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Hosea iv.-vii 7.

Pursuing the plan laid down in the last chapter, we now take the section of Hosea's discourse which lies between chap. iv. 1 and chap. vii. 7. Chap. iv. is the only really separable bit of it; but there are also slight breaks at v. 15 and vii. 2. So we may attempt a division into four periods: 1. Chap. iv., which states God's general charge against the people; 2. Chap. v. 1-14, which discusses the priests and princes; 3. Chaps. v. 15-vii. 2, which abjures the people's attempts at repentance; and 4. Chap. vii. 3-7, which is a lurid spectacle of the drunken and profligate court. All these give symptoms of the moral decay of the people,—the family destroyed by impurity, and society by theft and murder; the corruption of the spiritual guides of the people; the debauchery of the nobles; the sympathy of the throne with evil,—with the despairing judgment that such a people are incapable even of repentance. The keynotes are these: No troth, leal love, nor knowledge of God in the land. Priest and Prophet stumble. Ephraim and Judah stumble. I am as the moth to Ephraim. What can I make of thee, Ephraim? When I would heal them, their guilt is only the more exposed. Morally, Israel is256 rotten. The prophet, of course, cannot help adding signs of their political incoherence. But these he deals with more especially in the part of his discourse which follows chap. vii. 7.

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