Hosea 7 commentary

Hosea 7 commentary DEFAULT

Hosea 7 – The Oven, the Bread, and the Dove

A. A heart like an oven.

1. (1-3) The sinful ignorance and willful blindness of Israel.

“When I would have healed Israel,
Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered,
And the wickedness of Samaria.
For they have committed fraud;
A thief comes in;
A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
They do not consider in their hearts
That I remember all their wickedness;
Now their own deeds have surrounded them;
They are before My face.
They make a king glad with their wickedness,
And princes with their lies.”

a. They do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: The problem among the people and leaders of Israel was they forgot – willfully – that the LORD saw and remembered their sin. We often deliberately forget that the LORD sees and remembers when we sin. It may be secret before men, but not before God – He says, “they are before My face.”

i. The believer today should ask themselves: Have you forgotten? Do you think God doesn’t see? Do you think God is blind to your adultery or pre-marital sex? Do you think your pornography habit goes unnoticed? Do you think God’s eyes are closed when you get drunk or take drugs? There are many church-going people today who think that God forgets or never sees such things, because they do them and then they come to church and make a profession of godliness, pretending that those things are never part of their life.

ii. There is a precious promise for those who come to God under the New Covenant: For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more (Jeremiah 31:34). We often wish that time would make God forget our sin, but it doesn’t. Only the atoning substitute of Jesus, crucified in our place under the New Covenant makes God forget our sin.

b. When I would have healed Israel: God was willing to heal Israel from their sin and its effects, but not as long as they acted as if God did not see their sin. They had to treat God as He really is, a God who sees and remembers unrepentant, uncovered sin.

c. They make a king glad with their wickedness: This phrase, together with princes have made him sick (Hosea 7:5) and all their kings have fallen (Hosea 7:7) probably all refer to one of the successful assassination plots against the throne of Israel during the ministry of Hosea. Since there were four kings violently overthrown during his ministry, it’s hard to exactly know which one he means.

2. (4-7) Israel’s heart is inflamed after idols.

“They are all adulterers.
Like an oven heated by a baker;
He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough,
Until it is leavened.
In the day of our king
Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine;
He stretched out his hand with scoffers.
They prepare their heart like an oven,
While they lie in wait;
Their baker sleeps all night;
In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.
They are all hot, like an oven,
And have devoured their judges;
All their kings have fallen.
None among them calls upon Me.”

a. Like an oven heated by a baker: Israel was inflamed with desire and passion after idols like the coals of a freshly stoked fire, ready to bake bread.

i. Paul used the same image of “burning lust” in 1 Corinthians 7:9: but if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

b. None among them calls upon Me: Israel could not be hot, like an oven after idols and also call upon the LORD. They did in fact continue to sacrifice to the LORD (Hosea 5:6) but it was empty ceremony, not a true calling upon their covenant God.

3. (8-10) The pride and stubbornness of Israel.

“Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples;
Ephraim is a cake unturned.
Aliens have devoured his strength,
But he does not know it;
Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him,
Yet he does not know it.
And the pride of Israel testifies to his face,
But they do not return to the LORD their God,
Nor seek Him for all this.”

a. Ephraim is a cake unturned: The idea is of a “half-baked” cake. In that day, bread was often prepared as a cake that was cooked on both sides, something like a pancake. In thinking they can serve both the Lord and idols, Israel is like an unturned pancake – burned on one side, uncooked on the other.

b. Aliens have devoured his strength, but he does not know it: This makes the tragedy of Israel’s ruin worse. The nation is being ravaged by sin but does not know it. They should know it, because even the pride of Israel testifies to his face – yet in their blind ignorance they do not return to the LORD their God.

i. Man has an amazing ability to deceive himself when he is in sin. Well did Jeremiah say, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? (Jeremiah 17:9). Considering how easily we deceive our self, and how our sin can be apparent to everyone but us, Israel’s condition isn’t unusual:

· Burned and ruined – but he does not know it.

· Strength devoured – but he does not know it.

· Aging and weakening – but he does not know it.

· Pride testifies against him – but he does not know it.

ii. It was said of Samson after Deliliah cut his hair: But he did not know that the LORD had departed from him (Judges 16:20). This is where the people of Israel – and some followers of God today – were. They are far from God and already suffering the effects, but they can’t see it.

c. Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it: Israel is as foolish as an old man who thinks and acts like he is still young.

i. “He began but to decline and decay, as a man doth when he grows toward 50.” (John Trapp, 1654)

B. Silly like a dove.

1. (11-12) Like a dove, Israel flies about to the nations.

“Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense;
They call to Egypt,
They go to Assyria.
Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them;
I will bring them down like birds of the air;
I will chastise them
According to what their congregation has heard.”

a. Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense: Hosea piles image upon image. Now Israel is like a bird fluttering about, confused and without direction. They think they can escape God by running to other nations, but the Lord says, “I will spread My net on them.”

b. I will chastise them according to what their congregation has heard: Israel’s guilt is increased according to what they have heard. Greater knowledge means great accountability. As Jesus said, for everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more (Luke 12:48).

2. (13-16) In running to the nations, Israel has run away from God.

“Woe to them, for they have fled from Me!
Destruction to them,
Because they have transgressed against Me!
Though I redeemed them,
Yet they have spoken lies against Me.
They did not cry out to Me with their heart
When they wailed upon their beds.
They assemble together for grain and new wine,
They rebel against Me;
Though I disciplined and strengthened their arms,
Yet they devise evil against Me;
They return, but not to the Most High;
They are like a treacherous bow.
Their princes shall fall by the sword
For the cursings of their tongue.
This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.”

a. They return, but not the Most High: Israel saw their problem, but not their sin. When God’s hand is against man, he easily sees he has a problem but often does not see it as sin against the LORD. So when Israel had problems, they wailed upon their beds, but not to the LORD. They sought remedies, but not from the Most High.

b. They are like a treacherous bow: Hosea adds another image, of a faulty bow that won’t shoot an arrow straight. Everything that comes from Israel misses the mark, because they are like a treacherous bow. They are like a useless and dangerous weapon.

©2018 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission

Sours: https://enduringword.com/bible-commentary/hosea-7/

Hosea 7 Commentary

Hosea's Unconditional Love for Gomer

Click chart to enlarge

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Chart from recommended resource Jensen's Survey of the OT - used by permission

Click chart to enlarge

I.  The Prodigal Wife, Hosea 1:1-3:5 
   A.  Her Unfaithfulness, Hosea 1:1-11 
   B.  Her Punishment, Hosea 2:1-13 
   C.  Her Restoration and Israel's, Hosea 2:14-23 
   D.  Her Redemption, Hosea 3:1-5 
II.  The Prodigal People, Hosea 4:1-14:9 
   A.  The Message of Judgment, Hosea 4:1-10:15 
      1.  The indictment, Hosea 4:1-19 
      2.  The verdict, Hosea 5:1-15 
      3.  The plea of Israel, Hosea 6:1-3 
      4.  The reply of the Lord, Hosea 6:4-11 
      5.  The crimes of Israel, Hosea 7:1-16 
      6.  The prophecy of judgment, Hosea 8:1-10:15 
    B.  The Message of Restoration, Hosea 11:1-14:9 
      1.  God's love for the prodigal people, Hosea 11:1-11 
      2.  God's chastisement of the prodigal people, Hosea 11:12-13:16 
      3.  God's restoration of the prodigal people, Hosea 14:1-9 
Ryrie Study Bible

John Hannah's Outline  - The prophet's message 

The prophet's message  (Hosea 4:1-14:8)

  1. Jehovah's rejection of Israel  (Hosea 4:1-7:16)
    1. The faithlessness of Israel  (Hosea 4:1-19)
      1. The fact of apostasy  (Hosea 4:1-3)
      2. The reason for apostasy  (Hosea 4:4-10)
      3. The course of apostasy  (Hosea 4:11-19)
        1. The idolatry of Israel  (Hosea 4:11-13)
        2. The instruction of Judah  (Hosea 4:14-19)
    2. The repudiation of Israel  (Hosea 5:1-6:3)
      1. The rebuke of Israel  (Hosea 5:1-7)
      2. The judgment upon Israel  (Hosea 5:8-15)
      3. The invitation to Israel  (Hosea 6:1-3)
    3. The fickleness of Israel  (Hosea 6:4-11)
    4. The foolishness of Israel  (Hosea 7:1-16)
      1. The wickedness of Israel  (Hosea 7:1-7)
      2. The silliness of Israel  (Hosea 7:8-16) Hannah's Bible Outlines.

Robert Chisholm points out that there are 5 "Judgment-Salvation" cycles in the book of Hosea:

Hosea 1:2-9Hosea 1:10-2:1
Hosea 2:2-13Hosea 2:14-3:5
Hosea 4:1-5:14Hosea 5:15-6:3
Hosea 6:4-11:7Hosea 11:8-11
Hosea 11:12-13:16Hosea 14:1-9

Hosea 7:1  When I would heal Israel, The iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered, And the evil deeds of Samaria, For they deal falsely; The thief enters in, Bandits raid outside,

BGT  Hosea 7:1 ἐν τῷ ἰάσασθαί με τὸν Ισραηλ καὶ ἀποκαλυφθήσεται ἡ ἀδικία Εφραιμ καὶ ἡ κακία Σαμαρείας ὅτι ἠργάσαντο ψευδῆ καὶ κλέπτης πρὸς αὐτὸν εἰσελεύσεται ἐκδιδύσκων λῃστὴς ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ αὐτοῦ

NET  Hosea 7:1 whenever I want to heal Israel, the sin of Ephraim is revealed, and the evil deeds of Samaria are exposed. For they do what is wrong; thieves break into houses, and gangs rob people out in the streets.

LXE  Hosea 7:1 When I have healed Israel, then shall the iniquity of Ephraim be revealed, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they have wrought falsehood: and a thief shall come in to him, even a robber spoiling in his way;

NLT  Hosea 7:1 "I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great. Samaria is filled with liars. Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside!

KJV  Hosea 7:1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.

ESV  Hosea 7:1 When I would heal Israel, the iniquity of Ephraim is revealed, and the evil deeds of Samaria; for they deal falsely; the thief breaks in, and the bandits raid outside.

ASV  Hosea 7:1 When I would heal Israel, then is the iniquity of Ephraim uncovered, and the wickedness of Samaria; for they commit falsehood, and the thief entereth in, and the troop of robbers ravageth without.

CSB  Hosea 7:1 when I heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim and the crimes of Samaria will be exposed. For they practice fraud; a thief breaks in; a raiding party pillages outside.

NIV  Hosea 7:1 1 whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed and the crimes of Samaria revealed. They practice deceit, thieves break into houses, bandits rob in the streets;

NKJ  Hosea 7:1 "When I would have healed Israel, Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, And the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud; A thief comes in; A band of robbers takes spoil outside.

NRS  Hosea 7:1 when I would heal Israel, the corruption of Ephraim is revealed, and the wicked deeds of Samaria; for they deal falsely, the thief breaks in, and the bandits raid outside.

YLT  Hosea 7:1 'When I give healing to Israel, Then revealed is the iniquity of Ephraim, And the wickedness of Samaria, For they have wrought falsehood, And a thief doth come in, Stript off hath a troop in the street,

  • When I would heal Israel: Jer 51:9 Mt 23:37 Lu 13:34 19:42 
  • The iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered: Hos 4:17 Hos 6:8 Hos 8:9 Isa 28:1 Mic 6:16 
  • And the evil deeds of Samaria Ho 8:5 Hos 10:5 Eze 16:46 23:4 Am 8:14 
  • For they deal falsely: Ho 5:1 Hos 6:10 Hos 11:12 Hos 12:1 Isa 59:12 Jer 9:2-6 Mic 7:3-7 
  • Bandits raid outside: Ho 6:9 


When I would heal Israel The iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered - NLT - "I want to heal Israel, but its sins are too great" In the previously chapter Hosea used the same verb in a hope filled appeal to the sin sick nation in Hos 6:1 "Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal (rapha/rophe) us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage us." 

Heal (Be a Physician) (07495)(rapha/rophe) means to heal (both figurative and literal healing), to make whole, to restore to normal (restore health), to cure, to repair. In 1Ki. 18:30 it refers to “repairing” the altar of the Jerusalem temple. Rapha in its participial form, rophe (meaning “one who heals”) is the Hebrew word used of physicians in Jer. 8:22; Gen. 50:2; 2Chr 16:12; Job 13:4. Rapha is usually translated in the Septuagint with the Greek verb iaomaiwhich was used here figuratively, of deliverance from sin and its evil consequences (restore, make whole, renew). 

Rapha/rophe- Used 5x in Hosea - Hos. 5:13; Hos. 6:1; Hos. 7:1; Hos. 11:3; Hos. 14:4

God's efforts to heal Israel sadly only served to "catalyze" more outbreak of their sin sickness so that their sin was even more evident (uncovered). He sent prophets to heal them but in so doing Israel's sins were even more evident and exposed! It was as if the Word of the Lord spoken by the prophets brought the sin that existed to the light, but did not result in repentance, thus increasing the people's guilt.

The NIV said it this way "whenever I would heal Israel, the sins of Ephraim are exposed." God had tried to bring them to the point of reception of His hand of chastisement and to repentance, but His efforts were met with obstinate rejection and even running more into their sins! 

THOUGHT - While the context is different, the principle is similar to that outlined in Hebrews 12:5-11+ which speaks of God's hand of discipline on the Hebrew believers so that they might receive and repent and receive the benefits of divine discipline - God's discipline is evidence of His love for us (Hebrews 12:6), God's discipline assures us that we are His spiritual children, genuine members of His family (Hebrews 12:7-8), God's discipline enhances our spiritual life (Hebrews 12:9), God's discipline enables us to share His holiness (Hebrews 12:10), God's discipline yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness (Hebrews 12:11). So the question is this -- Are you a believer and you are experiencing divine discipline but you are not receiving it as beneficial to your spiritual life? If so, be careful! God may have to intensify the chastisement in order to gain your full attention and your acceptance of His loving, remedial, beneficial discipline. 

