*Return to the Lord*
1. "'Let us go and return to the Lord our God;
For He has grasped and will heal us;
He will smite and plug the wound with lint.+
2. After two days he will heal us.
In the third day we shall rise
And live before Him.+
3. Let us know, let us pursue
That we might know the Lord.
We shall find Him ready as the daybreak,
And He will come to us
As the early and latter rain to the earth.'+
*Israel and Judah Are Unrepentant*
4. "What shall I do to you, O Ephraim?
What shall I do to you, O Judah?
Your mercy is as a mourning cloud
And as the early dew that goes away.
5. Therefore I have cut off your prophets;
I have slain them with the words of My mouth,
And My judgment shall go forth as the light.
6. For I desire mercy and not sacrifice,
And the knowledge of God
More than whole burnt offerings.+
7. But they are as a man who transgresses the covenant;
There they despised Me.
8. Gilead is a city working vanity with troubling water.
9. Your strength is that of a pirate;
The priests have hidden the way;
They have murdered the people of Shechem,
For they have done lawlessness.
10. In the house of Israel I have seen horrible things;
There is the fornication of Ephraim;
Israel and Judah are defiled.
11. Begin to harvest for yourself
When I return the captives of My people.
+6:1 - "These may refer to those among the Hebrews who afterward came to believe in Christ. In such a thirst and long captivity they will seek the face [5:15], namely, the Son" (Theoph).
+6:2 - The Church understands this text as a messianic prophecy regarding Christ's Resurrection: two days refers to the time the body of Jesus lay in the tomb; the third day points to His glorious Resurrection promising we shall rise with Him. St. Paul writes that Jesus "rose again the third day according to the Scriptures" (1Co 15:4), most likely alluding to this passage from Hosea.
+6:3 - Among the Church's early writers, Tertullian (ca. AD 160-225) is the first to relate this passage to the Resurrection of Jesus, and more precisely to the myrrhbearing women who went at daybreak (Lk 24:1) to their Master's tomb to anoint His body.
+6:6 - God does not reject worship as a whole, but He criticizes the way Israel perceives it. Instead of a means to enter into a relationship with God and to foster community ties, the worship gradually becomes a goal in itself (Am 5:21ff.; Mic 6:6ff.). This applies also to Orthodox people who see the liturgy as "boring".