Hosea 9:1-11:12 The End of Israel is Near February 26, 2018
Hosea has been ministering to the Northern Kingdom for about 30 years. He
has demonstrated his message through his marriage to Gomer and through the names of their children, Jezreel, Lo-ruhama (No Mercy) and Lo-ammi (Not My People). He has preached in words and prophesied in verse. His message has been primarily to Israel, but he has sent warnings to Judah as well.
The people have ignored him for the most part. The leadership, kings and priests, have continued in their evil ways. Idol worship has not been curtailed and the worship of YHWH has been contaminated by the wicked culture around them.
Today we are about 10 years from the final fall of the nation. Assyria has made forays into the land. It now controls Syria. Many Israeli towns have been occupied. The king, Hosea, had been paying tribute to Assyria, but now has suddenly turned to Egypt for an ally. Egypt just laughs at him. The tribute payments are impoverishing a once wealthy land.
After Jeroboam II the political leadership falls apart dramatically. His son Zechariah takes over, but is assassinated after 6 months. Shalom, the assassin, reigns one month and is killed by Menahem. He will reign 10 months, but will continually do what is evil in the sight of the Lord. He exacts the wealth of the wealthy to pay a thousand talents of silver to Tiglth-pileser III, king of Assyria. Menahem died a natural death and his son Pekahiah reigned in his place. He reigned 2 years until Pekah with a band of fifty men carried out a coup that killed the king, and Pekah took over as king. He reigned for 20 years during which Assyria captured many towns and occupied considerable land in Israel. Hoshea conspired against Pekah, killed him and ruled in his stead. He is the last king of Israel (732-722BC), and is ruling during the time of today’s study. He and al is people have repudiated YHWH. Now they are headed for destruction with no way of escape. 722 BC is the end date.
Hos. 8:4 With their silver and gold they made idols
for their own destruction.
Hos. 8:7 For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.
God will not recognize their Annual Festivals
Hos. 9:1-4 Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples;
for you have played the whore, forsaking your God.
You have loved a prostitute’s wages
on all threshing floors.
Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,
and the new wine shall fail them.
They shall not remain in the land of the LORD,
but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,
and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.
They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the LORD,
and their sacrifices shall not please him.
It shall be like mourners’ bread to them;
all who eat of it shall be defiled;
for their bread shall be for their hunger only;
it shall not come to the house of the LORD.
The people will not remain in the land of the Lord. They have been living in the Promised Land. They had property rights as determined by the Lord, but YHWH retained title to the land. The continued occupation of the land was contingent on faithful adherence to the Covenant. However, in the end their land was God’s land, and he is about to expel the undesirable tenants (Deut. 31:29; 32:15-22).
Israel will soon go into captivity were she cannot celebrate her festivals
Hos. 9:5-6 What will you do on the day of the appointed festival,
and on the day of the feast of the LORD?
For behold, they are going away from destruction;
but Egypt shall gather them;
Memphis shall bury them.
Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;
thorns shall be in their tents.
The setting is the time of the fall festival, the Festival of Tabernacles or Booths. The people are to make temporary shelters to live in as they celebrate the harvest with its produce and wine (Lev. 23:33-43). The Israelites would celebrate it a month later than the proper date celebrated in Judah. But the days of such celebrations are coming to an end. These celebrations will cease when they are taken into exile.
The End is Near
Hos. 9:7-9 The days of punishment have come;
the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it.
The prophet is a fool;
the man of the spirit is mad,
because of your great iniquity and great hatred.
The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim with my God;
yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,
and hatred in the house of his God.
They have deeply corrupted themselves
as in the days of Gibeah:
he will remember their iniquity;
he will punish their sins.
The people ignore Hosea and call him a fool. They say he is mad. The people hate him because he represents the true God. We see similar hatred in our country today between the major political parties. (See Luke 21:12-19)
The event in Gibeah found in the book of Judges 19-21, is one of the most gruesome stories in the Bible. The entire tribe of Benjamin was almost destroyed as a consequence of the event. This happened more than 300 years earlier. God does not forget our deeds. No bad deed goes unpunished. It can be forgiven, but not unpunished.