Jamieson - Israel's restoration of the two hundred thousand Jewish captives at God's command (2Chr 28:8-15) gave hope of Israel's reformation

Iniquity (05771)('avon from verb 'avah = to bend, twist, distort)conveys the basic meaning of to bend, twist,  distort. First used of Cain Ge 4:13.  'Avon  describes the iniquity, evil, punishment or guilt which is associated with a twisting of the standard or deviation from it. Since there is a deliberate twisting or perverting, 'avon describes sin that is particularly evil. It may also describe the punishment or disaster that befalls those who practice wickedness.'Avon also describes a conscious twisting or distorting as implied by the fact that David says "I kept myself from my iniquity." (2Sa 22:24) Israel made a choice to return to the sins of her ancestors (Jer. 11:10; 13:22). The punishment that goes with this deliberate act as a consequence is indicated by the word also (Ge 4:13; Isa 53:11). Avon is the Hebrew word which most distinctly unites sins of all kinds with their penal consequences. Avon is not only the iniquity but can also indicate the guilt that results from the act.

In the Septuagint (Lxx)avon is translated in Hos 7:1 with adikia which means a condition of not being right, whether with God, according to the standard of His holiness and righteousness or with man, according to the standard of what man knows to be right by his conscience. 

Avon in Hosea - Hos. 4:8; Hos. 5:5; Hos. 7:1; Hos. 8:13; Hos. 9:7; Hos. 9:9; Hos. 12:8; Hos. 13:12; Hos. 14:1; Hos. 14:2; 

Uncovered (01540)(galah) means to uncover (sadly the first use = Noah uncovering himself after becoming drunk! - Ge 9:21, cp Lev 18:6 prohibiting "uncover nakedness" ~ sexual relations), to reveal (God revealed Himself to Jacob at Bethel, and thus the name El-Bethel - Ge 35:7. 2Sa 2:27), expose (Ex 20:26), open (God opened the eyes of Balaam to see the Angel of the LORD - Nu 22:31), reveal (Dt 29:29). Galah is used of not yet revealing the Word of the LORD to Samuel (1Sa 3:7) and of revealing Himself to Samuel (1Sa 3:21). The Septuagint (Lxx) translates galah  with the verb apokalupto (from apó = from + kalúpto = cover, conceal, English = apocalypse) which literally means to remove the cover from and so the idea is to remove that which conceals something. The light of God's Word through His prophets reveals what men attempt to conceal, their sin. 

And the evil deeds of Samaria - Samariawas the capital of Israel (the Northern Kingdom of 10 tribes) also known as Ephraim. This city is crime central! Samaria was selected by Omri to be the capital of Israel (1Ki 16:24) 

For they deal falsely - "They practice deceit" (NIV). Falsehood describes their habitual practice, deceiving with untruthful statements. The Septuagint (Lxx) uses ergazomai meaning that they really "worked at this" and did so very effectively! The word sheqer was used of the breaking of a promise, being false to a treaty or commitment, hence an empty promise.

We see a similar description of the Southern nation of Judah given years later by Jeremiah - notice a major driving force in both descriptions = greedy for gain! Does this not sound like some of the business activities in America? Woe!

(Jer 6:13) “For from the least of them even to the greatest of them, Everyone is greedy for gain, And from the prophet even to the priest Everyone deals falsely (sheqer). 

(Jer 8:10) “Therefore I will give their wives to others, Their field s to new owners; Because from the least even to the greatest Everyone is greedy for gain; From the prophet even to the priest Everyone practices deceit.(sheqer).. 

Falsely(lies, deception) (08267)(sheqer from shāqar = to deal deceitfully) refers to a deceptive statement, “breaking faith with others by presenting deception/falsehood rather than truth” (NIDOTTE) Sheqer describes words or activities that are "false," in the sense of being without basis in fact or reality. Sheqer is used with particular reference to false testimony, as in court. It speaks of something which is utterly false which the hearer interprets as true and thus is misled or deceived. The ninth commandment said “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Ex 20:16, cp Dt 19:18) Zechariah warned against false oaths or perjury (Zech. 5:4; 8:17, cp Jer 5:2). Such deceit is listed in Ps as the act of an adversary (Ps. 27:12), motivated by arrogance (Ps 119:69) and the purpose is to destroy someone through slanderous words (Isa. 32:7). Lxx translates here with  adikía (G93)

The thief enters in - indoors stealthily. NET = "thieves break into houses." Crimes of burglary or "breaking and entering." NLT says "Thieves are on the inside and bandits on the outside!" Israel's actions of stealing (inside and outside) epitomized their complete refusal to abide by God's covenant, in this case specifically Ex 20:15 “You shall not steal."

Crime was rampant in the society, because God was "absent!" This reminds us of the "theme verse" in the horrible sin filled days of the Book of Judges "In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes." (Jdg 21:25+) Indeed, "Righteousness exalts a nation, But sin is a disgrace to any people." (Pr 14:34 - Are you listening America? Woe!) Eaton adds that "We become like the God — or the gods — that we worship. ‘They went after vanity and became vanity’ (Jeremiah 2:5). People may think that they can remove the worship of God and still have a decent society. Maybe they can — for a short time! But take away the God of the Bible and soon the righteousness of the Bible will disappear also. Society gets steadily worse." (Focus on the Bible - Hosea)

Bandits raid outside - out-of-doors with open violence.  NET = "gangs rob people out in the streets." Gangs of thugs robbing on the streets.

Constable - Most people's reaction to their (GOD'S PROPHETS) messages was rejection and further heart-hardening. The people lied to one another and stole from each other. These two crimes are a synecdoche for civil and social injustices in general.

Jon Courson - Here, the Lord is saying, "I wanted to heal these people. But their iniquity was discovered or, literally, flaunted." It's not as though the Lord is a harsh taskmaster, saying, "I won't heal you because you've sinned." No, He's saying, "I wanted to heal you, but couldn't because you were so proud of your sin."There was a time in our own country when people were embarrassed about their sin. Now it's flaunted, leaving us to wonder how much healing, how many blessings are averted because of it. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2)

Patterson liars... Thieves... bandits.—Hosea’s penchant for grouping items in three is seen once more (cf. Hos 5:1). Three classes of people are singled out: deceivers, thieves who break into buildings, and robbers who wait outside to do their mischief. Another group of three (king, princes, and people) is clustered in Hos 7:3. Thus, all Israel is condemned. (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary)

Hosea 7:2  And they do not consider in their hearts That I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds are all around them; They are before My face.

Amplified But they do not consider and say to their minds and hearts that I [earnestly] remember all their wickedness. Now their own doings surround and entangle them; they are before My face. 

BGT  Hosea 7:2 ὅπως συνᾴδωσιν ὡς συνᾴδοντες τῇ καρδίᾳ αὐτῶν πάσας τὰς κακίας αὐτῶν ἐμνήσθην νῦν ἐκύκλωσεν αὐτοὺς τὰ διαβούλια αὐτῶν ἀπέναντι τοῦ προσώπου μου ἐγένοντο

NET  Hosea 7:2 They do not realize that I remember all of their wicked deeds. Their evil deeds have now surrounded them; their sinful deeds are always before me.

LXE  Hosea 7:2 that they may concert together as men singing in their heart: I remember all their wickedness: now have their own counsels compassed them about; they came before my face.

NLT  Hosea 7:2 Its people don't realize that I am watching them. Their sinful deeds are all around them, and I see them all.

KJV  Hosea 7:2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.

ESV  Hosea 7:2 But they do not consider that I remember all their evil. Now their deeds surround them; they are before my face.

ASV  Hosea 7:2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now have their own doings beset them about; they are before my face.

CSB  Hosea 7:2 But they never consider that I remember all their evil. Now their sins are all around them; they are right in front of My face.

NIV  Hosea 7:2 but they do not realize that I remember all their evil deeds. Their sins engulf them; they are always before me.

NKJ  Hosea 7:2 They do not consider in their hearts That I remember all their wickedness; Now their own deeds have surrounded them; They are before My face.

NRS  Hosea 7:2 But they do not consider that I remember all their wickedness. Now their deeds surround them, they are before my face.

YLT  Hosea 7:2 And they do not say to their heart, That all their evil I have remembered, Now compassed them have their doings, Over-against My face they have been.

NAB  Hosea 7:2 Yet they do not remind themselves that I remember all their wickedness. Even now their crimes surround them, present to my sight.

NJB  Hosea 7:2 and they never pause to consider that I remember all their wicked deeds; and now their own deeds hem them in and stare me in the face.

GWN  Hosea 7:2 They don't realize that I remember all the evil things they've done. Now their sins surround them. Their sins are in my presence.

BHT  Hosea 7:2 ûbal-yö|´mürû lilbäbäm Kol-rä`ätäm zäkäºrTî `aTTâ sübäbûm ma|`alülêhem neºged Pänay häyû

BBE  Hosea 7:2 And they do not say to themselves that I keep in mind all their sin; now their evil acts come round them on every side; they are before my face.

  • And they do not consider in their hearts, De 32:29 Ps 50:22 Isa 1:3 Isa 5:12 Isa 44:19 
  • That I remember all their wickedness: Ho 9:9 Ps 25:7 Jer 14:10 Am 8:7 Lu 12:2 1Co 4:5 
  • Now their deeds are all around them: Nu 32:23 Job 20:11-29 Ps 9:16 Pr 5:22 Isa 26:16 Jer 2:19 4:18 
  • They are before My face: Job 34:21 Ps 90:8 Pr 5:21 Jer 16:17 Jer 32:19 Heb 4:13 


God always knows! Don't deceive yourself!

And they do not consider in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness  - Literally "and they do not say in their heart." TEV "It never enters their heads." "They do not realize that I remember all of their wicked deeds." (NET) "Its people don't realize that I am watching them." (NLT) What is the picture here? Is this not the conscience speaking to our heart and yet their conscience is not functioning as it should. If one spends enough time fighting against his conscience, the conscience can become seared! (cf 1 Ti 4:2) The point is that Israel (REFLECTING THEIR SELF-DECEPTION) did not acknowledge that God knew about their many sins. They manifested blatant contempt of God! 

THOUGHT - Sin is by it's very nature deceptive (apate). (Heb 3:13+) describes the danger of being "hardened by the deceitfulness of sin." (See related discussion - Deceitfulness of Sin) And beloved when we are deceived by sin, we do not even know it! That is the nature of self deception. Are you contemplating toying with any "little" sin (there is NO "Little" sin!)? Let me be more specific -- Men are you allowing your eyes to gaze on defiling images on the internet, thinking like Israel did that God is not aware? BEWARE! You are on a slippery slope! Repent and return and God will heal you! Read slowly and meditatively the warning words of Solomon (who sadly did not listen to his own warning! see 1 Kings 11:1-14) (Pr 5:3-23+)

The Septuagint (Lxx) is very picturesque (and sad) for it uses the verb sunado which means to "sing together." The picture is "they agree as men in harmony with each other" or "they are in full harmony" in their hearts. 

Eaton - Conscience about such things has become hardened (‘They do not speak to their own hearts’). (Focus on the Bible-Hosea)

Now their deeds are all around them - Hosea laments that Israel had gone so far as to surround herself with wickedness in the very presence of the God who keeps accounts. What a picture! Their sins have entangled them. The Septuagint (Lxx) translates all around (sabab) with kukloo which means to encircle or encompass, generally with a hostile intent. This is reminiscent of Hebrews 12:1+ although that passage speaks of believers describing "the sin which so easily entangles." 

The same Hebrew verb sabab for "all around" is used again in Hos 11:12 where God declares "Ephraim surrounds (sabab, again the Lxx = kukloo) Me with lies And the house of Israel with deceit; Judah is also unruly against God, Even against the Holy One who is faithful.

They are before My face - The omniscient God sees all, Solomon writing "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good." (Pr 15:3). And again in Proverbs we read "For the ways of a man are before the eyes of the LORD, And He watches all his paths." (Pr 5:21) In Jeremiah God said "For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their iniquity concealed from My eyes." (Jer 16:17) - In Hebrews we read "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do ("to whom we must render an account" = NET)." (Heb 4:13).

Psalm 90:8 says "You (GOD) have placed our iniquities before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your presence." God's light of holiness alway illumines and exposes the hidden corners and dark secrets of our heart! 

Eaton - A century ago, in ‘the west’, men and women turned aside from the Bible. They were so confident that evolution was about to take them to the pinnacle of glory. The first world war of 1914–1918 shattered their dreams of utopia, but even that was thought to be the ‘war to end all wars’. What crass ignorance of God, and ignorance of human history! The end of the twentieth century shows the results: great cleverness in technology, but more murders, violence, and broken homes than ever. Lying and immorality are not even regarded as sin at all! Israel thought the nation would last for ever, but they had thirty years left. How many years does the western world have? It is one of the affluent parts of the world, but so was Israel in Jeroboam’s day. Israel despised the Gentiles, but soon Assyrians and Babylonians, and then Greeks and Romans, would be far more influential and prestigious than Israel. At present ‘the west’ is the affluent, influential, admired part of the world. But how long will it last? The centre of gravity of the Christian world is now Africa, South America and Indonesia. One can expect Christian influence to steadily grow there as it is steadily declining in the western world. Hosea has a message for us! The murders and the violence, the sex–craze and the lying, are signs of how much our society needs the God of the Bible. The need of the hour is not a new political party, not superior technology, not the right foreign policy, or the right relationship in some financial market. Our very survival as a people depends on whether or not spiritual awakening comes and — while we are waiting — on how many people actually come to Jesus Christ. A country with few Christians will be a place of murder, immorality and deceit. Israel proved it long ago. The modern world adds its confirmation. (Ibid)

Guzik - Have you forgotten? Do you think God doesn’t see? Do you think God is blind to your adultery or pre-marital sex? Do you think your pornography habit goes unnoticed? Do you think God’s eyes are closed when you get drunk or take drugs? There are many church-going people today who think that God forgets or never sees such things, because they do them and then they come to church and make a profession of godliness, pretending that those things are never part of their life. (Enduring Word Bible Commentary – Hosea)

Hosea 7:3  With their wickedness they make the king glad, And the princes with their lies.

