HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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The Book of Hosea
This chapter begins with a warning to Israel, not to rejoice in their prosperity, as others did; since it would soon come to an end. Because of their idolatry, which was committed everywhere by everyone, they are threatened with famine, with lack of both of corn and wine, and with being ejected out of their land into foreign countries, where they would be compelled to eat things unclean by their law, and where their sacrifices would be no longer be attended to, and where they would die and be buried, while their own country and houses lay waste and desolate.
They would foolishly listen to their false prophets, who pretended to be with God, and know His will, but were instead a snare to them that paid heed to them. The time of their punishment would certainly come, and their iniquities would be well remembered by God, and visited with judgment, because their corruptions were deep and vile, like those in Gibeah, in the days of old (Hos.9:9; 10:9). They acted in the same ungrateful way that their fathers had done, of whom they were a degenerate offspring, and now they are threatened with being bereaved of their children, and driven out of their land, to wander among the nations.
They are warned against false security, as well we might be. The earthly prosperity of any people or kingdom is NO security against destruction. Because Israel had fallen away from God, they would not enjoy the blessing of its field's production, but would be carried away to Assyria, where they would not be able to keep any joyful feasts whatsoever.
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. (KJV)
Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people . . . this is a depressing and pessimistic outlook on a prosperous time. The prophet forbids them to rejoice, but instead they should grieve and mourn. They shall soon have the answer as to why! "O Israel" the ten tribes. The prophet had a deeper reach, and saw a larger view of things. He had good cause to advise, to warn, to forbid as he does. He could SEE more reason for them to grieve rather than to rejoice, and to mourn rather than to be merry. "For joy" . . . although at present they prospered either under Jeroboam the Second's victorious arms, or under Menahem, and the safety he hath secured by a confederacy with Assyria . . . though by some these times might be a matter of rejoicing, Israel's circumstances of casting off God, does not meet with any gladness. "As other people" . . . with feastings and triumphs, or with solemn sacrifices of thanksgiving.
For thou hast gone a whoring from thy God . . . Israel had played the harlot with many lovers; committing adultery with wood and stone (Lev.26:1; Deut.4:28; 2 Ki.19:18; Isa.37:19; 41:6; 44:13-19; Eze.20:32); worshipping idols, thus departing from the TRUE God, Whom they had professed to be their God in covenant; Who stood in the relation of a Husband to them (Isa.54:5; Jer.3:14; 31:32; Hos.2:19-20), but they proved treacherous to Him, and were guilty of spiritual adultery, which is idolatry; and therefore had no cause to rejoice as other nations that never left their gods, but to take shame to themselves, and mourn over their sad departure. It is improper for an adulterous wife to rejoice while the guilt of her adulteries, and the shame of her lewdnesses, and the displeasure of her husband, are right in her face and whisper rebukes in her ear.
Thou hast loved a reward upon every corn floor . . . there are different interpretations of this. It could refer to the hire of a harlot, prostituting herself for a price on a corn floor, or any where else, for a measure of corn, or for bread. "Thou hast loved a reward". . . meaning the hire of a harlot (Hos.2:5,12; 8:9; Mic.1:7).
This may also be the abundance of "fruit" on their corn floors, and their ascribing that abundance and all good things to the worship of their idols, instead of giving the Lord the credit. Or maybe their erecting of idol altars on their corn floors; as David erected one to the TRUE God on the threshing floor of Araunah (2 Sam.24:24), and which they might do, either by way of thanksgiving for a good harvest, which they imputed to those idols, or in order to obtain one, but in vain. They deviously erred from the worship of their God; because they loved to serve idols on all corn floors. Their love was perverse! Thou should have loved God for the rewards He could give them, instead, they loved the rewards, and hated God. How sad! The first-fruits, and the free-will offering they kept, turned them away from the service of God, and offered them to their idols.
Hosea 9:2 The floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her. (KJV)
The floor and the winepress shall not feed them . . . the corn which is gathered onto the floor and that is threshed there, the plenty which these greedy idolaters have, think that it comes from their idols, as well as the bread they eat. "The wine-press" . . . is the same idea. Grapes are put through the winepress to make wine. Even an abundance and the vats overflow . . . it "shall not feed them." All this plenty shall not nourish and strengthen them. Since they think their idols give them their corn and wine, they shall receive NO blessing from the Lord. They shall be lean and half-starved in their plenty (Hag.1:6).
And the new wine shall fail in her . . . the new wine shall fail their expectation. Samaria and all Israel expect a fair and full vintage, but they think it comes from their idols, which is a doctrine of lies!
