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Hosea Explained

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Book of Hosea Explained

Hosea's prophecy gave Israel a tangible example of its spiritual idolatry, yet portrayed God's love for Israel in spite of her spiritual infidelity. It constituted a national call to repentance.

Title: The title is derived from the main character and author of the book. The meaning of his name, "salvation," is the same as that of Joshua (compare Num. 13:8, 16), and Jesus (Matt. 1:21). Hosea is the first of the 12 Minor Prophets. "Minor" refers to the brevity of the prophecies as compared to the length of the works of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Author - Date: This prophecy provides the sole source of information concerning the author, "Hosea the son of Beeri" (1:1). Nothing is known of Beeri, "Expounder," although a different man by the same name is mentioned (in Genesis 26:34). In the course of the prophecy he was commanded to marry Gomer who bore two sons and a daughter (1:3b-11). Many believe her lover sired one or more children. Throughout the prophecy the prophet's personal history was made to be symbolic of the relationship between the Lord and Israel. Because of the tragic details of his personal life, Hosea has been known as the broken hearted prophet. His sorrow provides a good illustration of the broken hearted Lord in His relationship with sinful mankind.

Hosea was probably a native of the northern kingdom of Israel, since he shows familiarity with the history, circumstances and topography of the north (4:15; 5:1, 13; 6:8-9; 10:5, 12:11-12; 14:6). This would make him and Jonah the only writing prophets from the northern kingdom. Although he addressed both Israel (the northern kingdom), and Judah (the southern kingdom), he identified the king of Israel as "our king" (7:5).

Hosea had a lengthy period of ministry, prophesying (ca. 755-710 B.C.), during the reigns of Uzziah (790-739 B.C.), Jotham (750-731 B.C.); Ahaz (735-715 B.C.), and Hezekiah (715-686 B.C.), in Judah, and Jeroboam II (793-753 B.C.), in Israel (1:1). His long career spanned the last 6 kings of Israel from Zechariah (753-752 B.C.) to Hoshea (732-722 B.C.). The overthrow of Zechariah (the last of the dynasty of Jehu in 752 B.C.), is depicted as yet future (1:4). Thus, he followed Amos' preaching in the north, and was a contemporary of Isaiah and Micah as well, both of whom prophesied in Judah. (2 Kings Chapters 14-20 and 2 Chronicles Chapters 26-32), record the historical period of Hosea's ministry.

Historical Setting: The prophecy is characterized by intense emotion as the prophet's personal tragedy (Chapters 1-3), is transferred and applied to the nation (Chapters 4-14).

Hosea was to the northern kingdom what Jeremiah was to the southern kingdom, a weeping prophet. Hosea looked forward to the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom, just as Jeremiah looked forward to the Babylonian captivity of the southern kingdom. Hosea's prophecy is closely related to that of Amos. Amos was very severe in his prophecy and his ministry was somewhat like a James or John the Baptist of the Old Testament. Both Amos and Hosea prophesied to the northern kingdom, although Amos was a native of the southern kingdom and Hosea of the northern kingdom. Hosea was the younger contemporary of Amos, and because their ministries overlap, there is much similarity in the sins they condemn. In Amos, the prophetic discourses are very pronounced, while in Hosea, because of the intense personal involvement of the prophet, they are not very distinctly defined from one another, a fact that makes the book difficult to outline.

Hosea dates his prophecy" 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" (1:1). Hosea's ministry extended from about (770 to 725 B.C.). Thus, his active ministry ceased a few years before Assyria carried the northern kingdom into captivity (in 722 B.C.). Hosea was a citizen of the northern kingdom and his personal experience was designed by God to be an example to his nation.

Circumstances were not much better in the southern kingdom. Usurping the priestly function, Uzziah had been struck with leprosy (2 Chron. 26:16-21); Jotham condoned idolatrous practices, opening the way for Ahaz to encourage Baal worship (2 Chron. 27:1 - 28:4). Hezekiah's revival served only to slow Judah's acceleration toward a fate similar to that of her northern sister. Weak kings on both sides of the border repeatedly sought out alliances with their heathen neighbors (7:11; compare 2 Kings 15:19; 16:7), rather than seeking the Lord's help.

Background - Setting: Hosea began his ministry to Israel (also called Ephraim, after its largest tribe), during the final days of Jeroboam II. Under whose guidance Israel was enjoying both political peace and material prosperity as well as moral corruption and spiritual bankruptcy. Upon Jeroboam II's death (753 B.C.) however, anarchy prevailed and Israel declined rapidly. Until her overthrow by Assyria 30 years later, four of Israel's six kings were assassinated by their successors. Prophesying during the days surrounding the fall of Samaria, Hosea focuses on Israel's moral waywardness (compare the book of Amos), and her breach of the covenantal relationship with the Lord, announcing that judgment was imminent.

Historical - Theological Settings: The theme of Hosea is God's loyal love for His covenant people, Israel, in spite of their idolatry. Thus, Hosea has been called John (the apostle of love) of the Old Testament. The Lord's true love from His people is unending and will tolerate no rival. Hosea's message contains much condemnation, both national and individual, but at the same time, he poignantly portrays the love of God toward His people with passionate emotion. Hosea was instructed by God to marry a certain woman and experience with her a domestic life which was a dramatization of the sin and unfaithfulness of Israel. The marital life of Hosea and his wife, Gomer, provide the rich metaphor which clarifies the themes of the book; sin, judgment and forgiving love.


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Hosea 1 Hosea 8
Hosea 2
Hosea 9
Hosea 3 Hosea 10
Hosea 4 Hosea 11
Hosea 5 Hosea 12
Hosea 6 Hosea 13
Hosea 7 Hosea 14

Hosea 1

Hosea Chapter 1

Verses 1-9: "Hosea" prophesied to the northern kingdom of Israel from approximately (753 to 715 B.C.), during or shortly after the prophet Amos. With the birth of each of Hosea and Gomer's children, God's warnings to His people grew more pronounced:

(1) the Lord would withdraw His protection and Israel would suffer military defeat, symbolized by the name "Jezreel";

(2) The Lord would show the people no pity, symbolized by the name "Lo-Ruhamah";

(3) The Lord would temporarily reject His covenant people, symbolized by the name "Lo-Ammi."

Hosea 1:1 "The 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."

"The word of the LORD" (compare 6:5). This kind of introduction, expressing the prophet's divine authority and message source, appears also (in Joel 1:1; Micah 1:1; Zeph. 1:1; Mal. 1:1). Similar statements appear (in Amos 1:3; Obadiah 1; Jonah 1:1; Haggai 1:2).

The kingdom has split at this time. Hosea is a prophet to the ten tribes, spoken of as Israel. The other two tribes were spoken of as Judah. It was hard for the people to hear his warnings, because there were good times in the land. This is Jeroboam the second, spoken of here. He raised Israel to great splendor, but was very evil. His father, Joash was evil, also.

One tremendous difference in Judah and Israel is that more of Judah's kings followed after God, than did Israel's evil kings. All of Israel's kings were evil. Hosea prophesied during the reign of all four of the kings of Judah, above mentioned. He prophesied in Israel and not in Judah. It is believed by some that he prophesied for about 70 years.

Verses 2-3: In all probability "Gomer" was morally pure prior to her marriage to Hosea, but subsequently became discontented and went into harlotry, from which Hosea by his love reclaimed her.

Hosea 1:2 "The 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."

"Children of whoredoms": This point to the future unfaithfulness of their mother. The children were possibly not fathered by Hosea. That Hosea's marriage to Gomer was to depict God's marriage to Israel is clearly set forth and becomes the key to the theme of the book.

This seems like such a ridiculous thing for Hosea to do. We must remember, that the prophet experiences in the flesh, what is going on with the people in their relationship to God in the spirit. Israel was the harlot wife of God in the spirit, so Hosea the prophet must experience this relationship in the natural. God plainly gives the reason for this (for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the LORD).

Hosea 1:3 "So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son."

In the course of prophesying he made mention of this person, who was a notorious common strumpet; and suggested hereby that they were just like her; or these were fictitious names he used to represent their case by Gomer signifies both "consummation" and "consumption".

The meanings of the people's names are very important in this. The name "Gomer" means completion. This means then, that God has sent them final warning. They have gone too far, with their unfaithfulness to God. "Diblaim" means two cakes. If we put the names together, we would see that the woman was a pleasure, but not a true wife as she was full of sin. Thank goodness the son here is Hosea's son.

Hosea 1:4 "And 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."

"Jezreel" means "God will scatter" or "God Sows." He is to be a reminder that God will judge the house of Jehu for the bloodshed in Jezreel, when the kingdom was wrested from Ahab and Jezebel and God's judgment was poured out against them (2 Kings Chapter 9).

"I will avenge the blood of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu". It was at the city of Jezreel where Jehu slaughtered the house of Ahab (2 Kings 9:7 - 10:28).

"Cause to cease": Looks forward to the exile of Israel to Assyria in 722 B.C., from which she never returned.

"Israel" means prince with God, or he will rule as God. "Jehu" means Jehovah is He. The blood of Jezreel that was to be avenged probably had to do with Ahab and Jezebel, who were severely punished for their evil deeds. This is saying that God will remove the house of Israel from their kingdom.

In Isaiah, God named Isaiah's children for what was going on in the country at the time. This is true here as well. God named these children to reveal an extra message to the people.

Hosea 1:5 "And it shall come to pass at that day, that I will break the bow of Israel in the valley of Jezreel."

"Break the bow": The bow was a common euphemism denoting military strength, the principal instrument of warfare in Israel. Fulfillment came in 722 B.C. when Assyria invaded.

The "Valley of Jezreel" Jezreel, called Esdraelon, extends 10 miles in breadth from the Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea, near Carmel; it was the great battlefield (see Rev. 16:14-16), adjoining the Valley of Megiddo, which will become an avenue of blessing (verse 11), when Christ returns in triumph.

The bloodshed of Jezreel would "reoccur" in the house of Jehu, and his dynasty would come to a violent end, just as Ahab's did. This happened (in 752 B.C.; 2 Kings 15:10).

This valley of Jezreel has been the location of many battles. This is the very same place, where Gideon defeated the Midianites. We see in this Scripture above, that this is to be the location of Israel's defeat as well. "The breaking of the bow" shows their helplessness in battle.

Verses 6-7: "Lo-ruhamah" means "No Mercy" or "Not Pitied." Her significance is twofold: God's compassion has come to an end for Israel, and her judgment is imminent (verse 6b).

Hosea 1:6″And she conceived again, and bare a daughter. And [God] said unto him, Call her name Lo-ruhamah: for I will no more have mercy upon the house of Israel; but I will utterly take them away."

"Lo-ruhamah": Literally "not pitied," this daughter is named to symbolize God bringing judgment on Israel, no longer extending His favor towards them.

The "she", in the verse above, is speaking of Hosea's wife. Perhaps the reason this child is a female, is to show that not only the males in Israel are guilty of spiritual adultery and deserve to be punished, but the females as well. The name "Lo-ruhamah" means not pitied. This name tells us that God will not pity these evil people, (Israel). He will let them go into captivity to punish them for their spiritual adultery (worship of false gods).

Hosea 1:7 "But 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."

"I will have mercy upon ... Judah": God chose to intervene on behalf of Hezekiah when Jerusalem was besieged at the hands of the Assyrians (in 701 B.C.; 2 Kings Chapter 19; Isaiah Chapter 37).

This is just saying that Judah will not be overrun by Assyria. They will be spared from this, because they have not been as unfaithful to God as Israel (10 tribes), has been. They would be taken captive, but not by Assyria, and not until over 100 years later. They had a few godly leaders, and Israel did not. They will not be saved in battle; they will be saved from battle.

Judah will not have to depend on weapons to save them. God will save them. Perhaps this refers to the battle where Sennacherib, king of Assyria, lost 185,000 men in one night (2 Kings 19:35). The angel of the Lord killed them. God won the battle for Judah. This was during the reign of Hezekiah. This is the very same army that had overrun Israel (10 tribes), and defeated them.

Hosea 1:8″Now when she had weaned Lo-ruhamah, she conceived, and bare a son."

That is, when Gomer had weaned her daughter (Hosea 1:6).

"She conceived and bare a son": According to Kimchi, as the weaning of Lo-ruhamah points at the times of weakness, from Zachariah the son of Jeroboam to the times of Pekahiah, when the reigns were short and troublesome. So this son she conceived and bore represents the state of the nation in the times of Pekah; who reigned twenty years, and was too powerful for the kingdom of Judah, slew multitudes of them, and carried others captive, and assisted Rezin king of Syria against Ahaz king of Judah.

This period of time represented by the time she was weaning this baby is showing God waited for the punishment, to see if they would repent. Mothers generally nurse their babies about two years, so this was an interval of about two years. God did not want to punish His people, but He could not let them continue worshipping false gods.

Hosea 1:9 "Then said [God], Call his name Lo-ammi: for ye [are] not my people, and I will not be your [God]."

"Lo-ammi" means "Not My People", indicating to the Israel of his day that they were not the Lord's people, and that the Lord was not their God. This should in no sense be understood as an annulment of the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 12:1-3), an unconditional covenant depending solely upon God for its fulfillment.

"I will not be your God": Literally "I am no longer 'I Am' to you." The phrase gives the breaking of the covenant, a kind of divorce formula, in contrast to the covenant or marriage formula "I AM WHO I AM" given in Exodus 3:14.

In this, God had divorced them. He no longer wanted them as His wife. They were unfaithful. The name "Lo-ammi" means not my people. Because of their unfaithfulness to be His, He will no longer be their God. He will not overrule their will and be their God. There is a lesson in this for us. We must, of our own free will, invite God to be our God.

Verses 1:10 - 2:1: The promise that Israel would someday be "as the sand" on the seashore recalls God's promise to Abraham (Gen. 22:17), the basis for His continuing faithfulness to Israel. Just as the names of Gomer's children changed, God would change Israel's fate, from destruction and abandonment to restoration and acceptance. Paul applied this principle to Jewish and Gentile believers (in Romans Chapters 9-11).

In spite of the waywardness of Israel, God preserved a remnant for Himself from both Israel and Judah. Speaking of millennial blessings, God promised national increase (Isa. 54:1), national conversion and reunion (Ezek. 37:15-23), national leadership (3:5), and national restoration (2:23).

Hosea 1:10 "Yet 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."

"Number": A reaffirmation of the Abrahamic Covenant, not to be fulfilled in this generation but in the future (Gen. 22:17).

"Ye are not my people" (quoted by Paul in Romans 9:26).

This speaks of a time, when God will forgive them, and take them back as His wife. God is faithful to keep every promise He ever made. He had promised Abraham that his seed would be as the sand of the sea, and He will do it. The punishment that Israel suffers is to make them repent and return to God. In Jesus Christ, God makes a way of restoration for His people. To become sons of God, we must receive Jesus Christ as our Savior.

John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:"

Romans 8:14 "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

Hosea 1:11 "Then 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."

"One head" (refers to messiah; compare 3:5).

"The day of Jezreel": Here used positively in the sense of divine blessing (compare 2:22).

This is looking far into the future, until the time when Jesus is the head of both. The mention of Jezreel here, is speaking of the same place we call the valley of Armageddon. This will be the time when Jesus will reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. This is also, the same thing spoken of as the two sticks that come together in Ezekiel chapter 37. The following Scriptures explain it very well.

Romans 11:25-27 "For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in." "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" "For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."

Hosea Chapter 1 Questions

1. What has happened to the 12 tribes at this writing?

2. How were they split?

3. Why did Israel not believe Hosea's warning?

4. Which Jeroboam is spoken of here?

5. Approximately how long did Hosea prophesy?

6. Who did Hosea prophesy to?

7. What did God tell Hosea to do, that seems ridiculous in the natural?

8. Why did God tell him to do this?

9. What does "Gomer" mean?

10. What does "Diblaim" mean?

11. If the two names are put together, what message is in them?

12. What does the name "Jezreel" mean?

13. What does "Jehu" mean?

14. The blood of Jezreel to be revenged in verse 4, is possibly speaking of whom?

15. The names of Isaiah's children showed what?

16. What does "the breaking of the bow" show?

17. What famous battle was fought at Jezreel?

18. Why was the second child a female?

19. How many years after Assyria attacked Israel, did Babylon attack Judah?

20. The angel of the Lord killed how many of Judah's enemy one night?

21. Who won the battle for Judah?

22. Why was there, approximately, 2 years between the second and third child?

23. What is verse 9 speaking of?

24. What lesson must we learn from verse 9?

25. What is verse 10 speaking of?

26. In ________ ________, God makes a way of restoration for His people.

27. What time is verse 11 speaking of?

28. Jezreel and ______________ are the same.

29. What is spoken of in Ezekiel chapter 37 that is the same as this?

30. What did you learn from this lesson?

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Hosea 2

Hosea Chapter 2

Hosea 2:1 "Say ye unto your brethren, Ammi; and to your sisters, Ruhamah."

"Say ye unto your brethren": Many interpreters consider this verse as being connected with the preceding chapter, thus: When that general restoration of the Jewish nation shall take place, you may change your language in speaking to those of your brethren and sisters whom I had before disowned, and you may call them Ammi, my people, and Ruhamah, she that hath obtained mercy.

The words form a climax of the love of God. First, the people scattered, unpitied, and disowned by God, is re-born of God; and then it is declared to be in continued relation to God, "My people;" then to be the object of his yearning love.

Verses 2-5: "Plead with your mother:" The Hebrew text begins chapter 2 (with what is 1:10 in the English text). The prophet uses his personal domestic tragedy as a means of addressing not only his own children (and through them their physical mother), but also the believing remnant, who in turn are to plead with their mother (the nation Israel), to return to God.

Hosea 2:2 "Plead 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;"

"Plead with your mother": Although the language is applicable to Gomer, it depicts a courtroom scene in which the Lord, as the plaintiff, brings charges against the defendant. Individual Israelites, depicted as the children, are commanded to bring charges against their mother, Israel as a nation. The physical immorality of Gomer pictures the spiritual idolatry of Israel.

The same message is in this chapter (that was in chapter one). It is just expressed more fully. The "mother" is speaking of the harlot wife, Israel. Christians must remember that Jesus is coming back for a bride that is without spot or wrinkle. He does not want a bride that is committing spiritual adultery either. The worship of false gods is spiritual adultery. We must be faithful to Him, if we are to be His bride. The "adulteries from between her breasts", possibly, speaks of hidden sin. This is just another warning to keep the first commandment.

Mark 12:30 "And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this [is] the first commandment."

To not keep this commandment is spiritual adultery. Sins that are hidden are just as bad as those out in the open.

Hosea 2:3 "Lest 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."

"Set her as in the day ... born": (Ezek. 16:4; 23:25-26, 28-29). The day of her political "birth" was when God delivered her from the bondage of Egypt, and set up the theocracy.

"Make her as a wilderness" (Jer. 6:8; Zeph. 2:13). Translate, "make her as the wilderness," namely, that in which she passed forty years on her way to her goodly possession of Canaan. With this agrees the mention of "thirst" (compare Jer. 2:6).

The house of Jacob was in this condition, when God sent Moses to bring them out of Egypt to the Promised Land. They had nothing. They became the wife of God when they made covenant with Him to keep His commandments. This was also, the condition of a sinner, before he was saved. We make covenant, when we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

The righteous do not hunger and thirst, they are filled. Those who wander away from God do not benefit from the things of God, because He withdraws from them. This is what this is saying here. They must repent or God will let them get back into the condition He found them in.

Hosea 2:4 "And I will not have mercy upon her children; for they [be] the children of whoredoms."

The children are like their mother: not only are they born of doubtful parentage, but are personally defiled. Not only is idolatry enshrined in the national sanctuary and the royal palace, but the people love to have it so. They endorse the degradation of their mother.

God greatly blesses the children of those who are faithful to Him. Let us see what happened to those who worshipped false gods.

Exodus 20:5 "Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God [am] a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth [generation] of them that hate me;"

We see then (what verse 4 above is speaking of). These children can repent and come to God on their own, however. The mother generally has a great deal to do with the moral character of her children. She has not taught them correctly in this particular instance. Sometimes, the mother could be speaking of the church. In that case, a church which does not teach truth could cause the members to fail.

Verses 5-8: The Canaanites attributed Baal with providing gifts such as "bread, linen," and oil. They also believed that Baal controlled the weather and fertility. Sadly, many Israelites adopted these beliefs (Isa. 54:5-8; Jer. 3:1).

Hosea 2:5 "For 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 will go": Literally "Let me go," it denotes strong desire and bent. Israel attributed her prosperity to the idols of her heathen neighbors; her "lovers" (compare verses 7, 10, 12). She would not be deterred from pursuing them.

The "mother" here is Israel. It could also be the church. Israel had been unfaithful to God. The lovers here are possibly speaking of the countries around them. God did not want Israel mixing with the heathen nations around them because they would pick up bad habits from them. The worship of false gods was introduced to them by the people around them. They made treaties with these nations and picked up much of their culture.

Israel belonged to God and He had provided for all of her needs, and had even fought her battles for her. Now she is turning from God's help to worldly people's help. God was sufficient for them and He is sufficient for us today as well. There is no need to look to the world for answers, the world does not have answers. Only God has answers to our problems.

Hosea 2:6 "Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths."

Jehovah addresses the adulterous wife: "I will erect impassable barriers that shall pierce and mangle her flesh. The path of evil shall be a path of thorns."

She was determined to go her own way. She does not follow in the path God has made for her. When she decides to do this, God covers His path that He had left for her with thorns. She will not be able to find her way back, unless God removes the thorns. Christians know that Jesus is the Way. To try to get to heaven other than by Jesus is impossible. To walk in sin even now, obscures the path that leads to God.

Verses 7-13: Israel had not only forgotten God but abandoned Him by choosing to worship idols. A vivid picture of this abandonment can be seen (in 2 Kings 17:7-18). Hosea used the word "return" to describe what Gomer did, what God wanted His people to do (3:5; 12:6; 14:1-2, 7), and what God would do when His people truly turned from their sin (5:15; 14:4).

Hosea 2:7 "And 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."

With earnest travel, and with wearisome toil, she shall attempt every way to get to them, but to no purpose: afflictions and sorrows surround Israel; these Israel can by no means break out of to these lovers, and they, like false lovers, hasten as fast and as far from this adulteress as they can.

Her lovers are idols and idolaters, her false friends, and false gods.

"She shall not overtake them": They which hasten after such strange gods and helps, as this shameless harlot, shall meet with sorrow, but never overtake their desired help.

"She shall seek them": As is the manner of immodest strumpets; it speaks also her obstinate resolution in her way: so Israel forsook a God that would have sought him to do him good, and by no disappointments would be (for a long time), taken off from this frantic wildness, of seeking to idols that could do him no good.

"But shall not find them": The final issue of all is at last, she is wearied in her folly, tired with fruitless labor, and sits down hopeless of ever finding help from idols and idolaters.

"I will go and return": Restless, she will try one way more; if she only had tried this sooner, this would have been successful. She will return, come back, and seek to her Husband.

"To my first Husband": i.e. God, who had married Israel to himself, who was her Husband indeed: all others were as adulterers, as deceivers and seducers, who abuse the credulity of wanton women first, and next abuse their husbands' beds.

For then was it better with me than now: how much the tune is changed! (In Hosea 2:5), all her gallantry, her feasts, her rich apparel, these are gifts of her lovers; not a word of her Husband's greatest kindnesses. But now she sees and confesses that the least of her Husband's kindnesses was better than the greatest kindness of these her paramours, and at worst with her Husband she was better than at best with adulterers.

You cannot try out the world and then come back to God anytime you want to. That is what Israel found out, and it is what Christians find out also. God did not want part of their love, He wanted all. Loyalty to God involves forsaking the entire world. Israel suddenly realizes that she was much better off when she was with God.

Verses 8-13: God withheld rain and productivity to show Israel that the Canaanite god Baal was not the god of rain and fertility.

Hosea 2:8 "For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, [which] they prepared for Baal."

"Prepared for Baal": Baal (the Phoenician sun-god) worship, already present during the time of the judges (Judges 2:17; 3:3; 8:33), became established in Israel when King Ahab married Jezebel, who attempted to obliterate Israelite worship of the true God (1 Kings Chapter 19). Offering to Baal actually came from God's dowry to Israel (Ezek. 16:10-14).

