Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.
2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth.
4 O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away.
5 Therefore have I hewed them by the prophets; I have slain them by the words of my mouth: and thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth.
6 For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
7 But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me.
8 Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.
9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.
10 I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
11 Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.
God wants to see Israel repent and return to Him. They could expect their nation’s healing only after God’s chastisement (6:1). Even if they were as dead ones today, by the next day God would revive them, and on the third day He would give them power to live for Him (6:2). If they would know God intimately and pray, God would surely appear before them, and bless them with good rains and good harvests (6:3).
Ephraim (v. 4a) represents northern Israel. God said to both Israel in the north and to Judah in the south, “What shall I do to you?” Their faithfulness to God and love for Him disappears like a morning cloud and like the early dew (6:4b). That is why the messages of God’s prophets declared to them His words of destruction (6:5-7). His judgments would come after the absence of their love for Him which disappears as easily as the morning cloud or early dew (6:5). They brought to God their animal sacrifices and offerings, but God desired their loving faithfulness (6:6). As Adam had transgressed and sinned against God in Eden, they also had trodden down and broken their covenant with God (6:7).