Where mercy prevails there is no need for sacrifices. Men can be expected to behave like animals, devouring and robbing their neighbors, often in the name of nobility and rightness.
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.Hosea 6:1
He himself tears up Israel and will heal her. Forget that line-up that says human behaviour leads to indictment and justice. God takes responsibility for ripping Israel to pieces.
Israel’s flaky goodness
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.
The score so far: shaped by the prophets and put to death by Yahweh’s words.
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.
Judgments are like light that exits (and does not return?). Hosea 6:5
For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. Hosea 6:6-7
Dysfunction in surprising places
Gilead appears in the prophets as a place for healing, agricultural abundance, and animal farming, but here Gilead is indicted as the HQ for murder and theft by the priests.
Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood. And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.
Compare this prophetic word in Hosea with the life-giving words of Yeshua. Behold the mercy extended to all humans! Compare a thousand years of animal sacrifices with the day the Lamb of God laid down his life, and behold mercy’s dismantling of the sacrificial system (May. 27:51). Compare the death of sinners under Moses (Hebrews 10:28, 2 Cor. 3:19) with Yeshua’s refusal to condemn the guilty (John 8:11, 3:17) and behold the priority of mercy.
Mercy not killing
Human judgment cannot be trusted with questions of the life and death of human beings. The record shows that we will accuse and condemn innocent people when given the chance. It is not a human trait to forgive offence and we have not stood with God in his demand for mercy. The day of Pentecost confirms that mercy is king and sacrifice has left the building.