Hos. 9:10-11 Like grapes in the wilderness,
I found Israel.
Like the first fruit on the fig tree
in its first season,
I saw your fathers.
But they came to Baal-peor
and consecrated themselves to the thing of shame,
and became detestable like the thing they loved.
Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!
In Num. 22-24 the prophet Balaam is asked to bring God’s curse on the Israelites. He, after three tries, is unable to do it. Therefore, he comes up with a plan to let them bring the curse of God on themselves. Numbers 31:16 Behold, these, on Balaam's advice, caused the people of Israel to act treacherously against the LORD in the incident of Peor, and so the plague came among the congregation of the LORD.
Num. 25:1-5 While Israel lived in Shittim, the people began to whore with the daughters of Moab. These invited the people to the sacrifices of their gods, and the people ate and bowed down to their gods. So Israel yoked himself to Baal of Peor. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel. And the LORD said to Moses, “Take all the chiefs of the people and hang them in the sun before the LORD, that the fierce anger of the LORD may turn away from Israel.” And Moses said to the judges of Israel, “Each of you kill those of his men who have yoked themselves to Baal of Peor.”
Hos. 9:12-15 Even if they bring up children,
I will bereave them till none is left.
Woe to them when I depart from them!
Ephraim, as I have seen, was like a young palm planted in a meadow;
but Ephraim must lead his children out to slaughter.
Give them, O LORD—
what will you give?
Give them a miscarrying womb
and dry breasts.
Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them.
Gilgal was an ancient cult center, just across the Jordan from Baal-peor. Later it was the place Saul was anointed king of Israel. It represents Israel’s idolatry and sexual immorality on the whole.
Hos. 9:15-17 Because of the wickedness of their deeds
I will drive them out of my house.
I will love them no more;
all their princes are rebels.
Ephraim is stricken;
their root is dried up;
they shall bear no fruit.
Even though they give birth,
I will put their beloved children to death.
My God will reject them
because they have not listened to him;
they shall be wanderers among the nations.
The nation is dying and the people are blind to it. The leaders are intimately involved in helping the nation to sin. Their stubbornness makes it impossible for YHWH to influence them for good. The land will be overthrown and the people scattered among the nations.
Hos. 10:1-2 Israel is a luxuriant vine that yields its fruit.
The more his fruit increased,
the more altars he built;
as his country improved,
he improved his pillars.
Their heart is false;
now they must bear their guilt.
The LORD will break down their altars
and destroy their pillars.
Israel had been a very wealthy land, probably due to its place in the trade routes, but really because it was blessed by God from the beginning. Its wealth is being whittled away slowly because of its idolatry. The people do not understand that their wealth is a blessing of YHWH and not the work of their hands.
Deut. 8:17-20 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Hos. 10:3-6 For now they will say:
“We have no king,
for we do not fear the LORD;
and a king—what could he do for us?”
They utter mere words;
with empty oaths they make covenants;
so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds
in the furrows of the field.
The inhabitants of Samaria tremble
for the calf of Beth-aven.
Its people mourn for it, and so do its idolatrous priests—
those who rejoiced over it and over its glory—
for it has departed from them.
The thing itself shall be carried to Assyria
as tribute to the great king.
Ephraim shall be put to shame,
and Israel shall be ashamed of his idol.
It is interesting how some people in the USA say President Trump is not their president. Lindsey Vonn is a prime example. She says she will not even go to the White House with the Olympic athletes. She is living without a king and is living in anarchy.
The Golden Calf in Bethel will be carried away to Assyria. That is a lot of gold.
Hos. 10:7-8 Samaria’s king shall perish
like a twig on the face of the waters.
The high places of Aven, the sin of Israel,
shall be destroyed.
Thorn and thistle shall grow up
on their altars,
and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us,
and to the hills, Fall on us.
Luke 23:28-30 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’
Rev. 6:15-17 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
Hos. 10:9-10 From the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, O Israel;
there they have continued.
Shall not the war against the unjust overtake them in Gibeah?
When I please, I will discipline them,
and nations shall be gathered against them
when they are bound up for their double iniquity.
