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The Book of Hosea
The theme of this chapter is, Israel turns from God and God turns from Israel. This should be a stark warning for us today, because the vast majority of people are following Israel's path down the dreadful road to God's wrath. If you are playing the harlot, and being unfaithful to Him, He IS going to judge you because of your sin. He loves you, but He will tolerate just so much, then He will lower the boom!
This chapter continues to deal with the sin of the northern kingdom and the fact that judgment is coming upon them. This is not a very pleasant part of the Word of God. God's judgments are against the priests, the people and the princes of Israel, for their manifold sins, Hos.5:1-14, until they repent, Hos.5:15.
Israel Turns From God And God Turns From Israel (5:1-15)
God begins by condemning the leadership in the nation . . . the priests and 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. (KJV)
Hear ye this, O priests . . . a public statement is made, and the criminals must appear and be there for their charge. The priests are first summoned . . . NOT the tribe of Levi, NOT God's priests, but Baal's priests, priests of the idolatrous high places. These were men who called themselves priests, and were considered so by the backslidden people.
And hearken, ye house of Israel . . . not the kingdom of Judah, as some say. Judah is clearly set apart from Israel in this chapter. This is not the sanhedrim, to which some seem to incline; but the ten tribes, the whole kingdom of Israel, the common people in it. ALL the people of Israel must hearken and properly consider what is said.
And give ye ear, O house of the king . . . the princes, nobles and judges have ensnared the people by their idolatrous examples and practices, and the foolish people have gone along with them, and imitated them. The king of Israel, who is thought to be Menahem, the royal family, the princes of the blood, and all that belonged to the king's court. The condemnation is to ALL, of every office, priestly or kingly, of every rank, high and low. They are called upon to hearken . . . to LISTEN carefully to what is about to be said, concerning BOTH their sin and the punishment which would be sure to follow. Hosea points to Menahem and his whole family. . . . http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/10619-menahem
For judgment is toward you . . . to know and to do what is just and right. It was the job of the priests to know and teach divine judgment. They were to instruct the people in the knowledge of the judgments, statutes and laws of God. And it was the king's duty to execute human judgment, to do justice and judgment according to the laws of God, and of the realm. And it was the duty of the people to attend to both. This is to be understood of disciplinary justice and judgment, of the sentence of condemnation or reproof of punishment for sin.
Because ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor . . . "Mizpah" was in the southwest section of the kingdom, and "Tabor" is Mount Tabor which was in the northeast section of the kingdom. In other words, the people were worshiping idols under every green tree. Their idols were all over the land.
Hosea speaks God's Words to the priests and to the king, for they represent the leadership of the nation. In chapter 4, God said, "Like people, like priest" (Hos.4:9). The priests who should have been setting a good example were not able to rise above the level of the lowest man in society. That was also true of the king. What about us today? Our spiritual and political leadership is certainly not worthy of our imitating it! Liberalism is predominant in theology, liberalism is predominant in politics and our news media are completely liberal. Spiritual apostasy leads to continued deterioration and decline in a nation, and will eventually bring it down. That is what happened to Israel. That is why we today should take note of the Book of Hosea. Israel is a pattern for what can happen to us today.
The Lord threatens to be as a devouring lion to them (Hos.5:14), but the chapter ends with a promise of the conversion of these people, after the Lord had dealt with them in an angry manner (Hos.5:15).
Hosea 5:2 And the revolters are profound to make slaughter, though I have been a rebuker of them all. (KJV)
And the revolters are profound to make slaughter . . . the revolters are the king, priests and people. ALL of them! They ALL had revolted against the true worship and ways of God, and went unto idolatry. "Revolters" are all those that have cast off the law of God, in both religion and civil government. "Are profound" . . . have taken deep root in their apostasy from God, and revolt from the house of David. "To make slaughter" . . . all their idolatrous religion was nothing but butchering of cattle. There was NO sacrifice to God, and what was worse, a murdering of men.
Though I have been a rebuker of them all . . . king, priests and prophets, these idolaters, revolters or worshippers of Baal, had freely, faithfully and openly been by Hosea reproved of their departure from God and His worship, and for their idolatrous practices. They could NOT plead ignorance, or excuse themselves upon that account. Hosea had sharply criticized their brutish religion and their bloody slaughters. "Of them all" . . . none that were guilty escaped the reproof!