BGT  Hosea 7:3 ἐν ταῖς κακίαις αὐτῶν εὔφραναν βασιλεῖς καὶ ἐν τοῖς ψεύδεσιν αὐτῶν ἄρχοντας

NET  Hosea 7:3 The royal advisers delight the king with their evil schemes, the princes make him glad with their lies.

LXE  Hosea 7:3 They gladdened kings with their wickedness, and princes with their lies.

NLT  Hosea 7:3 "The people entertain the king with their wickedness, and the princes laugh at their lies.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:3 By their evil they make the king glad, and the princes by their treachery.

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

CSB  Hosea 7:3 They please the king with their evil, the princes with their lies.

NIV  Hosea 7:3 "They delight the king with their wickedness, the princes with their lies.

NKJ  Hosea 7:3 They make a king glad with their wickedness, And princes with their lies.

NRS  Hosea 7:3 By their wickedness they make the king glad, and the officials by their treachery.

YLT  Hosea 7:3 With their wickedness they make glad a king, And with their lies -- princes.

NAB  Hosea 7:3 In their wickedness they regale the king, the princes too, with their deceits.

NJB  Hosea 7:3 They amuse the king with their wickedness and the chief men with their lies.

GWN  Hosea 7:3 "They make kings happy with the wicked things they do. They make officials happy with the lies they tell.

BHT  Hosea 7:3 Bürä`ätäm yüSammüHû-meºlek ûbükaHášêhem Särîm

BBE  Hosea 7:3 In their sin they make a king for themselves, and rulers in their deceit.

  • Ho 5:11 1Ki 22:6,13 Jer 5:31 Jer 9:2 28:1-4 37:19 Am 7:10-13 Mic 6:16 Mic 7:3 Ro 1:32 1Jn 4:5 


With their wickedness they make the king glad and the princes with their lies - This is a very sad verse! When wickedness and lies are the source of one's gladness, happiness or delight, then one is truly perverted God's order. Their response to evil makes me think of the last verse in Paul's horrible description of humanity that has chosen to reject the knowledge of the Most High God...

Although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them. (Ro 1:32+)

The NLT paraphrase gives us an vivid picture of a country turned upside down - "The people entertain the king with their wickedness, and the princes laugh at their lies." Sin in rulers encouraged sin in the ruled. Think about the picture -- if you saw your leader rejoicing in wickedness, it would be much easier for you his subject to do what was evil and to amuse the rulers with your accounts of wickedness! Sin was not only tolerated, but even celebrated! This is the picture of a very sick society!

Wickedness (07451)(ra') describes the inability to come up to good (God's) standards. It speaks of inferior quality (think of their ability to lead the people). It describes wicked thoughts and evil actions, common bed-fellows in the heart and mind of all who have rejected God and His Truth. The Septuagint translates ra' with kakia which refers to the quality of wickedness and in a moral sense means depravity, vice or baseness (James 1:21, 1 Peter 2:16, Acts 8:22). It is the opposite of areteand all virtue and therefore lacks social value. It denotes a vicious disposition, evilness, ill-will, spitefulness. And this is what gave them joy!!! When that happens in a society, you know the society is very sick and not far from death. Indeed the Assyrians defeated Israel in 722 BC and took them off into exile (cf the "10 lost tribes")

Constable - These leaders, of course, should have opposed all forms of ungodliness since they were Yahweh's representatives on earth.

Glad (08056)(sameach) is an adjective which denotes being glad, happy or joyful with one's entire being. Think about that definition for a moment! Joy over evil permeates their entire being! Woe! Sameach usually refers to spontaneous emotion or extreme happiness expressed in some visible and/or external manner. 

Lies would include deceptive schemes.

Lies (03585)(kachash from verb kachash = to disappoint, deceive, fail, grow lean) is a masculine noun which means lies, leanness.

Septuagint translates kachash in this verse with  pseudos from pseudomai = to lie and which describes an untrue statement, an intentional violation of the truth, a lie or a deception. Falsehood is that which is in the state of being untrue. Pseudos is the content of a false utterance. Pseudos is conscious and intentional falsehood. In a broad sense, pseudos is whatever is not what it seems to be or professes to be (the antithesis of truth).

Kachash - 6x - leanness(1), lies(5). - Job 16:8; Ps. 59:12; Hos. 7:3; Hos. 10:13; Hos. 11:12; Nah. 3:1

Baker - It carries the meaning of deception and deceit, of Israel's lying to God (Hos. 10:13; 11:12). Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was full of deceit and lies (Nah. 3:1). The wicked constantly utter lies (Ps. 59:12). In the context of Job 16:8, it means sickliness, leanness, or gauntness. (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Gilbrant on kachash - Of its six occurrences in the Hebrew Bible, five times this noun occurs with the nuance of "lie," once meaning "leanness" (Job 16:8). It is derived from the verb kāchash, "to deny," "to lie," "to waste away" (HED #3703). Only the latter nominal nuance is attested in Talmudic.The noun usually refers to a "lie." What precisely is meant by lie is not always clear. Lying and cursing is a sin perpetrated by the enemies of the psalmist (Ps. 59:12). The elite of Samaria performed evil, oppressive works, assuming Yahweh would not remember them (Hos. 7:3). It is reasonable to assume that this lying involved legal matters, that it was the path to ill-gotten wealth. This assumption is strengthened by the indictment against the elite of Israel found in ch. 10. "You have plowed iniquity, you have reaped injustice, you have eaten the fruit of lies" (v. 13). The deceit was not limited. Hosea 11:12 proclaims that "Ephraim surrounds me with lies." Another instance of ill-gotten gain is found in Nahum's scathing prophecy of judgment and doom concerning the capital of Assyria, Nineveh (Nah. 3:1). The passage of woe begins with "Woe to the bloody city, completely full of lies and pillage; Her prey never departs" (NASB). The booty and plunder were the result of violent seizure, and the "lies" mentioned here must also point to some type of unwarranted gain. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Hosea 7:4  They are all adulterers, Like an oven heated by the baker Who ceases to stir up the fire From the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.

BGT  Hosea 7:4 πάντες μοιχεύοντες ὡς κλίβανος καιόμενος εἰς πέψιν κατακαύματος ἀπὸ τῆς φλογός ἀπὸ φυράσεως στέατος ἕως τοῦ ζυμωθῆναι αὐτό

NET  Hosea 7:4 They are all like bakers, they are like a smoldering oven; they are like a baker who does not stoke the fire until the kneaded dough is ready for baking.

LXE  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers, as an oven glowing with flame for hot-baking, on account of the kneading of the dough, until it is leavened.

NLT  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers, always aflame with lust. They are like an oven that is kept hot while the baker is kneading the dough.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers; they are like a heated oven whose baker ceases to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.

ASV  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers; they are as an oven heated by the baker; he ceaseth to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough, until it be leavened.

CSB  Hosea 7:4 All of them commit adultery; they are like an oven heated by a baker who stops stirring the fire from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.

NIV  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers, burning like an oven whose fire the baker need not stir from the kneading of the dough till it rises.

NKJ  Hosea 7:4 "They are all adulterers. Like an oven heated by a baker-- He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough, Until it is leavened.

NRS  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers; they are like a heated oven, whose baker does not need to stir the fire, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened.

YLT  Hosea 7:4 All of them are adulterers, Like a burning oven of a baker, He ceaseth from stirring up after kneading the dough, till its leavening.

NAB  Hosea 7:4 They are all kindled to wrath like a blazing oven, Whose fire the baker desists from stirring once the dough is kneaded until it has risen.

NJB  Hosea 7:4 They are all adulterers, hot as an oven which the baker need not stoke from the time he has kneaded the dough until it rises.

GWN  Hosea 7:4 They all commit adultery. They are like a heated oven, an oven so hot that a baker doesn't have to fan its flames when he makes bread.

BHT  Hosea 7:4 Kulläm mün亴ápîm Kümô tannûr Bö`ëºrâ më|´öpè yišBôt më`îr millûš Bäcëq `ad-Humcätô

BBE  Hosea 7:4 They are all untrue; they are like a burning oven; the bread-maker does not make up the fire from the time when the paste is mixed till it is leavened.

  • They are all adulterers: Ho 4:2,12 Jer 5:7,8 9:2 Jas 4:4 
  • Like an oven heated by the baker: Ho 7:6,7 


Things have not changed much - see the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential (bet you did not realize there was such an "encyclopedia"! Sad that we need one like this but it will be out of print in Heaven!) has an article on "Unbridled Lust." Unbridled means not restrained, not controlled, unchecked, ungoverned. One dictionary defines "unbridled lust" this way -- If you describe behavior or feelings as unbridled, you mean that they are not controlled or limited in any way.

Because of the many references to a baker and baking in this chapter, some writers suggest that Hosea was a baker before God called him to be a prophet. 

This is the first of four similes used to describe unfaithful Israel -- Oven (Hos 7:4-7), Cake not turned (Hos 7:8-10), Silly Dove (Hos 7:11-12), Deceitful Bow (Hos 7:13-16).

They are all adulterers - Who is they? In context of Hos 7:3 it would seem to be both the rulers and the ruled, neither being "ruled" or governed by a sense of righteousness! Thus ALL means sexual perversion permeated the entire society from top to bottom. The worship of Baal was well-known to associated with unspeakable licentiousness. Sadly, America is on a "crash" course for similar perverted practices. Of course while their was undoubtedly literal adultery, the sin also includes spiritual adultery against God. 

POSB - Imagine a nation of people engaging in so much illicit sex that it could be called a nation of adulterers. Sadly, it has been true of so many nations down through history. The people were aflame with lust for sex and false gods, committing both physical and spiritual adultery. They turned away from their spouses and from God, giving themselves to others. (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Hosea)

Eaton comments that "The line, ‘All of them are adulterers’, is probably to be taken both figuratively and literally. When Hosea was told ‘The land is committing great harlotry’ (Hos 1:2) the language was figurative. Yet we know that the nation’s impurity was also quite a literal matter.

They remind us of Peter's lurid description of the false teachers...

having eyes full of adultery that never cease from sin, enticing unstable souls, having a heart trained in greed, accursed children; (2 Peter 2:14+)

Adulterers (05003)(נָאַף nāʾap̱)is a verb meaning to commit adultery and is used literally of the physical act (Ex. 20:14; Lev. 20:10; Pr 6:32; Jer. 5:7; Jer 7:9; Jer 29:23; Hos 4:2; Mal 3:5). Na'ap is also often used of spiritual adultery as well and as such is often equated with idolatry (Isa. 57:3; Jer. 3:9; Ezek 23:37). Lxxtranslates this with the moicheuo which means to commit adultery in the present tense speaks of their continual practice.

Like an oven heated by the baker  - This is a term of comparison (specifically a simile which is preceded by either "like" or "as"). The people were so zealous for their adultery that they were vividly compared to a heated oven. The picture of this oven is that the baker could cease from stirring up the fire and it would burn all night. In a word, their passions were hot and continually "glowing" like embers on a fire! Sick! 

Who ceases to stir up the fire From the kneading of the dough until it is leavened - The baker would pause fueling the fire while the dough was kneaded and given time to be fully leavened. Presumably this comparison indicates that these adulterers rested only while their passions were refuelled for further sinning.

Wood explains that "The oven was so hot that a baker could cease tending the fire during an entire night—while the dough he had mixed was rising—and then, with a fresh tending of the fire in the morning, have sufficient heat for baking at that time." (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Baker feels that the oven "describes Israel's adulterous lust for false and forbidden liaisons among the nations (Hos. 7:4, 6, 7)." (Ibid)

Oven (08574)(tannur) refers to refers to a kiln, oven, firepot, generally small and sometimes portable stove, not a large furnace. This stove was approximately two to three feet in diameter and was made of clay and placed in the ground. These stoves were used for baking food, especially bread (Exo. 8:3; Lev. 2:4; 7:9). In post-exilic times, an area in northwest Jerusalem was guarded by the Tower of Ovens (Neh. 3:11; 12:38). The flaming stove was a symbol of God's judgment against the wicked (Isa. 31:9; Mal. 4:1+ = describes the Day of the Lord). In Genesis 15:17+ a smoking oven and flaming torch represent the presence of God in a fiery theophany.

Tannur - furnace(2), Furnaces(2), oven(10), ovens(1).

Gen. 15:17+; Exod. 8:3; Lev. 2:4; Lev. 7:9; Lev. 11:35; Lev. 26:26; Neh. 3:11; Neh. 12:38; Ps. 21:9; Isa. 31:9; Lam. 5:10; Hos. 7:4; Hos. 7:6; Hos. 7:7; Mal. 4:1

Hosea 7:5  On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers,

BGT  Hosea 7:5 αἱ ἡμέραι τῶν βασιλέων ὑμῶν ἤρξαντο οἱ ἄρχοντες θυμοῦσθαι ἐξ οἴνου ἐξέτεινεν τὴν χεῖρα αὐτοῦ μετὰ λοιμῶν

NET  Hosea 7:5 At the celebration of their king, his princes become inflamed with wine; they conspire with evildoers.