It was God that had provided her with all her needs. He had loved Israel so much that He gave her far beyond her need. He had showered her with silver and gold as well. Since we are looking at this spiritually, we must remember that "silver" symbolizes redemption and "gold" symbolizes God.

God had redeemed her, and provided all of her needs. She repaid Him by giving that gold to the false god Baal. She had great wealth, but did not appreciate the fact God had showered the wealth upon her. She took God for granted. The saddest thing was that she used the gold and silver to worship a false god.

Hosea 2:9 "Therefore 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."

The Hebrew form of saying, "Therefore I will take back." Jehovah resumes all that had been misappropriated. The king of Assyria (Tiglath-pileser, 734 B.C.), was the agency whereby this was to be accomplished (compare Isaiah 10:5). The raiment (wool and flax), was Jehovah's gift to cover her nakedness, i.e., to meet the actual necessities of Israel. This He will tear away, and the idol-gods whom she has courted shall see her prostration, and their own helplessness to deliver or relieve.

Her unfaithfulness to God causes Him to remove all the blessings she had known before. She will be in the same condition she was in, when He saved her out of Egypt.

Hosea 2:10 "And now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers, and none shall deliver her out of mine hand."

"I will discover her lewdness": God pledged to expose Israel's wickedness. The phrase is linked to being taken forcibly into captivity (in Ezek. 16:37-40).

"Her lovers": The idols were personified as if they could see, though they could offer no help.

"Lewdness" means disgrace. God does not want her anymore, because she has been unfaithful. No husband wants an unfaithful wife. He will bring punishment upon her for her sins. She deserves His punishment.

Hosea 2:11 "I will also cause all her mirth to cease, her feast days, her new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts."

"Feasts": Ever since the Exodus from Egypt, Israel had intermingled the worship of the Lord with the worship of false gods (compare Amos 5:26; Acts 7:43).

All of these times were when she communed with God. All communication with God is cut off. These had been times set aside, when God and His people fellowshipped.

Hosea 2:12 "And 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."

Before, God had threatened to take away the fruits in their seasons; now He says that he will take away all hope for the future; not the fruit only, but the trees which bare it.

It was the plague, which God in former times laid upon those, out of the midst of whom He took them to be His people (Psalm 105:33; see Jeremiah 5:17). "He smote their vines also and their fig trees, and brake the trees of their coasts."

Now that they had become like the pagan, He dealt with them as with the pagan.

Of which she said, "These are my rewards": Literally "my hire." It is the special word, used of the payment to the adulteress, or degraded woman, and so continues the likeness, by which he had set forth the foulness of her desertion of God.

"And I will make them a forest": The vines and fig-trees which had aforetime been their wealth, and full of beauty, should, when neglected, run wild, and become the harbor of the wild beasts Which should prey upon them.

God had given them the vines and fig trees. Since they had abandoned Him, He takes away the blessings He had given them. God will not cause them to be fruitful anymore. All of these things belong to God. He can do with them whatever He wishes.

Hosea 2:13 "And 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."

"Forgat me" (compare 2 Kings 17:7-18), for a detailed description of what their abandonment of God involved.

The "days of Baalim" is speaking of the time when they were practicing idolatry. They had given the love that belonged to God to these false gods. The "burning of incense" in the temple of God symbolized the prayers of the saints rising to heaven. It appears, they had been praying to false gods.

Outward show of beauty is not Godliness. True beauty comes from within. You may appear to the world to be in right standing with God, but God looks on the heart. They had become worldly and forgotten God. They were lovers of pleasure, more than lovers of God.

Verses 14-17: "The valley of Achor:" In this valley, located near Jericho, Achan's sin was discovered, judged, punished and put away. In like manner, if Israel and Gomer will deal with their sin and put it away, that very act will result in God's blessing and bring restoration and hope. The names "Ishi ("My Husband"), and "Baali" ("My Master"), are significant. The former is a term of affection and represents the closest loving relationship. The latter indicates servitude and inferiority.

Hosea 2:14 "Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her."

"Speak comfortably unto her": The phrase was used of wooing (Gen. 34:3; Judges 19:3; Ruth 2:13). God will restore Israel to Himself.

God will draw her to Him again, is the message in this verse. God punishes His own, when they have sinned, but He is quick to forgive and restore them. He is like a loving parent, who whips a child who is in error, then forgives him and restores him, because he is his own.

Hosea 2:15 "And 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."

The "Valley of Achor" ("Valley of Trouble"), was where Achan disobeyed God and kept the enemy's plunder, resulting in great devastation for the Israelites (Joshua chapter 7). Yet God promised to turn this valley into "a door of hope" for His people. He does this for all His children who actively seek the hope He has provided (Rev. 3:20).

God's forgiveness is not just in words, He restores her vineyards again. He pours out His blessings on her again. There is hope. Just as God was the hope of the family of Jacob in Egypt, He is the hope of the Israelites here. Achor is not very far from the fertile land of Jericho. Achor is the entrance to that land. In Jericho today, the fruit and vegetables are far more than they need for themselves. It is so fruitful that they sell much of it. This is a prosperous area.

Hosea 2:16 "And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, [that] thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali."

In Hebrew, the word husband can be translated using two words, one that means "My Husband" (denoting affection and intimacy), and one that means My Master (literally, "my Baal"), speaking of rulership. God was once again urging His people to worship Him for who He is and not to be ruled by false gods.

The fact that she is to call Him Ishi, indicates that she is recognizing Him as her husband. She had acted like the false gods were her husband before. This will be no more. She is the wife of God.

Hosea 2:17 "For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name."

(In verse 13), Israel forgot her true God; God said she would forget her false gods. What the outward conformity to the Mosaic Covenant could not do, God does through a new, regenerated heart in the New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Zech. 13:1-2).

Just as God discredited the false gods of Egypt, He takes the names of her false gods away here and will remember them no more. She will have totally forgotten them.

Hosea 2:18 "And 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."

"A covenant": This depicts a millennial scene (compare Isaiah 2:4; 11:6-9; Micah 4:3), when God's people become subject to God and creation becomes subject to them.

Zechariah 2:11 "And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee."

This is speaking of that time when the Root of Jesse shall rule. This is that time of perfect peace, when the Lord Jesus Christ shall reign. The 11th chapter of Isaiah explains it in detail. There will no longer be one nation that belongs to God, but He will rule over all. Everyone who believes in Christ will be His bride.

Revelation 21:3 " And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God [is] with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God."

Verses 19-20: In the future, Israel would be married to the Lord under the terms of "righteousness, justice, lovingkindness, mercy," and "faithfulness" (Jer. 31:33-34).

"I will betroth thee": Repeated three times, the term emphasizes the intensity of God's restoring love for the nation. In that day, Israel will no longer be thought of as a prostitute. Israel brings nothing to the marriage; God makes all the promises and provides all the dowry. These verses are recited by every orthodox Jew as he places the phylacteries on his hand and forehead (Deut. 11:18). The regeneration/conversion of the nation is much like that of an individual (compare 2 Cor. 5:16-19).

Hosea 2:19 "And 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."

Then Jehovah, turning again to the wife of His youth, says to her, "I will betroth thee" (as at the first, when maiden undefiled). Three times this phrase is repeated.

"Righteousness" and "judgment" indicate the equitable terms on which God would accept the penitent; and lest this thought should crush her with fear, "lovingkindness" and "tender mercies" follow; and lest this should seem too good, He adds "with faithfulness" (to myself).

The law of commandments will be no more.

Ephesians 2:15 "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, [even] the law of commandments [contained] in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, [so] making peace;"

Read the rest of the chapter to get the full picture. "This is when He writes the law on the heart of man.

Hebrews 10:16 "This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;"

"Righteousness" is being put in right standing with God. Jesus did it for us and all we have to do is believe. All of these; righteousness, judgment, lovingkindness, and mercy come from God to man.

Hosea 2:20 "I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD."

Keeping the marriage contract inviolable, Christ will never suffer his faithfulness to fail, nor break his covenant. As he is faithful to his Father that appointed him, so he is, and will be, to his church and people, and to every believer, to whom he is espoused.

And it is he that makes them faithful unto him, and gives them faith to believe in him, receive, embrace, own, and acknowledge him as their husband: and in this sense, some understand it, rendering it, "in faith".

This is the third time the word "betroth" is used, or this promise made; which, according to Jerome, refers to them espousing of the Jews in Abraham, at Mount Sinai, and in the times of Christ.

"And thou shall know the Lord": That the Messiah is Jehovah, and that he is their husband; they shall all know him, from the least to the greatest; they shall have a saving knowledge of him, which will issue in eternal life; they shall own him, and acknowledge him, serve and obey him, as their Lord, Head, and Husband, as well as love him, and believe in him.

Hebrews 8:11 "And they shall not teach every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest."

This knowing is a free gift from God.

Hosea 2:21 "And 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;"

A reversal of circumstances (compare 1:4, 6, 9).

This is speaking of the time when the door to heaven is opened. God has access to the people, and we have access to Him.

Verses 22-23: "Jezreel" ("God scatters"), speaks to the way God would transform His people: they would not be scattered in judgment but scattered as seed for God, in their land, where they would enjoy a renewed covenantal relationship with Him (Zech. 13:9; Rom. 9:25-26).

Hosea 2:22 "And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel."

"Jezreel" (as in 1:11), used here in the positive sense of scattering seed to sow it.

The relationship with God and Israel is restored. This time, it will never be separated again. When this great day comes, there will be no enemy. The land will abundantly produce for Israel.

Hosea 2:23 "And 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."

(Quoted by Paul in Romans 9:25).

This could be the wife of God, Israel, who had been rejected of God. All relations had become new. God is starting all over again with Israel. This could also, be speaking of the unbelieving world, which has been offered the opportunity to be God's people. Whosoever will, regardless of nationality or blood line, shall have the opportunity to be God's people, and Him be their God.

Romans 3:29 "[Is he] the God of the Jews only? [is he] not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also:"

Romans 9:26 "And it shall come to pass, [that] in the place where it was said unto them, Ye [are] not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God."

Hosea Chapter 2 Questions

1. What do the two names, in verse 1, tell us?

2. Who is the warning to?

3. The mother is speaking of the ________ ______.

4. Jesus is coming back for a bride that is without ______, or ___________.

5. The worship of false gods is __________ ___________.

6. What speaks of hidden sin?

7. What was the condition of Jacob's family in Egypt?

8. When did they become the wife of God?

9. Why did God not have mercy upon her children?

10. Who could the mother of verse 4 be, besides physical Israel?

11. Who are Israel's lovers in verse 5?

12. What was wrong with them turning to the nations around them for help?

13. Why can she not find the path?

14. To walk in sin, even now, ___________ the path that leads to God.

15. When does she decide to come back to God?

16. Who had provided her with silver and gold?

17. "Silver" symbolizes _____________.

18. Does God allow her, to come back, when she wants to?

19. What does "lewdness" mean?

20. What were the feast days, new moons, and sabbaths?

21. What does God do with her vines and fig trees?

22. What is the "days of Baalim" speaking of?

23. What did the "burning of incense" in the temple symbolize?

24. True beauty comes from __________.

25. They were lovers of ____________, more than lovers of ____.

26. What change takes place in verse 14?

27. Besides just saying He has forgiven her, what does God do?

28. What does her calling Him "Ishi" mean?

29. What is this time?

30. Where can we find a detailed explanation of this?

31. What is righteousness?

32. Who are the people who belong to God?

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Hosea 3

Hosea Chapter 3

Verses 1-2: Hosea responded to God's urging to go again to his adulterous wife, buy her out of slavery, and restore her as his wife. This is what God would also do for His people.

"Raison cakes" were eaten on special occasions (2 Sam. 6:19). They were also used in idol worship. The people preferred these dry cakes to the abundance of riches found in the Lord, symbolizing Israel's rejection of the one true God for other gods.

Hosea 3:1 "Then 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."

"Go yet, love a woman:" If anyone had occasion to renounce his wife, Hosea did; however, he was instructed to love her still. Similarly, God continued to love an unfaithful Israel.

Having been previously separated, Hosea was commanded to pursue his estranged wife Gomer, thereby illustrating God's unquenchable love for faithless Israel.

Some versions of scripture add "Raison cakes": These were eaten as a part of special occasions (2 Sam. 6:19), they may have been used in idolatrous ceremonies, possibly as an aphrodisiac (compare Song of Solomon 2:5).

"Flagons of wine" (Hebrew ashishah), are raisin cakes. They are similar, if not identical, to the cakes mentioned (in Jeremiah 7:18 and 44:19) which were used in the idolatrous ceremonies in honor of the queen of heaven.

Hosea is instructed to love this unlovable wife of his, as God loves Israel. God loves with unconditional love. While we were yet in sin, God sent His Son to save us. Man loves because of some reason, or the other. God loves in spite of, not because of. His love is Agape love. The greatest love shown ever is spoken of in John.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Most husbands love their wives, because they are faithful to them, and because they see them as being beautiful. Israel was unfaithful to God, and yet He loved them in spite of their unfaithfulness. As far as the natural man could look, Israel was worthless. God loved them anyway. Remember, the prophet experiences in the physical the same thing that is happening in the spirit with his people. Hosea must love her, in spite of her unfaithfulness and heavy wine drinking.

Hosea 3:2 "So I bought her to me for fifteen [pieces] of silver, and [for] a homer of barley, and a half homer of barley:"

"Bought her": Probably from a slave auction, Hosea purchased Gomer for 15 shekels of silver and 1-1/2 homers of barley. Together, the total may have equaled 30 pieces of silver, the price paid for a common slave (Exodus 21:32). Barley was the offering of one accused of adultery (Num. 5:15).

The price paid to redeem Gomer is indicative of the depth to which she had sunk. Barley was considered to be a food fit only for animals, and was eaten only by the poorest people.

"Silver" means redemption. Fifteen is five time three. The number 5 symbolizes grace and 3 symbolizes God. This is saying, by the grace of God, she was redeemed.

Leviticus 27:16 "And if a man shall sanctify unto the LORD [some part] of a field of his possession, then thy estimation shall be according to the seed thereof: a homer of barley seed [shall be valued] at fifty shekels of silver."

A Homer was about 8 bushels. This homer and a 1/2 homer would have been 12 bushels of barley. Barley was thought of as the peasant's grain, because it was cheaper. Figuring this out in our money today, she brought less than 100 dollars. Perhaps, this has something to do with the fact that all who belong to God are bought and paid for. Christians are bought with the precious blood of the Lamb (Jesus Christ).

Verses 3-5: These verses describe the time of exile for God's people, a time when they would be "without" most of the things that mattered to them, including their nationhood. After this time, however, "the children of Israel" would "return and seek the Lord." God often uses times of deprivation to urge His wayward children to return to Him.

Gomer would not be allowed conjugal relations for "many days," with any man, including Hosea. As a further element of the picture of God's dealings with His covenant people during the present age, Israel would exist without her existing political and religious (both true and false), relations until Messiah returns at the Second Advent to set up His millennial reign (Ezek. Chapters 40- 48; Zech. Chapters 12 to 14).

Hosea 3:3 And 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.

She shalt abide in seclusion at my discretion. The "many days" are an indefinite period of amendment, while watchful care was being exercised over her. During this time, she is to withdraw herself from her paramour and also from her husband. And wait in an unmarried condition, until I see it fit to espouse thee.

"Many days": It is not said how long, but a slave, as she is represented here, may not think this severe; the preferment will compensate her waiting.

"Thou shalt not play the harlot": This is the third condition, she is to live chaste and modest, not to do as she had done. This was to settle her in a virtuous life, and to prove whether she would betake herself to a life praiseworthy.

"Thou shalt not be for another man": She is bound to marry, none other, nor to commit adultery with any other.

"So will I also be for thee": In due time I will accomplish the contract, and, as I wait, so I will be for thee. So the deed is mutually sealed and signed.

This is a very personal Scripture. "Abide", in this particular instance, means sit still. This is like a punishment for her unfaithfulness. He does not take a chance on her being unfaithful with another man during this time. She is in isolation. He includes himself in this, as well. It seems for a period of time, she is totally separated from all contact with men.

This again, symbolizes the fact that Israel would be in captivity. She would not be able to play the harlot with her false gods, and she would be alienated from God at the same time. God would choose the length of time of her captivity, for her punishment for spiritual adultery.

Verses 4-5: "Without" occurs five times in the Hebrew text. Israel actually will be without three things:

(1) The monarchy, she will have neither reigning monarch nor anyone in line to become one. Ultimately, a king must come as promised to David and Israel (in 2 Samuel 7).

(2) A sacrifice, she will not observe a God-appointed sacrificial system during this long period, though during it the Messiah will in fact come and be the supreme Sacrifice.

(3) Idolatry, even though she will not observe a true religious system, she will forsake idolatry and all its trappings.

"Israel return:" In God's appointed time Israel will come to its senses and will have a national regeneration (Jer. 31:31-34).

Hosea 3:4 "For 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:"

"Without an ephod and without teraphim": Idolatrous items of priestly clothing and objects of worship (idols in this case).

They have been stripped from all privileges of worship, as the harlot had been stripped of contact with her lovers. In the king and prince, we see they are stripped of their civil authority. All forms of religion had been stripped, as well. The image is representing the worship of false gods. The ephod was worn by the High Priest, and was their connection to God. God spoke to the people through the Urim and Thummim of the ephod of the High Priest. Soothsaying was done through the teraphim.

Hosea 3:5 "Afterward 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."

"David" (compare 1:11). This must refer to Messiah during the Millennium, as "in the last days" specifies (compare 55:3-4; Jer. 30:9; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24-25). The Jews did not seek after Christ at His first advent. This reference has the Davidic Covenant as its background (2 Sam. 7:12-17; Psalms Chapters 39 and 132).

David in the Kingdom: Although Christ will reign as sovereign in the kingdom; it is not clear whether He is the only One on the throne. Several passages suggest that David will reign in the Millennium (Isa. 55:3-4; Jer. 30:9; 33:15, 17, 20-21; Ezek. 34:23-24; 37:24-25; Hosea 3:5; Amos 9:11).

These verses may be interpreted:

(1) Typologically, with Jesus as the Son of David, fulfilling David in type, reigning; or

(2) Literally, with David being resurrected, returning to the throne, and have a sphere of regal authority under the regency of Christ.

One of Christ's millennial titles, "King of kings, and Lord of lords" (Rev. 19:16), may suggest the presence of lesser kings and lords. So it could be that David will serve under Christ's authority as vice-regent of Palestine, just as others may similarly rule other regions or cities (Luke 19:12-18).

Those who suffer for Christ will someday reign with Him (2 Sam. 7:12-16; Psalm 89:34-37; Ezek. Chapter 47).

This is clearly slated to happen in the latter days. When they seek the LORD, they will find Him. David, their king, is speaking of the One they call Messiah, and we call Jesus. There will be a day of repentance. They are bought and paid for with that precious blood. We see in the following Scripture that God is God of all, not just a few.

1 Timothy 4:10 "For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe."

He provided salvation for everyone. Some will not accept that salvation. There is much controversy about these 10 tribes (Israel), and what happened to them. In the physical, they would be very hard to trace. In the spiritual sense, they are the lost world that comes to Christ. Every person who ever lived, was a sinner, just like Israel before they came to Christ.

All Christians have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus, just like these of Israel were bought by God. Perhaps, this whole chapter has been speaking of all people who are away from God until Jesus came and set them free. It is God's goodness and mercy that saves us, not some act upon our part. We actually deserve to die for our sins. The wages of sin is death. Jesus marked our bill Paid in Full.

I will give a selection of Scriptures that help on this.

Romans 11:26-27 "And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:" "For this [is] my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins."

Romans 9:6-8 "Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they [are] not all Israel, which are of Israel:" "Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, [are they] all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called." "That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these [are] not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed."

Galatians 3:29 "And if ye [be] Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

Hosea Chapter 3 Questions

1. Who is Hosea instructed to love in verse 1?

2. How was he to love her?

3. God loves in ________ of, not ___________ of.

4. Why do most husbands love their wives?

5. What was unusual about God's love for Israel?

6. The prophet experiences in the _________, what is happening to the people in the __________.

7. How much silver did Hosea pay for her?

8. What were the other items he gave in the purchase?

9. What did a homer of barley sell for?

10. How large is a homer?

11. The total price paid for her, figured in our money would be less than _______ __________.

12. What are Christians bought with?

13. What does "abide", in this particular Scripture, mean?

14. She is in ___________.

15. She is not only separated from her lovers, but from _________.

16. What does this confinement of the woman symbolize of Israel?

17. Israel has been stripped of all form of __________, as the harlot had been stripped of contact with her _________.

18. What other things were stripped from Israel?

19. God spoke to His people through the ______ and the __________ of the ephod of the high priest.

20. What was done through the teraphim?

21. When is verse 5 clearly dated?

22. Who is spoken of as David, their King?

23. Who are these people in the spiritual sense?

24. It is God's __________ and ________ that saves us, not some act upon our part.

25. The wages of sin is _________.

26. The children of the _________ are counted for the seed.

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Hosea 4

Hosea Chapter 4

Verses 1-2: Here the focus of the book shifts from Gomer to the "children of Israel." God chastised Israel for breaking five of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17; Deut. 5:6-21)

"Swearing" (the misuse of oaths and vows), "lying, killing, stealing," and "committing adultery." He also elaborated on the sin of idolatry (4:12).

Hosea 4:1 "Hear 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."

"The LORD had a controversy": Turning from the analogy of his own marriage, the prophet made the judicial charge in God's indictment against Israel.

We have stressed so much in these lessons, that wisdom is a gift from God, but knowledge takes an effort upon our part. Knowledge is accumulated learning. Notice, first they must hear the Word of God. The Word is spoken through the prophet Hosea, but he is like an "ambassador", who brings someone else's message to the people. In this case, it is God's message.

The purpose of this Bible study is so that we can accumulate more learning and understanding of God's Word. The land spoken of (in verse 1 above), is a perfect description of our land today. They are at odds with God. They are disobedient to His Word. Truth and mercy are both God's gift to mankind. The knowledge of the will of God for their lives was far from them, because they did not diligently seek the truth and knowledge.

Hosea 4:2 "By swearing, and lying, and killing, and stealing, and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood."

Note the many infractions of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:3-17).

Again, we see so much of this in our society today, that there is not enough jail cells to hold the criminals. It is interesting to me, that this begins with swearing. In the loose society we live in, this has become so commonplace, it is not even considered a crime anymore. There was a time, when swearing got a person tied to a whipping post for 10 or 15 lashes of a whip.

When people are out of the will of God, they commit all of these things and many more. Drugs and alcohol add to the immense number of crimes committed. Even drugs and alcohol is a sign of a society out of fellowship with God.

Hosea 4:3 "Therefore 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."

Sin plays havoc with lower creation and nature (Joel 1:17-20; Rom. 8:19-22).

The civil authorities may allow these things to happen and go unpunished, but God will not. "Languish" implies sickness, and is another way of saying mourn. There is a sickness, and it is called sin. When these things happen in any land, God removes His blessings from them.

Zephaniah 1:3 "I will consume man and beast; I will consume the fowls of the heaven, and the fishes of the sea, and the stumblingblocks with the wicked; and I will cut off man from off the land, saith the LORD."

Verses 4-6: "Fall" describes how the people were tripped up by sin and consequently fell to their ruin (5:5; 14:1; Isa. 3:8; 40:30). Those who allow the Lord to lead them will not stumble (Isa. 63:12-13).

"Knowledge" in scripture implies experience, not just intellectual pursuit. God wanted Israel to experience His through their loyal obedience (4:1); instead, the people and priests violated His covenant law (4:2, 7-8), and forfeited their blessings (4:3, 9-10).

Hosea 4:4 "Yet let no man strive, nor reprove another: for thy people [are] as they that strive with the priest."

"Let no man strive": Rationalizing and denying their wrongs, the people protested their innocence, like those who would not humbly accept the decision of the priests (Deut. 17:8-13).

It appears that no one was above sin, so no one was not in a position to judge, or reprove another. Even the people were trying to tell the priest what was wrong.

Hosea 4:5 "Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night, and I will destroy thy mother."

"Thy mother": The Israelite nation of which the people are the children (compare 2:2).

It appears from this, the prophet suffered with his people. The first part of the above sentence seems to be speaking of individuals who will not be spared. It will not matter whether it is day or night, the outcome is the same. The nation Israel is spoken of as "mother".