Hosea 5:3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. (KJV)
I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me . . . these revolters CANNOT hide themselves, or their evil plans and practices from the Lord! Nor can we! (Eze.11:5). God thoroughly knows Ephraim. The revolters are also called Israel in this verse. These people CANNOT hide from Him. It is repetition of the same thing in different words.
For now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom . . . both physical and spiritual adultery, which often went together, as observed in chapter 4. The Lord KNEW their physical whoredom, even though they ever so secretly committed it, and their spiritual adultery or idolatry, under all the false pretences of worshipping Him; which was an utter abomination to Him, as well as a pollution to them. "Thou committest whoredom" . . . all their pretences that they put upon their concocted religion cannot better it, because it is downright wicked idolatry or spiritual whoredom.
And Israel is defiled . . . with the same sins. ALL sin is of a defiling nature, but especially those mentioned which defile both body and soul, and leave mankind abominable and loathsome in God's eyes. Israel here is Ephraim. When Israel is said to be polluted, it means both spiritual and physical corruption, which nearly always are linked together, and draw on each other.
Omniscience; God's all-knowing ability: (Josh.22:22; Job 26:6; 28:23; 31:4; 34:21; Ps.139:4; 147:5; Pro.15:11; Eze.11:5; 37:3; Amos 4:13; Mat.12:25; 22:18; Mk.2:8; 11:2; Lk.5:6; 8:46; 19:30; 22:10; Jn.2:24; 6:6; 13:3; 16:30; 19:28; 21:17; Acts 1:24; 2 Cor.12:2; Heb.4:13; 1 Jn.3:20; Rev.3:1,8,14)
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. (KJV)
They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God . . . "they" are the revolters, idolatrous and corrupted Israelites. They will NOT adjust their ways so that they might come back to God. They are deeply instilled with a false spirit within them (1 Jn.4:2-3). They have NO knowledge of the Lord, nor do they want any; just like billions today! They have become slaves to their own evil doings, and they have neither the will or power to change (Jer.13:23-24).
For the spirit of whoredom is in the midst of them . . . (Hos.4:12). Their minds were bent and fixed on spiritual whoredoms, and they are incited to it by the seducing spirit (1 Tim.4:1), lured to it by examples. They all were filled with this demonic spirit, it had taken over their hearts. This unclean spirit prompts and urges them on to commit physical and spiritual whoredom; their minds were set upon these abominable, evil practices. The "spirit of error" (1 Jn.4:6), which caused them to err, was the lying spirit in the false prophets which encouraged them. It was the spirit that works in the "children of disobedience" (Eph.2:2; 5:6). Unclean spirit: (Zec.13:2; Mat.12:43; Mk.1:23,26; 3:30; 5:2,8; 7:25; Lk.4:33; 8:29; 11:24; Rev.18:2)
And they have not known the Lord . . . ignorance of God, His nature, His perfections, His will, His Word and His worship, was the cause of their idolatry, and other sins (Hos.4:1). This was wilful and conceited ignorance. They knew not, nor would they understand, they rejected any and all knowledge of God, again . . . like billions today!
So many today have not known, never did rightly know, nor do they want to know, or IF they ever knew, they forgot and were wilfully ignorant of the way of holiness and purity contained in the law of God. They do NOT turn to God, do NOT repent of their wicked ways, do NOT leave their sin, so they CANNOT return to God. They, like Israel, have violated the covenant and departed from God. Their sin has hardened them to a hopeless and remediless stubbornness and impenitence.
The Almighty Lord is absolutely pure, zealous for His glory, sovereign in His authority, rich in His rewards . . . BUT He is severe in His punishments, and true to His Promises and when He threatens something, He fulfills it! It is SO foolish for any nation or individual to forsake the True and Living God, because HE shall have the last Word!
Although the calf worship, or the worship of Baal, had been set up in the tribe of Ephraim, it indeed had defiled all ten of the tribes and even had an effect on the southern kingdom of Judah. Their sin was the sin of a people who had the Word of God and who knew God but had turned far from Him, no longer knowing Him or worshipping Him. Because of this, gross immorality and deterioration was throughout every part of the nation. Even the land and animals were affected, and I really do think the curse of God is still upon that land today. Any irrigation that has been done has NOT yet made the desert to "blossom as the rose" (Isa. 35:1).