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. (KJV)
They shall not dwell in the Lord's land . . . they, some in the ten tribes; who would flee for refuge and food when Assyria invaded their land, and besiege Samaria. They would go there again, where their ancestors had formerly been in bondage. This is prophesied of them (Deut.28:68). "They" who worship idols, and give God's glory to them, depend on them, and ascribing to them what only God alone can give them. "They" shall not dwell in the Lord's land, although they have been in possession of it for many years.
Even though now there seems to be no fear of losing it, being content at home and in peace with neighbors, yet it shall be in midst of this prosperity and security, they shall be removed from the "LORD'S land," which God gave them according to Promise, with the express condition that they would obey Him and fear Him, and Him only (Deut.6:2-3), and with express warning of exile and ruin IF they forgot God (Deut.8:19-20). The land, belongs to the Lord, and is theirs only on condition . . . and with the condition broken, it shall be their possession no longer.
But Ephraim shall return to Egypt . . . many of the more wary of Ephraim, and who consider their safety beforehand, shall flee into Egypt, to shift out of the enemies' reach (Hos.9:6).
And they shall eat unclean things in Assyria . . . those remaining who do not flee into Egypt would be carried away captives, and when in Assyria, they shall be forced to eat forbidden meats, called here "unclean," such as polluted the eater (Lev.11; Deut.14).
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. (KJV)
They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord . . . they went into captivity for their idolatry and other sins. "Wine-offerings" were appointed by law to be offered with the morning and evening sacrifice. This sacrifice represented Christ, and pardon by Him, the wine-offering represented the Spirit of grace (Zec.12:10; Heb.10:29).
The sacrifice repeated daily continued their peace and pardon with God. The Spirit of grace supported, guided, comforted and refreshed them. But with Israel's continued sin, God's judgment of captivity upon them, the sacrifices would be withheld from these captives. The law of God forbid them, and the law of their conquerors also forbid them.
Neither shall their sacrifices be pleasing unto him . . . their sacrifices would not be pleasing to the Lord, because THEY were not pleasing unto Him. Thus, if any would attempt to offer sacrifices, thinking it would suppress God's anger, they shall be wrong, for it will NOT please God.
Their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners: all that eat thereof shall be polluted . . . their holy sacrifices, in which they had before feasted with great joy, shall now be to them as the bread of mourners, as if they had buried a loved one. Their sacrifices would pollute them and displease God as if they were polluted by the dead (Num.9:11-14; Deut.26:14), for it would be against the law; as all who ate of the bread of such who were mourning for their dead, that partook of their funeral feasts, or ate bread with them at any time during their mourning, were defiled, according to the Levitical law, and were unqualified for service (Lev.21:1). Thus, the sacrifices of these people being offered up, were done with a wicked mind instead of atoning for their sins. The sacrifices defiled them all the more; and instead of being acceptable to God, they were utterly abominable to Him.
For their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord . . . when in captivity, there was NO house of the Lord for them to bring their sacrifices into. And even when they were in their own land, they did NOT bring their offerings to the house of the Lord at Jerusalem, as they should have done, but offered them before their idolatrous calves at Dan and Bethel. Their "sacrifices" were seen by the Lord as nothing more than common bread that they ate for the sustenance of their lives.
"Their bread for their soul" . . . the bread which they were bound to offer with their sacrifices, or else the first-fruits of their corn (Deut.26:2-3), which were to be brought to the Lord, and which being RIGHTLY offered, sanctified and insured them with a blessing from the Lord. This should not be done away from the temple, and while confined as captives, so that they would not be able to do it, even if they were willing.
This would stop the sacrifices, while being in Assyria, a strange land, where it was not lawful to offer sacrifice. There was no temple or no altar to offer in or at, so they would not offer to the Lord when they should, now they shall not even if they could. Some say this refers not to time of their exile, but their present time now.
Hosea 9:5 What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the LORD? (KJV)
What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord? . . . since their sacrifices now were so displeasing to the Lord, and so unavailable to themselves, what would they do when in captivity "in the solemn day" (Isa.10:3).
Man, then and now, is content to remain far from God. Man does not want God to show him, that He has withdrawn Himself from the continual sins that persist in man. Man would be happy to have the power of drawing near to God in time of calamity, or when he himself would like. Man would be happy, and well pleased to have God at his command, BUT. . . he does NOT want to be at the command of God. God cuts off any hope of this altogether, because God does NOT work that way! The more solemn the day for sinful man, the more is man's total exclusion, and the more clear is God's withdrawal.
For man to shut God out is total stupidity, then and now! To shut the Lord out will bring days of deepest sorrow. Any joy is turned into deepest heaviness. For Israel to be deprived of the normal daily sacrifice was a source of continual sorrow; and how much more, "in the days of" their "gladness" (Num.10:10), in which they were bidden to rejoice before the Lord, and in which they seemed to have a better and closer access to God. Having separated themselves from the temple, they had no right to celebrate these feasts, which were to be held in the place "which God had chosen to place His name there." Man, however, clings to the shadow of God's service, when he has parted with the substance. God had foretold them that He would "make all their mirth to cease" (Hos.2:11). Really sad!