Hosea 4:6″My 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."

The cause of man's problem is "lack of knowledge." It does not stem from a shortage of information, but rather from rejection of information.

"Thou shall be no priest to me": Having rejected the Lord's instruction, Israel could no longer serve as His priest to the nations (Exodus 19:6; James 3:1).

This is almost like saying; they did not study the Word of God and hide it away in their hearts. When God says "my people", he is speaking of each individual in the nation of Israel. To reject the knowledge of the Word of God is to reject God. We can see from the following Scriptures that God speaks of all of His followers as priests.

1 Peter 2:5 "Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 2:9-10 "But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:" "Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy."

Those who do not remember God will be forgotten of God, as well.

The priests were eager to "eat up the sin" of the people. They did this by urging the people to offer hypocritical, ineffective sacrifices for sins (6:6; 8:11-13). The more the people sinned, the more the priest ate and sold the sacrificial meat to make money.

"Like people, like priest". The people enjoyed sin in excess while the priests, who should have been faithful, encouraged it (Mal. 2:1-9; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).

Verses 7-10: Their position of power and glory, abused in succeeding generations by the eating of the sin offerings, would be turned to shame. Being no different than the people, the priests, who should have been faithful, would share their punishment (Isa. 24:1-3).

Hosea 4:7 "As they were increased, so they sinned against me: [therefore] will I change their glory into shame."

The increase in numbers and prosperity probably refers to the priesthood, who, as they grew in numbers, became more alienated from the true God. These eat up, or fatten on, the very sins they ought to rebuke.

"Therefore will I change their glory into shame": Therefore I will divest them of all those glories for which they pride themselves, and lead them away in a poor and miserable condition into captivity.

God had blessed them, and they had increased, but they could not handle prosperity. The minute they were out of trouble, they sought false gods. He turned the blessings into cursings.

Deuteronomy 30:19 "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"

Just as it was their choice, it is our choice to receive blessings, or cursings. God will not bless those who are unfaithful to Him.

Hosea 4:8 "They eat up the sin of my people, and they set their heart on their iniquity."

"They" are the problem; that is, the priesthood. They have not helped the people face their sin and deal with it. Rather, they have gloried and taken pleasure in the sin of the people.

There was an offering for sin. Perhaps, this is speaking of the evil priest being pleased with their sin.

He would receive more offerings to eat, instead of correcting their iniquity.

Hosea 4:9 "And there shall be, like people, like priest: and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings."

"Like people, like priest:" The priest of God is corrupted and made like the sinning people, not vice versa.

God punishes the priests, the same as He does the people when they sin. He also blesses the priests, as the people when they keep His commandments.

Hosea 4:10 "For 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."

This is almost a proverbial saying of Holy Scripture, and as such, has manifold applications. In the way of nature, it comes true in those, who under God's afflictive Hand in famine or siege, "eat" what they have, but have "not enough," and perish with hunger.

It comes true in those, who, through bodily disease, are not nourished by their food. Yet not less true is it of those who, through their own insatiate desires, are never satisfied, but crave the more greedily, the more they have. Their sin of covetousness becomes their torment.

"They shall commit whoredom, and shall not increase": That is, their offspring; they shall not beget children, so the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi; or the children they beget shall quickly die; yea, though they commit whoredom in the idol's temple with that view, where the women prostituted themselves for that purpose:

"Because they have left off to take heed to the Lord": To his word, and worship, and ordinances, which they formerly had some regard unto, but now had relinquished: or, "the Lord they have forsaken", or "left off to observe"; his ways, his word, and worship.

When they eat and do not have enough, it means their food does not satisfy them. One of the ways God would punish those who followed false gods, was to cut off their food with a famine.

Verses 11-15: Israel's practice of idolatry included widespread prostitution, and the "men" who propagated it by their participation were even more responsible in the Lord's eyes than the "daughters" who committed "harlotry". False religion leads to spiritual adultery, and these work their way into a society and ultimately produce an immoral generation.

Hosea 4:11 "Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart."

Here is a moral truth applicable to all people and times. (Verses 12-13), are illustrations of the enslavement in Israel.

Drunkenness and whoredom go together. Those who drink too much lose control of their own will.

Verses 12-14: "My people ask counsel at their stocks:" Like the heathen (of Romans 1:25), they worship and serve the creature rather than the Creator. Instead of consulting the God who made the trees and the wood, they consult the tree and the wooden idols that can be fashioned from them.

"Therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery." Spiritual harlotry gave way to physical harlotry, which was incorporated into the religious rituals of their idolatrous worship.

Hosea 4:12″My 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."

"Spirit of whoredoms": A prevailing mindset and inclination to worldly spiritual immorality, i.e., idolatry (compare 5:4).

The "whoredom" spoken of here, is of a spiritual nature. This is speaking of the worship of false gods. They have left the One True God for the false gods.

Hosea 4:13 "They 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."

Bereft of righteous teaching and understanding, they sacrificed to idols. Hilltops and groves of trees were favorite places for idolatrous worship (Deut. 12:2; Jer. 2:20; Ezek. 6:13), including religious prostitution.

This is a description of the various types of false worship that went on in the country. God caused their wives to be unfaithful to them, as they had been to Him.

Hosea 4:14 "I 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."

Although all who sin will be judged, God forbade punishing the adulteresses alone and leaving the men who patronized them to go free. The heaviest punishment would not be on the women who sin, but the fathers and husbands who set such a bad example by their engagement with prostitutes.

"Doth not understand": (compare 4:6).

Sin feeds upon itself. God was the husband of Israel in the spirit. They, who worshipped false gods, committed spiritual adultery against God. That sin was so terrible that physical adultery paled in comparison. It had been the law to stone to death someone caught in the act of physical adultery. But why punish that individually, when the majority of the nation was guilty of spiritual adultery?

Verses 15-19: Israel's primary shrines were at "Gilgal" (9:15; 12:11; Amos 4:4-5), and "Beth-Aven" ("house of wickedness"). The Lord urged "Judah" to avoid the sins of "stubborn", rebellious Israel. Hosea refers to the northern kingdom as "Ephraim," a reference to the largest of the 10 northern tribes.

Hosea 4:15″Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, [yet] let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Beth-aven, nor swear, The LORD liveth."

"Gilgal": Between Jordan and Jericho in the area of Samaria, this was once a holy place to God (Josh. 5:10-15; 1 Sam. 10:8; 15:21), afterwards desecrated by idol worship (9:15; 12:11; Amos 4:4; 5:5).

Beth-aven": Judah was to stay away from Israel's centers of false worship, including Beth-aven ("house of wickedness/deceit"). This was a deliberate substitution for the name Bethel ("house of God"), once sacred to God (Gen. 28:17, 19), but made by Jeroboam a place to worship calves (1 Kings 12:28-33; 13:1; Jer. 48:13; Amos 3:14; 7:13).

Israel got into this type of sin long before Judah did. In fact, Israel went into Assyrian captivity more than a hundred years before Judah was taken captive by Babylon. Jeroboam had set up a calf to worship in Beth-haven. Gilgal had become a place of worship of false gods. God did not want them mingling with those of Judah, for fear Judah would pick up their idolatry.

Hosea 4:16 "For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer: now the LORD will feed them as a lamb in a large place."

Because Israel was like a stubborn calf, God no longer attempted to corral her, abandoning her as a lamb in a vast wilderness.

This gives a reason for the warning in the other verse. This shows that Israel is falling further into idolatry. She is slipping further and further in. When people or nations slip further into sin, they go further and further from God.

Hosea 4:17 "Ephraim [is] joined to idols: let him alone."

"Ephraim ... let him alone": As the largest and most influential of the northern 10 tribes, Ephraim's name was often used as representative of the northern nation. This was an expression of God's wrath of abandonment. When sinners reject Him and are bent on fulfilling their wicked purposes, God removes restraining grace and turns them over to the results of their own perverse choices. This king of wrath is that (in Rom. 1:18-32; compare Judges 10:13, 2 Chron. 15:2; 24:20; Psalm 81:11-12).

The name given to Israel because it was the largest tribe of the northern kingdom is completely given over to its idolatry and accompanying practices. He is beyond recall.

Ephraim was the predominant tribe in Israel. They should have been the leaders. They are seemingly the deepest in sin. Idol worship was a rebellion against God, as well as being spiritual adultery.

Hosea 4:18 "Their drink is sour: they have committed whoredom continually: her rulers [with] shame do love, Give ye."

This is the only instance where the Hebrew word magen is translated by the English word "rulers." It occurs in the Old Testament more than 50 times and is usually translated by the English word shield. The leaders God gave to the nation, with the express purpose of shielding it from sin and leading it to God, have instead led in its spiritual defection.

It appears that the leaders, as well as the people, were continually sinning. It had become a way of life for the whole nation.

Hosea 4:19 "The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices."

That is, the wind in its wings hath bound up Ephraim, Israel, or the ten tribes. Compared to a heifer; meaning, that the wind of God's wrath and vengeance, or the enemy, the Assyrian, should come like a whirlwind, and carry them swiftly, suddenly, and irresistibly, out of their own land, into a foreign country.

"And they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices": They of the ten tribes, the people of Israel; or their shields, their rulers, as Aben Ezra, shall be filled with shame, being disappointed of the help they expected from their idols, to whom they offered sacrifices; and the more, inasmuch as they will find that these idolatrous sacrifices are the cause of their ruin and destruction.

The most ridiculous thing of all was the fact that they were still going through the formality of worshipping God. The wind, spoken of here, has to do with the wind of God's wrath. This type of sin leads nowhere, but to shame and disgrace.

Hosea Chapter 4 Questions

1. Why does God have a controversy with the people in the land?

2. How does knowledge differ from wisdom?

3. What is an "ambassador"?

4. What is the purpose of this very Bible study?

5. Truth and mercy are God's _______ to ___________.

6. What are the sins mentioned in verse 2?

7. What is interesting to the author about swearing being listed first?

8. What are drugs and alcohol a sign of?

9. What does "languish" imply?

10. Who suffers along with the people?

11. Who is "mother", in verse 5, speaking of?

12. My people are destroyed for ________ of ________________.

13. Who is God speaking of, when He says, "my people"?

14. To reject the knowledge of the Word of God is to reject _____.

15. Ye are a ______________ generation.

16. Whose choice is it, whether you will be blessed, or cursed?

17. When they eat and it is not enough means what?

18. Those who drink too much lose control of their _______.

19. What kind of "whoredom" is verse 12 speaking of?

20. Describe some of the false worship?

21. What was worse than physical adultery?

22. Jeroboam had set up a ________ to worship in Beth-haven.

23. Why did God not want Israel mingling with Judah?

24. How was Israel described in verse 16?

25. ____________ is joined unto idols.

26. What was the most ridiculous thing of all about their worship?

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Hosea 5

Hosea Chapter 5

Verses 1-5: This chapter begins by addressing three groups, the priests, the "house of Israel," and the "house of the king".

Hosea 5:1 "Hear 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."

Hosea addressed the priests, the people and the royal family; the 3 imperatives demand attention. The religious and civil leaders had entrapped the people (compare 6:9; 7:7).

"Mizpah" and "Tabor" were prominent sites of Baal worship. There was a Mizpah of Benjamin in the south and a Mizpah of Gilead, east of the Jordan. Tabor was located in the north. Depending on which Mizpah is in view, the land is depicted as sin-ridden from south to north, or from east to west, in other words, sin was everywhere.

This is speaking of this judgment being not just on the people, but the king, as well. The sin in the land was so great; it had even reached the priests. Places that had been a great advantage to them, like Mizpah and Tabor, had now been converted into places to worship false gods.

Hosea 5:2 "And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I [have been] a rebuker of them all."

The revolters are all those that have cast off the law of God, both in matters of religion and civil government.

"Are profound": Dig deep to hide their counsels, or have taken deep root since their apostasy from God, and revolt from the house of David.

"To make slaughter": All their religion is but a butchering of cattle, no sacrifice to God; or, which is worse, a murdering of men.

"Though I" Hosea, "have been a rebuker": A preacher, who ill the name and word of God have sharply inveighed against their brutish religion and their bloody slaughters.

"Of them all": None that have been guilty have escaped the reproof; I have declaimed against idolatrous priests and bloody usurpers, such as were in those times, Shallum, Menahem, and Pekah.

It appears, there was much opposition to going up to Jerusalem to worship. There were people, who had revolted against God, lying in wait to kill them, as they passed by Tabor and Mizpah.

Hosea 5:3 "I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, [and] Israel is defiled."

Ephraim, the tribe so called, as distinguished from "Israel" here and the other nine tribes. It was always foremost of the tribes of the northern kingdom. For four hundred years in early history, it, with Manasseh and Benjamin, its two dependent tribes, held the pre-eminence in the whole nation. Ephraim is here addressed as foremost in idolatry.

"Not hid from me": Notwithstanding their supposed profound cunning (Hosea 5:2; Rev. 2:2, 9, 13, 19).

"Now": Though I have been a rebuker of all them (Hosea 5:2), who commit such spiritual whoredoms, thou art now continuing in them.

Ephraim was the most prominent of the tribes of Israel. Just as many times, Judah was spoken of as both the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, and other times was separated out, so is Ephraim. It appears, Ephraim was even more idolatrous than the other tribes. They had received the right hand blessing, so perhaps they were also, more responsible.

Hosea 5:4 "They 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."

"They": Turning from a direct address to Ephraim, he uses the third person plural to characterize the people in general. The Hebrew is against the Margin, their doings will not suffer them" the omission of "them" in the Hebrew after the verb being unusual. The sense is, they are incurable, for they will not permit (as the Hebrew literally means), their doings to be framed so as to turn unto God.

Implying that they resist the Spirit of God, not suffering Him to renew them; and give themselves up to "the spirit of whoredoms", in antithesis to "the Spirit of God" implied in "suffer" or "permit" (Hosea 4:12; Isa. 63:10; Ezek. 16:43; Acts 7:51).

We see in this verse, not only were they practicing idolatry, but they had the spirit of idolatry, as well. They have turned their will over to evil, instead of to God. Plain and simple, they have fallen in love with false gods and left the One True God.

Hosea 5:5 "And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them."

"Pride of Israel doth testify to his face": Israel's pride in idolatry provided self-incrimination (compare 7:10).

The words "Ephraim" and Israel" are interchangeable here.

God had blessed Israel and Judah above other nations. Instead of this humbling them, they had become very proud, and thought themselves better than others. They had become so proud, they believed they could do anything, and God would still bless them. They had brazenly worshipped false gods. They thought they were above sin.

Verses 6-7: Her religious sacrifices and monthly festivals no longer brought divine favor, only judgment. God "has withdrawn from them" (see note on 4:17).

Hosea 5:6 "They 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."

They shall seek to make their peace with God and to induce him to be favorable to them by a multitude of sacrifices; but they shall not find their expectations answered. This is spoken of the people of Judah, mentioned in the latter part of the foregoing verse. Who, though they attended the temple worship, yet did it without any true sense of religion, for which the Prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah particularly reprove them.

The prophecy seems to look forward to the times of Hezekiah and Josiah, declaring that the attempts of those God fearing kings to reclaim the people from idolatry, and to restore the true worship of God, would fail of any durable effect, and would not avail to reverse the doom pronounced upon the guilty people.

"But they shall not find him": Whilst he might have been found they would not seek him, now as a punishment, and to leave them remediless, God will not be found of them; he will not either accept a sacrifice, or pardon their sin, or return to save them.

All of the sacrifices they would make now would be totally unacceptable to God. God warned them of the danger of worshipping false gods, and they had not taken heed. Now, it is too late.

Hosea 5:7 "They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions."

If the statement "the New Moon shall devour them" is the correct translation, it probably means that these festivals, which had become tainted by Israel's disobedience, would be additional cause for God's judgment (see Isa. 1:13-14). Another option is to translate it "[God] the New Moon [festival].

God had forbidden His people to marry the heathen people around them. This is possibly, where they picked up their practice of worshipping false gods. This could also be speaking of their unfaithfulness to God, and then their children being unfaithful to God. The fact that a month is mentioned here, could be telling them that it would be just a short time until the enemy would come and overcome them. Note that God has to allow this to happen. They could not attack God's people without God's permission.

Verses 8-15: "Gibeah, Ramah," and "Beth-aven" are cities belonging to the tribe of Benjamin in the south. They will be on military alert.

"After thee, O Benjamin:" the battle cry used in the day of Joshua will be reactivated.

"As a moth ... as rottenness:" Because God took His presence from Israel, His judgment will eat away at His nation slowly but surely.

Hosea 5:8 "Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, [and] the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud [at] Beth-aven, after thee, O Benjamin."

The enemy was already upon them and thus her watchmen were to sound the alarm (Num. 10:9).

"Gibeah ... Ramah": Located on Judah's northern border with Israel.

"Beth-aven" (Bethel). situated in southern Israel (4:15). All three were strategic defense cities.

"Benjamin": Used to refer to the whole southern kingdom.

These places mentioned are the line of attack. It shows the progression of the battle. The cornet was an instrument that could be heard from great distance, and the silver trumpet was blown to call the people to battle. Beth-haven was a place near, and the trumpet could be heard by Benjamin.

Hosea 5:9 "Ephraim shall be desolate in the day of rebuke: among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be."

It shall not be lightly rebuked, nor even more grievously chastened; it shall not simply be wasted by famine, pestilence, and the sword; it shall be not simply desolate, but a desolation, one waste, in the day of rebuke, when God brings home to it its sin and punishment. Ephraim was not taken away for a time; it was never restored.

"I have made known that which shall surely be": "Doubt not that this which I say shall come upon thee, for it is a sure saying which I have made known;" literally, one well-grounded, as it was, in the mind, the justice, the holiness, the truth of God. All God's threatenings or promises are grounded in past experience.

So it may also be, as though God said, "Whatever I have hitherto promised or threatened to Israel has come to pass. In all I have proved Myself true. Let no one then flatter himself, as though this were uncertain, for in this, as in the rest, I shall be found to be God, faithful and true."

This just speaks of the surety of the coming battle and their captivity. God has given them ample warning, and they have not taken heed.

Hosea 5:10 "The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound: [therefore] I will pour out my wrath upon them like water."

"Judah" had followed in the sinful footsteps of Israel. Hosea compared Judah's greedy princes to those who move boundary stones in order to steal land from others. The Law condemned this practice (Deut. 19:14; 27:17).

"Remove the bound": Boundaries, marked by stones, could be easily moved at night. Moving them was tantamount to stealing land from a neighbor (Deut. 19:14; 27:17; Prov. 22:28; 23:10). Worse, Israel's leaders were moving spiritual lines established by God (compare verse 11).

This is speaking of a time when God's fury has come up in His face, and He has poured His wrath on His unfaithful. It appears, they had moved the landmarks, that God had strictly forbidden them move. This automatically brings judgment from God.

Hosea 5:11 "Ephraim [is] oppressed [and] broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment."

He is delivered over to oppressors by God's just judgment. Such were Pul and Tiglath-pileser, kings of Assyria. Archbishop Newcome distinguishes between these phrases thus.

"Willingly walked": It was not forced upon them, they did it willingly. Though there was a law commanding, yet there was in the people a forwardness and too great a readiness, to comply and obey that law which made idolatry the establishment in the ten tribes.

"After the commandment": To forbear going to the temple, and to worship the calves at Dan and Beth-el, as Jeroboam son of Nebat required.

God allowed Ephraim to be oppressed and broken by his neighbors, as judgment from God for his unfaithfulness to God.

Hosea 5:12 "Therefore [will] I [be] unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness."

Hosea used similes to create vivid pictures of God's wrath toward both kingdoms of sinful Israel (Job 13:28). God's judgment would slowly but surely bring about the demise of both Israel and Judah, much like "moths" and "rottenness" slowly eat away at an object until it is destroyed. The sinner overlooks this erosion of his conscience and character. Only God can awaken him to his condition.

A garment riddled by a moth is ruined. The moth eats away at the material, until it is of no use. "Rottenness" speaks of decay from within. For a long time, Judah's rottenness will not show. This is saying, their destruction will not come instantaneously, but will be progressive until they are destroyed. We certainly know this to be true with Judah, because Babylon took many years to totally destroy them.

Verses 13-15: Instead of asking God for help, Israel turned "to Assyria" (2 Kings 15:19-20; 17:3-4), but even this powerful nation could not save them from God's wrath. Only when they truly repented to God would the people be saved.

Hosea 5:13 "When 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."

"King Jareb": "Jareb" means "warrior" and refers to the king of Assyria, to whom Israel (2 Kings 15:19-20), and later Judah (2 Kings 16:5-9), turned to for help.

It appears from the verse above, that Ephraim and Judah became aware they had a problem. The sad thing was that Ephraim did not go to God with the problem, but went to the Assyrians. Neither was willing to admit that their problem was because of their worship of false gods. The world has no answers to problems then or now. The worldly king Jareb was no help at all.

Verses 14-15: Foreign assistance would be of no value, since the Lord was orchestrating punishment at the hands of the Assyrians. He would remove Himself until "they acknowledge their guilt" and "seek My face" (compare 3:5).

Hosea 5:14 "For 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]."

"As a lion": First the trans-Jordanic tribes, then additional provinces, and lastly the whole population, were carried away as in the teeth of a beast of prey (compare Amos 3:6). Assyria is here referred to as represented by Tiglath-pileser. A similar fate overtook Jerusalem (in 587 B.C.), at the hands of Babylonia, in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (2 Chron. 36:4-10; 2 Kings 24:10-16; 2 Kings 25:1-11).

None shall rescue him: none have courage to attempt or power to affect a rescue, the prey must hopelessly perish; so it will be with Ephraim and Judah, when God appears as a lion against them.

The destruction of Ephraim is actually a little worse than the destruction of Judah. Perhaps that is why God speaks of Himself as being as a lion to Ephraim, and a young lion to Judah. The young lion would not do as much damage as the lion. Notice that God tells them of the many battles that will take place, when He says; He will "tear and go away". This is a judgment of God, and no one will be able to stop it.

Hosea 5:15 "I will go [and] return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early."

Tenderness blends with judgment, and insulted love bleeds and hopes. The image of the lion is dropped. Jehovah speaks of "His own place", Heaven. He will cause all manifestations of His regard for them to cease till "they suffer punishment, and seek my face," and, like the prodigal in the flush of a new morning, will arise and go unto the Father.

"Till they acknowledge their offence": Till they confess and humble themselves for their sins.

"And seek my face": Me their God, my mercy, and my law; their Sovereign as well as Savior.

"In their affliction they will seek me early": In deep distresses they will, at least some will, seek me diligently, as indeed they did at the end of Judah's seventy years' captivity.

This speaks of the time being extended for their captivity. The lion tears at its victim and then carries it away. The lion then goes to his den and rests. This is also, what this is speaking of here. God will allow all of these terrible things to happen to them. He will not intervene and stop it, as He has in the past. It is such a shame that they have to be in such destitute condition, before they reach out to God. The captivity is to cause them to repent and turn back to God. God will not seek them, they must seek Him. Because of the great affliction, they will seek God sooner than they would, had they not suffered so greatly.

Hosea Chapter 5 Questions

1. Who is verse 1 addressed to?

2. Name two places that they had turned into places to worship false gods.

3. What were the revolters opposed to?

4. Why is Ephraim spoken of separately from Israel?

5. Why was it even worse for Ephraim to stray from God?

6. What had they done, that was even worse than practicing idolatry?

7. The ________ of Israel doth testify to his face.

8. What effect should it have had on Ephraim and Judah, when God blessed them above others?

9. They thought they were above ______.

10. What effect would their sacrifices have on their relationship to God?

11. Who had God forbidden them to marry?

12. What does the mention of a month in verse 7 indicate?

13. Blow ye the _________ at Gibeah.

14. What instrument was blown to call them to war?

15. What does verse 9 speak of?

16. Why was God so angry with them in verse 10?

17. The oppression by Ephraim's neighbors was for what?

18. God will be to Ephraim as a ________.

19. He would be to the house of Judah as ___________.

20. Who did Ephraim seek help from, when he saw his sickness?

21. Was he any help?

22. What was the difference in the destruction of Ephraim and Judah?

23. What does the statement "tear and go away" mean?

24. Where does God go, when all of this is happening?

25. When will God help them?

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Hosea 6

Hosea Chapter 6

Verses 1-3: Here, is contrast to the sinful people of Hosea's time (4:1, 6), Hosea included the confession that the future repentant generation would speak (5:15), asking God to "Heal, bind ... up, revive," and "raise ... up." This new generation would be certain of God's mercy to the repentant and the "return" of His favor to those who sincerely acknowledge Him (14:4; Isa. 1:18; Acts 10:43).