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. (KJV)
And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face . . . the "pride" or glory of Israel, "doth testify" . . . is a full and evident witness against Israel, that no other testimony is needed. "To his face" . . . to convince and silence the most disrespectful and shameless among them. This is a prediction that God Himself would witness against Israel. God is said to swear by "the excellency of Jacob" (Amos 8:7), by Himself. "Pride" is here rendered as the haughtiness, carnal confidence of Israel, grown great under the long and prosperous reign of Jeroboam the Second, that they thought it impossible such calamities as the prophet foretold should overtake them, or that God would think so badly of that worship they thought so well of . . . they neither confess their sins, nor fear God's judgments. Pride of Israel: (Hos.7:10; Pro.30:13; Isa.3:9; 9:9-10; 28:1-3). Doth Testify: (Isa.44:9; 59:12; Jer.14:7; Mat.23:31; Lk.19:22). For more on Jeroboam, see: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8599-jeroboam
The glory of Israel shall be humbled. They shall answer directly to God's Face. Their sin contradicts the Lord and fills Him with shame. The pride of their hearts appears in all their actions, and is laid wide open to all. All the sinful actions are done by them in a proud and arrogant manner, in contempt of God and of His laws, and shall fly up in their faces, and fill them with dread and horror. Instead of the greatness, glory and honor that they formerly had, they shall be in a low condition in their own land, even before they go into captivity. Some think this means God Himself, Who, formerly was the pride, glory and excellency of Israel; of whom they were proud and boasted and gloried in Him, but now would be a devastating witness against them.
Therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity . . . the nine tribes of Israel and the tribe of Ephraim make up the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel. They shall fall because of their iniquities, as before mentioned. Their sins shall put them into ruin and misery, and this has respect to their final destruction and captivity by the Assyrians. They fell into sin, and then by that sin, they shall be ruined because they are guilty and repent not (Hos.14:1).
Judah also shall fall with them . . . Judah, the two tribes under Ahaz, now lapsed into idolatry, "also shall fall with them," be captivated too. The two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, when they fell into idolatry, were guilty of the same crimes, so would be involved in similar punishment, although not at the same time; because the Babylon captivity, in which Judah was carried captive, was many years after Israel was carried captive by the Assyrians.
Some say this was the low, afflicted and distressed condition of Judah, in the times of Ahaz, by Tiglathpileser, king of Assyria, who had some time before carried captive part of Israel, and in which times Judah fell into idolatrous practices, and fell by them (2 Ki.15:29). Fall in: (Hos.4:5; 14:1; Pro.11:5,21; 14:32; 24:16; Amos 5:2). Judah: (Hos.5:14; 8:14; 2 Ki.17:19-20; Eze.23:31-35; Amos 2:4-5).
God is saying that all ten tribes will be conquered, and "Judah also shall fall" but He does not say, "at the same time." Judah was finally brought down, and both of these kingdoms were carried away into captivity. The northern kingdom was carried into captivity by Assyria; and about a century later, the southern kingdom was taken to Babylon. From that captivity, there has really never actually been the return to the land which the Word of God speaks about. The Book of Hosea makes it very clear that when God brings them back, the world will know it, and there will be peace in the land.
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. (KJV)
They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the Lord . . . "they" . . . some say this means the people of Judah, but I think it is also the ten tribes of Israel. When they were in distress, and saw ruin coming, they should have sought the Lord; sought help from Him against their enemies and the pardon of their sins. They should have sought His Face and favor, to appease His wrath. By bringing a multitude of sacrifices out of their flocks and herds was NOT true repentance for their sins, nor was there any faith in their great sacrifices, even though they were legal sacrifices and rightly performed. This seems to be a little before the ruin of them both. "Go with their flocks" . . . to try to appease the Lord with their sacrifices (Isa.1:11-15; Heb.13:15-16).