What will ye do in the solemn day . . . the Israelites who remained in the land after its subjection to Assyria did worship the true God, and offer unto Him the sacrifices appointed by the law, although in an imperfect manner. But is was a great shame to them to be deprived of their religious festivals in a land of strangers.
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. (KJV)
For, lo, they are gone, because of destruction . . . some of the wary have already withdrawn from the desolation that shall come on their country, and more will flee from the Assyrian invader. It is very near and very uncertain.
Egypt shall gather them up . . . in Egypt they hope to survive these desolations, and to return into their own land; but they shall die in Egypt, and Egyptians shall prepare them for their grave (Jer.8:2; Eze.29:5). They shall die there, perhaps by pestilence or by sword, but they shall never to return to their own country, as they thought they would.
Memphis shall bury them . . . they shall be buried there, a principal city in Egypt, also called "Noph" (Isa.19:13; Jer.2:16). Memphis was the metropolis of upper Egypt, and the seat of the Egyptian kings. Near it were the famous pyramids. Memphis was a much traded city in those days, and today also, known by the name which speaks its greatness, Grand Cairo.
"Shall bury them" . . . many of the ten tribes fled from their own wasted country, and got as far as Memphis, partly for safety, that they might be out of the Assyrian's reach, but probably more so for convenience of a trade, that they might get a livelihood. There many of these fugitives died; and perhaps by the pestilence (which is a disease that frequently sweeps that city) multitudes of them might be swept away into their graves in and about that city.
The pleasant places for their silver, nettles shall possess them . . . their strong and beautiful houses were built for keeping their wealth in. Their dwelling houses, would be demolished, briers shall grow upon the ground where they once stood, another token of desolation. Now only living creatures, beasts of prey, would dwell there; as in the solitude of a wilderness. Prophets lament at Israel's disaster: (Jer.9:1-2; Lam.1:16-17; 2:11-13; 3:48-49; Mic.1:8-9).
Beautiful buildings were made for treasure houses for their silver; or were built or purchased at great expense of silver; and/or were decorated with it; now would lie in ruins, and be like a wasted wilderness and desolate place, all overrun with nettles, and uninhabited.
Thorns shall be in their tabernacles . . . they shall be ruined, and lie in rubbish, till nettles grow up in them. Worthless shrubs would grow in their tabernacles, in their dwelling places, and in their houses.
Their silver shall be desired by others (Ob.1:6). This is a picture of utter desolation. The briers, nettles and thorns waving in the midst of where they had once lived, makes all look so gloomy and sad. Man was once there, but now is gone! Their desolate houses look like the barren grave of the departed. All Israel had once treasured, was gone. They had brought down the wrath of God upon them by their continued and non-repentant sin, and God had brought down His judgment upon them. The great estates or villas which they had purchased with their money, were now neglected and uninhabited, and covered with nettles. Even inside their tabernacles, thorns and brambles of many different kinds grow. The only residents now are wild animals. This marks total desolation.
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. (KJV)
The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come . . . the prophet doubles the same thing, both to confirm the certainty of it, and to hopefully awaken the foolish Israelites. The days of God's just displeasure, in which He will punish, and render to these incorrigible idolaters and abominable sinners as their wickedness deserves, are come, they are very near, within four years at most. The Lord would punish the people of Israel for their sins, and "reward" them accordingly. ALL people shall be dealt with in a righteous manner, according as their evil works deserved. Reward: (Deut.32:41; 2 Sam.3:39; Ps. 109:20; Ob.1:15; 2 Tim.4:14). Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (KJV) . . . Debauchery is indulgence in sensual pleasures; scandalous activities involving sex, alcohol and/or drugs without inhibition.
Israel shall know it . . . Israel is a hard-sell, and will not believe what is to come, although God has often told them of it through His prophets. But . . . when judgment is come, they will "know it" and they will FEEL it. They shall indeed then know they were utter fools to have "forgotten" God. Those sad days are come, and they shall acknowledge the Truth of God's predictions by His prophets. They shall also acknowledge the righteousness of God in His judgments. Israel would be afflicted, it would be a tragedy to them.
Forgetting God: (Num.15:39; Deut.4:9,23; 6:10-12; 8:11,19; 26:13; 32:18; Judg.3:7; 8:13; Ps.9:17; 44:20; 50:22; 59:11; 78:7,11; 106:21; 119:139; Pro.2:17; 3:1; Isa.17:10; 22:11; 47:7; 51:13; 57:11; 65:11; Jer.2:6,32; 3:21; 13:25; 18:15; 23:27; 50:6; Lam.1:9; Eze.16:22; 16:43; 22:12; 23:35; Hos.2:13; 4:6; 8:3,14; 13:6).
