“so a band of priests murder.” The priests would have committed many crimes, with “murder” being one of the most heinous. Historically, religiously overzealous and greedy priests have committed murder or framed people so that they were murdered as we see in the Four Gospels (John 7:1, 19, 25), and which is exemplified in movies such as The Three Musketeers in which the coldhearted and powerful Cardinal Richelieu set up the murder of his enemies.
“on the road to Shechem.” Shechem was a well-known place of worship in Israel, and it became a center for the perverted worship in Israel during Hosea’s time, which is why priests from Gilead in the Transjordan would make a pilgrimage there. Shechem was the very first place mentioned in Genesis where Abraham stopped when he entered Canaan (Gen. 12:6). After the conquest of the Promised Land, Joshua gathered all the tribes to Shechem and cut a covenant with the people that they would serve Yahweh (Josh. 24:1, 24-28). Shechem was a Levitical city and city of refuge (Josh. 20:7, 21; 1 Chron 6:66-67). It was the city in which Rehoboam, son of Solomon, chose to be crowned king but was rejected, the people of the ten northern tribes rejecting Rehoboam and making Jeroboam their king, who then made Shechem the first capital city of the new nation of Israel (1 Kings 12:1-25). After the destruction of Israel by Assyria, Shechem remained an important city and according to Josephus was the leading city of the Samaritans (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, XI, viii. 6).