LXE  Hosea 7:5 In the days of our kings, the princes began to be inflamed with wine: he stretched out his hand with pestilent fellows.

NLT  Hosea 7:5 On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine, carousing with those who mock them.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with mockers.

ASV  Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king the princes made themselves sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with scoffers.

CSB  Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king, the princes are sick with the heat of wine-- there is a conspiracy with traitors.

NIV  Hosea 7:5 On the day of the festival of our king the princes become inflamed with wine, and he joins hands with the mockers.

NKJ  Hosea 7:5 In the day of our king Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers.

NRS  Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king the officials became sick with the heat of wine; he stretched out his hand with mockers.

YLT  Hosea 7:5 A day of our king! Princes have polluted themselves with the poison of wine, He hath drawn out his hand with scorners.

NAB  Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king, the princes are overcome with the heat of wine. He extends his hand among dissemblers;

NJB  Hosea 7:5 At the holiday for our king, the ministers become inflamed with wine, while he accepts the homage of people

GWN  Hosea 7:5 On the day of the king's celebration, the officials become drunk from wine, and the king joins mockers.

BHT  Hosea 7:5 yôm malKëºnû heHélû Särîm Hámat miyyäºyin mäšak yädô ´et-löcücîm

BBE  Hosea 7:5 On the day of our king, the rulers made him ill with the heat of wine; his hand was stretched out with the men of pride.

  • On the day of our king: Ge 40:20 Da 5:1-4 Mt 14:6 Mk 6:21 
  • the princes became sick: Pr 20:1 Isa 5:11,12,22,23 28:1,7,8 Hab 2:15,16 Eph 5:18 1Pe 4:3,4 
  • He stretched out his hand: 1Ki 13:4 
  • with scoffers: Ps 1:1 69:12 Pr 13:20 23:29-35 Da 5:4,23 


Hosea 7:5–7 describes how the conspirators characteristically carried out their plots. It began by getting the king drunk. 

On the day of our king, the princes became sick with the heat of wine - NLT = "On royal holidays, the princes get drunk with wine." NJB = "At the holiday for our king, the ministers become inflamed with wine." Most commentators interpret the day of our king as a day of festival or celebration.

Phillips on the day of our king - The expression "the day of our king" probably refers to one of the many coronations that took place during Hosea's long ministry as one king after another fell to the assassin's knife. None of these kings had even a passing thought for God. (Exploring the Minor Prophets)

He stretched out his hand with scoffers - The king joined in with the scoffers. As the context below shows these scoffers were the ringleaders planning to assassinate the king (with whom they became drunk! Talk about deceit and treachery!)

Scoffers(03887)(lis/lits) means  to boast, to scorn, to mock, to deride, or to imitate. In Proverbs (Pr 9:7, 8; 13:1; 20:1) it means to deride or to boast so as to express utter contempt.

Gilbrant - The Book of Proverbs provides a wide-ranging discussion of the scoffer. A scoffer makes a mockery of justice (Prov. 19:28), despising all rules and authority. Proverbs 3:34 places the scoffer as the opposite of the humble. God himself scoffs at the scoffer. The Septuagint renders "scoffer" here as "proud," a translation which is repeated in the NT in Jam. 4:6 and 1 Pet. 5:5. The Hiphil stem is used in the sense of mocking or scorning in Job 16:20 as a description of Job's visitors, and in Ps. 119:51, where the writer declares that he will avoid those proud ones who mock his faith in God. The Hiphil participle appears four times in the sense of "interpreter" or "intermediary." In Gen. 42:23, Joseph speaks to his brothers through an interpreter. Second Chronicles 32:31 mentions the delegation of Babylonian representatives who saw king Hezekiah's treasures. The other passages refer to those who go between God and humans. Isaiah 43:27 describes the "interpreters" of Israel who have sinned, probably referring to teachers who did not pass on God's word to the people properly. In Job 33:23, Elihu claims that God uses suffering for our benefit. He may even send an angel as an interpreter, to help us understand how to respond to suffering.

Lis/lits - 27v - carry on as scoffers(1), deride(1), envoys(1), interpreter(1), makes a mockery(1), mediator(1), mock(1), mocker(1), scoff(1), scoffer(10), scoffers(5), scoffs at the scoffers(1), scorner(1), spokesmen(1).

Gen. 42:23; 2 Chr. 32:31; Job 16:20; Job 33:23; Ps. 1:1; Ps. 119:51; Prov. 1:22; Prov. 3:34; Prov. 9:7; Prov. 9:8; Prov. 9:12; Prov. 13:1; Prov. 14:6; Prov. 14:9; Prov. 15:12; Prov. 19:25; Prov. 19:28; Prov. 19:29; Prov. 20:1; Prov. 21:11; Prov. 21:24; Prov. 22:10; Prov. 24:9; Isa. 28:22; Isa. 29:20; Isa. 43:27; Hos. 7:5

Hosea 7:6  For their hearts are like an oven As they approach their plotting; Their anger smolders all night, In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.

BGT  Hosea 7:6 διότι ἀνεκαύθησαν ὡς κλίβανος αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν ἐν τῷ καταράσσειν αὐτούς ὅλην τὴν νύκτα ὕπνου Εφραιμ ἐνεπλήσθη πρωὶ ἐγενήθη ἀνεκαύθη ὡς πυρὸς φέγγος

NET  Hosea 7:6 They approach him, all the while plotting against him. Their hearts are like an oven; their anger smolders all night long, but in the morning it bursts into a flaming fire.

LXE  Hosea 7:6 Wherefore their hearts are inflamed as an oven, while they rage all the night: Ephraim is satisfied with sleep; the morning is come; he is burnt up as a flame of fire.

NLT  Hosea 7:6 Their hearts are like an oven blazing with intrigue. Their plot smolders through the night, and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire.

KJV  Hosea 7:6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.

ESV  Hosea 7:6 For with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue; all night their anger smolders; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.

ASV  Hosea 7:6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, while they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.

CSB  Hosea 7:6 For they-- their hearts like an oven-- draw him into their oven. Their anger smolders all night; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.

NIV  Hosea 7:6 Their hearts are like an oven; they approach him with intrigue. Their passion smolders all night; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.

NKJ  Hosea 7:6 They prepare their heart like an oven, While they lie in wait; Their baker sleeps all night; In the morning it burns like a flaming fire.

NRS  Hosea 7:6 For they are kindled like an oven, their heart burns within them; all night their anger smolders; in the morning it blazes like a flaming fire.

YLT  Hosea 7:6 For they have drawn near, As an oven is their heart, In their lying in wait all the night sleep doth their baker, Morning! he is burning as a flaming fire.

NAB  Hosea 7:6 the plotters approach with hearts like ovens. All the night their anger sleeps; in the morning it flares like a blazing fire.

NJB  Hosea 7:6 who laugh at him. Their hearts are like an oven as they plot, all night their passion slumbers, then in the morning it bursts into flame;

GWN  Hosea 7:6 They become hot like an oven while they lie in ambush. All night long their anger smolders, but in the morning it burns like a raging fire.

BHT  Hosea 7:6 Kî|-qërbû kaTTannûr liBBäm Bü´orBäm Kol-hallaºylâ yäšën ´ö|pëhem Böºqer hû´ bö`ër Kü´ëš lehäbâ

BBE  Hosea 7:6 For they have made their hearts ready like an oven, while they are waiting secretly; their wrath is sleeping all night; in the morning it is burning like a flaming fire.

  • their hearts are like an oven: Ho 7:4,7 1Sa 19:11-15 2Sa 13:28,29 Ps 10:8,9 Pr 4:16 Mic 2:1 


They plotted against the king while they partied with the king!

For their hearts are like an oven as they approach their plotting - NLT - "Their hearts are like an oven blazing with intrigue." The idea of plotting (oreb) is to ambush or trap. It is used figuratively in Jer 9:8 to describe the harm and evil that wicked people plan for their own neighbor (Jer. 9:8). Here it describes the political intrigue aimed against the king. To whom does "their hearts" refer? The nearest antecedent is the scoffers in Hos 7:6.

ESV Study Bible - The oven is a suppressed passion, like anger smoldering, that unexpectedly and violently erupts;

Their anger smolders all night, In the morning it burns like a flaming fire - NLT - "Their plot smolders through the night, and in the morning it breaks out like a raging fire." The scoffers were secretly plotting evil against the king and disguised their anger against him. Eventually their anger would break out like a flaming fire and the destructive plot becomes a reality. 

Smolders (03463)(yashen) is an adjective which primarily describes someone sleeping. I especially like Elijah's mocking use to describe Baal declaring "perhaps he is asleep (yashen) and needs to be awakened.” (1 Ki 18:27). In Da 12:2+ yashen describes those who have died "who sleep in the dust." Hosea uses yashen figuratively to describe the passion of the scoffers "sleeping" but then says in the morning it will be aroused like a flaming fire

Yashen - 9v - asleep(3), sleep(1), sleeping(1), slept(1), smolders(1), who fall asleep(1), who sleep(1).

1 Sam. 26:7; 1 Sam. 26:12; 1 Ki. 3:20; 1 Ki. 18:27; Ps. 78:65; Cant. 5:2; Cant. 7:9; Dan. 12:2; Hos. 7:6

Hosea 7:7  All of them are hot like an oven, And they consume their rulers; All their kings have fallen. None of them calls on Me.

BGT  Hosea 7:7 πάντες ἐθερμάνθησαν ὡς κλίβανος καὶ κατέφαγον τοὺς κριτὰς αὐτῶν πάντες οἱ βασιλεῖς αὐτῶν ἔπεσαν οὐκ ἦν ὁ ἐπικαλούμενος ἐν αὐτοῖς πρός με

NET  Hosea 7:7 All of them are blazing like an oven; they devour their rulers. All of their kings fall– and none of them call on me!

LXE  Hosea 7:7 They are all heated like an oven, and have devoured their judges: all their kings are fallen; there was not among them one that called on me.

NLT  Hosea 7:7 Burning like an oven, they consume their leaders. They kill their kings one after another, and no one cries to me for help.

KJV  Hosea 7:7 They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.

ESV  Hosea 7:7 All of them are hot as an oven, and they devour their rulers. All their kings have fallen, and none of them calls upon me.

ASV  Hosea 7:7 They are all hot as an oven, and devour their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.

CSB  Hosea 7:7 All of them are as hot as an oven, and they consume their rulers. All their kings fall; not one of them calls on Me.

NIV  Hosea 7:7 All of them are hot as an oven; they devour their rulers. All their kings fall, and none of them calls on me.

NKJ  Hosea 7:7 They are all hot, like an oven, And have devoured their judges; All their kings have fallen. None among them calls upon Me.

NRS  Hosea 7:7 All of them are hot as an oven, and they devour their rulers. All their kings have fallen; none of them calls upon me.

YLT  Hosea 7:7 All of them are warm as an oven, And they have devoured their judges, All their kings have fallen, There is none calling unto Me among them.

NAB  Hosea 7:7 They are all heated like ovens, and consume their rulers. All their kings have fallen; none of them calls upon me.

NJB  Hosea 7:7 yes, all of them as hot as ovens, they consume their rulers. All their kings have fallen thus, not one of them has ever called on me.

GWN  Hosea 7:7 They are all as hot as an oven. They consume their judges like a fire. All their kings die in battle, and none of them calls to me.

BHT  Hosea 7:7 Kulläm yëHaºmmû KaTTannûr wü´äklû ´et-šö|p†êhem Kol-malkêhem näpäºlû ´ên-qörë´ bähem ´ëläy

BBE  Hosea 7:7 They are all heated like an oven, and they put an end to their judges; all their kings have been made low; not one among them makes prayer to me.

  • And they consume their rulers: Ho 8:4 1Ki 15:28 1 Ki 16:9-11,18,22 2Ki 9:24,33 10:7,14 2Ki 15:10,14,25,30 
  • None of them calls on Me: Ho 7:10,14 5:15 Job 36:13 Isa 9:13 43:22 64:7 Eze 22:30 Da 9:13 


All of them are hot like an oven - Them refers to the scoffers of Hos 7:5 who were planning the assassination.

All their kings have fallen - Note the plural kings which alludes to the assassination four of the last seven kings of Israel who were assassinated. During the prophetic days of Hosea the following kings reigned - Jeroboam II (793-753), Zechariah (753-752 = assassinated), Shallum (752 = assassinated), Menahem (overlapping reign with Pekah - 752-742), Pekahiah (742 = assassinated, overlapped with Pekah), Pekah (752-732 = assassinated), and the last king Hoshea (732-722).

Leon Wood - During Hosea's time alone, Zechariah was killed by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, Pekahiah by Pekah, and Pekah by Hoshea (2 Kings 15:10, 14, 25, 30). (Ibid)

And they consume their rulers - They will "eat up" their rulers, destroying them. 

None of them calls on Me - This is the sad appendix to their sinful state and presumably describes both kings and scoffers. Sin keeps one from God (we don't want to be confronted with His holiness) and so it is little wonder that they did not call on Jehovah. In short, they loved their sin more than God (if they even loved Him at all which is doubtful)!

Constable draws an interesting application to the nation of Israel - All of Israel's past kings had fallen. All the Israelite kings who followed Jeroboam II suffered assassination except Menahem. A continuing dynasty, as existed in Judah, never succeeded in the North. The reason was that none of the Israelites sought the Lord.

Guzik on none of them calls on Me - The true King of Israel was totally ignored! That is not a good thing to do! They did in fact continue to sacrifice to the Lord (Hosea 5:6) but it was empty ceremony, not a true calling upon the Lord. (ED: Hypocritical, empty religion!) 