The prophet is a fool . . . ALL their FALSE prophets were fools! Just like today! They were fools and rash, judging by present greatness or alliances of Israel, they did NOT consider what the sins were that brought on God's wrath. When Hosea preached what was in this 9th chapter, Israel had made a league with "So" king of Egypt (2 Ki 17:4). They did not seek God, but vainly trusted the Egyptians. Hosea foretold as certain, that the Assyrian with all his power would fall upon the revolters; none but "fools" would promise these people a time of safety when the war was raging all around them. When the day of God's visitation shall come on Israel in a way of wrath and vengeance, false prophets will appear both to themselves and others as fools, for prophesying good things to them, when evil was at hand.
False prophets: (Deut.13:1,5; 18:20.22; 1 Ki.18:19,29; 22:6,12,22; 2 Ki.3:13; 2 Chron.18:5,21; Neh.6:14; Isa.9:15; 30:10; Jer.2:8; 5:31; 14:14; 20:6; 23:13,16,26,32; 26:11; 27:10; 28:1,15; 29:9,21; 37:19; Lam.2:14; 4:13; Eze.12:24; 13:2,16; 21:29; 22:25,28; Hos.9:7; Mic.2:11; 3:5,11; Zep.3:4; Zec.13:3; Mat.7:15,22; 24:11,24; Mk.13:22; Lk.6:26; 21:8; Acts 13:6; 2 Cor.11:13; 2 Pet.2:1; 1 Jn.4:1)
The spiritual man is mad . . . the spiritual man is the one who pretends to be full of the Spirit of prophecy, foretelling good to them, and whom they thought was a true prophet . . . but, now find out sadly, that they believed a madman. But, the people too, were "mad" also, more so than the false prophet, to believe the ungodly lies that he promised.
For the multitude of thine iniquities, and the great hatred . . . God was very displeased with the multitude of their iniquities. He started His judgments by allowing them to believe the lies of their false prophets (2 Thes.2:9-12), and to expect the peace these prophets promised. "The great hatred" is that which God had against their sins and wicked ways. They walked in ways that God hated, yet the false prophets foretold peace and plenty; such as they once had (Mic.2:11). They, as fools, believed them, and God, out of His just hatred, allowed this to be, left them free to make their choice. The false prophets blinded and stupefied them, causing them to increase their transgression, and multiply their iniquities.
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. (KJV)
The watchman of Ephraim was with my God . . . the watchmen (prophets) of Ephraim, were formally with the TRUE God, whom the prophet calls here "my God" (1 Ki.17:20-21; Hos.9:17; Joel 1:13; Jonah 2:6; Mic.7:7; Hab.1:12; Zec.11:4; 14:5), as did others who had a close relationship with Him, and had revelations and instructions from Him, and were under the direction and inspiration of His Spirit, and prophesied in His Name Truth according to His will, for the good of His people. "The watchman of Ephraim" should be with the prophet's God, promoting His worship, His honor and His interest; and warning the people of turning away from Him, for they had heard the Word straight from His Mouth. But, they were NOT with Him, NOT for Him, and they did NOT do as they should have. These false prophets were hypocrites (Mat.23:13-39). Their pretense of being with God, to have His mind and His will, and to be sincere for His glory was hogwash! Watchman: (Eze.3:17-19; 33:2-7; 34:7-10; 1 Tim.4:16; 6:20).
We today need to be very careful and be "watching" against sin and temptation: (Deut.4:9; Ps.39:1; Mat.12:43; 26:38; 26:41; Mk.14:34; 14:38; Acts 20:31; 1 Cor.10:12; 16:13; Eph.6:18; Col.4:2; 2 Tim.4:5; Heb.12:15; 1 Pet.5:8; 2 Pet.3:17; Rev.3:2)
But the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways . . . the false prophet should be the same as the "watchman," but instead of guiding and directing Ephraim in the right way, the way of God, he lays snares for Ephraim in all the ways he takes, leading him wrong, and drawing him into sin, especially idolatry, both by his false doctrine and example. 2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. (KJV)
And hatred in the house of his God . . . the false prophet was detestable in the eyes of God because of the calf at Bethel, and in the temple there, prophesying "damnable heresies" and drawing the people into such evil practices as brought on ruin and desolation.