Coming with the beginning of Christ's millennial reign (Zech. 12:10 - 13:1; Isa. 43:1-6), Hosea records Israel's future words of repentance (compare 5:15).

Hosea 6:1 "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."

"Come, and let us return unto the Lord ... we shall live in his sight:" The prophet vicariously leads his people in a prayer of repentance and a plea for restoration that can ultimately take place only in the day when Israel as a nation will be converted (Jer. 31:31-34), and God will set up His kingdom over His people and reign for a thousand years.

This is speaking as if their captivity has already taken place. It is the same God that tore them, who will forgive them and cause them to begin again. God chastises His people as a loving parent. He is also full of grace and love for the very same people. God is our Judge, but He is also our Redeemer.

Hosea 6:2 "After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight."

"After two days ... in the third day": Not a reference to the resurrection of Christ (illness, not death, is in the context), but to the quickness of healing and restoration (compare the quickness with which the dry bones of Ezek. Chapter 37 respond). Numbers are used similarly elsewhere (e.g., Job 5:19; Prov. 6:16; 30:15, 18; Amos 1:3).

Hosea 6:3 "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."

"He shall come unto us as the rain:" God will no longer deal with Israel like a "moth" and "rottenness" (5:12). Instead, He will deal with them like life-giving and refreshing rain.

This is a call to the study of God and His Word. The way to know the LORD is to diligently study His Word.

Colossians 1:28 "Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:"

Colossians 1:9 " For this cause we also, since the day we heard [it], do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;"

Joel 2:23 "Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first [month]."

The former and the latter rain are speaking of a time when the Spirit of God falls on the people of the earth like rain.

Acts 2:17 "And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:"

James 5:7 "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain."

Verses 4-7: The text now turns back to the sinners of Hosea's generation, illustrating the temporary loyalty of God's people with the images of the "morning cloud and early dew," both of which vanish quickly.

"Hewed" describes how severely God had already disciplined His wayward people in an attempt to get their attention, like the cutting of stone.

Because Israel's commitment to the Lord was fleeting and superficial, He had to send prophets with stern words (verses 4-5), calling for a covenantal loyalty befitting a marriage relationship (verse 6). But they violated the marriage vows (verse 7).

Hosea 6:4″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."

Here ends the supposed language of the penitents. If it were genuine, and accompanied by a deep sense of sin, it would not be in vain. But the prophet utters the heartrending response and expostulation of Jehovah, who bewails the transitory nature of their repentance.

Your goodness is as a morning cloud": Your goodness is of a short continuance, and gives way to every temptation, like as the cloud of the morning, and the dew, are dispersed at the first approach of the sun.

Ephraim, Judah, and in fact, all of mankind have no goodness of their very own. We all deserve to die, because of the sins we have committed. It is only by the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ, that any of us are saved. God is merciful.

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

God provided the way for us, that we could not provide for ourselves. We may act good for a moment, but our goodness goes away like the dew. Our righteousness is in Jesus Christ. He puts us who will believe in right standing with God.

Hosea 6:5 "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."

I have severely, continually, and not tiring by the prophets reproved, warned, and threatened. Your hearts have been like knotty trees, or hardest stones: I have made my prophets like laborers, and, my words like axes or hammers to cut off the knots, and to hew off the roughness which make unfit for use. But all to no purpose, the desired effect hath not been attained.

"By the prophets": Some that was before Hosea. Jeroboam I was by a prophet reproved and threatened for this idolatry, in which Israel persisted, and to which Judah did too often fall. And through the space of two hundred years, from Jeroboam I to Hosea's time, many other prophets were sent, whose names, and some memoirs of them, we have. Such as Ahijah, Jehu, Hanani, Elijah, and Elisha, these and such like were the prophets that did hew crooked and knotty Israel.

"I have slain them": Some say the false prophets are the persons meant here, whom God did slay for their sin, seducing Israel to, and confirming them in, idolatry. Indeed, Elijah's sincere zeal did cut off so many (1 Kings 18:22, 40), and Jehu's counterfeit zeal cut off so many (2 Kings 10:21, 25), that it could never be forgotten among that people. So the thing is true, many false prophets were slain for this sin; yet the persons in our text were not these false prophets, but they were the people of Israel and Judah, the idolatrous, refractory hypocrites among them, whom God threatened with death and that by the sword of enemies.

"Thy judgments are as the light that goeth forth": Meaning the punishments threatened, the miseries foretold, which fell upon this people, did so fully answer the prediction, that everyone might see them clear as the light, and as constantly executed as the morning (See Zeph. 3:5).

These arrogant people of God had tried to stand against the God that made them. The prophets cut them down with warnings from God, if they did not repent. God spoke judgment against them, and they were punished for their sins. The Light does away with darkness. The Light of God was applied to get rid of sin in their lives.

Hosea 6:6 "For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings."

"I desired mercy, and not sacrifice" (compare Matt. 9:13; 12:7).

"The knowledge of God more than burnt-offerings": Hearty, affectionate knowledge of God, which fills the mind with reverence of his majesty, fear of his goodness, love of his holiness, trust in his promise, and submission to his will; knowledge of God's law, the rule of our obedience, of his favor, the reward of our obedience.

And knowledge of his omniscience, discerning and judging it, with those excellent effects, proper fruits hereof; are more than all sacrifice, as though they were burnt-sacrifices, which of all other were entirely given to God. But truth is, who knows God correctly, and doth keep his heart for God, gives God more than he that brings whole burnt-offerings; for these are but ceremonies and signs, empty and insipid to God, without the heart.

In short, these people acted all so contrary to this temper of their God, gave him so much of that he valued not, and so little of that he did most value, that he could not be too severe against them, nor is it any wonder he was so displeased with their sacrifices.

God desired to be merciful to them. He saw their inability to live their way into heaven. He provided the perfect sacrifice in Jesus Christ, to take away the sin of the world. Jesus became each individual's substitute on the cross. He paid the price in full for our sins. The sacrifice that God wants from the believers in Christ is praise.

Hebrews 13:15 "By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of [our] lips giving thanks to his name."

Hosea 6:7 "But they like men have transgressed the covenant: there have they dealt treacherously against me."

The people had "transgressed the covenant": A reference to the Mosaic Covenant (compare 8:1; Exodus 19:5-6), they made with God at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19 and 20). According to this covenant, God would punish them for their disobedience (Deut. Chapter 28), which was a personal affront to Him ("they dealt treacherously with Me").

These Israelites thought they were better than the rest of the people of the world. Every person who ever lived, whether Jew or Gentile, has sinned.

Romans 3:23 "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"

1 John 1:10 "If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."

Hosea 6:8 "Gilead [is] a city of them that work iniquity, [and is] polluted with blood."

If we regard "Gilead" (as it elsewhere is), as the country beyond Jordan, where the two tribes and a half dwelt, this will mean that the whole land was banded in one, as one city of evil-doers. It had a unity, but one of evil. As the whole world has been pictured as divided between "the city of God" and the city of the devil, consisting respectively of the children of God and the children of the devil; so the whole of Gilead may be represented as one city, whose inhabitants had one occupation in common, to work evil.

"And is polluted with blood": Murders committed there have polluted it, or murderers protected there against the law of God, who provided these cities a relief for such. as unawares, without malice, by chance slew his neighbor, not for willful murderers. Yet some for money or interest got in and were secured there; and probably many were kept out or delivered up to the avenger of blood contrary to the law. Thus, Gilead by name and all the rest of the cities of refuge intended too, were polluted with blood.

Gilead is spoken of, in the New Testament, as beyond Jordan. This really is speaking of the Israelites in their darker times, when there was much killing taking place. It could also be speaking of their connection with the crucifixion of Jesus.

Hosea 6:9 And as troops of robbers wait for a man, [so] the company of priests murder in the way by consent: for they commit lewdness.

As a gang of highwaymen lie in wait in a ditch, or under a hedge, or in a cave of a rock or mountain, for a man they know will come by that way, who is full of money, in order to rob him. Or, as fishermen stand upon the banks of a river, and cast in their hooks to draw out the fish.

"So the company of priests murder in the way by consent": Not only encourage murderers, and commit murders within the city, but go out in a body together upon the highway, and there commit murders and robberies, and divide the spoil among them. All which they did unanimously, and were well agreed, being brethren in iniquity, as well as in office.

Or, "in the way of Shechem"; as good people passed by Gilead to Shechem, and so to Jerusalem, to worship there at the solemn feasts, they lay in wait for them, and murdered them. Because they did not give into the idolatrous worship of the calves at Dan and Bethel: or, "in the manner of Shechem". That is, they murdered men in a deceitful treacherous manner, as the Shechemites were murdered by Simeon and Levi.

"For they commit lewdness": Literally, "For they have done deliberate sin". The word literally means "a thing thought of," especially an evil, and so, deliberate, contrived, bethought-of, wickedness. They did deliberate wickedness, but gave themselves to do it, and did nothing else.

"Troops of robbers" lie in wait hidden from view. Then it seems, these priests appear to be godly men, when in fact they are very ungodly men. Jesus spoke the greatest indictment against priests, such as these, that was ever spoken against a priest (read the 23rd chapter of Matthew).

Hosea 6:10 "I have seen a horrible thing in the house of Israel: there [is] the whoredom of Ephraim, Israel is defiled."

This phrase means Ephraim and Judah subsequently discriminated. The "horrible thing" refers to polluting idolatry. This peculiar word occurs again in Jeremiah. According to the punctuation of the Hebrew the reciter hesitates before pronouncing the "horrible thing" which grated through his teeth.

"There is the whoredom of Ephraim": In the house of Israel is the whoredom of Jeroboam, who was of the tribe of Ephraim, and caused Israel to sin, to go a whoring after idols. Or the whoredom of the tribe of Ephraim, which belonged to the house of Israel, and even of all the ten tribes. Both corporeal and spiritual whoredom, or idolatry, are here meant.

Israel is defiled; with whoredom of both kinds; it had spread itself all over the ten tribes. They were all infected with it, and polluted by it (see Hosea 5:3).

The horrible thing they had done was the worship of false gods. The whoredom they had committed was spiritual adultery. As we will see in the next verse, these are all 12 tribes of Israel, which got caught up in idolatry, not just Ephraim. Ephraim is mentioned separately, because he received the right hand (spiritual), blessing from Jacob.

Hosea 6:11 "Also, O Judah, he hath set a harvest for thee, when I returned the captivity of my people."

"O Judah, he hath set a harvest for thee:" Lest Judah feel smug at her neighbor's demise, the prophet reminds them that they have a day of reckoning awaiting them (Jer. 51:13; Joel 2:10-3).

Judah, the southern kingdom, will fare no better than Ephraim, the northern kingdom; for it committed the same sins. God's judgment will come to them some 136 years later and by a different agent, Babylon.

Judah had sinned like Israel, and they too, would reap what they had sown. There is a great harvest at the end of the earth when all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ will be carried to heaven to live for God. Those who reject Jesus will be the tares which are gathered and burned.

Hosea Chapter 6 Questions

1. Verse 1 is speaking as if their captivity ____ ______ ______ _____.

2. God chastises His people as a __________ _________.

3. God is our Judge, but He is also, our ______________.

4. What is verse 3 a call to do?

5. How can we know the LORD?

6. What is this rain speaking of?

7. ________, ________, and in fact, all of mankind have no ________ of their own.

8. Why do we all deserve to die?

9. What saves us?

10. Who makes us right in the sight of God?

11. How had the prophets cut down these arrogant people?

12. The Light of God was applied to get rid of what?

13. God provided the perfect sacrifice, _________ _______.

14. What is the sacrifice God wants from believers?

15. Who have sinned?

16. Gilead is spoken of, in the New Testament, as __________ ________.

17. What do we learn about these priests as "troops of robbers"?

18. Where do we find the indictment Jesus spoke against priests, such as these?

19. What was the horrible thing they had done?

20. What happens at the great harvest at the end?

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Hosea 7

Hosea Chapter 7

Verses 1-7: The figure of "an oven heated by the baker" refers to the schemes of the wicked. Like a baker who kneads his "dough," keeps it warm by "night" as he sleeps, and then with the dough raised, bakes the bread, so the wicked lay their plots and await the opportune time to carry out their conspiracy against the crown. Four of Israel's last six kings were assassinated.

Hosea 7:1 "When 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."

God longed to heal "Israel" (also referred to here as "Ephraim" and "Samaria, the capital city).

"Samaria": As the capital, Samaria represents the northern kingdom.

God's desire all along, was to heal Israel. We have talked a great deal about the will of man. Even though God wanted to heal them, they had to be willing to give up the worship of false gods, as we said in an earlier lesson. In the time of Jeroboam II, they made a calf and put it in their place of worship as symbolizing God.

Hosea 7:2 "And 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."

But Israel continued to sin and did not remember that her wicked deeds were "before" His "face" (Ezek. 8:12). The omniscient God is aware of everything that people do.

The heart of man is what he is. It is desperately wicked, or it is stayed upon God. In the case of those of Israel, they were desperately wicked. Their sins are the very things that cause this terrible judgment to come upon them.

Hosea 7:3 "They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies."

The evil awakens no alarm, but rather sympathy and gladness, in the breasts of their kings and rulers, who are ready to follow suit in all deeds of violence.

"With their lies"; with false accusations brought in against the more innocent, or by false reports made of their words and actions, representing them as ridiculous or foolish, amusing them into infamy.

This was a corrupt society. The king was even pleased at the corruption. The king and the princes were just as involved as the people themselves.

Verses 4-7: The civil leaders' evil lust burned so passionately all night, that the prophet repeatedly described it like a consuming oven (compare verses 4, 6-7), so hot that the baker could forgo stirring the fire during the entire night and still have adequate heat for baking the next morning.

Hosea 7:4 "They [are] all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, [who] ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened."

Both spiritually and carnally, and this latter adultery is that which here is charged on the courtiers and people of Israel.

"As an oven heated by the baker": This vice is grown raging hot among them, as you see the fire in an oven, when the baker, having called up those that make the bread, to prepare all things ready. And the whole mass is leavened, he doth by continued supply of fuel to heat the oven to the highest degree. So does adultery among this people grow by degrees to raging flames. The whole mass of the people is leavened with this vice also, as well as the court. And every one inflamed with this unclean fire, as the oven heated by the baker.

"After he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened": Having kneaded the dough, and put in the leaven, he lets it alone to work till the whole mass is leavened, taking his rest in the meanwhile. As the former clause expresses the vehement desire of the people after adultery, spiritual or corporeal. This may signify their continuance in it; or rather the willful negligence of the king, priests, and prophets, who, instead of awaking them out of their sleep on a bed of adultery, let them alone in it, until they were all infected with it.

"Leaven" speaks of sin. The fact that it is leavened means it has risen to the height of sin. This adultery, again, is spiritual adultery. They are unfaithful to God. The kneading speaks of working the leaven down. It does not stay down. The sin is too great.

Hosea 7:5 "In the day of our king the princes have made [him] sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners."

Their holy days, like those of so many Englishmen now, were days of excess. "The day of their king", was probably some civil festival; his birthday, or his coronation-day. The prophet owns the king, in that he calls him "our king." He does not blame them for keeping the day, but for the way in which they kept it. Their festival was turned into an irreligious and anti-religious carousal; making themselves like "the brutes which perish." And tempting their king first to forget his royal dignity, and then to blaspheme the majesty of God.

"The princes have made him sick with bottles of wine: that is": The courtiers who attended at court on such a day to compliment the king upon the occasion, and to drink his health. Drank to him in large cups, perhaps a bottle of wine at once; which he pledges them in the same manner, made him sick or drunk. To make any man drunk is criminal, and especially a king; as it was also a weakness and sin in him to drink to excess, which is not for kings, of all men, to do. Or it may be rendered, "the princes became sick through the heat of wine".

"He stretched out his hand with scorners": Meaning the king, who, in his cups, forgetting his royal dignity, used too much familiarity with persons of low life, and of an ill behavior, irreligious ones. Who, especially when drunk made a jest of all religion; scoffed at good men, and everything that was serious. And even set their mouths against the heavens; denied there was a God, or spoke very indecently and irreverently of him. These the king made his drinking companions, took the cup, and drank to them in turn, and shook them by the hand.

Drunkenness goes with sin. Wine dulls the senses, and causes one's will to be weak. At all sorts of celebrations, such as the birthday of the king, there were drunken parties. Not only did this wine make them not able to make good decisions, but it gave them a false sense of security as well. This wine dulled their senses for the evil sins they committed. The sad thing is the fact that the king joined the princes in this.

Verses 6-7: Even the kings and prices in Israel were wicked, with hearts that burned "like an oven" for more power. This likely refers to the assassination of four Israelite kings during Hosea's life (2 Kings 15:8-26).

Hosea 7:6 "For 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."

He gives the reason of their bursting out into open mischief; it was ever stored up within. They "made ready": (literally, "brought near"), "their heart." Their heart was ever brought near to sin, even while the occasion was removed at a distance from it. "The "oven" is their heart; the fuel, their corrupt affections, and inclinations, and evil concupiscence, with which it is filled.

"Their baker": Their own evil will and imagination, which stirs up whatever is evil in them. The prophet then pictures how, while they seem for a while to rest from sin. It is but "while they lie in wait;" still, all the while, they made and kept their hearts ready, full of fire for sin and passion. Any breathing-time from actual sin was no real rest; the heart was still on fire.

"In the morning," right early, as soon as the occasion came, it burst forth. So the evil concupiscence in these men's hearts, made hot like an oven, rests all night, devising mischief on their beds. Either against the chastity of their neighbors' wives, or against the lives of others, they bear an ill will to. Particularly against their judges and their kings (as Hosea 7:7); seems to intimate. And in the morning this lust of uncleanness or revenge is all in a flame, and ready to execute the wicked designs contrived (see Micah 2:1).

They have turned their hearts over to sinful lust. Lust feeds upon itself, and gets hotter and hotter. The lust of this sort springs into action, when it breaks forth in flame.

Hosea 7:7 "They 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."

"All their kings are fallen": Four of Israel's final 6 kings were murdered by usurpers.

Anyone who opposed them, they removed from authority. The judges and prophets were not supposed to be subject to the king, or the people, but they have all been done away with. There is no one to cry out to God for the people, when the religious leaders are removed. Sometimes people have fallen so far, it is difficult for them to reach out to God. This was certainly the case here.

Verses 8-9: At Israel's invitation, foreign nations made debilitating inroads into her national and religious life. This intrusion was making her like "a cake not turned," burned on one side and raw on the other. Payment for this foreign assistance would "devour" her strength (verse 9), and make her old and feeble without noticing it.

Hosea 7:8 "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned."

By his alliances with the heathen, and by imitation of their manners, he is himself become one of them. He has thrown off all the distinctions, and forfeited the privileges of the chosen race.

"Cake not turned": Referring to the destructive effect of foreign influences. Ephraim was consumed by the unhallowed fire of Baal-worship, with all its passion and persistent or excessive pursuit of sensual pleasures and interests. A cake burnt on one side to a cinder, and on the other left in a condition utterly unfit for food. So the activity of foreign idolatries and foreign alliances, and the consequent unfaithfulness to Israel's God, are the nation's ruin.

This is speaking of God's people mixing with the heathen people around them. It also is speaking of a cake that had been cooked with uneven heat. It was well done on the one side, and the other side of the cake was raw. This is speaking of a person whose life is not consistent. He proclaimed to love God and to live for God, but he played around with the worship of false gods at the same time. He was unstable in all of his ways.

Hosea 7:9 "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth [it] not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not."

The past tense may refer to the invasions of Tiglath-pileser. Both Egypt and Assyria had come to regard Israel as a small earthenware pot between iron pots. These "strangers have devoured his strength", i.e., he has less power to resist aggression, less treasure, less land, smaller population. The signs of senility are upon him.

Grey hairs, themselves the effects of declining age and tokens of decay, are the forerunners of death. "Thy grey hairs are thy passing-bell," says the proverb.

This is saying that the sin crept in without him being aware of it. Such a person turns gray one hair at a time, and does not realize he is gray until after it is complete. The sinful nature came in a little at a time and he was not even aware of it until it was too late.

Hosea 7:10 "And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this."

His pride convicted him. All the afflictions of God humbled him not; yea, they but brought out his pride, which "kept him from acknowledging and repenting of the sins which had brought those evils upon him, and from "turning to God and seeking to Him" for remedy".

People complain of their "fortune" or "fate" or "stars," and go on the more obstinately, to build up what God destroys. To prop up by human means or human aid what, by God's providence, is failing. They venture more desperately, in order to recover past losses, until the crash at last becomes hopeless and final.

"Nor seek Him for all this": God had exhausted all the treasures of His severity, as before, of His love. He Himself marvels at His incorrigible and disobedient servant, as He says in Isaiah, "Why should ye be stricken anymore? Ye will revolt more and more" (Isaiah 1:5). How is this? It follows, because they have "no heart."

They were so sure of their standing with God; they did nothing to assure its continuance. They thought of themselves as God's chosen people and they felt they were beyond being judged of God. Pride of this kind comes just before a fall. They had overlooked the necessity of maintaining their standing with God by their faithfulness. They took God for granted and began seeking thrills with false gods.

Verses 11-12: Like a dove, reputed to lack good sense (compare Matt. 10:16), so Israel had sought assistance from Egypt and Assyria, rather than from the Lord, who would ultimately trap her (compare 8:9-10).

Hosea 7:11 "Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria."

No creature is less able to defend itself than the dove, which flies from the bird of prey to the net of the fowler. In this powerful metaphor, we have a political allusion. King Hoshea (19th and last king of Israel), is called Ausih on the Assyrian monuments. Having usurped the throne after the murder of Pekah, he "purchased his recognition as king of Israel by giving a large present to the Assyrian monarch" (730 B.C.).

"They call to Egypt": Instead of "calling to" God who could and would help, they "called to Egypt" who could not, and "went to Assyria" who would not. So God complains by Isaiah, "To Me, thou hast not called, O Jacob" (Isaiah 43:22). This was their folly; they called not to God, who had delivered them out of Egypt, but, alternately, to their two powerful neighbors, of whom Egypt was a delusive promisor, not failing only, but piercing those who leant on it; Assyria was a powerful oppressor.

A "silly dove" is unaware of the danger of flying head long into a net. Ephraim has forgotten their help is in God. They seek help from Egypt (world), and from Assyria. They are heading for their own trap.

Hosea 7:12 "When 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."

Best rendered: "whenever they go". The ultimate ruin produced by this policy of dependence on foreign states and of double dealing intrigue was even at this early stage foreseen by the prophet, and portrayed under the simile of Jehovah's net snaring the unwary bird.

"I will spread my net upon them": As fowlers spread the net, watch the birds, and cast it over them to catch them, so will God do to Ephraim. So he did with Israel when he accepted the alliance of Shalmaneser, and turned tributary. And again, when Israel sought by Egypt's help to get out of the snares of their vassalage to Shalmaneser, who revenged the conspiracy with a total captivity. Nor can there be likelihood or possibility these fugitives should escape when it is God's net, and he spreads it, his almighty power, his all searching wisdom, and his just vengeance, that follows them.

"I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven": Though they attempt to fly, yet as fowls in the net they shall certainly fall, I will bring them down; as he did when they were gathered into Samaria as a net, and there made prisoners, and thence carried captives.

"I will chastise them": Thus they shall be punished.

"As their congregation hath heard": Both from the law of Moses which they had with them, and as they had heard from my prophets which I have sent unto them. I will, saith God, make good my word.

Just as the silly dove is caught in the net unexpectedly, they are caught in the trap of their own making. They were unaware that Egypt, or Assyria, was not where their chastisement would come from, but from God. God could use any country He chose to for the carrying out of His chastisement. They had angered God with their actions.

Hosea 7:13 "Woe 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."

"I have redeemed them": From Egypt and their other enemies.

They have left the safety of their God and sought others. The safest place for a bird is in his own nest. The destruction comes on them, because they have transgressed God's law. God was their redeemer. They have become unfaithful to Him. It appears their lying here, is a denial of God.

Hosea 7:14 "And 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."

