1The word of the LORD that came unto Hosea, the son of Beeri, in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel.
Hosea is contemporary with Isaiah. The message of the book of Hosea is a familiar one to any student of OT prophecy and it does not take much thought to get the images presented.
2The beginning of the word of the LORD by Hosea. And the LORD said to Hosea, Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD.
Here Hosea is told to take a wife of whoredomes. Considering the injunction against priests taking a whore as a wife (Lev. 21:7) I would understand this better as Hosea taking the wife of the nation of Israel, who is the receiver of the designation (“the land hath committed great whoredom “) as whore (not Hosea’s wife). Israel wanted ever to be like other nations (e.g. 1 Sam. 8) and ended up worshipping their gods because of it. The image of unfaithfulness to God in any form (not just idol worship) is one that is assigned to the nation of Israel, later Judah, and by representation, Jerusalem throughout the Old Testament. It isn’t just a one time unconnected event, but a continual designation throughout inspired writ. To say that this is not connected to Revelation is absurd.
3So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son. 4And the LORD said unto him, Call his name Jezreel; for yet a little while, and I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu, and will cause to cease the kingdom of the house of Israel. 5And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel, in the valley of Jezreel.
The first offspring of Hosea and his wife represents the fall of the northern tribes which ceased to exist after Assyria took it into captivity. This fact is the basis for a number of interpretations including that of Ezekiel where the northern tribes are viewed as whole and a part of God’s kingdom again. Only in the church could such be true.
For more information on the meaning of Jezreel see 1 Kings 21.
6And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And God said unto him, Call her name Loruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away. 7But I will have mercy upon the house of Judah, and will save them by the LORD their God, and will not save them by bow, nor by sword, nor by battle, by horses, nor by horsemen.
This second child represents the fact that where God would not have mercy on the northern kingdoms, He would have mercy on the southern kingdom who would be allowed to return from captivity.
8Now when she had weaned Loruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son. 9Then said God, Call his name Loammi: for ye are not my people, and I will not be your God. 10Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God. 11Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head, and they shall come up out of the land: for great shall be the day of Jezreel.
This third child represents the rejection of the northern tribes as the children of God and portends the eventual designation of the Gentiles with that title (sons of God – John 1:12). This passage ties the promise of Abraham to have descendants that number as the sand of the sea to the church rather than the physical nation of Israel. This passage also ties the reuniting of the northern and southern tribes to the church as the one head is Christ.
Where the first chapter dealt mainly with Israel, the northern 10 tribes, this chapter deals with Judah, the southern tribes.
1Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah.
Ammi is translated as “my people” and Ruhamah means “those who have obtained compassion or mercy”. Hosea is to speak to the Jews who God still retains as His people and on whom He will show mercy.
2Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not my wife, neither am I her husband: let her therefore put away her whoredoms out of her sight, and her adulteries from between her breasts;
3Lest I strip her naked, and set her as in the day that she was born, and make her as a wilderness, and set her like a dry land, and slay her with thirst. 4And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they be the children of whoredoms. 5For their mother hath played the harlot: she that conceived them hath done shamefully: for she said, I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread and my water, my wool and my flax, mine oil and my drink.
I have said it numerous times in past articles from past books, but here again we see that harlotry does not equate only to idolatry. It also associates a great deal to economics and politics.
6Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. 7And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. 8For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal. 9Therefore will I return, and take away my corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof, and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness. 10And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand. 11I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts. 12And I will destroy her vines and her fig trees, whereof she hath said, These are my rewards that my lovers have given me: and I will make them a forest, and the beasts of the field shall eat them. 13And I will visit upon her the days of Baalim, wherein she burned incense to them, and she decked herself with her earrings and her jewels, and she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD.
God will punish the Jews for their harlotry (captivity in Babylon).
14Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. 15And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. 16And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali. 17For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. 18And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. 19And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. 20I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. 21And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; 22And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. 23And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.
This is a prophecy concerning the church, the new earth, and the bringing in of the Gentiles as the children of God. The covenant of vs. 18 is the New Testament.
1Then said the LORD unto me, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the LORD toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.
The representation here is that of the relationship between Judah and Jehovah. Judah is an unfaithful wife who has gone after the love of her friend (other nations) and committed adultery with them by not only seeking after their religions but also their commerce (represented in the wine). In this picture we see that Jehovah still has love for His wife, Judah, though that nation is unfaithful to Him.
2So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley, and an half homer of barley: 3And I said unto her, Thou shalt abide for me many days; thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man: so will I also be for thee.