There probably were a few fundamentalists around in that day warning the people of the coming judgment, but as in today's world, the people did NOT want to hear the Truth! (Isa.30:9-10). Hosea warns that the false prophets were "a snare of a fowler." That is strong language. Liberals would not like that. I think that liberalism is in control today, especially in the news media. They have freedom of the press and freedom of speech, but they do not allow the fundamentalists that same freedom. Liberalism . . . be it in politics, the news media, or the pulpit . . . is a snare, because it is like a trap, for it brainwashes people. The problem is that we have turned away from God as a nation. The majority of people today have "cast off" God (Hos.8:3). They have "forgotten" God (Deut.32:18; Ps.44:20-21; Isa.17:10; Jer.3:21; Eze.22:12; 23:35; Hos.4:6). JESUS is NOT a Name of love and goodness, it is a big swear word in Washington, D.C. His Name is used in blasphemy but rarely in the form of prayer or in reverence or worship of Him. Chaplains in the military are not allowed to use the Name of Jesus, because it may offend Muslims, Buddists, Hindus, etc. How utterly sad! For it is ONLY the Name of JESUS that can bring any person eternal life (Jn.1:12-13; 3:3-8,15-18,36; 5:24; 8:24; Acts 4:12; 1 Jn.5:10-13).
Jeremiah 29:8-9 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. (KJV) . . . There are a multitude of false prophets and false teachers in today's world! BEWARE!!!
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. (KJV)
They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah . . . "They" are ALL the people of the ten tribes, prophets, priests, princes and people have corrupted themselves, have strangely and horribly led one another into immorality; on top of all their idolatry. There was more than animal-like filth and violence among them "as in the days of Gibeah" . . . see Judges 19.
Therefore he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins . . . God, "my God" as the prophet calls him in verse 8, will NOT forgive, will NOT forget their sins. Pardon in the Bible is often expressed by non-remembrance of sins. When God says that He will not remember, it is a promise of pardon. Remember sin no more: (Ps.32:1-2; 103:12; 130:4; Isa.1:18; Mic.7:19; Rom.5:1; Heb.8:12; 10:17)
But here, God will inquire after their sins, and visit those sins with His wrath and vengeance, and punish for them as they deserve, for they were obstinate and impenitent and persisted in their sins, like the men of Gibeah and Benjamin. When God threatens that He will remember, it is a threat that He will NOT pardon! He will visit their sins; he will punish, see verse 7. http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/2947-benjamin
According to works: (Ps.28:4; 62:12; Pro.24:12,29; Ecc.8:14; Dan.7:10 ; Jer.25:14; 32:19; Mat.16:27; 25:31-32; Jn. 12:48; 1 Cor. 3:12-15; 2 Cor.5:10; 2 Tim.1:9; 4:14; 1 Pet.1:17; Rom.2:15-16; Rev.2:23; 20:12-13)
Ephraim as a whole, the ten tribes, became extremely corrupt in principle and practice. They were totally degenerated, and had sunk deep in sin, immersing themselves in all kinds of wickedness. Being rooted in it, they continued stubborn and incorrigible, and there remained no hope of reforming them. They had reached the point of no return in their wickedness, and were guilty of immorality, uncleanness, lewdness, barbarity and cruelty. God had taken all He could take. God is extremely patient, but He will tolerate just so much, then lower the boom. We today should take this into consideration! (Gen.6:3; Rom.9:22; 1 Pet.3:20; 2 Pet.3:9; Rev.20:15).
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 Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame; and their abominations were according as they loved. (KJV)
I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness . . . the Lord speaks of Himself as a Traveler, who unexpectedly in the wilderness found a vine loaded with grapes. It was a most delightful and welcome sight to Him, for He probably was tired and hungry. Keep in mind, God's love for Israel was a very strong and heart-felt love. They were to Him, luscious grapes to a weary and hungry traveler.
I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at her first time . . . not Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but their fathers whom He brought out of Egypt. As the first-ripe fruit in any sweet and delicious fruit tree, these are most valued and desired. So was Israel valued and desired by God.
The Lord looked upon their ancestors when they were settled as a people, when they were brought out of Egypt, with as much pleasure as a man looking at the first ripe fig his fig tree produces after planting it. Such were the Israelites to the Lord at first (Mic.7:1). This is stated to intensify their utter ingratitude to the Lord. Although they had received a multitude of favors from the Lord, as tokens of His love and affection for them, and His delight in them . . . they behaved in a most revolting, shocking and shameful manner toward God.
But they went to Baalpeor . . . the prophet is not speaking of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, but those who were brought out of Egypt, as appears in Num.25:1-3. They committed idolatry with Baal-peor, of whose rites and rituals interpreters do not agree. Some say they practiced with shameless looseness, as the rites of Bacchus, Venus or Priapus among the Romans; others say that this idol of Moab had his name from a mountain in Moab where he was worshipped, and had a stately and famous temple (Num.22:41; 23:28). The bottom line is, that they committed whoredom with that idol.