But they shall not find him . . . shall NOT find grace and mercy with Him. They shall seek, but NOT find the Lord! WHY? Because it is only slavish fear that leads them to seek Him, and because it then shall be too late (Pro.1:28; Jn.7:34). This is what it is like today! People only "seek" the Lord in times of disaster: 9-11, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, rampant crime sprees, etc. He will NOT be favorable to them, will NOT give them any help, but "give them up" (Rom.1:24,26,28) to utter ruin and destruction; as He did Israel at the Assyrian captivity, and Judah at the Babylon captivity.
He hath withdrawn himself from them . . . withdrawn Himself in displeasure; withdrawn His favorable Presence from them, and resolves to leave them to the violence of the Assyrians. The glory of the Lord departed from them; His Shekinah, or divine Majesty, is removed from them because of their idolatry, and other sins. They did NOT seek Him where and when He could be found; so, when they did seek Him, they could NOT find Him. Shekinah:http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13537-shekinah
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. (KJV)
They have dealt treacherously against the Lord . . . "they" . . . the whole house of Israel: all the priests, people and princes and their kings with them, have dealt treacherously; have falsified their word and promise of fidelity and constancy, of love and affection, when they entered covenant with God; have become idolaters, and worshipped and relied on false gods. The reason of His departure from them . . . just as a woman deals treacherously with her husband when she is unfaithful to him, and commits physical adultery; so Israel and Judah dealt treacherously with the Lord, who stood in the relation of a husband to them in covenant, by committing spiritual adultery (idolatry). Dealt treacherously: (Hos.6;7; Isa.48:8; 59:13; Jer.3:20; 5:11).
They have begotten strange children . . . either of strange women, the daughters of idolatrous Heathens they married, or their natural children, though born of Jewish parents, yet being raised by them in an idolatrous way, teaching the same evils the parents were guilty of. They are said to be "strange children" to the Lord, alienated from Him and His worship. Strange children: (Neh.13:23-24; Ps.144:7,11; Mal.2:11-15).
Now shall a month devour them with their portions . . . the Jews understand this literally of the month Tammuz, in which the city was broken up, and the month Ab, in which it was destroyed. This refers to the time of Jerusalem's destruction, and it means a short time (Zec.11:8). Some think it means every month; and means the continual desolation that would be made, until they were utterly destroyed. Still others interpret it as their new moon, or first day of the month, which they observed in a religious way, by offering sacrifice, and on which they depended.
Because of the idolatry committed within them, they provoked the Lord's wrath and He would destroy them on account of their sin; including their farms, fields and vineyards, which were their portions and inheritances (Isa.1:13-14). "With their portions" . . . not only the persons, but their goods are exposed to speedy spoiling and speedy anguish.
"For they have begotten strange children" . . . they did not bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. In the Book of Deuteronomy, God told His people that they were to be continually teaching His Word to their children. They were to put it on the doorposts and teach it as they sat in their homes and as they walked together and even when they were going to bed at night (Deut.11:18-21). But here God says, "You have begotten strange children" . . . they don't even know Me!
Hosea 5:8 Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah: cry aloud at Bethaven, after thee, O Benjamin. (KJV)
Blow ye the cornet in Gibeah, and the trumpet in Ramah . . . the "cornet" was made of the curved horn of animals and was used by shepherds. The "trumpet" was made of brass or silver, straight, and used in wars and on solemn occasions (Hos.8:1; Num.10:2; Jer.4:5; 6:1; Joel 2:1,15).