"Howled upon their beds ... assemble themselves": The former phrase may speak of appeals to pagan fertility gods upon beds of sacred prostitution, while the latter, if the marginal reading is correct, harkens to Elijah's encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:28).

It appears, from this verse, they cried upon their beds at night, but did not direct those cries to God. At least they did not cry for Him with their hearts. Their hearts were far from God. This "assembling themselves for corn and wine" could be speaking of some false worship they were involved in. To rebel against God, is to rebel against His authority.

1 Samuel 15:22 "And Samuel said, Hath the LORD [as great] delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey [is] better than sacrifice, [and] to hearken than the fat of rams."

Jesus said the following, which actually is the same statement.

John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments."

They did not keep God's commandments, because they did not love God. They rebelled against Him.

Hosea 7:15 "Though I have bound [and] strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me."

Though I "bound" (trained) "and strengthened" Israel's "arms", yet the people still trusted idols (Ezek. 30:24-25).

It was God who had made them strong in the first place. They did not realize who had really helped them. They did not know who their friend was. They looked to the world for answers that only God had the answer to.

Hosea 7:16 "They 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."

"A deceitful bow" has every appearance of being good, but the arrows that it propels miss the intended target. God has wonderful things for Israel, but they have continuously mistaken His favor for favoritism and have misused His blessings for their own ends.

The military language here probably alludes to the victories the Lord had given His people in battle (2 Kings 14:25-28).

Their denying God got them into the difficulty they were in. A deceitful bow is one that sends an arrow in another direction other than to the target. You may aim at one thing, and hit another with a deceitful bow. You cannot trust that bow. They have missed the target. They are not even smart enough to come back to God for help. They have returned to their idol worship. "Derision" means speak unintelligibly.

Hosea Chapter 7 Questions

    1. What was God's desire all along?

2. Why did God not heal them?

3. What terrible thing had they done in the time of Jeroboam the second?

4. What reveals what a man is?

5. What causes the terrible judgment to come upon them?

6. What unusual thing is said, in verse 3, about the king?

7. Leaven speaks of ____.

8. The fact that it is leavened, means what?

9. The princes have made the king sick with ________ of _______.

10. What does too much wine do to you?

11. What have they turned their hearts over to?

12. What is verse 6 speaking of?

13. What did they do with those who opposed them?

14. What does verse 8 say Ephraim had done?

15. What is wrong with the cake of verse 8?

16. What type of person does this cake describe?

17. What happened to his strength?

18. What is meant by the gray hairs being here and there upon him?

19. What was their problem mentioned in verse 10?

20. What had they overlooked?

21. What does a "silly dove" do?

22. Where would their chastisement come from?

23. God redeemed them, and how did they repay Him?

24. Why did they not keep God's commandments?

25. ____ had made them strong in the first place.

26. Who had they looked to for answers?

27. They returned, but not to the _______ ______.

28. What got them into their difficulty?

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Hosea 8

Hosea Chapter 8

Verses 1-2: Hosea prophesied that when Assyria came like an "eagle" to attack Israel, the people would say, "My God, we know thee," despite having so divided their loyalties among other gods (4:1, 6).

Hosea 8:1 "[Set] 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."

"As an eagle": Literally a "vulture," Assyria was ready to descend quickly upon Israel to devour her (Deut. 28:49).

"Trespassed against my law" (see note on 6:7).

The trumpet, in this case, would be the trumpet blowing to tell of impending doom. It would proclaim war in the land. It is Hosea who is to blow the trumpet to proclaim punishment upon these people. This is frightening to our generation, because the same apostasy, that was going on then, prevails in our society today. The people were unfaithful to God and His teachings.

Even though they had been separated out as God's people and were the keepers of His law, they left God and started worshipping demon spirits. They committed spiritual adultery with their worship of false gods. The eagle is a mighty bird that strikes swiftly.

Hosea 8:2 "Israel shall cry unto me, My God, we know thee."

"We know thee": Israel's syncretistic worship wherein she practiced idolatry while crying out to God.

They should have known Him, because they were entrusted with His law. They should have also known, that He would not tolerate the worship of false gods. They have brought this upon themselves through their unfaithfulness. Now, they cry out to God, as if He should help them. Their flimsy excuse for Him helping them is that they knew Him. I would prefer to say, they knew of Him. It reminds me very much of the following.

Matthew 7:21-23 "Not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?" "And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity."

Hosea 8:3 "Israel hath cast off [the thing that is] good: the enemy shall pursue him."

Jehovah's reply to Israel's hollow repentance. The word "cast off" means a scornful loathing of what is rotting or obscene. "The thing that is good" is the name of God, which is the salvation of Israel (Aben Ezra).

"The enemy shall pursue him": Who is before compared to an eagle, which flies swiftly, and pursues its prey with eagerness and fierceness. Shalmaneser is meant, who should invade the land, come up to Samaria, besiege and take it. Nothing should stop him, nor should Israel escape from him, since they had cast off the Lord, and everything that was good. The Targum is, "the house of Israel has erred from my worship, for the sake of which I brought good things upon them; henceforward the enemy shall pursue them".

They rejected the One true God and all the goodness that goes with Him. Now God has rejected them.

Verses 4-7: "Thy calf, O Samaria:" The heart of the idolatrous worship was Samaria, and the specific form was that of a calf.

"They have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind:" They have sown the wind (Hebrew "ruach"), but will reap a hurricane (Hebrew "supah"). They will be swept away in the judgment of God, and any benefits that they desired would fall to the hands of the strangers to whom God would deliver them.

Verses 4-6: "The calf of Samaria" (Israel's idols), would be "broken to pieces" for the people's failure to trust and worship God alone. Even in their choice of "kings", they did not acknowledge God.

Hosea 8:4 "They 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."

God Himself foretold to Jeroboam by Ahijah the prophet, that He would "rend the kingdom out of the hands of Solomon, and give ten tribes" to him, "and" would "take" him, "and" he "should reign according to all that" his soul desired and" should "be king over Israel" (1 Kings 11:31; 1 Kings 11:37). And after the ten tribes had made Jeroboam king, God said by Shemaiah the prophet to Rehoboam and the two tribes, "Ye shall not go up, nor fight against your brethren the children of Israel; return every man to his house, for this thing is from Me" (1 Kings 12:22-24).

"Not by me": Not with My sanction (1 Kings 11:31; 12:20). Israel set up Jeroboam and his successors, whereas God had appointed the house of David as the rightful kings of the whole nation.

And I knew it not": He that will not approve any one evil, when his omniscience discerns all, is pleased to say he knew not what he did not approve.

"They made them idols": Heathen like, they have made them gods, and set up idolatry, so have perverted all in church and state settled by me.

"That they may be cut off": As if they were resolved to cut themselves off from being a people. By this they thought to establish themselves, but it will be quite contrary, these sins will be their ruin.

Israel was to be under the direction of God in their civil matters, as well as their religious matters. They have rebelled against God and done what was right in their own sight. They have even used the silver and gold, that God had blessed them with, to make false gods (idols), with. The worship of false gods is what has cut them off from God. They have been an unfaithful wife to God.

Hosea 8:5 "Thy calf, O Samaria, hath cast [thee] off; mine anger is kindled against them: how long [will it be] ere they attain to innocency?"

Calf ... hath cast thee off": Calf worship was the national religion of the northern kingdom (1 Kings 12:25-33; Exodus Chapter 32).

This is speaking of the calf they set up in the temple as a symbol of God. This is just plainly saying that their worship of idols had gotten them cut off from God. They must repent and turn back to God.

Hosea 8:6 "For from Israel [was] it also: the workman made it; therefore it [is] not God: but the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces."

"From Israel was it": That is, the calf originated with them, not from Me. "It also," as well as their "kings set up" by them, "but not by Me" (Hosea 8:4).

"The workman": The founder, silversmith, or goldsmith, "made it", and fashioned the calf.

"Therefore it is not God": You are drunken fools to think it is a god: if the making it will not convince you it is no god, yet I hope the destroying it will prove, whatever it was made for, or whatever thought to be, yet it was not, nor could it ever be, a god.

"But the calf of Samaria shall be broken in pieces": But when the idol is broken into pieces, Samaria shall see it was but a calf, and confess their folly in worshipping it. However, the destruction of it will be a perpetual witness of Samaria's sin, and God's just displeasure in its ruin.

We have mentioned over and over in these lessons, that things you can see with your natural eye that have been made with human hands are not God. The Creator of it all is God, not His creation. God is Spirit.

John 4:24 "God [is] a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship [him] in spirit and in truth."

He is the Great I Am. He is the self-existing One. The idol of the calf shall be destroyed.

Verses 7-14: These images illustrate Israel's neglect of God and futile reliance on idols and "fortified cities." Because of sinful sowing, they would reap the "whirlwind" of an Assyrian attack (Prov. 22:8).

Hosea 8:7 "For 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."

"Sown the wind ... reap the whirlwind": This indicates the escalating uselessness of all their false religion.

When a man sows seed into the wind, it scatters and is not productive. We know that whatever we sow, that shall we reap. The Word of God is many times spoken of as seed. The problem with what they have done is that it will bring no good results. Their production from their lives does not bring good things, but bad.

Hosea 8:8 "Israel is swallowed up: now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein [is] no pleasure."

Not only their substance, but their persons also; the whole nation of them and their whole estate, civil and ecclesiastic. It notes the utter destruction of them by the Assyrians, so that nothing of them and theirs remained. Just as anyone is swallowed up and devoured by a breast of prey; the present is put for the future, because of the certainty of it.

"Now shall they be among the Gentiles as a vessel wherein is no pleasure": When Shalmaneser took Samaria, and with it swallowed up the whole kingdom of Israel, he carried captive the inhabitants of it, and placed them among the nations, in "Halah, Habor, by the river Gozan", and in the cities of the Medes (2 Kings 17:6).

Where they lived poor, mean, and abject, and were treated with the utmost neglect and contempt. No more regarded than a broken useless vessel, or than a vessel of dishonor, that is made and used for the ease of nature, for which no more regard is had than for that service. Thus idolaters, who dishonor God by their idolatries, shall, sooner or later, be brought to disgrace and dishonor themselves.

This speaks of what most people think are the lost 10 tribes. They do not go back into the land as a whole, but are scattered in the Gentile nations around them. God does not completely shut the door to them however. They become part of the Gentile world.

Hosea 8:9 "For they are gone up to Assyria, a wild ass alone by himself: Ephraim hath hired lovers."

"They are gone up to Assyria": As the context notes, this is not a reference to the captivity, but to the alliance she made with Assyria. "Like a wild donkey," Israel has stubbornly pursued foreign assistance rather than depending on the Lord.

A wild ass is of a very independent nature. They have gone up on their own to Assyria, God did not send them. They were doing what was right in their own sight. God did not want them seeking help from the worldly nations around them. That is just what they did, and found themselves alienated from God because of it.

The "hiring of lovers" shows that God looks on this as if they have committed spiritual adultery. They are His wife, and yet they have left Him and played the harlot with these heathen nations.

Hosea 8:10 'Yea, 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."

"Yea, though": Or, Yea, because; they think this is the way to prevent their calamities, but it shall appear this was the ready way to bring their calamities upon them. And forasmuch as they have hired the aid of the nations to secure them against their God and his judgments.

"Gather them": Bring Israel together by a secret and unfailing train. I will, saith God, assemble and herd them together, that they may be taken and destroyed together. Others say, God will gather the nations together against Israel.

"They shall sorrow a little": For a while before their final captivity they shall complain and be grieved.

"For the burden of the king of princes": The tribute laid on them by the king and princes, i.e. of Israel. But better as we read it, the king of Assyria, the great king who boasted of his princes.

We see from this, the Lord will allow all of this to happen, because they have broken His commandments. It is God that gathers them for their punishment. The kings and princes suffer with the people. They are all guilty. There will come a time when Jesus comes to the earth, that they are offered salvation through Him.

Verses 11-14: "Ephraim hath made many altars to sin:" Throughout Israel many sacrificial altars were built for the purpose of idolatrous rituals. Israel became addicted to its sin in spite of the clear and written revelation that God had given through Moses.

Hosea 8:11 "Because Ephraim hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin."

Multiplication of altars was condemned in the law (Deut. 12:5). The narrative (in Joshua chapter 22), shows that unity of altar and sanctuary was essential to the unity of the nation. The last clause should be rendered, he had altars for sinning. The worship of God was degraded into the sensuous approaching Baal-worship. In the first clause sin equals transgression, in the last transgression plus guilt and peril.

It appears; the tribe of Ephraim led the way in the worship of false gods. Since he has built altars to false gods, all the altars he builds will be considered evil.

Hosea 8:12 "I have written to him the great things of my law, [but] they were counted as a strange thing."

Israel has been duly warned; she is without excuse (compare 6:7; 8:1).

God had chosen the whole house of Israel to reveal His Word to. They were married to God on the way to the Promised Land. They made covenant with God to keep His commandment, and receive His blessings in return. They knew the law, and the consequences of not keeping that law. Their idolatry was with full knowledge. They disregarded the law of God and His commandments, and began to worship false gods.

Hosea 8:13 "They 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."

"Shall return to Egypt": Recalling the place of Israel's former bondage, Hosea reminds them that Assyria will be their future "Egypt" (compare 9:3; 11:5; Deut. 28:68). A few Judean refugees actually did go to Egypt (2 Kings 25:26). Isaiah used "Sodom" in a similar representative fashion (Isa 1:9-10).

We mentioned in another lesson, that they were still going through the motion of worshipping God. They still sacrificed to God. Their sacrifices were unacceptable to God, because they were unfaithful to Him. Their hearts were not with God. Christians, be careful why you go to church. Do not go because you are obligated to go. You would be committing the same sin they are committing here. We must go to church because we love God and want to fellowship with Him.

The return to Egypt here, is symbolic of turning them back to the condition He found them in in Egypt. They were lost with no Redeemer. God sent Moses to bring them out of bondage from Egypt, now God is sending them back into bondage.

Hosea 8:14 "For 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."

The word here used for temple is used sixty times for Jehovah's temple. The building of these temple-palaces was a distinct sin against the unity of the Godhead.

"Judah hath multiplied fenced cities": Referred to by Sennacherib, in the inscription relating to the campaign of (701 B.C.). "Forty-six of his (Hezekiah's), strong cities, fortresses . . . I besieged, I captured." These were erected by Uzziah and Jotham (2 Chron. 26:10; 2 Chronicles 27:4). With the allusions to Israel's temples (palaces; compare Amos 3:11; Amos 3:15).

"But I will send a fire upon his cities": In the letter, the words relate to Judah; but in substance, the whole relates to both. Both had forgotten God; both had offended Him. In the doom of others, each sinner may read his own. Of the cities of Judah, Isaiah says, "your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire (Isaiah 1:7). And in the fourteenth year of Hezekiah," (some twelve years probably after the death of Hosea), "Sennacherib came up against all the cities of Judah and took them" (2 Kings 18:13).

And of Jerusalem it is related, that Nebuchadnezzar "burnt the house of the Lord, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house he burnt with fire" (2 Kings 25:8-9). Man set them on fire; God brought it to pass. And, in order to teach us that He doeth all things, giving all good, overruling all evil, saith that He was the doer of it.

We see now, that the making of these idols to worship was just an outward expression of the rebellion that was in their hearts.

Ephesians 2:10 "For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them."

God loved them and wanted them to love Him too. God had not abandoned them, they had abandoned God. God had loved Israel and provided a way for them to be His. They have now walked away from Him to worship false gods. The punishment that comes is of their own making. Reluctantly God sends the fire of punishment to devour them.

Hosea Chapter 8 Questions

1. What does God tell Hosea to do in verse 1?

2. Why is he to do this?

3. What would the trumpet proclaim?

4. What had they left the worship of God and began doing?

5. Why should they have known God better?

6. Did they know Him, or know of Him?

7. They rejected the _______ _______ _____.

8. Israel was to be under the direction of God in their ______ matters, as well as in their __________ matters.

9. What terrible thing had they done with their silver and gold?

10. What calf is verse 5 speaking of?

11. What makes us know definitely that an idol is not God?

12. God looks on this unfaithfulness to Him as ____________ ___________.

13. Because ___________ hath made many altars to sin, altars shall be unto him to sin?

14. Who had God revealed His Word to?

15. When had they become the wife of God?

16. Why were their sacrifices to God unacceptable?

17. Why should Christians go to church?

18. God sent _________ to free them from bondage in Egypt.

19. God had not ____________ them.

20. ___________, God sends the fire of punishment to devour them.

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Hosea 9

Hosea Chapter 9

Verses 1-6: Hosea enumerates the features of the Lord's banishment to Assyria: loss of joy (verses 1-2); exile (verses 3-6); loss of spiritual discernment (verses 7-9); declining birth rate (verses 10-16); and abandonment by God (verse 17).

In stark contrast to the plentiful harvest Israel was accustomed to, the "threshing floor, winepress," and "new wine in" Israel's coming harvest would no longer produce a satisfying crop because their idols could not give them what they needed.

"Nettles" and "thorns" would surround them. And in exile, Israel would eat the "bread of mourners", bread considered unclean because it come from a house of death.

Hosea 9:1 "Rejoice 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."

It was customary and right for people to rejoice at harvest time. Israel, however, was commanded not to do so, because she attributed the abundance she experienced on the "cornfloor" (Hebrew "goren dagan", a place where the harvest of grain was processed), to the idols she worshiped, instead of God who sent it. The harvest festivals were probably accompanied by shameful fertility acts (4:13-14).

There is no rejoicing in sin. Sin brings great sorrow. The instant the sin is committed, guilt sets in and sorrow from that guilt begins. This is almost as if God is saying, the least you could do is be sorrowful for your sin.

This could have taken place at harvest time, which was generally a time of rejoicing, because the cornfloor was mentioned. They wanted all the blessings of God, but they were not willing to be faithful to God. God promised to bless them, if they kept His commandments. Since they had not kept His commandments, they did not deserve a blessing.

Hosea 9:2 "The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her."

(In verses 1 and 2), were the very places where sacred prostitution took place in an attempt to cause Baal to bring prosperity.

This is just saying that their sin has brought judgment from God, and their vineyards and their crops will fail.

Hosea 9:3 "They shall not dwell in the LORD'S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean [things] in Assyria."

"They": Who worship idols, and give my glory to them, depending on them, and ascribing to them what I alone give them.

"Shall not dwell in the Lord's land": Though they have been in possession many years, and though now they seem out of fear of losing it, being great at home and in peace with neighbors abroad, yet in midst of this prosperity and security.

Let them note it, they shall not much longer dwell in the Lord's land, which God gave them according to promise. With express condition that they should obey him and fear him, and Him only, (Deut. 6:2-3), and with express menace of exile and ruin if they forgot God, (Deut. 8:19-20). This land, which is the Lord's propriety and theirs only on condition. And this condition broken, shall be their possession no longer.

Ephraim shall return to Egypt; many of Ephraim, for it is not meant of all or the most part. But of the more timorous, wary, and who consult their safety beforehand. Many shall flee into Egypt, and shift out of the enemies' reach (Hosea 9:6).

"They shall eat unclean things in Assyria"; the residue that fled not into Egypt shall be carried captives. And in Assyria be forced to eat forbidden meats, called here unclean, such as polluted the eater.

We know from past lessons, that Egypt symbolizes the world. Notice, in the verse above, the LORD has taken the Promised Land back from Israel since they did not keep their covenant with God. It really did not matter anymore about the eating of unclean things, because they had broken fellowship with God. God would not accept the fact they were keeping the dietary laws, any more than He would accept them sacrificing to Him. They will actually be captive in Assyria.

Hosea 9:4 "They 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."

"Bread of mourners ... polluted": Food eaten on the occasion of mourning was considered unclean, defiling anyone eating it (Deut. 26:12-15).

In Assyria, they would not be able to keep any of the offerings and sacrifices. As we said, even if they did keep them, God would not accept these offerings of obligation. God has turned His back on them and their offerings. Worship that is done out of obligation only, is unacceptable to God. Even the thought of sacrificing will just bring sadness for their lost fellowship.

Hosea 9:5 "What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD?"

What will you do in your captivity, when any of your solemn or festival days come? When you shall find yourselves far from your own country, without temple, without prophets, without priests, without sacrifices, and without solemn assemblies; what will be your sentiments? You will doubtless be willing to abstain from labor on those days, as you were accustomed to do; but your masters will not permit that, but force you to your customary employments. Though the Israelites of the ten tribes were schismatics (differences in opinion or belief), and did not go up to the temple at Jerusalem, they omitted not to celebrate, in their own manner, the feasts of the Lord in their own country. And as these solemnities were always accompanied with festivity and rejoicing. It must have been a great mortification to them to be no longer able to celebrate them in the land of their captivity.

There will be nothing for them to do on these special days, but mourn for the things that could have been. They would be away in a foreign land, away from their temple and their God.

Hosea 9:6 "For, 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."

"Memphis": An ancient capital of Egypt known for its tombs and pyramids.

The world is not interested in continuing the worship in the temple. The temple and the temple grounds will grow up with weeds. The captors have no special desire to keep the temple grounds nice and pretty. They did not regard the God of the Israelites. Those of Israel, themselves, would be carried captive into a foreign land, far away from their temple.

Verses 7-8: The prophets were God's inspired messengers and watchmen (Ezek. 3:17; 33:1-7), yet Israel considered them fools and madmen.

Hosea 9:7 "The 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."

The people of Israel ignored and derided Hosea, calling him a "fool" and "insane".

This "visitation" is speaking of the day of judgment which came upon them. God has judged them, and found them guilty of spiritual adultery. The prophet will not have to warn them any further. The prophet, spoken of here, is the false prophet who was still promising good times.

The spiritual man and the false prophet had been bringing flattering messages to the people, and the people had accepted it for the truth. They were not only full of sin (idolatry), but they were lacking in love, as well. They were an angry, unloving society. It sounds all too familiar, doesn't it? Preachers preaching to itching ears are not warning their people even now.

Hosea 9:8 "The 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."

In reality, Hosea was a watchman, sounding the alarm for God of coming danger for His people (Jer. 6:17; Ezek. 3:17; 33:7).

We went into great depth on the watchman in the 33rd chapter of Ezekiel. This is speaking of the very same thing. Ephraim should have been the watchman, because he had received the right hand (spiritual), blessing from God. A good watchman informs the people of impending danger. A bad watchman sees no danger coming. The true prophet is always with God. His message is God's message. Those involved in sin hate the true watchman, or true prophet. They do not want to hear of the coming judgment.

Hosea 9:9 "They have deeply corrupted [themselves], as in the days of Gibeah: [therefore] he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins."

"Gibeah" (compare 10:9). Israel's sin is likened to the gross evil of the men of Gibeah. A reference to their heinous rape of the concubine (Judges 19:22-25), an infamous and unforgettable crime (Judges 19:30).

This is speaking of their corruption being as bad, as it had been in the days of Gibeah. There is an account of the terrible thing that happened at Gibeah in the 19th chapter of the book of Judges. It is a very foul blot on Israel's character. Read from verse 10 on, to get the full account. This is terrible that Israel has fallen to this low life-style. God must punish them for this evil.

Hosea 9:10 "I 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 Baal-peor, and separated themselves unto [that] shame; and [their] abominations were according as they loved."

Finding "grapes in the wilderness" and "firstfruits on the fig tree" symbolizes God's joy in establishing His covenant with Israel in the days of Moses. Sadly, Israel quickly turned away from God and went to "Baal-peor", where they worshiped other gods (Numbers 25:1-5).

When God heard the cry of the family of Jacob in Egypt and rescued them, they were like this wild grape. They were untamed. They lived as captives in a strange land. They had not received God's law at that time. The "fig tree" symbolizes Israel. God was pleased with them in the beginning. He had chosen them as His family. They did not stay faithful to God, but wandered away.

Long before their sin in Gibeah, they sinned against God at Baal-peor. They chose to worship this false god, instead of the One True God. This Baal was a Moabite false god. It seemed the sins connected with this worship were sensual sex sins.

Verses 11-14: Reminiscent of the imprecatory psalms, Hosea prayed that God's blessing would be withdrawn, in the figure of withholding children, the ultimate earthly blessing.

Hosea 9:11 "[As for] Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird, from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception."