‘Gibeah’ is a paradigm of the depth to which Israel is capable of sinking morally. The moral decline is directly related to the religious decline in the nation. The moral decline is the immediate cause of the disaster heading their way.
God will determine the timing of the end. Even so today, no one knows the day of Christ’s return, and we are warned to be morally and religiously prepared for his coming again.
Hos. 10:11-12 Ephraim was a trained calf
that loved to thresh,
and I spared her fair neck;
but I will put Ephraim to the yoke;
Judah must plow;
Jacob must harrow for himself.
Sow for yourselves righteousness;
reap steadfast love;
break up your fallow ground,
for it is the time to seek the LORD,
that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
God’s gentle heart remembers the dos past and then reminds the people that he has called them to righteousness and love.
Hos. 10:13-15 You have plowed iniquity;
you have reaped injustice;
you have eaten the fruit of lies.
Because you have trusted in your own way
and in the multitude of your warriors,
therefore the tumult of war shall arise among your people,
and all your fortresses shall be destroyed,
as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle;
mothers were dashed in pieces with their children.
Thus it shall be done to you, O Bethel,because of your great evil.
At dawn the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
The nation is about to reap the whirlwind (8:7).
Galatians 6:7-10 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Hos. 11:1-4 When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
The more they were called,
the more they went away;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals
and burning offerings to idols.
Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk;
I took them up by their arms,
but they did not know that I healed them.
with the bands of love,
and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws,
and I bent down to them and fed them.
We see here the pathos of a loving father seeing his children going astray.
Hos. 11:5-7 They shall not return to the land of Egypt,
but Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
The sword shall rage against their cities,
consume the bars of their gates,
and devour them because of their own counsels.
My people are bent on turning away from me,
and though they call out to the Most High,
he shall not raise them up at all.
The Israelites were in Egypt for 400 years. Much of that time was spent as slaves. They were freed buy their gracious God, but they refuse to recognize his beneficence. Now they will be going back into slavery, this time in Assyria.
Hos. 11:8-9 How can I give you up, O Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
I will not execute my burning anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and not a man,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
God’s grace and love struggles in his heart with his righteousness and justice.
Hos. 11:10-12 They shall go after the LORD;
they will roar like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west;
they shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria,
and I will return them to their homes, declares the LORD.
Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
and the house of Israel with deceit,
but Judah still walks with God
and is faithful to the Holy One.
Judgment must be exercised, but love never leaves God, and in time he will restore his wandering family. At this point Judah is still on the right path, although just barely.
Is it possible that God will find a way to reprieve man in the Christian era as well. Hell looms ahead for those who have rejected Christ. What about those who have never heard? What about those who have heard, but never took Jesus message seriously? What about those who took the message seriously and responded in faith, but then lost their faith somewhere along the road?
Hos. 12:1 Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long;
they multiply falsehood and violence;
they make a covenant with Assyria,
and oil is carried to Egypt.
The east wind is Assyria at this time. Hosea is flailing around looking for diplomatic support from Assyria and Egypt, both at the same time. He should be looking to renew his covenant with God instead.
Hos. 12:2-7 The LORD has an indictment against Judah
and will punish Jacob according to his ways;
he will repay him according to his deeds.
In the womb he took his brother by the heel,
and in his manhood he strove with God.
He strove with the angel and prevailed;
he wept and sought his favor.
He met God at Bethel,
and there God spoke with us—
the LORD, the God of hosts,
the LORD is his memorial name:
“So you, by the help of your God, return,
hold fast to love and justice,
and wait continually for your God.”
A merchant, in whose hands are false balances,
he loves to oppress.
This is the sum total of Yahweh’s indictment against all Israel, Judah and the Northern Kingdom. Their father, Jacob, knew YHWH intimately. Now the children have wandered away. False balances have replaced love and justice.
Hos. 12:8 Ephraim has said, “Ah, but I am rich;
I have found wealth for myself;
in all my labors they cannot find in me iniquity or sin.”
Deut. 8:11-20 11 “Take care lest you forget the LORD your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ You shall remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day. And if you forget the LORD your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the LORD makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you would not obey the voice of the LORD your God.