Gilbeah: (Hos.9:9; 10:9; Josh.15:57; Judg.19:12-16; 20:4-43; 1 Sam.10:26; 11:4; 13:2-15; 14:2-16; 15:34; 22:6; 23:19; 2 Sam.6:3-4; 21:6; 23:29; 1 Chron.11:31; 2 Chron.13:2; Isa.10:29). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6661-gibeah
Ramah: (Josh.18:25; Judg.19:13; 1 Sam.7:17; 8:4; 15:34; 16:13; 19:18; 22:6; 25:1; 28:3; 1 Ki.15:17; Ezra 2:26; Mat.2:18). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12548-ramah
Cry aloud at Bethaven . . . "Cry aloud" means to raise the alarm. Bethaven is the same as Bethel, or a place near unto it, in the tribe of Benjamin, or on the borders of Ephraim (Hos.4:15). It was about twelve miles from Jerusalem, on the way to Sichem; and was on the borders both of Benjamin and Ephraim. Sometimes it belonged to Israel, and sometimes to Judah (2 Chron.13:19). Benjamin was at the back of it (for where the tribe of Benjamin ended, not far in the tribe of Ephraim, this city was built. An alarm of war was to give notice that the enemy is at hand, just ready to invade the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and bring destruction upon them. These words are directed to the prophets, "Lift up your voice like a trumpet.'' Beth-aven: (Hos.4:15; 5:5,8; 10:5,8; Josh.7:2; 18:12; 1 Sam.13:5; 14:23; Judg.5:14; 1 Ki.12:29). http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/3199-beth-aven
After thee, O Benjamin . . . after Israel's cries, let Benjamin and Judah too begin their cries, for they too shall also fall for their sin. This is a prediction of the invasion of the Assyrians, and the captivity of the ten tribes. "Benjamin" is here put for the whole southern kingdom of Judah (Hos.5:5), being the first part of it which would meet the foe advancing from the north. "After thee, O Benjamin," implies the position of Beth-aven, behind Benjamin, at the borders of Ephraim. When the foe is at Beth-aven, he is at Benjamin's rear, close upon thee, O Benjamin (Judges 5:14).
After the trumpet is blown in Gibeah and Ramah, cities which belonged to Benjamin, let it he blown, either in Bethaven, on the borders of Benjamin and Ephraim; or let it be blown in the tribe of Judah, so that all the twelve tribes may have notice, and prepare for what is coming upon them.
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. (KJV)
Ephraim shall he desolate in the day of rebuke . . . Ephraim here stands as the whole kingdom of the ten tribes, all sorts and ranks of men among them. The entire country of the ten tribes shall be laid desolate. The inhabitants shall be destroyed either by the sword, famine or pestilence (Rev.6:8), and the rest carried away captive, as they were by Shalmaneser. This was the day of the Lord's rebuke and chastisement of them, or the reward of their sins. The trumpet was to be blown in order to give notice of, or to call for mourning on account of their sins. "Shall be desolate" . . . deserted, depressing, unhappy, utterly cut off. "In the day of rebuke" . . . when Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, shall come up with his forces, besiege, sack and lay siege to all their cities. Shalmaneser: (2 Ki.17:3; 18:9) . . . http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/13491-shalmaneser
Among the tribes of Israel have I made known that which shall surely be . . . this desolation was foretold by the prophets, and broadcast in all the tribes of Israel, as what would surely come to pass. They simply could NOT plead ignorance of it. They could NOT say they had no notice given them. IF they had "hearkened" to the prophets, they would have repented of their sins. In the tribes of Israel, God had made known the law. Almighty God is true and faithful to His Word. Had they walked in His ways, hearkened to Him, it would be well with them . . . BUT . . . if not, He would destroy their land, and carry them captive. God had not failed to warn the people. He had warned them, He had rebuked them, and they still would not hear. God has NOT changed! He still hates sin! WE had better pay attention!
Reward For Evil: (Num.14:23; Deut.32:35,43; Judg.9:57: 1 Ki.2:6; 2 Chron.6:23; 25:20; 26:20; 33:11; Ezra 9:7; Neh.4:4; Job 21:19,31; 34:11; Ps.10:14; 28:4; 31:23; 54:5; 79:12; 91:8; 94:2,23; 109:20; 137:8; Pro.11:31; 26:10; Isa.3:11; 34:8; 40:2; 59:18; 65:7; Jer.11:11; 16:18; 25:14; 30:16; 32:18,23; 44:3; 50:14,29; 51:6,24,49; Lam.3:64; Eze.7:4,8; 9:10; 11:21; 16:43; 17:19; 22:31; 23:49; Hos.4:9; 5:11; 9:7; 12:2; Joel 3:4; Mat.7:2; 18:34; 25:30; Rom.1:27; 6:23; 11:9; 12:19; 2 Thes.1:6; 2 Tim.4:14; Heb.2:2; 10:30; Rev.16:6; 18:6)
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. (KJV)
The princes of Judah were like them that remove the bound . . . to remove a landmark or boundary marker was an evil thing to do, and it was against the law (Deut.19:14; 27:17). It has always been a heinous sin among all nations, and is only done by those who have NO regard for right and wrong, and always done secretly. This is what their rulers, their kings, princes and nobles of Judah were doing, secretly committing gross iniquities. They were completely given up to their greedy and vile lusts, and could not be contained within any bounds.