Ephraim had parted with God, his true Glory. In turn, God would quickly take from him all created glory, all which he counted glory, or in which he gloried. When man parts with the substance, his true honor, God takes away the shadow, lest he should content himself therewith, and not see his shame. And, boasting himself to be something, abide in his nothingness and poverty and shame to which he had reduced himself.

"Fruitfulness," and consequent strength, had been God's special promise to Ephraim. His name, Ephraim, contained in itself the promise of his future fruitfulness (Gen. 41:52). With this Jacob had blessed him. He was to be greater than Manasseh, his older brother, "and his seed shall become a multitude of nations" (Gen. 48:19).

"From the birth": Their children were to perish at every stage in which they received life. This sentence pursued them back to the very beginning of life. First, when their parents should have joy in "their birth," they were to come into the world only to go out of it. Then, their mother's womb was to be itself their grave; then, stricken with barrenness, the womb itself was to refuse to conceive them.

"From the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception": That is, some of them, as soon as they were born. While others in the womb, being aborted. Or, however, when they should, or as soon as they did, come from thence. And others, as soon as conceived, never come to anything; or not conceived at all, as Kimchi interprets it, the women being barren.

God has given them many reasons why they should have this terrible thing happen to them. Ephraim had received the right hand blessing from God, and yet, they turned from God into terrible sin. They have grown into something horrible in the sight of God.

Hosea 9:12 "Though 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!"

God had threatened to deprive them of children, in every stage before or at their birth. Now, beyond this (he tells them), as to those who should escape this sentence, he would bereave them of them, or make them childless.

"There shall not be a man left": There shall be a total extinction of them and their memory; or else, I will cut them off from among men, as the phrase will bear.

"Woe also to them when I depart from them!" To complete their misery, I will leave them, I will depart from them. It is sad to lose children, it is sadder to lose their God.

"Yea, woe also to them": When I depart from them; withdraw my presence, favor, and protection from them; or remove my Shekinah from them, as the Targum; and leave them to the spoil and cruelty of their enemies, which would be a greater calamity and judgment than the former.

The name Ephraim means double fruit. They were a very fruitful nation. They were blessed with children from God. It appears that their vast numbers would diminish greatly, because the Lord would take away their fruitfulness. The blessings of God were removed from them, because of their worship of false gods. When God departs from them, their blessings are replaced by curses.

Hosea 9:13 "Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, [is] planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer."

"Ephraim": The kingdom of Israel.

Tyrus; of which see (Ezek. 26 Chapters 27 and 28); a very rich, well-fortified, and pleasant city, and secure too. That afterward held out thirteen years' siege against all the power of the Babylonian empire in Nebuchadnezzar's time.

Is planted in a pleasant place; is now well provided, seems invincible, is as secure as Tyrus was in her prosperity; perhaps reckons either strength shall break the enemies, or money buy friends, or the magnificence and beauty of their places and dwellings shall be some safety to them; but all this shall avail nothing.

"Shall bring forth his children to the murderer"; though a multitude of children to send forth in mighty armies against the enemy, yet it will be but a sending them out to the slaughter. God is departed from them, and will not go out with their armies, so they shall fall by the sword of the enemy.

The children of Ephraim will no longer be protected by God, and they will fall prey to the murderer. The land God had given them was beautiful, as the city of Tyre had been. God took His blessings away, and the young males in the land were killed.

Verses 14-15: Hosea spoke of a "miscarrying womb and dry breasts" to show Israel that their worship of the fertility god Baal (who promised offspring to his worshipers), would bring them only barrenness and divine judgment

Hosea 9:14 "Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts."

The prophet here speaks as one greatly agitated, and at a loss what to say upon what he had just heard; but at last concludes with beseeching God rather to let the women be barren, or miscarry. Or, if they brought forth children and have no milk in their breasts to give them, that they might die soon after their birth. Rather than that they should grow up to be slain by their enemies before their parents' eyes. Or carried into captivity; or as it is expressed in the foregoing verse, that their parents should be driven to the hard necessity of bringing them forth for the murderer.

"Give them a miscarrying womb": The days are coming when the barren womb will be a blessing; give this, O Lord; it is less misery to have none, than to have all our children murdered by a barbarous enemy (Luke 23:29).

"Dry breasts": Not to starve the children born, but it is a further explication of the former; dry breasts are symptoms of a barren womb, whether by abortion or non-conception, by one or other. Prevent these woeful effects of our enemies' unjust rage, and of thy most righteous displeasure against us, O Lord.

When God removes from the people, the blessing of the womb removes, as well. One of the blessings God had promised, if they followed after Him, was to bless the fruit of their womb. When God removed His blessing, the womb was cursed. The mothers did not carry healthy children to full term, but lost the children to miscarriage.

Hosea 9:15 "All 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."

"Gilgal": As a center of idol worship (compare 4:15), the place was representative of Israel's spiritual adultery. Therefore He had rejected them from intimate fellowship.

God first began to know of their evil ways at Gilgal. It seems they were evil, even in their spirit. This had been the place Abraham made covenant with God. It had been the place of the renewal of that covenant by the people on the way to the Promised Land. The 12 memorial stones had been set up here also. This place, where God had met with His people, had become a place of much sorrow to Him. They had developed the worship of the calf at this very place. Gilgal became the center for their sin. Suddenly, God's great love for Israel is turned to hate.

Hosea 9:16 "Ephraim 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."

"Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up:" Though Ephraim had a beautiful geographical situation, and experienced the abundant blessing of God, yet barrenness of land and womb, as well as near extinction, awaited them.

God is so angry with them, that even the children they bear will not live. The wrath of God has come forth upon them. God even smote the root.

Hosea 9:17 "My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations."

"Wanderers": God promised global dispersion for disobedience (Lev. 26:33; Deut. 28:64-65).

They are scattered throughout many nations, because of God's great anger toward them.

Hosea Chapter 9 Questions

1. Why was Israel forbidden to rejoice?

2. Sin brings great __________.

3. What makes the author believe this might have been at harvest time?

4. Why did they not deserve a blessing?

5. What is verse 2 saying?

6. Egypt symbolizes the __________.

7. Why was it not important, if they ate unclean things at this time?

8. They will be held captive in __________.

9. God has turned His back on _________ and their ___________.

10. Worship that is done out of ____________only, is unacceptable to God.

11. What is verse 5 saying?

12. What will happen to their temple of worship?

13. What is the "visitation" of verse 7 speaking of?

14. What prophet is spoken of in verse 7?

15. What was wrong with their message?

16. Where do we find a good lesson on the watchman?

17. What does the right hand blessing symbolize?

18. Why do those in sin hate the true prophet or watchman?

19. Where do you find the story of Gibeah?

20. What is Israel spoken of, as being like, in verse 10?

21. When had Israel been like the wild grape?

22. The fig tree symbolizes __________.

23. The name Ephraim means _________ ________.

24. Why were the blessings of God removed from them?

25. What happened to the young males of Ephraim?

26. What curse is spoken upon them in verse 14?

27. Why was Gilgal remembered?

28. When was God's love for them turned to hate?

29. Ephraim is smitten, their _______ is dried up.

30. Why will God cast them away?

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Hosea 10

Hosea Chapter 10

Verses 1-2: "Israel is an empty vine:" The word "empty" (Hebrew Bagag), when used in intransitive constructions, means "to be poured out" or "spread abroad." Used with reference to a spreading or luxuriant vine, it pictures a vine whose running shoots bear abundant fruit. As God's vine (Isa. 5:1-7), Israel should have produced spiritual fruit.

The more prosperous Israel became with a "multitude of fruit, increased altars, and sacred pillars," the more they increased their idolatry and rejected the Lord. God accused them of being double-minded (1 Kings 18:21; Matt. 6:24).

Hosea 10:1 "Israel [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."

"Agricultural prosperity had resulted in spiritual corruption (Ezek. 16:10-19).

Israel is the vine spoken of here. Israel is like a vine that empties out all of its good fruit. We saw in the previous lesson, where God had cursed the womb, and they produced no children. We see the very thing here, when God removes His blessing from a people, their crops and fruit do not produce. These goodly images were probably, to Baal. They have left the worship of the One True God for false gods.

Hosea 10:2 "Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images."

"There heart is divided": Either between God and their idols or between God and the world.

"Now shall they be found faulty": As this was their sin, so it is here threatened, that the effects thereof should prove and be an open manifestation of their guilt, so the effects hereof should manifestly prove them faulty.

"He": Either God, or the king of Assyria stirred up by God to invade and destroy Ephraim.

"Shall break down their altars": Utterly pull down those altars which they had multiplied to their idols. The Assyrians shall, as other conquering heathen idolaters, rage against the gods of the people they conquer, as well as against the people. Such was the pride and atheism of these men.

"He shall spoil their images": Waste or destroy them; how goodly they had seemed to be, yet they should be broken to pieces; and where made of rich materials, as silver and gold, or if adorned with it, the enemy should the sooner spoil them. And then it will appear how stupefied were these people to trust in them, or ascribe any praise to them, when Baal cannot defend his own images or people.

The following Scripture has a great deal to say about the person whose heart is divided.

1 Kings 18:21 "And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD [be] God, follow him: but if Baal, [then] follow him. And the people answered him not a word."

God will not allow this. He wanted their total allegiance. He would not accept them worshipping Him and false gods at the same time.

Matthew 6:24 "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon."

We see from this, God requires 100% of our loyalty. He will destroy these false gods Himself.

Verses 3-4: The last 5 kings of Israel were usurpers. Impotent and unworthy of respect, they were incapable of enforcing the laws of the land.

Hosea 10:3 "For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?"

These are the words of despair, not of repentance; of people terrified by the consciousness of guilt, but not coming forth out of its darkness; describing their condition, not confessing the iniquity which brought it on them. In sin, all Israel had asked for a king, when the Lord was their king. In sin, Ephraim had made Jeroboam king. In sin, their subsequent kings were made, without the counsel and advice of God; and now as the close of all, they reflect how fruitless it all was.

"Because we feared not the Lord": Worshipped not, kept not his law, depended not on God, therefore we have no king, or one next to none, not able to help us.

"What then should a king do to us?" And now if we had our king, were he as powerful, wise, and successful as Jeroboam the Second, yet it would be too late, the Assyrian power hath so far prevailed, and God is so far departed from us. Kings are not able to save without the God of kings.

The king that they had chosen for themselves, who was not appointed of God; and had no power at all to help them in their time of trouble. God had protected them from just such a problem, as long as they were obedient to Him. Now, they have placed their faith in others, and have no help at all. The fear of the LORD here, is speaking of the great respect that was due Him. It is really speaking of reverence.

Hosea 10:4 "They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field."

"They": The nobles and great men in Israel, the heads of the parties, or the counsellors of the kingdom.

"Have spoken words": Have in long and repeated consultations and debates contrived and laid forth the designs most like to help us; but all in vain, all is but words. Or thus they have deceived one another, and ruined all; and this latter seems exactly to suit with what follows.

"Swearing falsely": By perjury deceiving those they treated with, in making a covenant; either among themselves, accepting a usurper, promising and swearing loyalty to him; or with their allies, as with the Assyrian king, whose covenant they broke by perjury and contrary to oath, sent to and confederated with Sun, or So, king of Egypt.

"Judgment": i.e. Divine revenges do so abound everywhere; or else unequal and sinful projects, counsels, and resolutions of their rulers. They are instead of just, wholesome and saving, turned into bitter, poisonous and pernicious as hemlock.

"As hemlock in the furrows of the field": A proverbial speech expressing the greatness of this pernicious evil. So this will be explained by (Amos 6:12), oppression, injustice, and all sins spread (as hemlock quickly overruns a field), over the entire kingdom.

They had not kept their covenant with God. It appears; even their day to day life was full of deceit and lies. They made agreements; they had no intention of keeping. God had forbidden them to swear at all, but worse than that, they had sworn lies. "Hemlock" seems to be associated with bitter herbs. This is speaking of the chastisement of God that comes upon them for their lies. Instead of producing sweet edible food, their land is full of bitterness.

Verses 5-8: Jeroboam had set up the "calf of Beth-aven (Beth-el), as recorded (in 1 Kings 12:28-29). Aven is a derogatory name for the town of Beth-el (see note on 4:15-19). Hosea indicated the idol would be "carried to Assyria," while the people and priests would "mourn" and "shriek." Israel would also mourn the loss of their "king" and the destruction of their "high places." If only the people of Israel had grieved their sin and their loss of God's favor!

Hosea 10:5 "The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven: 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."

"The calves of Beth-aven" (see notes on 4:15; 8:5).

Samaria was the capital of Israel. Beth-aven is speaking of house of vanity. The calves here are speaking of the calf that Jeroboam set up in the temple to worship. They had slipped into gross idolatry. This calf cannot help them in their time of trouble. The people shall mourn at the loss of the calf, and the priests will mourn with them. The people and the priests had accepted this calf to worship as their god. God allows it to be taken.

Hosea 10:6 "It 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."

"The golden calf": (Hosea 6-8), "shall be carried into Assyria": It was the custom of the eastern people, and also of the Romans, to carry away the gods of the conquered countries. For a present to King Jareb (see note on Hosea 5:13). The king of Assyria is meant who's dependent and tributary the king of Israel now was.

"Ephraim shall receive shame": They shall be ashamed to find that the idol in which they trusted could not defend them or itself from being disgraced and taken away.

"Ephraim shall receive shame": For worshipping such an idol, when they shall see it broke to pieces, and the gold of it made a present to the Assyrian king, and that it could not save them, nor itself.

"And Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel": Of giving in to such idolatry, contrary to the counsel, mind, and will of God. Or of the counsel, which they and Jeroboam took to set up the calves at Dan and Beth-el; and thereby keep the people from going up to Jerusalem (1 Kings 12:28). As well as of their counsel and covenant with the king of Egypt against the king of Assyria (2 Kings 17:4).

This is speaking of the calf being carried into Assyria and was given to the king. It had been proclaimed as god of Israel. This calf was helpless to itself, or to these people. The calf is an idol. The name "Jareb" means he will contend. It is probably a symbolic name for Assyria. The counselors were just as evil as the ones they gave counsel to. All of the counsel led to shame.

Hosea 10:7 "[As for] Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water."

After three years' siege she shall be cut off. Her king is cut off; for all the rest of the kingdom was lost, and now he is pent up there also. He that was once the confidence of the ten tribes, and king of a mighty people, is now spoiled of all but one city, where he is rather a prisoner than a king, kept close till made a captive.

"Is cut off": shortly will be cut off; it is not unlikely this prophecy should be delivered when Samaria was besieged.

"As the foam upon the water": As a contemptible, weak, and light thing: it is a proverb, and foretells how contemptibly the Assyrians should use them.

The foam on the water would be skimmed off and done away with. This is speaking of the king being of no use to his captors.

Hosea 10:8 "The 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."

"Cover us ... fall on us": The captivity would be so severe that the people would pray for the mountains and hills to fall on them, similar to the last days (Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16).

The high places had been where much of the worship of the false gods took place. Now they will grow up with weeds. There will be no one to care for them. "Aven" here, is speaking of the Beth-aven we spoke of earlier. It had been Beth-el (house of God), but became a place where evil worship took place. The growing of the thorn and thistle show the lack of use. It was almost as if the altars themselves were ashamed. The battle would be so great, many would choose to die, rather than be captured.

Hosea 10:9 "O 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."

For full details on the wicked town of "Gibeah" (see Judges Chapters 19 to 21), also the birthplace of Saul.

Israel had sinned greatly at Gibeah. The sin was the shameful thing they had done to the Levite's concubine. We mentioned this briefly in a previous lesson. This is as if God has never completely forgotten about the terrible sin committed there. He is explaining that what is going on here is just as bad, if not worse. Their punishment will surely come this time.

Hosea 10:10 "[It 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."

"In their two furrows" refers to Israel's double sin of rejecting God both as God and as King.

Israel would receive a double portion of judgment for her multiplied iniquity (Isaiah 40:2; Jeremiah 16:18).

God's wrath has come up in His face, and His desire is to chastise them for their terrible sins. God is holy, and He expects His people to be holy also. Not anything, or anyone, can stop God from punishing them; now that He has judged them guilty. The two furrows could be speaking of the fact that God will punish Judah, as well as Israel. They may try to hide from God, but there is no hiding place He cannot find.

Hosea 10:11 "And Ephraim [is as] a 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."

"A heifer that is taught and loveth to tread": This was a far easier work than plowing, since cattle were not bound together under a yoke, but tread on the grain singly and were free to eat some of it, as the law required that they be un-muzzled (Deut. 25:4; 1 Cor. 9:9).

The job of the heifer had been taught her. She was to tread out the corn. Ephraim had it better than his neighbors. Just as the heifer could eat the corn she treads and got really fat, Ephraim had been blessed abundantly. Ephraim had things so good, that she began to seek other gods. Ephraim is taken by Assyria, and put in bondage. It is as if a yoke has been placed on him and a rider makes him work. Judah will be captured by Babylon and caused to do hard work in bondage. "Jacob" speaks of all 12 tribes of Israel, Judah and Ephraim combined.

Hosea 10:12 "Sow 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."

Hosea urged Israel to "seek the Lord" by sowing "righteousness" (or justice), and reaping God's "mercy" (6:6). God's future gift of righteousness (2:19), would be so abundant that it would be as rain (6:3).

This is one more call for them to repent, before it is too late. Even now, God would rain righteousness upon them, if they would turn from their false gods, and spread the true righteousness of God. Whatever you sow, you reap. They must be spreading righteousness and mercy, if God is to hear and forgive them.

Hosea 10:13 "Ye 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."

"Ye have ploughed wickedness": Instead of working righteousness (verse 12), you have taken a great deal of pains in the service of sin, to compass your wicked designs.

"Ye have reaped iniquity": Ye have in return, received the fruit of iniquity, namely punishment or calamity.

"Ye have eaten the fruit of lies": Fed yourselves with vain hopes, which have deceived and will deceive you. Or, you have trusted to that which has been only deceptive, not really satisfying or profitable.

Because thou didst trust in thy way": i. e., not God's. They forsook God's way, and followed "ways of wickedness and misbelief." While displeasing God, they trusted in the worship of the calves and in the help of Egypt and Assyria, "making flesh their arm, and departing from the living God." So long as a man mistrusts his ways of sin, there is hope of his conversion amid any depths of sin. When "he trusts in his ways," all entrance is closed against the grace of God. He is as one dead; he not only justifies himself, but is self-justified. There is nothing in him, neither love nor fear, which can be awakened.

"And in the multitude of thy mighty men": Their valiant soldiers, their numerous armies, and the generals of them, well skilled in war, and courageous. Also in their auxiliaries, which they had from the Egyptians and others. These they put their confidences in, to protect them; also in their garrisons and fortresses.

They had placed their faith in false gods, they lived wicked lives. They dealt unfairly with the people around them. They had planted wickedly, and they would reap iniquity. They would lie, or cheat or steal, if it would benefit them. They had left Holy God to worship false gods with no morals. They were doing whatever was right in their own sight. They looked to the outward might of men, and not at their hearts. They were respecters of persons, because of their position in the community.

Hosea 10:14 "Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon [her] children."

The chapter ends with a grim description of the devastation that would come to the wayward people of God. The name "Shalman" may refer to Salamanu, a Moabite king who invaded Gilead (around 740 B.C.), or to Shalmaneser V, the Assyrian king who conquered Israel (in 722 B.C.), who played a role in Israel's demise (2 Kings 17:3-6). Although the location of Beth-arbel is uncertain, the memory of the heinous crimes committed there was vividly etched into their minds.

Even though this happened in battle, it was really a judgment of God against these people. This all happened because of their sins. The attack was against the fenced cities. We can see from the mother being dashed to pieces upon her children, just how cruel and inhuman this conflict was. This was possibly, the battle where Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, comes against Samaria three years. This was a very cruel time, when many died horrible deaths.

Hosea 10:15 "So shall Beth-el do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off."

"King" Hosea (ca. 732-722 B.C.).

Beth-el, which had been a place of God, had been turned into a place of calf worship. God's fury was kindled against them, because of this worship of a false god. The time this happened, was a time when it appeared they were gaining in prosperity. They were prosperous in the flesh, but their spiritual lives were greatly lacking. The king was cut off and helpless. It happened so suddenly, it seemed like a morning.

Hosea Chapter 10 Questions

1. What is Israel compared to in verse 1?

2. What happens to the people, when God removes His blessings?

3. What were the goodly images in verse 1 speaking of?

4. What are both of the above Scriptures saying to us?

5. Why could their king not help them?

6. What is the fear of the LORD in verse 3 speaking of?

7. They had not kept __________ with God.

8. What were their day to day lives full of?

9. What was "hemlock"?

10. Instead of producing sweet edible food, their land was full of _______________.

11. Samaria was the capitol of __________.

12. Beth-aven was speaking of ________ of _______.

13. Who would mourn at the loss of the calf?

14. What happened to the calf?

15. The calf had been proclaimed as _______ of Israel.

16. What does the name "Jareb" mean?

17. It is probably a symbolic name for __________.

18. What happens to foam on water?

19. What were the high places used for?

20. What is "Aven" speaking of?

21. O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of __________.

22. What was the terrible sin?

23. Why was it God's desire to chastise them?

24. What is Ephraim spoken of as in verse 11?

25. What does Jacob speak of in verse 11?

26. Sow to yourselves in ________________.

27. What is verse 12?

28. Describe these evil people.

29. Even though the terrible punishment comes in battle, where is it really coming from?

30. What does the mother being dashed to pieces on her children show us?

31. The battle happened so suddenly, it seemed like a __________.

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Hosea 11

Hosea Chapter 11

Verses 1-11: This chapter unfolds both the anger and the compassion of God as (God's), commitment and (Israel's), contempt meet head-on. It would be difficult to understand such a rebellious response to such a perfect love, except that we today are so much like Israel.

Verses 1-8: "I ... called my son out of Egypt:" These words are quoted by Matthew and applied to Jesus (Matt. 2:15). Israel and Jesus were alike in the both were the objects of the love of the Father, both were called "my son," and both were in Egypt.

Hosea 11:1 "When Israel [was] a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt."

In tender words reminiscent of the Exodus from Egypt (compare Exodus 4:22-23), the Lord reassured Israel of His intense love for her. His compassion for her was aroused (compare Isa. 12:1; 40:1-2; 49:13; Jer. 31:10-14; Zech. 1:12-17; see Matthew 2:15 for Matthew's analogical use of this verse in relationship to Jesus Christ).

Israel was known as the family of Jacob for their stay in Egypt. They became known as the nation of Israel on their journey to the Promised Land. God had seen them in their destitute condition, and He had mercy upon them. God took them for His family, and brought them out of Egypt. God redeemed them from heavy bondage in Egypt, and declared them to be His son. God loved them above all other nations.

Hosea 11:2 "[As] they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images."

That is, the prophets of the Lord, the true prophets, called Israel to the worship and service of God. But they turned a deaf ear to them, and their backs upon them. And the more they called to them, the further they went from them, and from the way of their duty (see Hosea 11:7).

"So they": Israelites, called and entreated, especially they of that age when the division was made, and ever since.

"Went from": Contrarily and most disingenuously apostatized more and more, as the prophet, (Isaiah 1:5). Horrible ingratitude so to requite God!

"From them": From the prophets' counsel and commands, delivered as they came from God.

"They sacrificed unto Baalim": In the desert they began this apostasy, joined themselves to Baal-peor (Num. 25:3), and worshipped the calf (Exodus 32:4-6), and held on with obstinacy in it.

"Graven images": Images of their gods, before which they performed another part of religious worship, burning incense before them.

It seemed, that even from the beginning, they would fall away and worship false gods. God would forgive them, and start them again on the right path. It seemed, they could not handle good times. Each time they would fall away to worship other gods. It is a possibility that they began practicing the worship of false gods in Egypt, and never completely got rid of those bad habits. They were unfaithful from the beginning.

Verses 3-4: The Lord's endearing word pictures are reflected in Ezekiel's touching descriptions of Israel's early years (compare Ezek. chapter 16).

Hosea 11:3 "I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them."

I directed the feet of Ephraim. In this time of Ephraim's childhood, I supported and directed his steps, as a mother or nurse those of a child whom she is teaching to walk.

"Taking them by their arms": To guide them that they might not stray from the right way; and to hold them up, that they might not stumble and fall (see notes on Deut. 1:31; 32:11-12; Isaiah chapter 63). Thus did God deal with Israel in the wilderness; and thus he directs and supports the steps of his spiritual Israel, amidst all their difficulties and dangers.

