northern kingdom’s lack of knowledge is akin to simply saying “I have all the knowledge I need.” I know this Bible story and that Bible story, but they are just STORIES! What else is expected? Oh my friends. This is so true today. Even in Bible believing churches many in the flock think church attendance and perhaps a couple of bucks in tithing are GOOD ENOUGH for a Christian life. Evidence? Count those who show up for the regular church service by comparison to those who show up for the mid-week bible study…IF there is even a mid-week prayer or Bible moment.
In New Testament time Jesus was constantly challenging the religious traditions, customs, and personal power status of the religious leaders. They had knowledge but did not understand much if any of it. They lived in a status-quo. Paul was highly educated but did not understand; that is until the Road to Damascus.
“Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priests for Me” [Hosea 4:6] This would be a very scary situation if during the 2020 pandemic hospitals entered each patient on the basis of whether or not a person in need was actually ignorant of the personal threat of Covid 19 or rejected it. What confronts the leadership of the Kingdom of Israel is similar. If the medical society (doctors) rejected the insights of Covid 19 and warned no one, all would be a great risk. This is the situation as stated per rejected knowledge of God’s laws in Israel.
Dr. David Guzik puts it well in comparing the Kingdom of Israel in their “wife” relationship to their “husband” God.
The picture is striking when we consider how Israel wanted to add pagan gods to their worship of the LORD. It isn’t as if Israel officially said, “We want to leave the LORD, and now serve only pagan gods.” Instead, Israel wanted to add the worship of pagan gods to their worship of the LORD. God received this the same way a husband would if his wife said, “I want you to still be my husband, I just want to take on a few more lovers also.”
Gomer did the same thing to Hosea. It didn’t end there as agreed upon between Hosea and Gomer; i.e. God and Israel, but this is not the end of our Hosea study either.
Up to Hosea 4:14 we continue to read of God’s displeasure with Israel. At verse 15 [ESV] we see a situation and warning of something 120 years in the future of Hosea’s time. Though you play the whore, O Israel, let not Judah become guilty. Jeremiah 3:11writes [NASB] …”And the Lord said to me, “Faithless Israel (northern Kingdom of Israel) has proved herself more righteous than treacherous Judah.” (Emphasis mine)
Hosea 4:15 to verse 19 (end of chapter) is a basic summary of the first 14 verses in Hosea 4. Let us add this thought then try in one’s own to insert it into what is going on in the Northern Kingdom of Israel long before and up to Hosea’s time.
To know of God is not the same as knowing God.
At times people wonder if there is a better way to help people understand scripture with its implications and applications. This author is one of them. I recall when standing in front of many college classes of mine that calling on another student to explain something using their own words gets the message through better than the way I put it. The attached link is just that. We defer to him to help others better understand what is going on that true believers need to know. If we don’t know or understand the signs of end time per the Bible, how can we recognize them when in front of us? – Dr. jStark