And separated themselves unto that shame . . . they consecrated and dedicated themselves to that idol. Possibly some became priests to the idol. They simply were addicted to that false god, and worshipped the idol, bringing their sacrifices to him. "Unto that shame" . . . by way of contempt and detestation, the prophet speaks of this ridiculous idol, and gives it the name of shame in summary, expressing the greatest degree of detestation of it, and of what they did. They separated themselves from God and His worship, and joined themselves to that shameful idol, and worshipped it, and thought by many, that in the worship of it was used the greatest of obscenities, not fit to be named. This intensified the sin of Israel, that such a people should be guilty of such filthy practices.
And their abominations were according as they loved . . . their idols, and way of worshipping them, were according as they loved.
As the idolatrous women whom they loved were multiplied, so too were their idols. It was through the daughters of Moab and their their impure love for the idols that they were drawn into these abominations, or to worship idols, which are often called abominations. They were abominations in God's eyes; they were as detestable as they were loved by them. Idolatry is an abomination to God: (Deut.7:25; 12:31; 13:14; 17:4; 18:9; 20:18; 27:15; 29:17; 32:16).
Both the vine and the fig tree are symbols of the nation Israel which are used all through the Word of God. Israel not only set up calf worship in both Samaria and Beth-el, but, under Ahab and Jezebel, they also brought in the prophets of Baal (1 Ki.18:19-20).
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. (KJV)
As for Ephraim, their glory shall flee away like a bird . . . meaning suddenly, swiftly, never to be recovered, and never to return. Some understand this to be God their glory, and of His departure from them, as in verse 12. Others say that this is their wealth and riches (Pro.23:5), and whatever was glorious and valuable to them, would fly away from them in a moment, when they were carried away captive. Still others say it was their many offspring, for they were very fruitful, and in which they gloried, as children are the glory of their parents (Ps.128:1-6; Pro.17:6).
From the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception . . . from the birth, they shall die as soon as born. "From the womb" . . . their mothers shall not bring the child in the womb to perfection, or bring a live child into the world. "From the conception" . . . through barrenness their wives shall not conceive.
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! (KJV)
Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them . . . the parents of the children would grieve, when by sword, famine, pestilence or by carrying them captive into a foreign country would take the children away from them.
That there shall not be a man left . . . in the whole land of Israel, all shall be destroyed or carried captive. Even though some of the children do reach an adult age, they shall either be taken away by death, or removed from the society of men to live among enemies, to be like slaves.
Yea, woe also to them, when I depart from them . . . when the Lord withdraws His Presence, His favor and His protection from them, or removes His Shekinah (Theophany, Glory) from them, it shall leave them to the spoil and cruelty of their enemies, it shall leave them in complete misery. Glory of the Lord gone: (Eze.10:4,18; 11:23). That glory did not return until that day in Bethlehem (Luke 2). It left again when Christ ascended into Heaven after His death and resurrection (Acts 1:9-11). That Glory shall return again one day (1 Thes.4:13-18; Zec.14:2-9; Rev.19:11-21).
This is yet another judgment that God brings upon them. God had promised Abraham not only to give him the land but also to multiply his seed. God had said that Abraham's seed would be like the sand on the seashore and like the stars in the heavens (Gen.12:2; 15:5; 22:17-18; 26:4; 28:13-15; 32:12; Hos.1:10). God kept that Promise, but now the people have sinned and He says the opposite, "Your birthrate shall decline." "Not be a man left" does not mean that God would completely wipe out the population, but that there would be no man left who would stand up for God. It is getting close to that in the USA!
Hosea 9:13 Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer. (KJV)
Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus, is planted in a pleasant place . . . Ephraim is the kingdom of Israel. The city of Tyre was located in a pleasant place by the sea, and abounded in wealth and riches, and was well fortified. It seemed secure from all danger, and from all enemies. So too was Ephraim, the ten tribes, in like circumstances. Tyre: (Josh.19:29; 2 Sam.5:11; 24:7; 1 Ki.5:1; 7:13; 9:11; Neh.13:16; Ps.45:12; 87:4; Isa.23:1,5,15; Eze.26:2,15; 27:3,8.32; 28:1-26; Joel 3:4; Amos 1:9; Zec.9:3; Mat.11:21; 15:21; Mk.7:24,31; Lk.6:17; 10:13; Acts 12:20; 21:3).
But Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer . . . to sacrifice them to Moloch (2 Ki.23:10; Jer.7:31; 32:35; 2 Ki.16:3; 21:6; 2 Chron.28:3; Isa.57:5; Eze.16:20-21; 20:26,31; 23:37,39). Ephraim sinned in slaying their children to the service of idols. This is to me, the same thing as abortion today! To me, abortion is idolatry! Covetousness and pleasure being the "idols" today! . . . http://www.hisservants.org/abortion_h_s.htm
Hosea 9:14 Give them, O LORD: what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. (KJV)
Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give them? . . . this is pathetic! It shows Ephraim's trouble for the state of its corrupt and sinking nation. It should be wake-up time, but it's not! "What wilt thou give them?" . . . the prophet knew that God had already determined to punish them in a most dreadful manner (verses 11-13). What would God give Ephraim? Miscarriages and dry breasts. Their women were barren. It was God's judgment upon them.
Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts . . . it is as if Hosea is overwhelmed by sadness, he considers with God what would be more desirable: and of the two evils he chooses the least. So great will be the calamity, that barrenness will be a blessing, though normally considered a great misfortune (Lk.23:29).
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. (KJV)
All their wickedness is in Gilgal . . . a place in the ten tribes, where the covenant of circumcision was renewed in Joshua's time, and where the first passover (Ex.12:8,13,17,23; Josh.5:10) was kept in the land of Canaan, and where the people of Israel ate the firstfruits of the land. It was where the tabernacle was for a while, and sacrifices were offered up to the Lord . . . but now things were different! All kinds of sin was committed there, especially idolatry. It was chosen by idolaters, because it had before been famous for TRUE religious worship. Gilgal: (Deut.11:30; Josh.4:19; 5:9; 9:6; 10:6,10,43; 15:7; Judg.3:19; 1 Sam.7:16; 10:8; 11:14; 13:4,7; 15:12; 2 Sam.19:15; 19:40; 2 Ki.2:1; 4:38; Hos.4:15; 9:15; Amos 4:4).
For there I hated them . . . because they had sinned so greatly against Him in a place where they had formerly worshipped Him . . . their sacrifices instead of being acceptable, were all the more abominable to Him. Before, they offered sacrifices there where His tabernacle once was, and the sacrifices were offered to Him according to His will. Now they were offered to ridiculous idols, totally against His will!
For the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house . . . God will drive them out; as men thrown out of their houses, as a person who is unworthy to dwell there any longer. "Of mine house" . . . I think this "house" could mean their land, which was theirs to use, but was God's property. When God casts Ephraim out of his "house," he sends him into captivity.
The house of the Lord . . . this could be the "land" or it could be the Temple, the place where God had chosen to place His Name. It is also used for the kingdom of Judah and Jerusalem, where the temple was. From there God says:
Jer.11:15 What hath my beloved to do in mine house, seeing she hath wrought lewdness with many, and the holy flesh is passed from thee? when thou doest evil, then thou rejoicest. (KJV)
Jer.12:7 I have forsaken mine house, I have left mine heritage; I have given the dearly beloved of my soul into the hand of her enemies. (KJV)
The title "God's house" or "Mine house" is older than the Temple, for God Himself uses it for all His people. Num.12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house. (KJV)
I will love them no more . . . this is not the special love and favor the Lord has for His own people in Christ. That is everlasting and unchangeable. This is His general and providential favor and regard to Israel, which he had clearly bestowed many great and good things upon them. BUT . . . now He would do NO more; He would do nothing for them, that looked like love, or be interpreted as such. It would all be the opposite, for in His behavior to them, He would show that they were the objects of His displeasure and hatred. He would leave them in the hand and under the fury of their enemies in a strange land.This was to continue, and will continue, until the time of their conversion to Christ Jesus in the latter day, when "all Israel shall be saved" (Rom.11:26).
All their princes are revolters . . . their case was utterly hopeless. Not one of their kings "departed from the sin of Jeroboam who made Israel to sin" (1 Ki.14:16; 22:52; 2 Ki.10:29; 14:24; 15:24,28; 23:15). The political power which should protect goodness, was a fountain of corruption. There were NONE to rebuke those that offended, NONE who could pacify God, and turn away His wrath, as there was in the time of Moses.
All their princes, their kings and rulers, both civil and religious, are revolters; are and have been idolaters ever since the division in Jeroboam son of Nebat, not one of their kings believed God but were stubborn and perverse idolaters. NONE could set a good example to the people because they all were rebellious against God. It is no wonder why there was apostasy!
Warnings against apostasy: (Ex.34:15; Lev.17:7; 20:5; Deut.13:13; 18:19; 31:16,20; 32:15; 1 Chron.28:9; Isa.1:28; 48:8; 65:11-16; Jer.2:21; 17:5-6; Eze.3:20; 18:24-26; 33:12-13,18; Zep.1:4-6; Mat.13:20-21; 24:9-12; 26:15; Lk.8:13; 11:24-26; 14:30; Jn.15:6; Acts 7:39-43; 1 Cor.9:27; 2 Thes.2:3,11-12; 1 Tim.1:19; 4:1-3; 5:12; 2 Tim.3:1-9; 4:3-4,10; Heb.3:12; 6;4-8; 10:25-31,39; 2 Pet.2:1,15-22; 3:17; Jude 1:4-6).
WHAT should a believer do to avoid apostasy?