"But they knew not that I healed them": They did not acknowledge this or my care over them and kindness to them.

Ephraim had received the spiritual blessing of the right hand. God had gone to extra trouble to teach Ephraim His ways. Part of the reason for the 40 years of wandering, was to teach them His ways. God healed their unfaithfulness over and over. God forgave them, and gave them another chance. He tried to lead them and guide them, but they did not learn their lesson well. God acted as a loving parent.

Hosea 11:4 "I 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."

"I drew them with the cords of a man": "Wanton heifers such as was Israel, are drawn with ropes; but although Ephraim struggled against Me, I would not draw him as a beast, but I drew him as a man, (not a servant, but a son), with cords of love." "Love is the magnet of love.": "The first and chief commandment of the law is not of fear, but of love, because He willed those whom He commanded, to be sons rather than servants."

"I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws": As a careful husbandman doth in due season take the yoke from his laboring oxen, and takes off the muzzle with which they were kept from eating when at work, gives them time of rest and feeding: so did God with Israel.

"I laid meat unto them": Brought them provision in their wants, as the careful husbandman brings fodder and provender for his wearied laboring oxen. By which plain simile God doth inform Israel in Hosea's time what ancient, tender, constant, and vigilant love he had showed to Israel, to their predecessors, and to them also. And hereby discovers their unheard-of ingratitude and wickedness, which began in their fathers, and hath continued with increase to the days of their final ruin.

These "cords of a man" mean that God had a hold on their guidance. God kept them close enough, that they could not completely wander away. All of this control that God kept over them was done in love. We see that even though God had controls on Ephraim, He still lifted the yoke, so that it would not be too heavy to bear.

Matthew 11:30 "For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light."

Notice, "I laid meat unto them". He blessed them with plenty to eat. God provided all their needs.

Verses 5-7: In spite of His tender care, Israel was ungrateful, demanding punishment (Romans 1:21).

Hosea 11:5 "He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return."

"Shall not return ... Egypt" (see note on 8:13).

We see that God has finally had enough of their unfaithfulness. God has stopped protecting them. They will not go back into Egypt where He found them, but their captivity will be even worse in Assyria. They refused to repent and return to God, so God has given them over to be punished.

Hosea 11:6 "And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour [them], because of their own counsels."

"And the sword shall abide on his cities": Literally, "shall light, shall whirl" down upon. It shall come with violence upon them as a thing whirled with force, and then it shall alight and abide, to their destruction. As Jeremiah says, "a whirlwind of the Lord is gone forth in fury, a grievous whirlwind; it shall fall grievously (literally, whirl down) on the head of the wicked" (Jer. 23:19).

And shall consume his branches": That is, his mighty men and lesser towns and villages. It is all one, whether the mighty men are so called, by metaphor, from the "branches" of a tree, or from the "bars" of a city, made out of those branches. Their mighty men, so far from escaping for their might, should be the first to perish.

"Devour them": Swallow them up with speed and ease, without remedy.

"Because of their own counsels": Which they first took (1 Kings 12:28), and ever since irreclaimably have followed, in opposition to all the good counsels the prophets gave them from time to time. To all which they have turned a deaf ear; they have sued for Egypt and Ashur's favor, and slighted mine.

This is speaking of the invasion that comes. This will be bloody. All the cities will be joined in this battle. The sword will be in all the cities. They had taken counsel from the world, instead of from God. The "consuming of the branches" would be all their young men falling in battle.

Hosea 11:7 "And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt [him]."

"Bent to backsliding": Not only do they backslide, and that too from Me, their "chief good," but they are bent upon it. Though they (the prophets), called them (the Israelites), to the Most High (from their idols), "none would exalt (that is, extol or honor), Him." To exalt God, they must cease to be "bent on backsliding," and must lift themselves upwards.

"Though they": The prophets, called them to the Most High; invited, exhorted, and encouraged them with many fair promises to give glory to God by returning.

"None at all": Not one of many, scarce any one in those great numbers in Israel, would hearken and obey. Would exalt him; God in his holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, all which a repenting people do magnify, but these will not. They retain their idols, depend on Egypt, and put all on that cast, and will neither believe nor try God's goodness.

"Backsliding" (see note on Prov. 14:14).

They had been in right standing with God, and they of their own free will, have turned away from God. They are like many people today who walk with God for a while, and then the cares of this world cause them to fall away. God had called them to a special relationship with Him. They, of their own free will, refused to exalt Him as God.

Verses 8-9: Because God is "not man," He does not act as a human would, in blind, unbridled vengeance. Rather, God expresses a moving wave of poignant love reminiscent of Jesus' lament over Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37). Jesus' unshakable devotion to the city that rejected Him is consistent with the heart of His Father, a heart filled with compassion for the rebellious nation of Israel.

Hosea 11:8 "How 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."

The wicked cities of "Admah" and "Zeboim" were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen. 19:24-25; Deut. 29:23).

The word "Admah" means earthy. "Zeboim" means gazelles. They were like wild animals, which were difficult to tame. God obviously loved Ephraim and Israel. He was like a loving parent that kept going back and forgiving them. They deserve to be totally destroyed, but God cannot bring Himself to do that. His heart is still upon them. God, even now, repents of the terrible punishment He had planned for them. Instead of total destruction, they are scattered. God never completely gives up on them. In the time of Jesus, He reaches out to them again.

John 11:54 "Jesus therefore walked no more openly among the Jews; but went thence unto a country near to the wilderness, into a city called Ephraim, and there continued with his disciples."

Verses 9-11: "I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger:" Though His judgment against Israel will be severe, it will not obliterate them. God will keep His covenant with Israel, which necessitates the continued existence of the nation into the Millennium, when the Messiah will rule and reign over a converted nation for a thousand years.

Hosea 11:9 "I 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."

"I will not return to destroy Ephraim": The destruction referred to that inflicted by Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser, who deprived Israel of Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali (2 Kings 15:29). Ultimately, it referred to the promise that after the long dispersion God would, in mercy, restore His people in the kingdom, never to be destroyed again.

God is not man, that He has to explain why He forgives someone. God never pours out His wrath upon His own. He loves them and will make a way out for them. He will not completely destroy Ephraim. He will leave a door open in this situation. They will have opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior, when God pours out His mercy on mankind. God never stops loving, and that is why He sent His Son to save whosoever will.

John 3:16″For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

Verses 10-11: Here, Hosea uses the images of the "lion" and the "dove" in a positive light (compare to 5:14 and 7:11). The Lord's lion like "roar" will someday call His exiled people home, and they will, like swift birds, return to their land.

Hosea 11:10 "They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west."

"Shall roar like a lion": Though the Lord would, as a lion, roar against Israel in judgment (Amos 1:2), He would also roar for the purpose of calling, protecting, and blessing (Joel 3:16).

"From the west": Returnees from Assyrian and Babylonian captivities were from the east. This undoubtedly has reference to His return at the Second Advent to set up the millennial kingdom (Isa. 11:11-12), when He calls Israel from their worldwide dispersion and reverses the judgment (of 9:17).

The lion is a mighty powerful animal that sounds fearful when it roars. The fear of the LORD causes them to tremble. Ephraim will return to the LORD, and walk in His ways. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.

Hosea 11:11 "They 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."

The West denoted Europe; Egypt and Assyria stand, each for all the lands beyond them, and so for Africa and Asia; all together comprise the three quarters of the world, from where converts have chiefly come to Christ. These are likened to birds, chiefly for the swiftness with which they shall then haste to the call of God, who now turned away the more, the more they were called.

The dove, especially, was a bird of Palestine, proverbial for the swiftness of its flight. Easily frightened, and flying the more rapidly, the more it was frightened, and returning to its cot from any distance where it might be carried. From where Isaiah also says of the converts, "Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows?" (Isaiah 60:8).

"And I will place them in their houses, saith the Lord": It is not said in towns and cities, and fortified places, but in houses, signifying that they should dwell in their own land, in a civil sense, securely, and in their habitations. Under their vines and fig trees, being in no fear and danger of enemies, and live in the utmost safety, under the government and protection of the King Messiah. Or, in a spiritual sense, they will be placed in the congregations of the saints in the churches of Christ, which will be as dove houses to them.

This is speaking of a time, when they will be eager to return to their home, as a bird is eager to return to his nest. This speaks of a time when they will return home, and receive their houses again.

Verses 11:12 - 12:2: Unlike "Ephraim" (the northern kingdom), "Judah" (the southern kingdom), had a few kings and priests who continued to honor God. Yet Hosea often spoke direct warnings to Judah" (4:14-15; 10:11; 12:1-2).

Hosea 11:12 "Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints."

Play the hypocrites with me still; yet give me good words, call themselves my people, and say I am their God and that they worship me and seek me; but they flatter me with their mouths, and lie unto me with their tongues (as Psalm 78:36). So, God upbraids them with this, their sin.

"And the house of Israel with deceit": The same thing in a reiterated phrase, to affect and comprehend the more.

"Judah": The people of the two tribes, under the government of the house of David.

"Ruleth with God": While idolaters are vassals and slaves to the devil and to their own superstitious fears, the true worshippers of God, like princes, rule with God. Or rather, keeping to the house of David, retained the government in Theopolitia (a government set up of God): when Ephraim made kings and princes, but God did not know it, i.e. did not advise nor approve it.

"And is faithful with the saints": Retains also purity, at least truth, of worship, and in the holy things of God keeping to his word, and comparatively is faithful: whereas Ephraim is hypocritical and false, Judah adheres to God's holy prophets, priests, and other saints of God.

Even though God will restore them, He still speaks of their unfaithfulness to Him. They are full of lies and deceit. Judah is the tribe that the Lord Jesus comes from. He is the Lion of the tribe of Judah. Jesus rules with God the Father. He rules all the world from Jerusalem in the land of Judah.

Hosea Chapter 11 Questions

1. What does God call Israel in verse 1?

2. While they were in Egypt, they were spoken of as the family of __________.

3. What terrible things did they do in return?

4. What, possibly, was the cause of their false worship?

5. __________ had received the spiritual blessing of the right hand.

6. What was part of the reason they wandered 40 years in the wilderness?

7. God acted as a loving ________ toward them.

8. What did "the cords of a man" indicate?

9. What does "I laid meat unto them" mean?

10. Who will rule over them?

11. They had taken counsel of the __________.

12. What was the "consuming of the branches"?

13. What is meant by "backsliding"?

14. What had they done of their own free will?

15. What does the word "Admah" mean?

16. "Zeboim" means what?

17. In verse 8, what does God do that gives them a glimmer of hope?

18. Does God have to explain why He forgives someone?

19. They shall walk after the LORD, he shall roar like a ________.

20. What happens to Ephraim?

21. They tremble as a ________ out of Egypt.

22. What does God speak of, again, in verse 12?

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Hosea 12

Hosea Chapter 12

Hosea 12:1 "Ephraim 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."

"The east wind" refers to the sirocco, a hot, dry wind coming from the eastern desert and causing great devastation in the land. The picture is graphic, for Israel has given itself to feeding on what will not nourish it (idolatry), and the result is an increase in "lies and desolation."

Israel's attempted alliances with heathen neighbors were of no worth. This prophecy was delivered at about the time of Israel's seeking the aid of the Egyptian king.

In this chapter, we see again that God is reminding Ephraim of their faults. The worst thing they did, besides worshipping false gods, was the fact they made a treaty with a worldly country.

Hosea 12:2 "The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him."

"Jacob": Frequently used interchangeably with "Israel" (compare 10:11; Gen. 32:28).

When Jacob is mentioned, it is speaking of all 12 tribes of Israel. God is not a respecter of persons. When they sin, they are judged of God, and made to pay whatever punishment God allots to them. He is a forgiving God, but He is also a just God.

Verses 3-6: These verses remind the entire nation of the patriarch from whom they have descended. Jacob always wanted God's best, even though he did not always seek it God's way.

"Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed:" The allusion is to Jacob's encounter with the Angel of the Lord at Peniel (Gen. 32:30). Israel had forgotten Jacob's spiritual wrestling's with God. Israel, as did Jacob, must come to the end of itself and find its strength in God alone.

He exhorted them to follow their father Jacob's persevering prayerfulness, which brought God's favor on him. As God is unchanging, He would show the same favor to Jacob's posterity as He did to Jacob, if, like him, they sought God.

Hosea 12:3 "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:"

Whether or not the act of Jacob was beyond the strength, ordinarily given to infants in the womb, the meaning of the act was beyond man's wisdom to declare. Whence the Jews paraphrased, "Was it not predicted of your father Jacob, before he was born; that he should become greater than his brother?" Yet this was not fulfilled until more than 500 years afterward, or completely until the time of David.

"By his strength he had power with God.": The strength, by which he did this, was God's strength, as well as that by which God contended with him; yet it is well called his, as being by God given to him. God so ordering it, that the strength which was in Jacob, should put itself forth with greater force, than that in the assumed body, whereby He so dealt with Jacob. God, as it were, bore the office of two persons, showing in Jacob more strength than He put forth in the Angel.

This is speaking of Jacob and Esau when they were born. We remember from previous lessons, the birthright belonged to Esau, but he traded it to his brother Jacob for a bowl of soup. Even in their mother's womb, before they were born, there was war going on between the two. It has never stopped until this very day. Jacob tricked His father into giving him the right hand (preferential), blessing.

Hosea 12:4 "Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him [in] Beth-el, and there he spake with us;"

The angel was willing to be conquered, or Jacob could not have gotten the victory.

"The angel": Called God (Hosea 12:3, and, Hosea 12:5), is Jehovah, Lord of hosts. He was no created angel, but the uncreated Angel Christ, the Messiah, eternal God by nature and essence, angel by office and voluntary undertaking.

And prevailed; got the victory, went out of the field a conqueror, but not by such arms and methods as you use. You are conquered by man because of your sins; he conquered with God by faith and prayer.

"He wept": Not the angel, as some through mistake, but your father Jacob. By this we know he prayed with tears, though the story says not so, with sense of his own unworthiness, with earnestness for the mercy he desired, and apprehensive of the majesty of him with whom he wrestled. But you, quite contrary, proud as if worthy, regardless of the best part of the blessing, and earnest only for the meaner part, seek it not of God, but idols.

"And made supplication unto him": it is Christ who is here intended. It was no mere creature, Jacob might not have prayed to such, but it was the Creator of angels and the Redeemer of man, the blessed Jesus, to whom every knee ought to bow (Philippians 2:10).

He found him at Beth-el; either the angel found Jacob in Beth-el, as he did more than once, both before and after this time (Genesis 28:12). It is good to be in Beth-el, in the house of God; happy are those that dwell there, and are found there living and dying, doing the will and work of God there. Or rather Jacob found God or the angel in Beth-el; God is to be found in his own house, there he comes and blesses with his gracious presence. Here Christ the Angel of his presence is; here he meets with his people, and manifests himself unto them.

"There he spake with us": As being in the loins of our progenitor Jacob (compare Psalm 66:6). What God there spoke to Jacob appertains to us. God's promises to him belong to all his posterity who follows in the steps of his prayerful faith.

Jacob had wrestled all night with the angel of the Lord. Jacob was allowed to win the battle, and caused the angel to bless him. God, through the angel, changed Jacob's name to Israel. All of this happened at Beth-el. "Beth-el" means house of God. Jacob's life was changed. He became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Hosea 12:5 "Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD [is] his memorial."

The word, here as translated and written Lord, is the special and, so to say, the proper Name of God, that which He gave to Himself, and which declares His Being.

"The Lord is his memorial": Or his name, Jehovah, which belongs to this angel. The Son of God, as to his divine Father; and which is expressive of his divine existence. Of his eternity and immutability; this is his memorial, or the recorder which puts his people in all ages in remembrance of him. What he is, what an infinite, almighty, and all sufficient Being he is. And he is always to be believed in and trusted, and to be served, adored, and worshipped.

We saw in the verse before this, Jacob was sorrowful for his past. We now see salvation has come to him through covenant with God. It is not Israel that is God's memorial, but God that is Israel's memorial.

Hosea 12:6 "Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually."

A genuine "return" to God would involve a commitment to "mercy" (6:6; 10:12; Micah 6:8), "and justice" as well as true dependence on the Lord ("wait on thy God continually"; Psalm 27:14).

Their repentance has to do with man, but the greatest repentance for them or us, is to repent and be brought back into right standing with God. God is never very far away. Turn to God, and He is there. This is saying that salvation is a continual thing. Once a person receives salvation, they must continue to walk in that salvation.

Psalms 27:14 "Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD."

Hosea 12:7 "[He is] a merchant, the balances of deceit [are] in his hand: he loveth to oppress."

"He is a merchant (Hebrew Kenaan, Canaanite merchant). Rather than being like God, Israel is like the Canaanite and the Canaanite deities they had adopted.

Because the Canaanites were known as traders, the word "merchant" came to be used synonymously with "Canaanite" (Ezek. 16:29; 17:4; Zeph. 1:11). Though she denied it (verse 8), Israel had become materialistic, filled with greed, and fond of dishonest gain.

God always cautioned His people to deal with just weights.

Leviticus 19:36 "Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I [am] the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt."

One of the ways you could determine who belonged to God, was by the way they conducted themselves in business.

Proverbs 11:1 "A false balance [is] abomination to the LORD: but a just weight [is] his delight."

Those who oppress their neighbor are not godly people.

Hosea 12:8 "And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: [in] all my labors they shall find none iniquity in me that [were] sin."

Literally, "I am simply rich." As if he said, "the only result of all this, with which the prophets charge me, is that 'I am become rich:' and since God thus prospers me, it is a sure proof that he is not displeased with me, that 'no iniquity' can be 'found in me;'" the ordinary practical argument of men, as long as God withholds His punishments, that their ways cannot be so displeasing to Him.

"I have found me out substance": The same thing, with a vain boast of what is not in his wealth and substance. If in his gain he assumed his own only to himself, it were praiseworthy; that is, if he took to himself with shame the sinful manner of acquiring it; but he takes the praise to himself, and forgets God; boasts of his wit, though he cannot of his honesty.

"In all my labors they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin": Finally, he hugs himself in the apprehension of close and crafty carriage of all his affairs, that no great fault, no crime, can be found in it to deserve a reproach or punishment. That he hath more reason to believe all is well since it doth prosper, than to suspect any great miscarriage which should deserve punishment. So this people do at once flatter themselves into security, fearless of punishment, and into hardened obstinacy in sin incapable of amendment.

There is not one place in the verse above, that God is given credit for making Ephraim rich. Ephraim thinks he has done this himself.

Proverbs 30:12 "[There is] a generation [that are] pure in their own eyes, and [yet] is not washed from their filthiness."

Ephraim thought he was perfect. He did not feel any guilt for the sins he committed. This is a dangerous place to be in. Those who know they are guilty of sin, seek a Savior.

Verses 9-14: This historical retrospective of God's saving role in Israel's history includes their time in "Egypt" (Exodus 20:12; Lev. 23:42-44), the story of "Jacob" (Genesis chapters 28 to 31), and a "prophet," Moses (Num. 12 Chapters 6 to 8), and the anger that the current idol worship of "Ephraim provoked." For this, the people were about to suffer (Isa. 65:7).

Hosea 12:9 "And 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."

At the annual Feast of Booths, or Tabernacles (Deut. 16:13-15; Num. 29:12-38), Israel dwelt in tents to commemorate her 40 years of wilderness wanderings. In captivity, she would be forced to live in them permanently.

During the time of the solemn feast, they dwelt in tabernacles. Sometimes, they are called booths. This could also be speaking of them dwelling in tents. This is just indicating an uncertain dwelling place. Abraham gave up his house and dwelt in tents. He was looking for a city whose maker was God.

Hosea 12:10 "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets."

"I have also spoken": Here is an aggravation of their guilt, that it was not through ignorance that they sinned, but in defiance of God's revealed Word.

The prophets did not speak their own words. They spoke the words God put into their mouths. God had given visions to warn them as well. The similitudes in the ministry of the prophets were things like Isaiah walking naked and barefoot in the street. The prophet was showing in the physical, the spiritual condition of the people.

Another very good example of that was Jeremiah wearing the yoke around his neck, when he ministered. The similitudes could be also speaking of the parables of things, like the vineyard that were given. God had used everything within His power to reach them, before it was too late.

Hosea 12:11 "[Is 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."

"Heaps in the furrows": As gathered and piled stones would dot a farmer's field, so Israel multiplied her stone altars across the land. "Gilgal" means "a heap of stones," so this is a play on words.

Yes, there was iniquity in Gilead. Gilead was the mountain region east of Jordan. They have caused the anger of God to come against them, because they have sacrificed to idols in Gilead. They had sacrificed bullocks to strange false gods. They have made altars as memorials to false gods. "Heaps" have to do with establishing covenant and heaping rocks up as a memorial.

Verses 12-14: The reference to Jacob's wanderings to Syria and Israel's sojourn in Egypt should cause Ephraim to confess her pride, recognize her humble origins, and acknowledge that only by God's gracious power were they made a nation.

Hosea 12:12 "And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept [sheep]."

Or, "field of Syria; the same with Padan-aram; for "Padan", in the Arabic language, as Bochart has shown, signifies a field; and "Aram" is Syria, and is the word here used.

"Jacob fled ... served": Though ye pride yourselves on the great name of "Israel," forget not that your progenitor was the same Jacob who was a fugitive, and who served for Rachel fourteen years. He forgot not ME who delivered him when fleeing from Esau, and when oppressed by Laban (Gen. 28:5; 29:20, 28; Deut. 26:5).

"And Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep": And so the last clause is supplied by the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi: this was after his flight into Syria, and before he fled from Laban, whom he served seven years for Rachel. And then he continued to serve Laban by keeping his sheep seven more years, as his agreement. Though it may be understood of his two wives, thus; he served seven years for a wife. For Rachel intentionally, but eventually it was for Leah; and then he kept sheep seven years more for his other wife Rachel. The history of this is (in Genesis 29:1).

Genesis 28:5 "And Isaac sent away Jacob: and he went to Padan-aram unto Laban, son of Bethuel the Syrian, the brother of Rebekah, Jacob's and Esau's mother."

He had not taken a wife of the heathen women around him, as his brother Esau did, but went to his uncle's, and found a wife of the same faith. He worked as a shepherd.

Hosea 12:13 "And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved."

Moses is here referred to, and there is, perhaps, a hint that the Lord would yet again save Israel from worse than Egyptian bondage by the words and warnings of a prophet.

"And by a prophet he was preserved": By the same prophet Moses was Israel preserved at the Red sea, and in the wilderness; where they were kept as a flock of sheep from their powerful enemies, and brought to the borders of Canaan's land.

The prophet that led them out of Egypt was Moses. Moses prayed, and God rained Manna from heaven for them to eat. God, through Moses, brought them 40 years through the wilderness with no lack in their life. God preserved them, to set them up as an example of His family to the whole world.

Hosea 12:14 "Ephraim provoked [him] to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him."

"Ephraim provoked ... (the Lord) most bitterly": Literally, "with anger and disappointments," i. e. with most heinous sins, such as are most grievously displeasing to God, and were a most bitter requital of all His goodness. "Wherefore shall he leave" (or, "cast") "his blood" (literally, "bloods"), "upon him." The plural "bloods" expresses the manifoldness of the bloodshed. It is not used in Holy Scripture of mere guilt. Ephraim had shed blood profusely, so that it ran like water in the land (see the notes above at Hosea 4:2; 5:2).

"Leave his blood upon him": Not take away the guilt and penalty of the innocent blood shed by Ephraim in general and to Molech in particular.

"His reproach shall his Lord return unto him": Ephraim's dishonor to God in worshipping idols, God will repay to him. That God is "his Lord" by right redemption and special revelation to Ephraim only aggravates his guilt, instead of giving him hope of escape. God does not give up His claim to them as His, however they set aside His dominion.

Instead of Ephraim being extremely grateful for what God had done for him, he rebelled against God over and over. God forgave him over and over and gave him another chance. Whatever happens to Ephraim, he has no one to blame but himself. His blood and punishment are brought on himself. His idolatry has gone too far. God has brought punishment.