The symbolism here represents that continuing representation of Judah in captivity. God is telling Judah that He will provide enough to sustain her, but will not take her back until she proves that she is willing to give up the adultery.
4For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim: 5Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the LORD their God, and David their king; and shall fear the LORD and his goodness in the latter days.
Here then we see Judah in captivity without a king or leader of any notable kind and without their religion (ephod and teraphim related to the Levitical priesthood). However Hosea depicts them as having returned to the land where they will wait for (seek) David (Christ) as their king. They would return from captivity one last time to fulfill the purpose for which they existed as a nation. In the latter or last days of the Jewish nation, those who were righteous would submit themselves to this coming David (Christ) with that appropriate reverence that all Christians should have, those who were unfaithful would fear Jehovah and His infinite justice.
1Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land. 2By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. 3Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish, with the beasts of the field, and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away. 4Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people are as they that strive with the priest. 5Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother. 6My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. 7As they were increased, so they sinned against me: therefore will I change their glory into shame.
8They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. 9And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings. 10For they shall eat, and not have enough: they shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase: because they have left off to take heed to the LORD. 11Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. 12My people ask counsel at their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them: for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from under their God. 13They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery. 14I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery: for themselves are separated with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall.
This preceding passage is a short general list of all of the sins committed by the Northern Tribes of Israel. The famous memory verse of 4:6 should be a beacon of warning to the church today who faces in many places the same plague. The ignorance of Israel of the scriptures, of the Will of God led to all the other sins and is placed in a central role within this passage. Because they completely reject God from their knowledge, God then completely rejects them as part of the nation they were once of with Judah.
There is also a warning here to the nation of America (and truthfully any nation of the world) that knowledge of God practiced by a nation is a gate that holds back the flood of sin. Without knowledge of God being practiced by those in the nation, that flood of sin overwhelms and destroys that nation. Folks, that floodgate is almost completely open here in America and we face destruction...soon.
15Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, The LORD liveth. 16For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place. 17Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone. 18Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers with shame do love, Give ye. 19The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices.
Judah needs to sit up and pay attention to what happens to Israel and not let Israel’s example cause Judah to sin (be offended in the Biblical sense).
1Hear ye this, O priests; and hearken, ye house of Israel; and give ye ear, O house of the king; for judgment is toward you, because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor. 2And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all. 3I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. 4They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD. 5And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity: Judah also shall fall with them.
6They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them. 7They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions. 8Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin. 9Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be. 10The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water. 11Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. 12Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. 13When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound. 14For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him. 15I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.
Despite a host of warnings throughout their existence as a separate nation, Israel ignored Jehovah God and turned to become like the surrounding nations in every way. God will then destroy them as a moth destroys cloth. He warns the Southern Kingdom (represented here by Benjamin) to fly from the evils that Israel commits or face punishment as well.
1Come, 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.
Behold the severity and goodness of God. God has punished, but He will heal as well if the sinners would but repent.
2After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
A prophecy of the resurrection of Christ (see 1 Cor. 15:4).
3Then 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.
A contrast to the ignorance of Israel is knowledge of God. The word “then” refers to the third day where life is given, that is the resurrection of Christ. Christ’s going forth was prepared, that is, God ordained it from before Creation (Heb. 9:26). The coming as rain is a figure of cleansing and providence, that which is needed for life and growth before the harvest.
4O 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.
Here God says that the righteousness of His children is a rare and fleeting thing, like the dew of morning.
5Therefore 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. 6For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
The Jews had focused on the mechanics of the religion (which we see again in the sects of Jesus’ day) rather than its purpose. God would rather have obedience in the first place rather than have to forgive transgression later. Just as Samuel told Saul in 1 Sam. 15:22.
7But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me. 8Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood. 9And as troops of robbers wait for a man, so the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness. 10I have seen an horrible thing in the house of Israel: there is the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled.
Instead of obedience, Israel has gone beyond the covenant and betrayed God. Murder, theft, greed, idolatry all are attributed as the whoredom of Israel (which is called by metonymy, Ephraim).
11Also, O Judah, he hath set an harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people.
Judah has done much of the same, but to a lesser extent and instead of utter destruction at this time, God sends them into captivity. Then, after the coming of the Messiah and the healing rain (the water of life, the gospel) to heal and help them grow (vs. 3), a harvest is appointed for Judah. This harvest we read about a number of times throughout the NT (e.g. Matt. 9:37-38; 13:30,39).