POSB - The leaders of the nation used these drunken socials to mock, deceive, and plot evil against their rivals and the king. Government functions and socials had degenerated to the point that they were nothing more than gatherings of intrigue or conspiracy, functions where the downfall of rivals and kings were plotted. Note these facts: (1) Within the brief history of the Northern Kingdom of Israel (about 210 years), there were nine different dynasties. (2) Within a brief period of just 13 years of Israel’s latter history, the nation had five kings (see 2 Ki 15:8-31). (3) Within 20 years of Israel’s latter history, four kings were assassinated (see above reference). Due to the scheming, plotting, and evil passions of the people, including the leaders, the nation of Israel was in constant turmoil. Political instability gripped the nation. Now note the tragic fact pointed out by God: no one was calling on the Lord (Hos 7:7b). Despite the immorality, adultery, and drunken socials, despite the national turmoil and political instability, the people were failing to seek the Lord. And their failure to do so was the root cause of their sin, shame, and doom. Instead of choosing to follow the Lord, they chose to follow the lusts and evil passions of their flesh. (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible – Hosea)

Hosea 7:8  Ephraim mixes himself with the nations; Ephraim has become a cake not turned.

BGT  Hosea 7:8 Εφραιμ ἐν τοῖς λαοῖς αὐτοῦ συνανεμείγνυτο Εφραιμ ἐγένετο ἐγκρυφίας οὐ μεταστρεφόμενος

NET  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim has mixed itself like flour among the nations; Ephraim is like a ruined cake of bread that is scorched on one side.

LXE  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim is mixed among his people; Ephraim became a cake not turned.

NLT  Hosea 7:8 "The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners, making themselves as worthless as a half-baked cake!

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

ESV  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

ASV  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim, he mixeth himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

CSB  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim has allowed himself to get mixed up with the nations. Ephraim is unturned bread baked on a griddle.

NIV  Hosea 7:8 "Ephraim mixes with the nations; Ephraim is a flat cake not turned over.

NKJ  Hosea 7:8 "Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.

NRS  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim mixes himself with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

YLT  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim! among peoples he mixeth himself, Ephraim hath been a cake unturned.

NAB  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim mingles with the nations, Ephraim is a hearth cake unturned.

NJB  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim mixes with the nations. Ephraim is a half-baked cake.

GWN  Hosea 7:8 "Ephraim mixes with other nations. Ephraim, you are like a half-baked loaf of bread.

BHT  Hosea 7:8 ´epraºyim Bä`ammîm hû´ yitBôläl ´epraºyim häyâ `ùgâ Bülî hápûkâ

BBE  Hosea 7:8 Ephraim is mixed with the peoples; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

  • Ephraim mixes himself: Ho 5:7,13 9:3 Ezr 9:1,12 Ne 13:23-25 Ps 106:35 Eze 23:4-11 Mal 2:11 
  • Ephraim has become a cake not turned: Ho 8:2-4 1Ki 18:21 Zep 1:5 Mt 6:24 Rev 3:15,16 


Weakness of Israel's internal affairs now expands to weakness of external affairs.

Ephraim mixes himself with the nations - Ephraim is another name for the Northern Kingdom (aka, "Israel", the "Ten Tribes"). Ephraim's foreign policy is discussed in Hosea 7:8-12. Ultimately it was futile and it failed. NLT says "The people of Israel mingle with godless foreigners" and in so doing had gone far from God's original intent for His chosen people to be to Jehovah "a kingdom of priests and a holy (separated from the pagan nations) nation." (Ex 19:6).

Israel was a mixture and Jesus used a similar picture when He described the church at Laodicea lukewarm (Revelation 3:16+). Jon Courson comments that "Throughout Scripture, we see injunctions against mixture. Repeatedly, the Lord speaks against it as if to say, "Either be on fire so I can use you, or be cold so I can convict you, but don't be half-baked or lukewarm." (Ibid)

Leon Wood - "Mixed in" translates a reflexive form (Hithpolel), showing that the Israelites themselves had encouraged this mixed population. As the context implies, heathen gods and pagan ways of worship were imported into the country. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Stuart - "Hosea's lurching foreign policy is illustrative. In 732 B.C., Hoshea, after killing Pekah, suddenly shifted from alliance with Egypt, Philistia, and Aram-Damascus to alliance with Assyria. A few years later he broke that alliance, and coming virtually full circle, again sought alliance with Egypt. These confused policies are caricatured in the figurative sense of 'mixed up.'" (Word Biblical Commentary)

Mixes (1101))(balal) means to mingle, mix, tangle, once to anoint (Ps 92:10) and once to confuse (Ge 11:7 and probably related to name it was given = Babel - Ge 11:9). The idea is to become one or to lose most essential distinctions by combination. Balal was used of mixing oil into the flour or meal of the cereal offering until every particle of flour was mingled or anointed with oil (bālûl bashshemen; Exodus 29:2, 40; Leviticus 2:4-5; and Leviticus 7; and often in Numbers 7, 15, 28, 29). It is interesting that even this term balal is a cooking term and was associated with blending ingredients in cooking! (cf Lev 2:4-5).

The Septuagint uses a rare verb sunanamignumi (1 Cor 5:9, 11, 2 Th 3:14) which described mixing ingredients for medicine and figuratively describing mingling oneself with others and speaks of an intimate intermingling or close fellowship with others. Gilbrant notes that this verb was "It is used twice in the Septuagint (Ezekiel 20:18; Hosea 7:8) in warnings given to the Israelites against intermingling with people or practices that would destroy the purity and devotion of God’s people." Of course at this stage of the Northern Kingdom's history purity and devotion were as they say "past history!" 

Gilbrant - This primary Hebrew verb means "to mix," "to confuse" or "to confound." It appears twice in the Qal (preterite) tense. Genesis 11:9 says that Babel, which by folk etymology was understood to literally mean "confusion," was so named because "there the Lord confused the language of all the earth." Psalm 92:10 says, "I have been anointed (in other words, mingled) with fresh oil." Being soaked in fragrant freshening oil was the psalmist's way of depicting the joy he experienced when the Lord enabled him to triumph over his enemies. Balal appears 38 times in the passive form of the Qal participle. Unleavened cakes mixed with oil were part of the items used in the consecration of Aaron and his sons to the priesthood. Verse 40 says that part of the daily offerings on the altar included "one-tenth of an ephah of flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of oil from pressed olives." In Lev. 14:10, part of the ritual for cleansing lepers included "three-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering." A leper who was poor was permitted to bring "one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil as a grain offering." Other offerings were similar. Other mixtures in the OT include Ephraim among the peoples (Hos. 4:8) referring to Israel's political alliances with pagan nations, "fodder" for donkeys and "mixed fodder."  (Ibid)

Balal - 40v - anointed(1), confuse(1), confused(1), mixed(38), mixes(1).

Gen. 11:7; Gen. 11:9; Exod. 29:2; Exod. 29:40; Lev. 2:4; Lev. 2:5; Lev. 7:10; Lev. 7:12; Lev. 9:4; Lev. 14:10; Lev. 14:21; Lev. 23:13; Nu 6:15; Nu 7:13; Nu 7:19; Nu 7:25; Nu 7:31; Nu 7:37; Nu 7:43; Nu 7:49; Nu 7:55; Nu 7:61; Nu 7:67; Nu 7:73; Nu 7:79; Nu 8:8; Nu 15:4; Nu 15:6; Nu 15:9; Nu 28:5; Nu 28:9; Nu 28:12; Nu 28:13; Nu 28:20; Nu 28:28; Nu 29:3; Nu 29:9; Nu 29:14; Ps. 92:10; Hos. 7:8

Ephraim has become a cake not turned - Another baking term of comparison, this one a metaphor. What happens to a pancake that is not turned? Not fit to eat - one side burned, scorched black, and the other side raw and soggy! Worthless! Ready to cast away (which is exactly what happened to the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC when they were taken into exile by Assyria!) NLT has the idea paraphrasing it "as worthless as a half-baked cake!" Constable suggests the picture is that Israel was "crusty toward Yahweh but soft toward other nations."

POSB - The cake was not fit to eat, which suggests it was to be cast away. Why? Because it was not fully baked. So it was with Israel. The people were not fully committed to the Lord. They were only half-committed. They were mixing and compromising with the unbelievers, the wicked of this earth. They participated in the sinful behavior of unbelievers. When the Israelites looked around at the prosperity of the surrounding nations, they coveted their power and wealth. Instead of trusting God, the Israelites—leaders and citizens alike—placed their trust in the power and wealth of the surrounding nations. (Ibid)

THOUGHT - God demands spiritual separation of His saints (holy ones - holy means separated). We are not to form evil associations nor participate in the wicked behavior of unbelievers. We are not to cave in to the seductions and enticements of this world. (cf Ro 12:1-2, 2 Cor 6:17-18, 2 Cor 7:1, Eph 5:11-12, 2 Ti 2:4, Heb 11:24-25, 1 Jn 2:15-16, Isa 52:11)

REFLECTION - Israel ‘mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did’ (Ps. 106:35), and drew down on themselves the judgement of God. It was just as great folly then as it remains today to suppose that anyone can serve two masters. Compromise between God and mammon (worldly wealth) is impossible (cf. Matt. 6:24). Israel’s attempts to do so were therefore inevitably doomed, and still serve as a warning to avoid any similar clash of loyalties. Though still in the world and therefore not in a position to separate completely from the ungodly (cf. 1 Cor. 5:10), the Christian community is to maintain a holy separation and so prove that they are sons and daughters of God Almighty (cf. 1 Cor. 10:21; 2 Cor. 6:14–18). When an individual believer or a church as a body compromises in its fidelity to the revealed standards of God and seeks security and success by employing worldly strategies, the folly of half-baked Ephraim is replicated. (John McKay - Mentor Commentary)

Hosea 7:9  Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it; Gray hairs also are sprinkled on him, Yet he does not know it.

BGT  Hosea 7:9 κατέφαγον ἀλλότριοι τὴν ἰσχὺν αὐτοῦ αὐτὸς δὲ οὐκ ἐπέγνω καὶ πολιαὶ ἐξήνθησαν αὐτῷ καὶ αὐτὸς οὐκ ἔγνω

NET  Hosea 7:9 Foreigners are consuming what his strenuous labor produced, but he does not recognize it! His head is filled with gray hair, but he does not realize it!

LXE  Hosea 7:9 Strangers devoured his strength, and he knew it not; and grey hairs came upon him, and he knew it not.

NLT  Hosea 7:9 Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength, but they don't even know it. Their hair is gray, but they don't realize they're old and weak.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:9 Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.

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

CSB  Hosea 7:9 Foreigners consume his strength, but he does not notice. Even his hair is streaked with gray, but he does not notice.

NIV  Hosea 7:9 Foreigners sap his strength, but he does not realize it. His hair is sprinkled with gray, but he does not notice.

NKJ  Hosea 7:9 Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it.

NRS  Hosea 7:9 Foreigners devour his strength, but he does not know it; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, but he does not know it.

YLT  Hosea 7:9 Devoured have strangers his power, And he hath not known, Also old age hath sprinkled itself on him, And he hath not known.

NAB  Hosea 7:9 Strangers have sapped his strength, but he takes no notice of it; Of gray hairs, too, there is a sprinkling, but he takes no notice of it.

NJB  Hosea 7:9 Foreigners have eaten his strength away but he is unconscious of it; even his hair is turning grey but he is unconscious of it.

GWN  Hosea 7:9 Foreigners are using up your strength, but you don't realize it. You have become a gray-haired, old man, but you don't realize it.

BHT  Hosea 7:9 ´äklû zärîm KöHô wühû´ lö´ yädä` Gam-Sêbâ zäºrqâ Bô wühû´ lö´ yädä`

BBE  Hosea 7:9 Men from other lands have made waste his strength, and he is not conscious of it; grey hairs have come on him here and there, and he has no knowledge of it.

  • Strangers devour his strength: Ho 8:7 2Ki 13:3-7,22 15:19 Pr 23:35 Isa 42:22-25 57:1 


Strangers - some of these "strangers" included the nation of Assyria who invaded the Northern Kingdom. 

POSB - Israel’s alliances with other nations were weakening its economy, morality, independence, and freedom. The leaders were exporting far more goods and wealth than the nation was receiving. (Ibid)

Strangers devour his strength, Yet he does not know it - NLT paraphrases it "Worshiping foreign gods has sapped their strength." Foreign nations were weakening Israel's economy, morality, etc. But to what does Hosea refer? Most likely the vile, corrupting cultic practices of the idolatrous people with whom they had chosen to intermingle. This is beginning of the law of sowing and reaping. Sadly they are so "intoxicated" by the sensual practices of the heathen, they do not even recognize their abominable condition. Once again we see the deadly deceptive effects of sin unconfessed and unrepented. It is like a pet boa constrictor which finally shows it wild nature and entangles and suffocates its owner! 

Gray hairs also are sprinkled on him, Yet he does not know it - What does this metaphor picture? When one's hair turns gray, it usually indicates he is aging, and with age comes weakness and a feeble mind, so that one does not even recognize their true condition! The nation of Israel was totally unaware that the nation was on the brink of death! 

Another way to interpret gray hairs is the "the people were like a gray-haired man who did not know his time was short." (POSB)

Constable - Tribute payments to allies constantly drained the nation's wealth and weakened its economy (cf. 2 Kings 15:19-20; 17:3). Israel was unaware of its real condition, as when a person's hair becomes gray but he does not notice it. Others can sense the approach of death, but he does not. Israel was dying in the late 730s and early 720s, but its own people did not know it.