Hosea Chapter 12 Questions

1. God is reminding Ephraim of their _________.

2. What was the worst thing they did, besides worshipping false gods?

3. What is God, besides a forgiving God?

4. When is verse 3 speaking of?

5. Who did the birthright belong to?

6. What was the preferential blessing?

7. Who had Jacob wrestled all night with?

8. Where did this happen?

9. What does the name mean?

10. Who is His memorial?

11. What advice did he receive in verse 6?

12. God always cautioned his people about ________ weights.

13. A false balance was an _____________ to the LORD.

14. What things could the tabernacles, in verse 9, imply?

15. What is the mention of the tabernacles indicating?

16. The prophet's words were actually _________ Words.

17. Name some of the similitudes given?

18. Is there iniquity in Gilead?

19. What terrible thing were they doing there?

20. What is meant, in verse 12, about "serving for a wife"?

21. Who did he work for?

22. What kind of work did he do?

23. What had Ephraim done?

24. What was his punishment for that?

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Hosea 13

Hosea Chapter 13

Verses 1-16: "When he offended in Baal, he died:" Under Ahab, the nation gave itself to the worship of Baal, and the result was spiritual death. The nation's spiritual decline also resulted in political decline (1 Kings 16:31).

The tribe of "Ephraim" initially produced strong, God-fearing leaders like Joshua (Joshua 24:30), but eventually became overly self-confident and prone to idol worship, a constant theme in Hosea.

Hosea 13:1 "When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died."

"Trembling": When Ephraim, the most powerful tribe, spoke early in Israel's history, it was with authority and produced fear."

"Died": Because of his sins and in spite of being feared, Ephraim died, spiritually and now nationally.

As long as Ephraim kept great fear and reverence for God, He did just fine. It was when he got too proud, and started worshipping Baal, that God was offended. It does not mean to imply that all the other worship of false gods was unimportant. It just means it grew to its worst stage, when they worshipped Baal.

The worship of the golden calf in the wilderness had been terrible, and many died in punishment for it, but this is speaking of the whole land being involved in the worship of Baal. Jeroboam instituted the worship of the calf as God. The death of the nation was sounded, when this last offence against God came.

Hosea 13:2 "And 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."

"Kiss the calves": An act of devotion to their idols (1 Kings 19:18).

The making of idols was just another sign of how far they had fallen from God. They used the precious metals of silver and gold, that God had blessed them with, to make these abominable idols. Anything that you can see is not God. If it is made by human hands, it is not God. Even this calf was made by human hands, and was not to be worshipped. God is a Spirit. Kissing the calves just shows the degradation of their worship.

Verses 3-6: A collection of similes that point to the temporary nature of idols ("morning cloud ... early dew ... chaff ... smoke"), reinforce the message of judgment. In contrast, the everlasting God reminds Ephraim of her past and His loyal love for her: "I knew you in the wilderness" (Deut. 8:14; 31:20).

Hosea 13:3 "Therefore 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."

All the comparisons in this verse are intended to express a quick destruction, or that they should soon come to nothing. Signifying that the idolatrous Israelites, king, priests, and people, should be no more. Their kingdom would cease, all their riches and wealth would depart from them, and they and their children be carried captive into a strange land.

Bright and glistening with light is "the early dew;" in an hour it is gone, as if it had never been. Glowing and gilded by the sun is "the morning cloud;" while you admire its beauty, its hues have vanished. Yet in a little time their land would become desolate, and they are stripped of all that was dear and valuable to them these metaphors are used (in Hosea 6:4).

"As the chaff that is driven with a whirlwind out of the floor": Signifying that these idolatrous people were like chaff, struggling and empty, useless and unprofitable, fit for nothing but burning; and that they would be driven out of their own land through the Assyrian, that should come like a whirlwind with great power, as easily and as quickly as chaff is driven out of a threshing floor of corn with a strong blast of wind (see Psalm 1:5).

"And as the smoke out of the chimney": Which rises up in a pillar, and is so on dissipated by the wind, or dissolved into air; and is no sooner seen but it disappears (see Psalm 68:2). All these similes show how easily, suddenly, and quickly, the destruction of this idolatrous nation would be brought about.

All of these things are experienced for a moment and fade away. The "chaff" many times, symbolizes the lost of the world. Their terrible sin they had committed, was bringing them to swift destruction.

Hosea 13:4 "Yet I [am] the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for [there is] no savior beside me."

"There is no savior beside me:" Israel had put its trust in other nations (5:13; 7:11; 8:9-10), and its own strength (9:6; 12:8; 2 Kings 14:25-28), rather than in the One who is the only Savior.

God was still the same God who had sheltered them with His providence, ever since He had delivered them from Egypt. He had the same power and will to help them. Therefore, their duty was the same, and their destruction arose, not from any change in Him, but from themselves. "God is the God of the ungodly, by creation and general providence."

"Thou shalt know no god but me": I forbade thee to know any other god but me, in gratitude thou should know no other; if there were any other, in point of interest thou should have known, i.e. worshipped, trusted, and obeyed, none but me. And finally, by woeful experience thou shalt know that calves and Baal are no gods. They cannot save thee nor themselves; thou shalt know I am God alone, who can destroy those who would not obey me.

"For there no savior beside me": When thy idols cannot save thee out of the hands of those I deliver thee up to, then thou shalt see, what now thou wilt not, that there is no savior but me. None who can deliver from all evil, and who can enrich with all blessings, who can pardon sin and save the sinner.

Exodus 14:13″And Moses said unto the people, Fear ye not, stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will show to you today: for the Egyptians whom ye have seen today, ye shall see them again no more for ever."

Acts 4:12 "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Hosea 13:5″I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought."

"God so knew them, as to deserve to be known by them. By "knowing" them, He showed how He ought to be acknowledged by them." "As we love God, because He first loved us," so we come to know and own God, having first been owned and known of Him. God showed His knowledge of them, by knowing and providing for their needs.

He knew them "in the wilderness, in the land of great drought," where the land yielded neither food nor water. He supplied them with the "bread from heaven" and with "water from the flinty rock." He knew and owned them all by His providence; He knew in approbation and love, and fed in body and soul those who, having been known by Him, knew and owned Him.

God had protected them from the famine. He had caused water to come from the Rock to take care of their thirst. They should recognize His goodness, and be faithful to Him.

Hosea 13:6 "According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me."

As I was their shepherd, and provided pasture for them, so they were fully fed; they had an abundant plenty of all things.

"And their heart was exalted": The consequence of their having this plenty was, that from thence they grew proud and high-minded.

"Therefore have they forgotten me": Who found them in slavery, poverty, reproach, and tears in Egypt, out of which I saved them. And they have most scandalously made them gods, worshipped them, and with sacrilegious un-thankfulness given the praise of all I did for them to dumb idols, though I warned them of it beforehand (Deut. 6:11-12; 8:13-14).

God had led them to green pastures. He had provided for their every need. The most difficult time to stay in good fellowship with the Lord is when everything is going great. We have a tendency to be like them, when things are running smooth. We take God for granted, and the first thing you know, we are backsliding. A believer in God never stands still. They are either pressing closer to God (usually in time of great trials), or they are drifting away from God. They had become comfortable and wandered away from God.

Verses 7-8: The lion, leopard, and bear are all native to Israel. Her Protector would now become to her as a wild beast, tearing and devouring (Lev. 26:21-22; Deut. 32:24; Ezek. 14:21).

Hosea 13:7 "Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe [them]:"

They had waxen fat, were full; yet it was, to become themselves a prey. Their wealth which they were proud of, which they abused, allured their enemies. To cut off all hopes of God's mercy, He says that he will be to them, as those creatures of His, which never spare. The fierceness of the lion, and the swiftness of the leopard, together portrays a speedy inexorable chastisement.

"As a leopard": A very fierce, swift, sly, and watchful creature (Jer. 5:6; Hab. 1:8).

"Observe them": Watch for them, that I may be sure to take them.

The end of all their sin is destruction. The lion or leopard, stalks its prey, and then at a convenient time, pounces on them. The destruction that comes on them for their unfaithfulness to God will be sudden.

Verses 8-16: Hosea painted startling pictures of the coming judgment of God with the "lion," the "leopard," and the "bear" and then heightened the terror with references to "infants ... dashed in pieces" and pregnant "women ... ripped open" by the Assyrians.

Hosea 13:8 "I 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."

The Syrian bear is fiercer than the brown bears to which we are accustomed. It attacks flocks (1 Sam. 17:34), and even oxen. The fierceness of the she-bear, "bereaved of her whelps," became a proverb (2 Sam. 17:8; Prov. 17:12; and here). "They who have written on the nature of wild beasts, say that none is more savage than the she-bear, when she has lost her whelps or lacks food."

They had closed their hearts against God. Their punishment is pictured by the rending open of the closed heart, by the lion which is said to go instinctively straight to the heart, tears it out, and sucks the blood. Fearful will it be in the Day of Judgment, when the sinner's heart is laid open, with all the foul, cruel, malicious, defiled, thoughts which it harbored and concealed, against the will of God. "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God" (Heb. 10:31).

"There will I devour them": Where I find them and seize them, like the hungry and fearless lion, which feasts on his prey where he caught it, draws it not into his den, but devours it immediately.

"Like a lion": an old lion that hath his great teeth, his grinders, and hath still whelps (Gen. 49:9); fierce and terrible, that will either call in his whelps to divide the prey, or drag the prey to his den for them: and what hope of anything to be spared, when you fall into such hands?

The wild beast shall tear them: it is said of the lion, that he calls by his roaring the wild beasts together to the prey when he hath taken it; so you shall be devoured by the whole troop of wild beasts. Or it may be a general threat added to those particular ones before; every wild beast shall prey upon them. All this God executed on them by the Assyrians, who in their fierceness, cruelty, greediness, and courage answered the character here given to them.

A mother bear that has lost her whelps is a ferocious animal. She will destroy everything that gets in her way. This is speaking of this ferocious animal grabbing at the heart area, and tearing an opening to the heart to kill it.

Hosea 13:9″O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me [is] thine help."

After these menaces it might seem I had destroyed thee, but thou thyself hast done it by thy sins. It is the rebel that destroys himself, though he falls by the sword of his provoked sovereign: thou art the cause and author of thine own ruin.

"But in me is thine help": Or, for I was always ready and able to help thee, and would certainly have saved thee; but thy sins, thy wickedness carried thee toward other helps, which were lies, and have disappointed thee. And now thou dost perish under thine own choice, whereas hadst thou chosen me I would have helped and saved thee. Or else thus the whole verse: This hath destroyed thee, O Israel, for thou hast rebelled against me, against thy help.

This is a cry for them to stop and consider all of this, before it is too late. Their only help is in the Lord.

Hosea 13:10 "I 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?"

I would have been thy king to save and govern thee, but thou refused me in both respects: yet "I will be thy king" to judge me and punish thee. The LXX and all the ancient versions interpret the clause differently, and give the interrogative, Where? Where is thy king now, that he may serve thee?

"Where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities?" Or, who is there, what wise, valiant, and successful commander, in any of thy cities that can deliver thee first out of my hand, and next out of the Assyrians' hand?

"Thy judges": Where are they? Thy magistrates have sinned with thee, and shall be destroyed with thee. Thy rulers or inferior governors,

"Of whom thou saidst, Give me a king": Whom thou didst importune and solicit, in a manner forced to meet, consult, and resolve in seditious times? Who should be king next, when treasons had taken away him that was? Some refer this to their first asking a king, but it is better referred to the times either after Jeroboam the First, or to the times after Jeroboam the Second, between whose death and Hosea's time, some say, there was a period of twenty or near twenty years, during which a turbulent people, as the Israelites were, would be frequent and earnest in all likelihood in moving for a king.

"And princes": Necessary to assist the king.

Israel had been unfaithful to God, when they sought the help of the worldly kings around them. God was their help. These worldly kings not only could not save them from destruction, but would not if they could. They have made agreement with the world and left God. God is the only One that could and would, save them.

Hosea 13:11 "I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took [him] away in my wrath."

Not the king of Assyria, sent to waste and destroy them, and carry them captive, as some think, for of him the next clause cannot be said. Nor Jeroboam, the first king of the ten tribes, as others, who was not given in anger to Israel, but to Solomon. Rather Saul, as Kimchi and Aben Ezra, the first king of all Israel; and who was given at the request of the people, though in anger and resentment, they rejecting God their King. Or it may design the kingly office and power in general, in a succession of kings from him the first of them.

"In my wrath": God was angry when he gave such kings to Israel, and he was no better pleased when he took them away. They were punishments when given, and it was punishment to Israel when they were taken away. If you read this verse in the future tense, as you may, I will give them a king in my anger, it may refer to God's giving the king of Assyria the rule over them. Making them his vassals; and I will take away (i.e. you), O Israelites, "in my wrath", I will destroy some, and send others into captivity. I will take all away out of your land, and send you in wrath to the grave, or captives into Assyria.

God had never wanted Israel to have an earthly king. He wanted to be their only King. They kept insisting on having a king like the countries around them, until God gave them Saul to be their king. It turned out he was not a good king and God (in His wrath), destroyed him, and put David in his place as king.

Hosea 13:12 "The iniquity of Ephraim [is] bound up; his sin [is] hid."

"Bound up ... is hid": Israel's sins are all well-documented and safely preserved for the day of reckoning (compare 7:2; Deut. 32:24-35; Job 14:17).

The sin of Ephraim had not been forgotten. He might believe it to be hidden, but God knew. God would bring judgment upon them.

Hosea 13:13 "The 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."

"The breaking forth of children": This refers to the birth canal. Employing this figure of giving birth, the Lord likens Ephraim to an unwise child, unwilling to move through to birth. By long deferring a "new birth" with repentance, the nation was like a child remaining in the canal dangerously long and risking death (2 Kings 19:3; Isa. 37:3; 66:9).

This is speaking of the pain accompanied with child birth. The severity of the punishment is compared to the pain of childbirth. His sorrow will overcome him. It is very bad to stay in the sin that got him into this trouble. His way out is through repentance.

Verses 14-16: "I will ransom them from the power of the grave:" Only God can save Israel from national extinction. After its judgment is complete, Israel will ultimately be redeemed and will bring forth fruits of repentance. This national repentance and restoration will be realized in the Israel of the Millennium. Paul applies verse 14 to the resurrection of Christ, which guarantees the resurrection of all believers in Christ.

Hosea 13:14 "I 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."

Placing the strong affirmation of deliverance so abruptly after a denunciation intensified the wonder of His unrequited love (compare 11:8-9; Lev. 26:44). This can apply to God's restoration of Israel from Assyria, and in future times from all the lands of the dispersion, preserving them and bringing them back to their land for the kingdom of Messiah (Ezek. Chapter 37).

It also speaks of the time of personal resurrection as (in Dan. 12:2-3). Repentant Israelites will be restored to the land and even raised from death to glory. Paul uses this text (in 1 Cor. 15:55; quoting the LXX), to celebrate the future resurrection of the church. The Messiah's great victory over death and the grave is the firstfruits of the full harvest to come, when all believers will likewise experience the power of His resurrection.

These images reveal God's power over death (1 Cor. 15:55).

This is a promise that God will redeem them. Jesus defeated death, when He rose from the grave. This is a promise of restoration to them. Not restoration to their homeland, but restoration to their God. God will not repent of their punishment, but will use it to change them.

Hosea 13:15″Though 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."

"East wind": Refers to Assyria.

The coming storm would not completely do away with them. Ephraim speaks of double fruit, and is thought of as being fruitful. The wind of an angry God can change that. The wind shows up in the Assyrians that take the land, but comes from God. The Assyrians do take the vessels for spoil.

Hosea 13:16 "Samaria 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."

The shocking atrocities mentioned were in keeping with brutalities characteristic of the Assyrians (compare 2 Kings 17:5; Isa. 13:6; Amos 1:13; Nahum 3:10).

This is speaking of their capital. The severity of the war is shown in the infants being dashed to pieces, and the women with child being ripped apart. This is a very nasty war. We must remember they actually bought it upon themselves when they worshipped false gods.

Hosea Chapter 13 Questions

1. When Ephraim spake ___________ he exalted himself in Israel.

2. When he offended in Baal, he _________.

3. Who instituted the worship of the calf as God in Ephraim?

4. What had they made with their silver?

5. God is a _________.

6. What things were they compared to in verse 3?

7. What did these things have in common?

8. What did the "chaff", many times, symbolize?

9. When is the most difficult time to stay in fellowship with God?

10. Verse 7 says God will be to them as a ________.

11. Describe a mother bear who has lost her whelps.

12. What is verse 9 really?

13. Who had Israel sought help from?

14. Who was the king God had given them in His anger?

15. Who did God replace him with?

16. What was their trouble compared to in verse 13?

17. What is his only way out of this trouble?

18. What is verse 14 a promise of?

19. What takes away the fruit of Ephraim?

20. How bad was the war?

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Hosea 14

Hosea Chapter 14

Verses 1-3: "Calves of our lips:" The word calves (Hebrew par, "a young bull or produce"), is best understood metaphorically, referring to the words that the lips produce, in this context praise to the Lord. The nation had used its lips to praise the idolatrous calves; now it will use its lips in praise to the Lord God.

Hosea again urges the people to "return" to God with true "words" of repentance (Psalm 51:16-17). God's incredible grace and love are shown by His eagerness for their return (Joel 2:13).

Hosea 14:1 "O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity."

O Israel, return now at length, after thou hast suffered so many evils, to the Lord by true repentance and reformation of conduct. The whole family of Israel, in both its branches, seems to be here addressed.

"For thou hast fallen": From God's love and favor into his displeasure, and consequently into misery, by thine iniquity. Which has involved thee in endless troubles, and will be the cause of thy destruction.

This begins with a plea from God for Israel to repent, and return to God. The truth is that God would look for any signs of repentance from them, because He wants to forgive them. God mentions the reason for their fall as their iniquity.

Hosea 14:2 "Take 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."

Israel was invited to return, bringing words of repentance accompanied with obedience, repaying God's gracious acceptance of them with "calves" fruit "of our lips."

Verse 2, reminds me of the following Scripture.

2 Chronicles 7:14 "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

Both Scriptures are a call for prayer of repentance.

1 John 1:9 "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

"Render the calves of our lips" would be an expression of the sacrifice of praise to God.

Hosea 14:3 "Asshur 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."

"Fatherless": God repeatedly demanded mercy for the orphan (Exodus 22:22; Deut. 10:18); consequently, Israel could expect to receive His compassion (Luke 15:17-20).

This is expressing the fact that no world ruler could save them. There is no one who can save them, but God. They renounce also, the idols they had made with their own hands. They will no longer trust in the power of their horses in battle. They realize that only God is merciful.

Verses 4-8: "A green fir tree:" Up to this time Ephraim has been a stench in the nostrils of God. Now, because its sin has been dealt with, it will be pleasing to the Lord; and the fruit will satisfy Him. Hosea close's his prophecy on a high note. God's never-changing love for Israel will one day bring about her repentance and restoration to His full favor.

This prophecy of God's bountiful blessing looks to the great millennial periods of Christ's righteous and beneficent rule.

The ultimate fulfillment of these blessings must be millennial, since Israel has not repented and will not do so in the manner of verses 2-3 until the end of the Great Tribulation (Zech. 12:10 to 13:1). The Lord's love is beautifully presented in metaphors taken from the lily, the cedars of Lebanon, and the olive tree.

Hosea 14:4″I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him."

"Backsliding": Apostasy (see note on Proverbs 14:14).

This speaks of God, who has accepted their repentance, and set them in right standing with Himself. It is God's mercy and grace that saves them. God will cause them to love Him. They will no longer be tempted to backslide. They will rest in God.

Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:" "Not of works, lest any man should boast."

2 Corinthians 5:21 "For he hath made him [to be] sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him."

Verses 5-7: The beautiful pictures of repentant Israel as a "lily" and an "olive tree" illustrate the remarkable transformation in any heart that confesses and turns from sin and then humbly accepts God's loving gifts of mercy (Psalm 52:8; John 15:4).

Hosea 14:5 "I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon."

The Lord, who have pardoned, and am appeased, "will be as the dew", refresh and water, that they may grow, and that they may be fruitful and flourish, as the dew in those countries, where it was more abundant than with us, and for some months together supplied the want of rain. God will refresh and comfort, and make fruitful in good works, through his grace, for those who return to him.

"Israel": Those that are trusting people who are not hypocritical; but those who confess, pray, and repent.

"As the lily": Which grows apace, is fragrant, beautiful, and delights in valleys, often grows among thorns; so the Israel of God among troubles in low state, yet comely, and fragrant to the Lord, and grows up in him speedily.

"Lebanon": Put for the trees of Lebanon; as those trees spread forth their roots, grow up to strength, are most beautiful, odoriferous, and durable, cedars in Lebanon are these trees. So shall the true Israel, converted backsliders, be blessed of God. So flourishing and happy shall the church be under Christ.

This speaks of total restoration.

Luke 12:27 "Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

Hosea 14:6 "His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon."

As the well rooted cedars in Lebanon (see Num. 24:6). This respects the propagation of the church of God, and the interest of Christ in the world, as in the first times of the Gospel, and will be in the latter day; when the Gospel shall be spread everywhere. Churches set up in all places; the Jews converted, and the fullness of the Gentiles brought in; and these like spreading branches, and fruitful boughs, abounding in grace and good works.

"And his beauty shall be as the olive tree": Which lies in its being laden with excellent fruit, and being always green; for which reasons particular believers, and the whole church of God, are sometimes compared to it. Having that fatness in them, with which God and men are honored. And that true grace, which is signified by oil in the vessels of the heart, and is called the unction and anointing of the Holy One. And they persevering in this grace to the end, which is evergreen and durable, immortal, and dies not (see Psalm 52:8). Here again it may be observed, that the trees of Lebanon, though they had strong roots, and spreading branches, yet were not fruitful.

"And his smell as Lebanon": The mountain famous for cedars, where also were the trees that afford the frankincense, which sweat out that excellent aromatic, and where many more sweetest flowers grow and perfume the air; such shall the spiritual fragrance of the church be to God and man.

God has completely turned away His anger from Israel and His blessings are upon him. The beauty of growth in the Lord is spoken of here. The olive tree speaks of the Spirit. They will be beautiful, and smell as Lebanon. This is speaking of them becoming the bride.

Song of Solomon 2:13 "The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines [with] the tender grape give a [good] smell. Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."

Romans 11:24 "For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural [branches], be graffed into their own olive tree?"

Hosea 14:7 "They 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."

"Scent ... as the wine of Lebanon": Their "scent" (literally "remembrance") denotes worldwide fame and admiration.

God is the protector here. It is His shadow that protects. It is God who makes the earth produce from the grain of seed we plant. It is His rain and sunshine which brings growth. It is the blessing of God that makes it produce. The beautiful order of a productive plant is spoken of here.

Hosea 14:8 "Ephraim [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."

The Lord, not idols, will care for Israel. He, not Israel, is the tree providing shelter and prosperity, the "luxuriant cypress" from whom her fruitfulness would come.

Ephraim has totally abandoned idol worship, Ephraim has learned his lesson. His safety and help is in God. God's eyes are set on Israel to bless him. The green fir tree speaks of eternal life. God is the provider of all fruit. We must not depend upon anything on this earth for our source. God is our source.

Hosea 14:9 "Who [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."

Representative of the theme of the book, Hosea's epilogue concludes the prophecy by presenting the reader with two ways of living (Deut. 30:19-20; Psalm Chapter 1). He appeals to all readers to be wise, to choose the Lord's way, for His ways are right (compare Psalm 107:43; Eccl. 12:13-14).

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Those who are wise accept the salvation offered to them by the Lord, and then walk in that salvation. Those who choose God live in the righteousness that He has provided. Those who reject the Lord shall die in their sin.

Hosea Chapter 14 Questions

1. What is the plea of God in verse 1?

2. Why would God look for any signs of repentance?

3. What does "render the calves of our lips" indicate?

4. What is verse 3 saying about Asshur?

5. They renounce their _______ in verse 3.

6. I will heal their _______________.

7. It is God's ________ and ________ that saves them.

8. I will be as the ______ to Israel.

9. What does verse 5 speak of?

10. Verse 6 says, his beauty shall be as the ________ ________.

11. The olive tree speaks of the _________.

12. Who is Romans chapter 11 verse 24 speaking of?

13. Who makes the bare grain produce?

14. What statement does Ephraim make in verse 8?

15. The green fir tree speaks of _________ ________.

16. The _______ of the _________ is the beginning of wisdom.

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