1When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without. 2And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. 3They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. 4They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. 5In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. 6For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. 7They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me. 8Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. 9Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not. 10And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this. 11Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. 12When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard. 13Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me. 14And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me. 15Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me. 16They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
Through a series of images, Hosea describes the nature of Israel called Ephraim (the Northern Tribes). Though God had sought often to redeem them (through the words of prophets, punishments, and the like) they would not return to righteousness. They are likened to a loaf of bread put in the oven that never gets flipped and ends up as burnt toast. Rather than seek after God, they have sought after the riches, protection, providence, and idols of the nations around them. Thus God will destroy Israel.
1Set the trumpet to thy mouth. He shall come as an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law.
The trumpet is a symbol for heralding the coming of kings or momentous events. It is a symbol we see numerous times in the NT (e.g. Matt. 24:31; 1 Cor. 15:52; 1 Thess. 4:16; Rev. 8, 9). Here the trumpet is assigned to herald the coming destruction of Israel, which took place long before Christ and has nothing to do with the end of time. Therefore it need not be the case that the symbol of the trumpet be related in scripture to the end of the kosmos.
Also we see the symbol of an eagle. Exodus 19:4 uses the eagle as a metaphor for power, speed, protection, and providence by God on behalf of the Israelites. The eagle as a symbol of power is seen again in Isa. 40:31 and as a symbol of speed in 2 Sam. 1:23; Job 9:26; Jer. 4:13; Lam. 4:19. The eagle’s power and swiftness are also associated with judgment against nations Jer. 4:13; 48:40; 49:22; Ezek. 17:3,7. Here then we see the eagle as a symbol of swift, powerful judgment against Israel by God.
2Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee. 3Israel hath cast off the thing that is good: the enemy shall pursue him. 4They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off. 5Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast thee off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long will it be ere they attain to innocency? 6For from Israel was it also: the workman made it; therefore it is not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces.
The calf is the representative of the idol worship of Samaria, the capital of Israel, which they received from other nations. That the calf had cut them off, means that the association with the other nations through this false religion would not help them when those other nations chose to turn against Israel and plunder them.
7For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk; the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up. 8Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure. 9For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers. 10Yea, though they have hired among the nations, now will I gather them, and they shall sorrow a little for the burden of the king of princes
Through the hiring of lovers, those nations round about wherein Israel sought profit instead of relying on God to provide, would turn on them and Israel would become economically destitute. Once again, the whoredom of Israel is associated with more than just idolatry, but also with economic whoredom.
11Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin. 12I have written to him the great things of my law, but they were counted as a strange thing. 13They sacrifice flesh for the sacrifices of mine offerings, and eat it; but the LORD accepteth them not; now will he remember their iniquity, and visit their sins: they shall return to Egypt. 14For Israel hath forgotten his Maker, and buildeth temples; and Judah hath multiplied fenced cities: but I will send a fire upon his cities, and it shall devour the palaces thereof.
God had brought the Israelites up out of slavery in Egypt. The northern tribes would return to slavery never to be freed again as a nation for their sins. Judah has also taken part in this kind of sin, but not to the same extent. They build protection relying on themselves rather than relying on God to protect them. God will then show the futility of this to Judah.
1Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people: for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, thou hast loved a reward upon every cornfloor. 2The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.
Again we see whoredom associated with economics, with trade rather than simply idolatry. This is not to deny that idolatry is involved, or that it plays a major part. It is only to emphasize it is not the only aspect of whoredom for a nation.
3They shall not dwell in the LORD's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
Their sustenance (trade) will be the food given to them by their new masters (some fled to Egypt to escape Assyria and died), the unclean food of Assyria. Israel wanted so much to be like the surrounding nations, to eat what they ate, to drink what they drank, to worship what they worshipped. Now God will grant them their wish. That is all they will be given to eat and drink...
4They shall not offer wine offerings to the LORD, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted: for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the LORD.
...they will no longer be allowed access to the worship of Jehovah at the Temple, to offer worship according to His will. They can only have access (as a nation) to the idols of their former ally who is now their new master.
5What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD? 6For, lo, they are gone because of destruction: Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them: the pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them: thorns shall be in their tabernacles. 7The days of visitation are come, the days of recompence are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is mad, for the multitude of thine iniquity, and the great hatred.
God is coming. Judgment day for Israel is upon that nation. The false prophets are made out to be fools because nothing they prophecy (peace, peace when there is no peace) comes true.
8The watchman of Ephraim was with my God: but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. 9They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.
Though God sent a watchman (someone true to God to warn Israel of the impending doom – Elijah, Elisha, etc.), the prophet (the foolish one from vs. 7) leads many astray with the message for itching ears desiring to hear his message.