Jon Courson has a great application - Israel wasn't even aware that her vitality and vibrancy were gone. In Judges 16+, we see the same thing happen in the life of Samson. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is where we read that he stood up and "wist not that the Spirit of the Lord was departed from him" (Judges 16:20+). His hair was cut and now he was powerless—but he didn't even know it until it was too late. This is what's tricky about losing our spiritual vitality. We don't even know it until the enemy is there. We realize only too late that our strength is gone. To the people of Israel, Hosea says, "Yes, you're celebrating your liberality right now and enjoying your material prosperity. But you don't realize the enemy is at the gates. You're going to stand up like Samson, thinking you'll be able to take them on, but you're going down. A stranger will devour you." Indeed, just as Philistines devoured Samson, so the Assyrians would devour Israel. If we ignore our walk with the Lord—our devotional life, times of prayer, times of fellowship—there will be an enemy from hell on the way. When he comes, we can't stand up to him if we have no backlog, no history, no consistency in our walk with the Lord. And we'll go down as a result....Israel mistakenly thought that, because she was prospering, she would be invincible. Little did she know that in a matter of years Assyria would destroy her. Don't be like Israel. Don't find yourself sidelined by the enemy because you didn't take seriously the message of Hosea. Don't think that you don't need to pray or seek the Lord with intensity but that you'll just cruise into church occasionally. If you do, like Israel, you'll be half-baked. Like Samson, you'll be powerless. (Jon Courson's Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2)

REFLECTION - It is folly to look in a mirror and then go away and forget what one is like (cf. James 1:24). Ephraim’s conduct had degenerated one stage further—he did not even look in the mirror—and so he was in denial about the blows he had already suffered and the present weakness of his situation (cf. Prov. 23:35; Isa. 42:25; Rev. 3:17). The only remedy for such a lack of awareness is ongoing self-examination in the light of Scripture (cf. Job 13:23; Ps. 77:6; Lam. 3:40; 2 Cor. 13:5). It continues to be incumbent on the church to examine itself for ‘grey hairs’ lest it is unwittingly beguiled by the deceitfulness of adversaries, human or demonic, and compromises its testimony by conformity to current cultural standards of behaviour (cf. 2 Cor. 11:1–3; 1 John 2:15). How easy it is for a church to be merely an empty shell while it deludes itself that it is serving the Lord! How easy it is for an individual to succumb to pressures to adopt current social norms and so drift from the Lord! (John McKay - Mentor Commentary)

Hosea 7:10  Though the pride of Israel testifies against him, Yet they have not returned to the LORD their God, Nor have they sought Him, for all this.

BGT  Hosea 7:10 καὶ ταπεινωθήσεται ἡ ὕβρις Ισραηλ εἰς πρόσωπον αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἐπέστρεψαν πρὸς κύριον τὸν θεὸν αὐτῶν καὶ οὐκ ἐξεζήτησαν αὐτὸν ἐν πᾶσι τούτοις

NET  Hosea 7:10 The arrogance of Israel testifies against him, yet they refuse to return to the LORD their God! In spite of all this they refuse to seek him!

LXE  Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel shall be brought down before his face: yet they have not returned to the Lord their God, neither have they diligently sought him for all this.

NLT  Hosea 7:10 Their arrogance testifies against them, yet they don't return to the LORD their God or even try to find him.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:10 The pride of Israel testifies to his face; yet they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him, for all this.

ASV  Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: yet they have not returned unto Jehovah their God, nor sought him, for all this.

CSB  Hosea 7:10 Israel's arrogance testifies against them, yet they do not return to Yahweh their God, and for all this, they do not seek Him.

NIV  Hosea 7:10 Israel's arrogance testifies against him, but despite all this he does not return to the LORD his God or search for him.

NKJ  Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, But they do not return to the LORD their God, Nor seek Him for all this.

NRS  Hosea 7:10 Israel's pride testifies against him; yet they do not return to the LORD their God, or seek him, for all this.

YLT  Hosea 7:10 And humbled hath been the excellency of Israel to his face, And they have not turned back unto Jehovah their God, Nor have they sought Him for all this.

NAB  Hosea 7:10 The arrogance of Israel bears witness against him; yet they do not return to the LORD, their God, nor seek him, for all that.

NJB  Hosea 7:10 (Israel's arrogance is his own accuser; but they do not come back to Yahweh their God or seek him, despite all this.)

GWN  Hosea 7:10 Israel, your arrogance testifies against you, but even after all this, you don't turn to the LORD your God or look to him for help.

BHT  Hosea 7:10 wü`änâ gü´ô|n-yiSrä´ël Büpänäyw wülö|´-šäºbû ´el-yhwh(´ädönäy) ´élö|hêhem wülö´ biqšuºhû Bükol-zö´t

BBE  Hosea 7:10 And the pride of Israel gives an answer to his face; but for all this, they have not gone back to the Lord their God, or made search for him.

  • Though the pride of Israel testifies against him: Ho 5:5 Jer 3:3 
  • Yet they have not returned to the LORD their God: Ho 7:7 6:1 Pr 27:22 Isa 9:13 Jer 8:5,6 25:5-7 35:15-17 Am 4:6-13 Zec 1:4 
  • Nor have they sought Him, for all this.: Ps 10:4 14:2 53:2 Ro 3:11 


Though the pride of Israel testifies against him - Hosea repeats part of Hosea 5:5+ "Moreover, the pride of Israel testifies against him, And Israel and Ephraim stumble in their iniquity; Judah also has stumbled with them." Beloved Israel was like an arrogant man who does not even realize that his own pridefulness is self-incriminating! Notice in Hosea 5:5 he prophesies of the the effect of their pride - it will bring them down (stumble). 

Yet they have not returned to the LORD their God (cf Hos 3:5; Hos 5:4+; Amos 4:6-11) -  You know why most people don't like to repent? We see the dynamic in this passage -- it is stubborn pride (see the "I" as the central letter in that word pride!). "I" don't need to repent. "I" don't need God. 

Nor have they sought Him, for all this - What is "all this?" Clearly Hosea is referring to the things just described in Hos 7:8-9, the intermingling and the "rotten fruit" therefrom. 

THOUGHT -  Many people are filled with pride and are arrogant toward God. Their pride keeps them from admitting their sins. Few people think they are sinful enough for God to reject them. In reality, most people deceive themselves, thinking that they are good enough and do enough good for God to accept them. They fail to understand that God is perfect in holiness and in righteousness and that we are “short of His glory” (Rom. 3:23). They fail to understand that we will never be good enough on our own for God to accept us. Therefore, we must put self aside and trust in God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. We must believe and trust that He paid the penalty for our sin and secured perfect righteousness for us. But like the Israelites, most people arrogantly reject God’s Word that points out their sins. And they reject their need for God’s Son, for His death and righteousness to cover them. For that reason, they see no need to admit their sin, no need to repent or to seek the Lord. As stated, their pride is self-incriminating, accusing and condemning them. (cf Mt 23:12, Pr 16:18, 26:12, 29:23, Isa 5:21, 14:13-15, Obadiah 1:4)  (Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible).

Hosea 7:11  So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense; They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

BGT  Hosea 7:11 καὶ ἦν Εφραιμ ὡς περιστερὰ ἄνους οὐκ ἔχουσα καρδίαν Αἴγυπτον ἐπεκαλεῖτο καὶ εἰς Ἀσσυρίους ἐπορεύθησαν

NET  Hosea 7:11 Ephraim has been like a dove, easily deceived and lacking discernment. They called to Egypt for help; they turned to Assyria for protection.

LXE  Hosea 7:11 And Ephraim was as a silly dove, not having a heart: he called to Egypt, and they went to the Assyrians.

NLT  Hosea 7:11 "The people of Israel have become like silly, witless doves, first calling to Egypt, then flying to Assyria for help.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:11 Ephraim is like a dove, silly and without sense, calling to Egypt, going to Assyria.

ASV  Hosea 7:11 And Ephraim is like a silly dove, without understanding: they call unto Egypt, they go to Assyria.

CSB  Hosea 7:11 So Ephraim has become like a silly, senseless dove; they call to Egypt, and they go to Assyria.

NIV  Hosea 7:11 "Ephraim is like a dove, easily deceived and senseless-- now calling to Egypt, now turning to Assyria.

NKJ  Hosea 7:11 "Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense-- They call to Egypt, They go to Assyria.

NRS  Hosea 7:11 Ephraim has become like a dove, silly and without sense; they call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.

YLT  Hosea 7:11 And Ephraim is as a simple dove without heart, Egypt they called on -- to Asshur they have gone.

NAB  Hosea 7:11 Ephraim is like a dove, silly and senseless; They call upon Egypt, they go to Assyria.

NJB  Hosea 7:11 Ephraim is like a silly, witless pigeon calling on Egypt, turning to Assyria.

GWN  Hosea 7:11 Ephraim, you are like a silly, senseless dove. You call for Egypt and run to Assyria for help.

BHT  Hosea 7:11 wayühî ´epraºyim Küyônâ pôtâ ´ên lëb micraºyim qär亴û ´aššûr häläºkû

BBE  Hosea 7:11 And Ephraim is like a foolish dove, without wisdom; they send out their cry to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

  • Ephraim has become like a silly dove: Ho 11:11 
  • without sense: Ho 4:11 Pr 6:32 15:32 *marg: Pr 17:16 
  • They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.: Ho 5:13 8:8,9 9:3 12:1 14:3 2Ki 15:19 17:3,4 Isa 30:1-6 31:1-3 Jer 2:18,36 Eze 23:4-8 


Constable - This was "bird-brained" diplomacy. Emissaries had fluttered off to Egypt (2 Kings 17:3-4) and Assyrian (2 Kings 15:29) seeking aid without realizing the danger that these nations posed (cf. Hos 11:11).

So Ephraim has become like a silly dove, without sense (cf Jer 5:21 addressed to Judah) - Why is Israel like a dove? He tells us. They are senseless. The NIV says they are "easily deceived and senseless." Doves can be enticed into traps by the appeal of food. Israel was seduced by the wealth, power, and fame of Egypt and Assyria. They were easily ensnared by Egypt and Assyria, especially the latter which eventually took the "silly doves" into captivity in Assyria!

Courson has an interesting explanation of silly dove - After laying her eggs, if an intruder comes by, a mother dove will pretend that her wing is broken to distract the intruder. The reason she's called silly is because, when you see a bird flopping on the ground, you know there must be a nest close by. "You're just like a dove," the Lord said to His people. (Ibid)

They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria - Both idolatrous nations, Egypt on the south and Assyria on the north (northeast)

King Menahem turned to Assyria (2Ki 15:19-20) while King Hoshea alternated in allegiance to Assyria and Egypt (2Ki 17:3-4).

POSB - Israel was never to enter treaties with unbelieving, oppressive, or cruel nations. To enter political alliances with any of them would condone the evil and oppressive ways of the world. Israel was not to give approval to evil but rather to bear strong witness to all nations to the only living and true God. However, as stated, the Israelites were like mindless birds, easily taken in. In times of need they ignored God, His power and promises. Instead of seeking the Lord, they foolishly sought the power and wealth of others. They turned to Egypt and Assyria for economic prosperity, protection, and wealth when needed. Time and again the Lord had sent His prophets to warn the people against trusting the oppressive nations and unbelievers of this world. Placing trust in the power and riches of this world is a misplaced trust. This world with all its power and wealth will fail. But the Israelites were deceived, so they ignored God’s prophets and warnings. (Ibid)

Hosea 7:12  When they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like the birds of the sky. I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly.

BGT  Hosea 7:12 καθὼς ἂν πορεύωνται ἐπιβαλῶ ἐπ᾽ αὐτοὺς τὸ δίκτυόν μου καθὼς τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατάξω αὐτούς παιδεύσω αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ ἀκοῇ τῆς θλίψεως αὐτῶν 

NET  Hosea 7:12 I will throw my bird net over them while they are flying, I will bring them down like birds in the sky; I will discipline them when I hear them flocking together.

LXE  Hosea 7:12 Whenever they shall go, I will cast my net upon them; I will bring them down as the birds of the sky, I will chasten them with the rumor of their coming affliction.

NLT  Hosea 7:12 But as they fly about, I will throw my net over them and bring them down like a bird from the sky. I will punish them for all the evil they do.

KJV  Hosea 7:12 When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.

ESV  Hosea 7:12 As they go, I will spread over them my net; I will bring them down like birds of the heavens; I will discipline them according to the report made to their congregation.

ASV  Hosea 7:12 When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the birds of the heavens; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.

CSB  Hosea 7:12 As they are going, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like birds of the sky. I will discipline them in accordance with the news that reaches their assembly.

NIV  Hosea 7:12 When they go, I will throw my net over them; I will pull them down like birds of the air. When I hear them flocking together, I will catch them.

NKJ  Hosea 7:12 Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them According to what their congregation has heard.

NRS  Hosea 7:12 As they go, I will cast my net over them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will discipline them according to the report made to their assembly.

YLT  Hosea 7:12 When they go I spread over them My net, As the fowl of the heavens I bring them down, I chastise them as their company hath heard.

NAB  Hosea 7:12 Even as they go I will spread my net around them, like birds in the air I will bring them down. In an instant I will send them captive from their land.

NJB  Hosea 7:12 Wherever they turn, I shall spread my net over them, I shall bring them down like the birds of the sky, I shall punish them for their perversity.

GWN  Hosea 7:12 When you go, I will spread my net over you. I will snatch you out of the air like a bird. I will punish you for all the evil things you have done.

BHT  Hosea 7:12 Ka´ášer yëlëºkû ´eprôS `álêhem rišTî Kü`ôp haššämaºyim ´ô|rîdëm ´aysìrëm Küšëºma` la`ádätäm s

BBE  Hosea 7:12 When they go, my net will be stretched out over them; I will take them like the birds of heaven, I will give them punishment, I will take them away in the net for their sin.