The sense here is, that the princes of Judah removed the boundary markers; either literally, by force and violence, and seized the possessions and inheritances of their neighbors which lay next to theirs . . . or in a figurative sense, they broke through all bounds and limits, and transgressed the laws of God and men, not being restrained by either. "The princes" . . . the great men around the king and court, the rulers and governors, who by the law of God and man should have maintained equity and justice among the people. "Of Judah" . . . the kingdom of Judah, or the two tribes. "Were like them that remove the bound" . . . the ancient bounds which limited every one, prevented controversies and oppressions of covetous, invading men. The prophet aims at reproving the sin of these rulers because of their changing the laws of religion, as well as altering the bounds of civil rights, whether by trespassing upon foreigners, and enlarging the kingdom of Judah by setting up on the neighboring kingdoms, or by injustice and violence seizing what was another's.
Therefore I will pour out my wrath upon them like water . . . this was abominable, a sin and forbidden (Deut.19:14); and this practice is cursed (Deut.27:17). God now will punish it. "Like water" . . . like an overflowing flood, in great abundance, and with such force and vehemence, that could not be stopped, but utterly destroy. In like manner, the wrath of God would be poured down from Heaven upon these princes without measure. It would be just retaliation for their removing the bounds of their neighbors, or transgressing the laws of God. This was fulfilled either in the times of Ahaz, when Rezin king of Syria, and Pekah king of Israel, as well as Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, greatly afflicted Judah (2 Chron.28:1), or at the time of the Babylon captivity.
When I read this, I think of the greedy, money hungry and power hungry "princes" in our country today. The "oil men" both civil and in our government are an absolute corruption as far as I can see. I just want to know what they plan on doing with their billions when the Lord takes them out of this world. There is no way that gas prices should be what they are today! And the worst of it is . . . prices will keep going up because of these greedy monsters. (My opinion).
Hosea 5:11 Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment. (KJV)
Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment . . . the prophet again returns to the ten tribes. "Ephraim," meaning the subjects of the kingdom of Israel, the ten tribes. The prophet resumes his threat against them. "Is oppressed" . . . if we suppose that this prophecy was in Ahaz's time, it will appear that the reigns of Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah and Pekah were past; these being unjust, seditious, bloody and tyrannical times, in which oppressions abounded, and of which our prophet now speaks. The ten tribes are by treason, civil wars and bloody conspiracies nearly eaten up. But on top of this, God will add His displeasure, and the Assyrians shall be the executioners, and shall oppress Ephraim. It surely does not benefit anyone to go against God! "Broken in judgment" . . . literally crushed in judgment.
Because he willingly walked after the commandment . . . not after the commandment of God, but after the commandment of men (Mat.15:9), or after the commandment of the prophets of Baal, or after the commandment of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, by worshipping the calves at Dan and Bethel he set up there. Ephraim is spoken of as if one person, maybe to reveal their universal turning against God. They willingly walked in sin. It was NOT forced upon them, they did it willingly. Although there was a law forbidding idolatry (Ex.20:3-5; Deut.5:7-8), yet the people were stubborn, with a great readiness to commit spiritual adultery.
Hosea 5:12 Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness. (KJV)
Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth . . . which eats garments, penetrates into them, feeds on them privately, secretly, without any noise, and gradually and slowly consumes them. "As a moth" . . . God was then, and had been from Jeroboam's death to this day, weakening the ten tribes.
And to the house of Judah as rottenness . . . as rottenness in the bones (Pro.12:4), which can never be removed or cured . . . or as a worm that eats into wood, and gets into the very heart of a tree, and eats it out . . . thus the Lord threatens the house of Judah, or the two tribes, with a slow and gradual, yet thorough, ruin and destruction.
