Hosea and the Lack of Knowledge of God


One of the most important theological themes of the book of the prophet Hosea is the lack of the knowledge of God. In this year the Lord has called us as a Church to look for his presence in order to know him better. Thus knowing God or the knowledge of God is more than biblical intellectual knowledge; is an intimate relationship with him. It surely needs of a good knowledge of His Word because He has revealed himself through it, but this biblical knowledge shall draw us near his presence and heart.  T. C. Vriezen defines the meaning of this knowledge of God as follows: “In the Old Testament knowledge is living in a close relationship with something or somebody…a relationship…called communion”.[1] Knowledge is clearly used in this sense in Genesis 4:1 saying: “And the man knew his wife Eve. And she conceived and bore Cain, and said, I have gotten a man with the help of Jehovah”.[2] The lack of this intimate relationship is the reason of Israel’s (the Northern Kingdom) sins, calamities and of their ultimately judgment of God by the Assyrian armies. The prophet Hosea says to Israel:

“Sons of Israel, hear the Word of Jehovah, for Jehovah has a quarrel with those living in the land; for there is no truth, and no mercy, and no knowledge of God in the land. Swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and the committing of adultery increase. And blood touches against blood”.[3]

“My people are cut off for lack of knowledge. Because you rejected the knowledge, I also rejected you from being priest to Me. Since you have forgotten the Law of your God, I will forget your sons, even I”.[4]

Their lack of knowledge (intimate relationship) with God and the negligence of the priest to teach the people to live in that intimacy caused spiritual ruin to the people of Israel. It was more than knowledge of the Law or Scripture what they lacked; it was a matter of true intimate relationship. This is clearly shown in the book through the kind of marriage the prophet had with Gomer, the harlot. When the practice of sin breaks the relationship with God a spirit of adultery comes to God’s people creating a barrier between God and his people, destroying the intimate relationship:

“Their doings will not give them to turn to their God. For the spirit of fornication is in their midst, and they do not know Jehovah”.[5]

God desire for their people is expressed by Hosea too. God does not want us to live an external heartless religious life. He wants our all passion, all our strength, all our love as a wife shall do with her beloved husband:

“For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings”.[6]

We can learn from this history of Israel that God does not pleases in our vain ritualistic worship, but in an intimate life relationship with him in “dutiful steadfast love and goodness, not sacrifice” as the Amplified Bible translates the verse above. In the New testament James is echoing this prophetic word when saying: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whoever, then, purposes to be a friend of the world is put down as hostile to God”.[7]  So we, as the people of Israel in the Old Covenant are accountable of our faithfulness and intimate relationship with God, our knowledge of him. We want to be a good priesthood for him in the nations so we shall not reject the knowledge of God nor be negligent in teaching the nations how to know Him through Christ; “Because you rejected the knowledge, I also rejected you from being priest to Me”.[8]

God is a loving husband for his people when we rebel and are unfaithful to him he hurts but He never stops loving us. Thus, God promised his people that in the latter days (the days of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ’s blood as the apostles testifies in Acts 2:17-18) he would bring them back and become His wife in faithfulness and then they will know the Lord:

“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”.[9]

“I will even betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know Jehovah. And it shall be in that day, I will answer, says Jehovah. I will answer the heavens, and they shall answer the earth. And the earth shall hear the grain, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. And I will sow her to Me in the earth. And I will have mercy on No Mercy. And I will say to Not My People, You are My people! And they shall say, My God!”[10]

God uses the names of the second and third sons of Hosea, first used as signs of judgment, now as part of a promise of restoration.  Is in the Church of Christ and through the New Covenant in the blood of the Son of David that God through his grace is turning the rebellious Ephraim back as a faithful wife and with them all gentiles:

“I, Jesus, sent My angel to testify these things to you over the assemblies. I am the Root and Offspring of David, the bright and morning Star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come! And the one hearing, let him say, Come! And the one thirsting, let him come; and the one desiring, let him take of the water of life freely”.[11]


[1] T. C. Vriezen, An Outline of Old Testament Theology, 2nd ed. (Mass.: Newton Centre, 1970), p. 154, quoted in William Sanford LaSor, David Allan Hubbard, and Frederic William Bush, Old Testament Survey: the Message, Form, and Background of the Old Testament, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1996), page 265.

[2] Jay P. Green Sr., Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (n.p.: Sovereign Grace Publishers, n.d.), Genesis 4:1, http://thewordnotes.com/litv/litv.htm (accessed February 4, 2012).

[3]Ibid, Hosea 4:1, 2.

[4] Ibid, Hosea 4:6.

[5] Ibid, Hosea 5:4.

[6] Ibid, Hosea 6:6.

[7] Ibid, James 4:4.

[8] Ibid, Hosea 4:6.

[9] Hosea 3:5 KJV– Reference to King David shall be understood in the historical context. Remember that Hosea was prophet to the northern kingdom that rebelled against the House of David in the years of David’s grandson Rehoboam – 1 Kings 12. David has passed away many years ago, here the prophet is not speaking literally of David, but of the Messianic descendant that would reign forever more in his throne: JESUS CHRIST. In the same way when speaking of Ephraim the prophet is using the name of the tribe from where Jeroboam  came as remembering them the sin of dividing the tribes into two kingdoms and introducing a false religion to the northern tribes – 1 King 11:26.

[10] Jay P. Green Sr., Hosea 2:20-23.

[11] Ibid, Revelation 22:16-17.

Editor de Centro CREE y Berea Online Blogs.

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Publicado en Mensajes Cristianos, Teología/Sana Doctrina/Estudios Sistemáticos de la Palabra
One comment on “Hosea and the Lack of Knowledge of God
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