  • When they go, I will spread My net over them: Job 19:6 Jer 16:16 Eze 12:13 17:20 32:3 
  • I will bring them down like the birds of the sky: Ec 9:12 
  • I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly.: Lev 26:14-46 De 28:15-68 29:22-28 31:16-29 32:15-43 2Ki 17:13-18 Jer 44:4 Rev 3:19 


God is depicted as a divine fowler. A fowler is a person who hunts wildfowl. What is interesting is that God is clearly the Hunter, but He uses a pagan nation as His instrument to spread His net over Israel (cf similar situation regarding His chastisement of Judah - Jer 25:9, Jer 27:6, Jer 32:28, Jer 43:10, Jer 46:26).

When they go - Hosea is still referring to the foreign nations. Israel might go to them but God would pull them down like birds of the air.

I will spread My net over them - When God casts the net, there is no escape!

I will bring them down like the birds of the sky - This is one of those promises of God, Israel wished had not been in the Bible! 

I will chastise them in accordance with the proclamation to their assembly - This chastisement would be fully meted out when Israel was defeated and taken off into captivity by the cruel Assyrians. 

THOUGHT - Is there not a warning to all believers in this divine judgment on Israel?  We must guard against deception, against deceiving ourselves and allowing others to deceive us (James 1:22, James 1:26, 1 Jn 1:8, Rev 3:17, Isa 44:20). We must guard against placing our hope and trust in the power of man (Isa 2:22, Isa 31:1, Jer 17:5) or the riches of this godless world system (Mk 10:24, Lk 12:16-21+ 1 Ti 6:17). This begs a simple question we should all answer honestly -- In whom are you placing your trust? In anything or anyone other than God? Then your trust is misplaced and will reap a harvest of corruption and if not repented from even a harvest of destruction (cf  1 John 5:17+). 

I will chastise (03256) click yasarfor note on this verb used also in Hos 7:15. 

Hosea 7:13  Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me.

BGT  Hosea 7:13 οὐαὶ αὐτοῖς ὅτι ἀπεπήδησαν ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ δείλαιοί εἰσιν ὅτι ἠσέβησαν εἰς ἐμέ ἐγὼ δὲ ἐλυτρωσάμην αὐτούς αὐτοὶ δὲ κατελάλησαν κατ᾽ ἐμοῦ ψεύδη

NET  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them! For they have fled from me! Destruction to them! For they have rebelled against me! I want to deliver them, but they have lied to me.

LXE  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them! for they have started aside from me: they are cowards; for they have sinned against me: yet I redeemed them, but they spoke falsehoods against me.

NLT  Hosea 7:13 "What sorrow awaits those who have deserted me! Let them die, for they have rebelled against me. I wanted to redeem them, but they have told lies about me.

KJV  Hosea 7:13 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.

ESV  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me.

ASV  Hosea 7:13 Woe unto them! for they have wandered from me; destruction unto them! for they have trespassed against me: though I would redeem them, yet they have spoken lies against me.

CSB  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them, for they fled from Me; destruction to them, for they rebelled against Me! Though I want to redeem them, they speak lies against Me.

NIV  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them, because they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, because they have rebelled against me! I long to redeem them but they speak lies against me.

NKJ  Hosea 7:13 "Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, Because they have transgressed against Me! Though I redeemed them, Yet they have spoken lies against Me.

NRS  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them, for they have strayed from me! Destruction to them, for they have rebelled against me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against me.

YLT  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them, for they wandered from Me, Destruction to them, for they transgressed against Me, And I -- I ransom them, and they have spoken lies against Me,

NAB  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them, they have strayed from me! Ruin to them, they have sinned against me! Though I wished to redeem them, they spoke lies against me.

NJB  Hosea 7:13 Woe to them for having fled from me! Ruin seize them for having wronged me! I have rescued them again and again and they have only told lies about me.

GWN  Hosea 7:13 "How horrible it will be for these people. They have run away from me. They must be destroyed because they've rebelled against me. I want to reclaim them, but they tell lies about me.

BHT  Hosea 7:13 ´ôy lähem Kî|-nädüdû mimmeºnnî šöd lähem Kî|-p亚`û bî wü´änökî ´epDëm wühëºmmâ DiBBürû `älay Küzäbîm

BBE  Hosea 7:13 May trouble be theirs! for they have gone far away from me; and destruction, for they have been sinning against me; I was ready to be their saviour, but they said false words against me.

  • Woe to them, Ho 9:12 Isa 31:1 La 5:16 Eze 16:23 Mt 23:13-29 Rev 8:13 
  • for they have strayed from Me: Ho 11:2 Job 21:14,15 22:17 Ps 139:7-9 Jon 1:3,10 
  • Destruction is theirs,: Heb. spoil
  • I would redeem them: De 15:15 Ne 1:10 Ps 106:10 107:2,3 Isa 41:14 43:1 63:8 Mic 6:4 1Pe 1:18,19 
  • but they speak lies against Me.: Ho 7:3 11:12 Isa 59:13 Jer 18:11,12 42:20 44:17,18 Eze 18:2,25 Mal 3:13-15 1Jn 1:10 


Woe to them - Trouble is coming! Impending doom is hanging over their heads as a nation and as individuals! God pronounces doom on Israel because she had continually wandered away from Him. Like a loving Husband, God's heart was always toward redeeming them, but they would have none of it even going so far as to accuse Him of lying. They made foreign treaties to defend themselves since they thought God either would or could not! And you say you do not believe in the utter depravity of man! 

Woe(01945)(hoy) is an interjection of distress used primarily by the prophets, 6x in mourning for the dead (1Ki 13:30 Jer 22:18; 34:5), and 40x as negative warnings specifying Divine punishment in the form of disaster, etc, for failing to repent from certain sins. The wicked are under the judgment of God (cp Ro 1:18ff) and therefore face a time of ruin and mourning, so that the only thing left for an unrepentant people is to mourn the destruction of their lives! Woe! Patterson adds that "Woe oracles typically contain the following elements: invective (“woe to”), threat, and criticism (the reason for the denunciation and threatened judgment)." Woe is also used in Hosea 9:12+. 

For - Here God explains why the "Woe" and ultimately why they would be destroyed. 

They have strayed from Me - Strayed indicates Israel's deliberate evasion of, its rebellious departure from God. God is a just Judge. Here He clearly states the crime that leads to punishment. Straying from God Who is the essence of Truth will always lead to error and the consequences associated with the error! Where were they straying? To the false gods of the foreign nations! Gods who in fact were no gods. They were following after the Gentiles who had "exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures." (Ro 1:23+)

From Me - From God. This indicates that Israel's basic problem was spiritual. They have chosen their ways (see Hos 2:5, Hos 2:7) When one strays from God, it affects EVERYTHING else in one's life, and in this case EVERYTHING else in the nation - moral decline, economic collapse, political intrigue, etc. America, please wake up and return to the motto "In God We Trust!" Later Hosea describes the fruit reaped from their wandering to cavort with foreign nations, for God would give them what they wanted but not in the way they had wanted it....

My God will cast them away (WHY?) Because they have not listened to Him; And they will bewanderers (nadad) among the (FOREIGN) nations. (Hos 9:17+)

Strayed (05074)(nadad) means to flee, shake, agitate, wander. "Basic to the meaning of the root is the concept of motion, often with a directional sense, i.e. motion away from a person or object." (TWOT) Nadad means to turn from, to take flight, to turn away from (Isa. 10:31; Jer. 4:25; 9:10; Nah. 3:7, 17). Nadad can refer to the fluttering of a bird (Isa. 10:14) The nuances often denote a type of movement in which the subject is vulnerable. Nadad can mean to thrust away, to drive out (2 Sam. 23:6; Job 18:18). In Job 15:23; Pr 27:8; Hos. 9:17+ ("they will be wanderers among the nations") nadad means to wander around.  In Ge 31:40 and Est. 6:1 the verb is used with the nuance of fleeting sleep. The Septuagint translates nadad in this verse with the verb apopedao (not found in NT) meaning to turn away from, to hurry off (Pr 9:18), to leap off (Ezek 19:3). Apopedao is in the active voice meaning that they made a volitional, conscious choice to turn away from the Holy One of Israel. When one turns from Holy the antithesis of unholy (in this case destruction) awaits them in this life and the one to come! Frightening! God grant that by His Spirit we might not stray from Him even momentarily, for the sake of His great Name in Christ. Amen.

Gilbrant - The most common meaning of nādad is "to flee." The reason for fleeing generally is to escape military force. This is the primary usage of the verb in Isaiah (where more than a quarter of the total occurrences of the verb are found), a Book which has the continual looming threat of Assyrian invasion (e.g., 21:15). The danger and vulnerability of those fleeing is evident. Both birds (Jer. 4:25) and humans (Isa. 33:3) will flee before the judgment of Yahweh. The absence of fluttering in the imagery of an abandoned nest which is seized declares the vulnerability of the hatchlings (Isa. 10:14; cf. 16:2). They are doomed without protection, just as the king of Assyria proclaimed that all peoples were before him. Ironically, it was Yahweh Who had given the king power over others, and the king himself was just as vulnerable to Yahweh's will as any other human (Isa. 10:5-19). The person who wanders is likewise in a state of vulnerability. The northern kingdom of Israel was condemned for abandoning the protection of Yahweh in favor of establishing military alliances with Egypt and Assyria (Hos. 7:13). Leaving the protection of Yahweh meant that Israel was doomed: the Covenant would be revoked, and the curse of losing the land would be enforced (ch. 8). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Nadad - chased(1), chased away(1), could(1), flapped(1), fled(6), flee(5), fleeing(1), fugitive(2), fugitives(1), shake(1), shrink(1), strayed(1), thrust away(1), wander(1), wanderers(1), wanders(3).

Gen. 31:40; 2 Sam. 23:6; Est. 6:1; Job 15:23; Job 18:18; Job 20:8; Ps. 31:11; Ps. 55:7; Ps. 64:8; Ps. 68:12; Prov. 27:8; Isa. 10:14; Isa. 10:31; Isa. 16:2; Isa. 16:3; Isa. 21:14; Isa. 21:15; Isa. 22:3; Isa. 33:3; Jer. 4:25; Jer. 9:10; Jer. 49:5; Hos. 7:13; Hos. 9:17; Nah. 3:7; Nah. 3:17

Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! - They revolted against Divine authority, substituting their plans for God's plans. This is the cause of their coming destruction. Note that Israel's rebellion was against Me. Like an unfaithful wife, they rebelled against their covenant relationship with God Who was their Husband (Jer 31:32+, cf Isa 54:5). Note that sin is always first and foremost against God! (cf Ge 39:9b)

THOUGHT - It was true of the nation of Israel ("God's chosen people") and it is true of every man and woman who stubbornly rebels against God and refuses His offer of redemption, the free gift of eternal life in His Son. Dear reader, if this describes your heart, well first of all I am shocked you are even reading this commentary. But if you are and it describes you then even as I write these words I am uttering a prayer to the Most High God that by His Spirit and His Word of Truth He would grant you faith and repentance so that by grace through faith you believe in the Lord Jesus Christ that you might be saved from the "guttermost" to the "uttermost." In Jesus' might saving Name (Acts 4:12+, Acts 16:31+). Amen! 

Destruction (devastation, violence)(07701)(shod from shadad = to deal violently with, despoil, devastate, ruin) is a masculine noun meaning violence, destruction, desolation, robbery, spoil, wasting. The primary meaning of shod is violence or destruction and is used to describe an "act of violence or oppression." In Job the idea is not to fear coming violence -  "And you will not be afraid of violence when it comes" (Job 5:21).  The primary meaning of destruction was used by Hosea and here by Joel to express God's reason for the coming Day of the LORD which will bring destruction on His Chosen People (Hos. 7:13 = "Woe to them, for they have strayed from Me! Destruction is theirs, for they have rebelled against Me! I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me."). There is a second use of shod in Hosea 9:6 ("because of destruction"), Hosea 10:14 "destroyed"), Hosea 12:1 ("violence").

Shod in this passage refers more specifically to a general collapse of the social and economic structures of the nation (cf. Isa. 13:6; Isa 16:4; Isa 22:4; Jer. 48:3; Amos 5:9).

Rebelled (transgressed)(06586)(pasha - cognate verb = pesha'= to transgress) is a verb conveys the fundamental idea of a breach of relationships (civil or religious) between two parties. This word describes those who break away from authority and thus trespass, apostatize, rebel, revolt, transgress. Septuagint translates pasha in this verse with the verb asebeo meaning to violate norms of a deity (in this case God), commiting impious deeds, living wickedly and profanely, basically living with regard for God either in belief or practice. 

I would redeem them, but they speak lies against Me (see Hos 12:1)- Note the repetition of the phrase against Me! God took their lies as a personal affront! But notice that even in the face of their wandering, rebellion and lying, grace abounds! The "I" is emphatic. What is God saying here? He is saying He would "pay the price" to deliver them from the coming catastrophe. Sadly, the leadership and laity were stubborn and  hard hearted and totally unresponsive to God's plea to return to Him!

THOUGHT - I wonder what would happen if we all begin to realize our sin was against God and that He took it as a personal affront? Might these immutable truths serve to motivate us (energized by the Spirit's gift of love and grace) to turn from that sin? Just a thought to ponder beloved. 

This is a tragic statement. On one hand God in His great mercy and lovingkindness would still redeem Israel. Sadly Israel would have not part of this and probably told lies saying He would not help them. 