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. (KJV)
When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound . . . saw his sickness, a weakness, like a consumption, threatening death. Though Menahem had killed Shallun, and got to the throne, yet he found himself unable to hold it against the opposite faction, and therefore sent for assistance from Assyria (2 Ki.15:19), or at least purchased the friendship of Pul, who was come out as an enemy. "Saw," that is, felt its weakened state politically, and the dangers that threatened it. It aggravates their wickedness, that although aware of their unsound and calamitous state, they did not inquire into the cause or seek a right remedy.
Judah, the other kingdom of the two tribes, saw his wound; a deep and festering wound; or a corrupting, inflamed abscess, which needed to be opened, cleansed, and bound up: such was the state of the two tribes in that day, ulcerous and full of danger, for Ahaz had done very wickedly, and wounded the kingdom. "When Ephraim saw his sickness" . . . he perceived it, was aware of it. God tells them how they acted when they felt those lighter afflictions, the decline and wasting of their power. The "sickness" may further mean the gradual inward decay; the "wound" may mean that received from without.
Then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to King Jareb . . . the ten tribes, or the king of them, went and met the Assyrian king; and Judah the two tribes, or the king of them, sent ambassadors to King Jareb. It seems that the sense here is that the Assyrian and King Jareb are one and the same.
The king of Assyria is meant, who also is called "king Jareb." 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. (KJV)
Yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound . . . Ephraim's sickness grew worse by it, Israel was sicker for it. "Wound" (Isa.1:6; Jer.30:12). When Ephraim saw that he was sick and when Judah saw his wounds, Ephraim went to Assyria to ask the great king for help. But the king could NOT cure them of their sickness, or heal their wounds. They thought that the king of Assyria could help them, but he is the one who took them into captivity . . . they appealed for help to the wrong one. Ephraim went to a quack (worthless, no value) doctor (2 Chron.16:12; Mk.5:26) . . . NOT the Great Physician (Mat.8:2-5, 13-17; 9:2-8,18-26; 12:9-21-37; 15:21-39; 17:14-21; 20:29-34; 21:14)
Psalm 118:8-9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. 9 It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes. (KJV)
Psalm 146:3-4 Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. 4 His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. (KJV)
Cursed: (2 Chron.32:8; Ps.118:8-9; 146:3-4; Isa.2:22; 30:1-7; 31:1-9; 36:6; Eze.29:6-7)
Judah was also hurt at this time because Assyria had come against them but did not take them into captivity.
Jareb, King of Asshur: (Hos.5:13; 10:6).
Asshur, son of Shem, and ancestor of the Assyrians: (Gen.10:11,22; 1 Chron.1:17; Eze.32:22).
Assyria, An empire founded by Nimrod: (Gen.10:8-12; Mic. 5:6). It extended from east of the Tigris: (Gen.2:14; 10:11). Its armies invade the land of Israel under Pul: (2 Ki.15:19; 1 Chron.5:26). Tiglath: (2 Ki.15:29; 1 Chron.5:6,26). Shalmaneser: (2 Ki.17:3-6,24-27; 18:9-12; Jer.50:17). Sennacherib: (2 Ki.18:13-37; 2 Ki.19; 2 Chron.32; Isa.36 & 37). Army of, destroyed by the angel of the Lord: (Isa.37:36). Alliances with, sought by Judah and Israel: (Hos.5:13). Israelites subject to: (Lam.5:6). Israelites carried captive into: (2 Ki.17:3-23). Jews carried captive to: (2 Ki.24 & 25; 2 Chron.36:5-21). Invaded by Pharaoh-necho: (2 Ki.23:29).
"Nor cure you." The Assyrian king was either unable or unwilling to heal the wound, which he knew would greatly profit him as well as hurt the patient. He could not heal the sickness, or cure the wound.
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. (KJV)
For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah . . . God was utterly provoked by their conduct and stupid behavior in seeking help from others, and not going to Him for help. He threatens to punish them in a very public and severe manner. He would not be to them simply as a moth and rottenness (verse 12), but as a lion, a young lion, strong and fierce, that destroy and devour all that come into their reach, and from whom there is NO deliverance. And it was in this way that the Lord was to both Israel and Judah, by means of the Assyrians and Babylonians; which are compared to a lion, that devoured Israel; and the latter to a young lion, that broke the bones of Judah (Jer.50:17); and then the blow of the Romans, especially to Judah.