Hos. 12:9-14 I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
I will again make you dwell in tents,
as in the days of the appointed feast.
I spoke to the prophets;
it was I who multiplied visions,
and through the prophets gave parables.
If there is iniquity in Gilead,
they shall surely come to nothing:
in Gilgal they sacrifice bulls;
their altars also are like stone heaps
on the furrows of the field.
Jacob fled to the land of Aram;
there Israel served for a wife,
and for a wife he guarded sheep.
By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up from Egypt,
and by a prophet he was guarded.
Ephraim has given bitter provocation;
so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him
and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.
The lawsuit continues. Justice requires repayment.
Judgment for idolatry.
Hos. 13:1-3 When Ephraim spoke, there was trembling;
he was exalted in Israel,
but he incurred guilt through Baal and died.
And now they sin more and more,
and make for themselves metal images,
idols skillfully made of their silver,
all of them the work of craftsmen.
It is said of them,
“Those who offer human sacrifice kiss calves!”
Therefore they shall be like the morning mist
or like the dew that goes early away,
like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor
or like smoke from a window.
Num 22:1-6 Then the people of Israel set out and camped in the plains of Moab beyond the Jordan at Jericho. And Balak the son of Zippor saw all that Israel had done to the Amorites. And Moab was in great dread of the people, because they were many. Moab was overcome with fear of the people of Israel. And Moab said to the elders of Midian, “This horde will now lick up all that is around us, as the ox licks up the grass of the field.” So Balak the son of Zippor, who was king of Moab at that time, sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me. Come now, curse this people for me, since they are too mighty for me. Perhaps I shall be able to defeat them and drive them from the land, for I know that he whom you bless is blessed, and he whom you curse is cursed.”
Judgment will be harsh
Hos. 13:4-8 But I am the LORD your God
from the land of Egypt;
you know no God but me,
and besides me there is no savior.
It was I who knew you in the wilderness,
in the land of drought;
but when they had grazed, they became full,
they were filled, and their heart was lifted up;
therefore they forgot me.
So I am to them like a lion;
like a leopard I will lurk beside the way.
I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs;
I will tear open their breast,
and there I will devour them like a lion,
as a wild beast would rip them open.
YHWH is the true king of Israel
Hos. 13:9-13 He destroys you, O Israel,
for you are against me, against your helper.
Where now is your king, to save you in all your cities?
Where are all your rulers—
those of whom you said,
“Give me a king and princes”?
I gave you a king in my anger,
and I took him away in my wrath.
The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up;
his sin is kept in store.
The pangs of childbirth come for him,
but he is an unwise son,
for at the right time he does not present himself
at the opening of the womb.
Hos. 13:14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your plagues?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Drought and war is descending on the land
Hos. 13:15-16 Though he may flourish among his brothers,
the east wind, the wind of the LORD, shall come,
rising from the wilderness,
and his fountain shall dry up;
his spring shall be parched;
it shall strip his treasury
of every precious thing.
Samaria shall bear her guilt,
because she has rebelled against her God;
they shall fall by the sword;
their little ones shall be dashed in pieces,
and their pregnant women ripped open.
A plea for repentance
Hos. 14:1-2 Return, O Israel, to the LORD your God,
for you have stumbled because of your iniquity.
Take with you words
and return to the LORD;
say to him,
“Take away all iniquity;
accept what is good,
and we will pay with bulls
the vows of our lips.
Assyria cannot save, but only enslave
Hos. 14:3 Assyria shall not save us;
we will not ride on horses;
and we will say no more, ‘Our God,’
to the work of our hands.
In you the orphan finds mercy.”
God’s love never ceases
Hos. 14:4 -7 I will heal their apostasy;
I will love them freely,
for my anger has turned from them.
I will be like the dew to Israel;
he shall blossom like the lily;
he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon;
his shoots shall spread out;
his beauty shall be alike the olive,
and his fragrance like Lebanon.
They shall return and dwell beneath my shadow;
they shall flourish like the grain;
they shall blossom like the vine;
their fame shall be like the wine of Lebanon.
Hos. 14:8-9 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols?
It is I who answer and look after you.
I am like an evergreen cypress;
from me comes your fruit.
Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.