10I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstripe in the fig tree at her first time: but they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved. 11As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception. 12Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them! 13Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. 14Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 15All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters. 16Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb. 17My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Israel’s end is utterly complete. The ten northern tribes will never again be considered God’s people. This contradicts entirely any of the millennialist doctrine concerning their return to the land of Palestine.
1Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. 2Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images. 3For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us? 4They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. 5The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. 6It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. 7As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water. 8The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us. 9O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. 10It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows. 11And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods. 12Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. 13Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. 14Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. 15So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.
It breaks God’s heart that Israel acts so wickedly. He would that they repent, but in His omniscience knows they will not. The complete and final destruction of the Northern Tribes then is set forth. God offers them a final plea to repent, to turn to righteousness and announces the consequences when they don’t.
1When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 2As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. 3I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. 4I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. 5He shall not return into the land of Egypt, and the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. 6And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. 7And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him. 8How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. 9I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city. 10They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. 11They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD. 12Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.
Here is a passage with solid comparison to Ezekiel 16. The pitiful condition of Israel in slavery is countered by the protection and preservation there by God. The leading out, the raising up of that nation is likened to that of a parent raising a child. Then we see the child rebel against that parent and the protection and providence turn to punishment.
The last verse is of special interest to us as we look forward to Revelation. Judah, who would be punished under Babylon, would return from this captivity. Their cause would be resurrected and they would be His people one more time. During this period (Ezra/Nehimiah) they are said to “rule” with God. This is an allusion back to Gen. 24:28 where Jacob’s name is changed to Israel. With the Northern Tribes ended, only the Southern Tribes deserve to be called Israel, the children of God. Thus, to reign with God is to be considered His children. Judah is at that time said to be faithful to God with the pure ones (those who obey God in faith as Abraham did).
1Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. 2The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. 3He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: 4Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; 5Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. 6Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment and wait on thy God continually.
Hosea relates the nation of Judah to Jacob/Israel, that Jacob was strong when doing the will of God, turning to God for strength and sustenance. Judah should do the same, where Israel is not.
7He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. 8And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.
The Northern Tribes through unfair trade oppressed the Southern Tribes but pretended that they did nothing wrong. God who is omniscient sees it and Israel will not get away with their violation of God’s Law concerning economics (land rights, Jubilee, etc.).
9And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. 10I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. 11Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields. 12And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. 13And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. 14Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his LORD return unto him.
God reminds the Northern Tribes of their beginnings in Jacob and all that he served to gain the blessings of God. But though God has provided for the nation of Israel, that nation has turned their back on God. Therefore God will leave them to their wickedness and the consequences of it.
It is interesting to note that natural course of nations who follow after evil vs. the natural course of nations who follow after good. God is in control, but this control is Providential rather than miraculous. Even today we see this pattern. Truly we see Psa. 33:12 here.
1When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.
The contrast between reverent dependence on God and seeking after false gods is death.
2And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 3Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. 4Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.
Jehovah is the only True God and there is no Savior beside Him. Jesus is the Savior. Jesus is therefore God. Nuff said.
5I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 6According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. 7Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: 8I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.
These wild beasts therefore are a reference to beasts like those of Daniel 7 (though in a different order). They are surrounding nations who will wait and watch and pounce when the time is right. These nations will destroy with destruction akin to a momma bear whose cubs have been stolen.
9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.
Israel has destroyed itself when it should have turned to God for help. What man among them could save them? None. God wanted to be their king but they rejected God (1 Sam. 8:7) to have an earthly king. The kings of the Northern Tribes were all wicked however and God destroyed them.
12The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. 13The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.
There is a critical time in giving birth when skilled nurses can ease the birth. However, if this time period is ignored, the life both of parent and child is endangered. Here we see a time in which Israel might have returned to God, but they refused. Therefore they are now in danger of being finally destroyed. Israel is thus pictured as an unwise son, who if he had the ability and understanding, would stay to long in that position of danger and die. Israel was warned of danger, having both ability and understanding to escape, but chose to continue in sin, and is now come to full, final destruction.
14I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. 15Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. 16Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
Sounds a lot like Ezekiel 37 here. Israel would only be redeemed in Christ. Only as adopted sons of God could the Samaritans now obtain salvation. As it is, from the east will come destruction, Assyria will end that wicked rebellious nation.
1O israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. 3Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 4I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. 5I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. 9Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
Jehovah asks for Israel to repent one last time, to turn to Him for salvation. Assyria offers no hope of redemption. If Israel turned from their idolatry God will heal them and they will be a bountiful nation once more. In God there is redemption and righteousness, in all else only destruction and death.
In Truth and Love.