I, even I, will tear and go away . . . just as a lion tears its seized prey into pieces, and goes away, leaving it shattered and torn, after having satisfied itself. Just as there is then no fear of its being pursued, or any vengeance taken on him for what he has done; so too, would the Lord destroy Israel and Judah, leaving them ruined, none being able to rise up and avenge their cause. The "I" is doubled, expressing the certainty of it. God does NOT lie!
I will take away, and none shall rescue him . . . just as the lion, having filled itself with its prey, then carries the rest away to its den, where none dare come and take it from him . . . so too, the Lord indicates that those of Israel and Judah that perished not by the sword of the enemy, or by famine or pestilence (Rev.6:8), should be carried away captive, and none would be able to return them until He decides. Under the extreme wrath and displeasure of God, and under this tearing, rending and afflictive time, they now are, and will continue until the time of their conversion in the end times. Sin, disobedience to God is a terrible thing!
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. (KJV)
I will go and return to my place . . . they MUST acknowledge their offence. They MUST admit their guilt before Him. They MUST seek His Face. Because of all their utter disobedience, God has removed His Presence from them. Until the Israelites acknowledge their idolatry, acknowledge their disbelief and rejection of the one and only "Messiah," (Christ Jesus of Nazareth) and all their other sins . . . until they honestly and openly confess that they are guilty, and know and acknowledge they have sinned, and then humbly seek the Face and favor of God, the remission of their sins from Him, and acceptance with Him, they shall be doomed! It is the same with sinners in the world today!
In their affliction they will seek me early . . . God will go and return to His place, until they acknowledge their offense, admit their guilt and seek His face. In their devastating affliction they will seek me earnestly. In deep distress, there shall be at least some, who will seek Him diligently, as indeed they did at the end of Judah's 70 years' captivity. The affliction may be understood both of the Assyrian and Babylon captivity; and too, their present affliction because of their rejection of Christ. Only when they shall realize their sins, and confess them, and look to Him whom they have pierced (Zec.12:10; Jn.19:37; Acts 4:10), will they ever have peace with God. They shall one day mourn and seek pardon, righteousness and salvation from Him; and only then shall all Israel be saved (Rom.11:26-27), of whose conversion this is a prophecy. Even though this has been a sad chapter entirely about judgment, it does close with hope. The time shall come when Israel will again seek God, but He will not deliver them until they turn to Him.
The destruction of impenitent sinners is NOT just idol talk, NOT just to scare them . . . it is a SENTENCE which will NOT be recalled. And my friend, it is a mercy that WE have had timely warning given to us, that we may flee from the wrath of God that is sure to come. Anyone who complies with commandments of men (Mat.15:9), and who thwart the commandments of God, is wide open for ruin.
The judgments of God are at times to a sinful people, like a moth, as rottenness, or as a worm; as these slowly consume the clothes and the wood . . . so shall the judgments of God consume them. Silently, they shall think they are safe and thriving, but when they look into their state, shall find themselves wasting and decaying as a "sickness." WHY slowly?? Our gracious Lord gives them time to repent. Many a nation, many a person, gets sick and dies of some kind of corrupt intake. Slowly, God comes upon these sinners with lesser judgments, trying to prevent greater ones. IF they are wise, they will take the warning of God. IF not, He shall pile on more devastating afflictions!
When Israel and Judah found themselves in danger of sickness and wounds, they ran to get the protection of the Assyrians, but this only made their sickness and wound all the worse. They would be forced to turn to God. He will bring them home to Himself, by afflictions.
IF people would complain more of their sins, rather than their afflictions, then they might see some light at the end of the tunnel. There could be some hope for them. And when under the conviction of sin, and the corrections of the rod (Heb.12:5-11; Rev.3:19), we must seek the counsel and knowledge of God (Ps.73:24; Pro.11:14). When we are led by severe trials, we must seek God earnestly and sincerely. Only then will we find Him a present help and an effectual refuge (Ps.46:1); because only with Him is there "plenteous redemption" (Ps.130:7) for all who call upon Him. There can be peace, only where God is! (John 14:27; Rom 5:1; 8:6).
Book of Hosea
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