Killer Priests

Killer Priests.001Hosea is known as the “deathbed prophet,” or the “weeping prophet of the North,” because he prophesied during Israel’s last days prior to Assyrian captivity. Hosea decries many heinous sins of the part of the Israelites, including widespread idol worship and fraudulence. These sins, breaking the covenant yet again, were already resulting in the people being disowned by God.

One of the sins involved the priesthood itself: “As robbers lie in wait for a man, so the priests band together; they murder on the way to Shechem; they commit villainy” (Hosea 6:9). Apparently these priests were so dedicated to idol worship that they would kill people who were on their way to worship the true God (Shechem was on the way to Jerusalem).1

Imagine religious leaders actually waiting for people on a deserted highway and killing them! In the West, we generally have no problems with priests physically killing people who subscribe to a religion other than their own. But we have a problem that is equally serious. Religious leaders actively lead people away from the plain truth of the Bible that would save them from their sins. Or, religious leaders tell people that if they will just send in money, their future lives will be trouble-free. When the cheap trick doesn’t work, the donor usually has more trouble than he had before, because he has less money and has less confidence in religion generally.

To take on the role of being a religious teacher is a serious matter: “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness” (James 3:1). Those who are teachers must empty themselves of ulterior motives, including self-promotion, and focus on the important work of saving souls by honestly applying the Scriptures to the needs of people. This is but one of many lessons from the book of Hosea.


  1. Matthew Henry’s Commentary. Hosea 6. MacSword. 

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- 2017