#1. Resist temptation to idolatry: Deut.13:1-18; 1 Cor.10:14; 1 Jn.5:21
#2. Be loyal to the Lord and His service: Josh.24:14-15
#3 Know there are false Christs and false prophets, and stay away from them: Mat.24:23-26
#4, Stay away from apostates: Rom.16:17
#5. Claim God’s promise of victory as yours: 1 Cor.10:13
#6. Maintain moral purity: 2 Tim.2:19-26
#7. Live by the Holy Words of God: 2 Tim.3:15-17; 2 Pet.3:1-2
#8, Encourage other believers, for they can also encourage you: Heb. 3:13; 10:25
#9. Pray for and persevere in faith and patience as heirs of God’s Promises: Heb.6:11-12
#10. Urge other believers to love and do good, by what you do: Heb.10:24
#11. Stay in close fellowship with other believers: Heb.10:25; 1 John 2:19)
#12. Pray for, and grow in Christian virtues: 2 Pet.1:5-11
#13. Be spiritually prepared through holy living, keep watching for Jesus: 2 Pet.3:10-18; Jude 20-25
#14. Trust and depend on the Spirit of Truth to help you in all things: 1 Jn. 2:20-21, 27
#15. Argue against falsehoods, always stand up for Biblical Truth: 1 Pet.3:15-16; Jude 3
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. (KJV)
Ephraim is smitten . . . .. meaning Israel, the ten tribes, who had been like a tree planted in a pleasant place (verse 13), and were flourishing in the times of Jeroboam the second; but now, because of their sin, they were like a tree smitten with lightning or hail stones, and beaten to pieces; or destroyed by the heat of the sun or blasting winds. The word "smitten" is used in the smiting of the tree from above, especially by the judgment of God, as by "blasting" and "mildew" (Amos 4:9).
Their root is dried up . . . like the root of a tree that has no sap and moisture in it, and can give none to the tree above it, it would eventually die. This could be understood of Israel's king, princes, nobles and chief men, who were the support and strength of the nations; and too of parents and heads of families, cut off by one judgment or another.
They shall bear no fruit . . . just as a tree that has been "smitten" and its root dried up, it cannot bear any fruit, so too, neither would there be any to bear children, called the fruit of the womb, in reference to the fruit of trees. Just as a dead root cannot spring out; so these Ephraimites never shall spring forth, they shall be barren. And even though they would bring forth a live child, the child shall not grow to maturity.
Yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb . . . their children they should bring forth, and whom they loved, were but a few, and from whom they had hopes of building their families; even these the Lord would slay, either by the sword of the enemy, by famine, by pestilence, or by some dreaded disease . . . so that there would be no hope of a future posterity, at least no great number of them. God's judgment was to come not only upon the fruit of the ground, but also on the birth of children.
This gives us an approximate the time of this prophecy, which was after Jeroboam's death, in whose life and reign Ephraim was as a very flourishing tree, whose roots were full of sap and life; but after the death of this king they were, as "a tree smitten" or possibly it may refer to those seditions, civil wars and rebellious conspiracies which did for some years afflict the kingdom of the ten tribes (2 Ki.15:1-38).
Hosea 9:17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him: and they shall be wanderers among the nations. (KJV)
My God will cast them away . . . as loathsome and contemptible, because of their sin against Him. They had done some abominable things, so He would cast them out of their own land as men not fit to live in it. He would cast them out of His sight, as not being able to endure them. He would cast them away, as unprofitable and good for nothing; rejecting them from being His people. He would have no more close fellowship with them, He would not show them any more favor, for now they worshipped other gods, and had cast off the TRUE God. They now would be cast away by Him, Whom they had before "cast off" (Hos.8:3). He would no longer be their God, because their sins have been a weariness and a loathing to Him.
Because they did not hearken unto him . . . to His Word and to Him speaking through His prophets with instructions, warnings, threatenings and predictions brought to them from Him. They did NOT obey His law, thy did NOT consider or respect His will, they did NOT revere or worship Him. They were like a wilful adulteress, who was not faithful to her Husband, nor return to Him when once departed from Him. They did nothing to prevent apostasy, they simply refused to pay any attention to God, or to repent and turn to Him. The Lord had just cause for rejecting them, just as He does with the vast majority of people in the world today (Mat.7:13-14).
And they shall be wanderers among the nations . . . they would have no city of their own, no permanent dwelling-place. They would be hated, sorely treated, suspected and punished as drifters and fugitives are in well-ordered society. All this would come down on them, as their offspring are to this day. "Among the nations" . . . the nations are the Gentiles, the sins of the circumcised (Israel) would bring them under great contempt within the nations. These proud apostates from God, when cast off by God, would consider it a favor to be allowed to join with the heathens.
Book of Hosea
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