POSB - Despite all the Lord had done for them, the people chose to forsake the Lord and to give themselves to the false gods and idols of this world. They lied both to themselves and to all whom they influenced. (Ibid)

I would redeem (06299)(padah) means to redeem, ransom, buy and so to cause the freedom or release of a person from bondage or ownership, often implying a delivering or rescue of a person in distress. The basic meaning of the Hebrew root is to achieve the transfer of ownership from one to another through payment of a price or an equivalent substitute. Padah is used to depict God's act of redeeming; He redeemed His people with a mighty hand from Pharaoh and the slavery they were under in Egypt (Dt. 7:8; Mic. 6:4). Egypt was literally the house of slavery and became the symbol of slavery and oppression from which Israel was delivered (Dt. 9:26; 24:18). Padah is translated in the Septuagint with the verb lutroo (from lutron/lytron which is derived from luo = to loosen that which is bound, especially freeing those in prison). The noun lutron is the ransom price paid for loosing captives from their bonds and setting them at liberty. The verb lutroo refers to the releasing of someone held captive (e.g., a prisoner or a slave) on receipt of the ransom payment. Padah is used again in Hos 13:14 "shall I ransom (padah) them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem (gaal) them from death? O Death, where are your thorns? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from My sight."

Gilbrant on padah - The prime concept driving this root is that some mode of exchange is required for consumers to receive the objects they desire. In OT times, the possession of the object oftentimes was acquired by the seller. For example, one could redeem a female slave, that she might again experience freedom (Lev. 19:20). The synonym gāʾal (HED #1381) is usually employed for this act. The owner of a female Israelite slave was required to allow her to be redeemed and was prohibited from selling her to foreigners (Exo. 21:8). The verb is often employed metaphorically, outside of its strict legal sense. The Psalms repeatedly assert that the author had been redeemed from some distress by Yahweh (e.g., 26:11). Likewise, David asserted that he had been redeemed repeatedly by the Lord (1 Ki. 1:29). Indeed, the Lord redeemed Israel from slavery as his firstborn (Exo. 13:13), which was further celebrated in David's prayer of thanksgiving upon receiving the covenant that established his descendants as perpetual rulers (2 Sam. 7:23). Zion would be redeemed from its current state of desolation, according to Isa. 1:27. The redemption of the Israelites was at the cost of the firstborn of the Egyptians (cf. Exo. 4:23). The firstborn children of the Israelites were redeemed by substituting the Levites for service to Yahweh (Num. 3:44ff). Further, human offspring and unclean animal offspring were redeemed by offerings of large or small cattle, depending upon the occasion (e.g., 18:8ff). There were classes of unredeemable objects. Anything declared cherem (HED #2869), "devoted to Yahweh," was not redeemable, including humans (Lev. 27:27ff). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

William Coker writes that "The semantic development of pādâ is one of great significance to Christian theology. Originally, it had to do with the payment of a required sum for the transfer of ownership, a commercial term. Exodus and Leviticus 19:20 speak of the redemption of a slave girl for the purpose of marriage. It is also used to speak of the redemption of a man's life who is under the sentence of death, as in 1 Samuel 14:45, when Jonathan was redeemed by the people of Israel. The word was given special religious significance by the Exodus. When God delivered Israel from servitude to Egypt, he did so at the price of the slaughter of all the firstborn in Egypt, man and beast (Exodus 4:23; Exodus 12:29). Consequently, the event was to be perpetually commemorated in Israel by the consecration of all the firstborn of man and beast to the Lord (Exodus 13:12). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

REFLECTION - ‘Ransom’ (Hos 7:13) was originally a commercial term indicating a transaction in which a stipulated sum was paid to transfer ownership (cf. the release of a slave girl, Exod. 21:8), and in many religious contexts in the Old Testament the idea of payment is still present (Exod. 13:13; 34:20; Num. 18:15–16). However, when God ransoms his people, the concept of payment or price recedes and the emphasis is on liberation from distressing or restricting circumstances, such as when Israel was brought out of the servitude of Egypt. The Psalmists also plead for deliverance from danger or oppression using this term (cf. Pss. 25:22; 26:11; 31:5; 119:134). In Psalm 130:7–8 reference is made more specifically to ransoming from sin. For the more specific term ‘redeem’, see on 13:14. In the New Testament, the cost involved in the ransom paid to effect salvation is made clear. ‘You were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot’ (1 Pet. 1:18–19). (John McKay - Mentor Commentary)

Hosea 7:14  And they do not cry to Me from their heart When they wail on their beds; For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves, They turn away from Me.

BGT  Hosea 7:14 καὶ οὐκ ἐβόησαν πρός με αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν ἀλλ᾽ ἢ ὠλόλυζον ἐν ταῖς κοίταις αὐτῶν ἐπὶ σίτῳ καὶ οἴνῳ κατετέμνοντο ἐπαιδεύθησαν ἐν ἐμοί

NET  Hosea 7:14 They do not pray to me, but howl in distress on their beds; They slash themselves for grain and new wine, but turn away from me.

LXE  Hosea 7:14 And their hearts did not cry to me, but they howled on their beds: they pined for oil and wine.

NLT  Hosea 7:14 They do not cry out to me with sincere hearts. Instead, they sit on their couches and wail. They cut themselves, begging foreign gods for grain and new wine, and they turn away from me.

KJV  Hosea 7:14 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.

ESV  Hosea 7:14 They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; for grain and wine they gash themselves; they rebel against me.

ASV  Hosea 7:14 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, but they howl upon their beds: they assemble themselves for grain and new wine; they rebel against me.

CSB  Hosea 7:14 They do not cry to Me from their hearts; rather, they wail on their beds. They slash themselves for grain and new wine; they turn away from Me.

NIV  Hosea 7:14 They do not cry out to me from their hearts but wail upon their beds. They gather together for grain and new wine but turn away from me.

NKJ  Hosea 7:14 They did not cry out to Me with their heart When they wailed upon their beds. "They assemble together for grain and new wine, They rebel against Me;

NRS  Hosea 7:14 They do not cry to me from the heart, but they wail upon their beds; they gash themselves for grain and wine; they rebel against me.

YLT  Hosea 7:14 And have not cried unto Me with their heart, but howl on their beds, For corn and new wine they assemble themselves, They turn aside against Me.

NAB  Hosea 7:14 They have not cried to me from their hearts when they wailed upon their beds; For wheat and wine they lacerated themselves, while they rebelled against me.

NJB  Hosea 7:14 Theirs is no heartfelt cry to me when they lament on their beds; when they gash themselves over the grain and new wine, they are still rebelling against me.

GWN  Hosea 7:14 They don't pray to me sincerely, even though they cry in their beds and make cuts on their bodies while praying for grain and new wine. They have turned against me.

BHT  Hosea 7:14 wülö|´-zä`áqû ´ëlay BüliBBäm Kî yüyëlîºlû `al-mišKübôtäm `al-Dägän wütîrôš yitGôräºrû yäsûºrû bî

BBE  Hosea 7:14 And they have not made prayer to me in their hearts, but they make loud cries on their beds; they are cutting themselves for food and wine, they are turned against me.

  • And they do not cry to Me from their heart : Job 35:9,10 Ps 78:34-37 Isa 29:13 Jer 3:10 Zec 7:5 
  • When they wail on their beds; : Isa 52:5 65:14 Am 8:3 Jas 5:1 
  • For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves: Ho 3:1 Ex 32:6 Jud 9:27 Am 2:8 Mic 2:11 Ro 16:18 Php 3:19 Jas 4:3 


And they do not cry to Me from their heart - God's lovingkindness and compassion is always open to the sincere cry of the sinner. They were not sincere, but the were certainly sinners! Genuine repentance begins in the heart, but Israel had a major heart problem - spiritual atherosclerosis!

When they wail on their beds - They are crying from self-pity not for a Savior! They cry from their beds, but not from their hearts! They were not crying out in repentance, but in fact more in remorse over the consequences of their sin. Their "crocodile tears" failed to impress God, who saw their hearts (cf 1 Sa 16:7b).

MacKay comments "Because of their lack of heart recognition of the LORD all that their prayers amount to is a pained expression of grief and despair in which they are consumed by their own feelings and the tragedies that have come upon them. They are like petulant children who complain that they have not got what they wanted and who refuse to accept any personal responsibility for the situation which had beset their land. ‘On their beds’ refers to the hours of the day when they could engage in undisturbed reflection and meditation (cf. Ps . 4:4; 16:7).(Ibid)

For the sake of grain and new wine they assemble themselves (See Hos 2:8, Hos 2:22 = Millenium, Hos 9:1-2) - This suggests that the grain and new wine were scarce. God's hand of discipline on the fertility of the land was always clearly stated (Lev 26:19). 

Note that other versions have a very different rendering of this passage. For example the NET and CSB Bibles have "They slash themselves for grain and new wine." The NLT has "They cut themselves." The ESV and NRSV have "they gash themselves." See the technical note from the NET Bible below. I favor this reading of the Hebrew text and the Greek Septuagint rendering supports it (Greek verb is katatemno also used in Lev 21:5, 1 Ki 18:28). The fact that Israel was resorting to pagan practices that call on Baal to grant fertility to the land makes a perfect contrast with the opening line that Israel did "not cry out to Me from their heart." As Solomon's prayer below shows, instead of slashing and gashing themselves, they could have simply fallen on their face in repentance and cried out to Jehovah.

They turn away from Me - If they were in fact gashing themselves, they were explicitly turning away from God's clear instructions to "not cut yourselves nor shave your forehead for the sake of the dead." (Dt 14:1). What is tragic is they did the very opposite of what could have helped them. This passage is a good description of apostasy! Either they were ignorant of the Word of God or simply refused to receive it as Truth. The prayer of Solomon had clearly outlined the way of healing for the people and the land...

When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain, because they have sinned against You, and they pray toward this place and confess Your name and turn from their sin when You afflict them, 36 then hear in heaven and forgive the sin of Your servants and of Your people Israel, indeed, teach them the good way in which they should walk. And send rain on Your land, which You have given Your people for an inheritance.  37 “If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence, if there is blight or mildew, locust or grasshopper, if their enemy besieges them in the land of their cities, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is, 38 whatever prayer or supplication is made by any man or by all Your people Israel, each knowing the affliction of his own heart, and spreading his hands toward this house; 39 then hear in heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive and act and render to each according to all his ways, whose heart You know, for You alone know the hearts of all the sons of men, (1 Ki 8:35-39, cf 2 Chr 7:13-14)

NET Bible Note on they slash themselves - The Massoretic Text reads יִתְגּוֹרָרוּ (yitgoraru) which is either (1) Hitpolel imperfect 3rd person masculine plural (“they assemble themselves”; so KJV, NASB) from I גּוּר (gur, “to sojourn”; BDB 157 s.v. I גּוּר) or (2) Hitpolel imperfect 3rd person masculine plural (“they excite themselves”) from II גּוּר (gur, “to stir up”; BDB 158 s.v. II גּוּר). However, the Hebrew lexicographers suggest that both of these options are unlikely. Several other Hebrew MSS preserve an alternate textual tradition of יִתְגּוֹדָדוּ (yitgodadu) which is a Hitpolel imperfect 3rd person common plural (“they slash themselves”) from גָּדַד (gadad, “to cut”; BDB 151 s.v. גָּדַד), as also reflected in the Septuagint (Lxx) (cf. NAB “they lacerated themselves”; NRSV, TEV “gash themselves”; NLT “cut themselves.”) This reflects the pagan Canaanite cultic practice of priests cutting themselves and draining their blood on the ground to elicit agricultural fertility by resurrecting the slain fertility god Baal from the underworld (Dt 14:1; 1 Kgs 18:28; Jer 16:6; 41:5; 47:5). Cf. CEV which adds “in the hope that Baal will bless their crops.”

Hosea 7:15  Although I trained and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me.

NET  Hosea 7:15 Although I trained and strengthened them, they plot evil against me!

LXE  Hosea 7:15 They were instructed by me, and I strengthened their arms; and they devised evils against me.

NLT  Hosea 7:15 I trained them and made them strong, yet now they plot evil against me.

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

ESV  Hosea 7:15 Although I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devise evil against me.

ASV  Hosea 7:15 Though I have taught and strengthened their arms, yet do they devise mischief against me.

CSB  Hosea 7:15 I trained and strengthened their arms, but they plot evil against Me.

NIV  Hosea 7:15 I trained them and strengthened them, but they plot evil against me.

NKJ  Hosea 7:15 Though I disciplined and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me;

NRS  Hosea 7:15 It was I who trained and strengthened their arms, yet they plot evil against me.

YLT  Hosea 7:15 And I instructed -- I strengthened their arms, And concerning Me they think evil!

NAB  Hosea 7:15 Though I trained and strengthened their arms, yet they devised evil against me.

NJB  Hosea 7:15 Though I supported and gave strength to their arms, they plan how to hurt me.

GWN  Hosea 7:15 I trained them and made them strong. Yet, they plan evil against me.

BHT  Hosea 7:15 wa´ánî yissaºrTî HizzaºqTî zürô|`ötäm wü´ëlay yüHaššübû-rä`

BBE  Hosea 7:15 Though I have given training and strength to their arms, they have evil designs against me.

  • Although I trained and strengthened their arms 2Ki 13:5,23 14:25-27 Ps 106:43-45 
  • trained and strengthened, Job 5:17 Ps 94:12 Pr 3:11 Heb 12:5 Rev 3:19 
  • Yet they devise evil against Me.: Ps 2:1 62:3 Jer 17:9 Na 1:9 Ac 4:25 Ro 1:21 2Co 10:5 


Although I trained and strengthened their arms - In Hos 11:3 "it is I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them in My arms; But they did not know that I healed them." God says "God had been their all in all, and they now saw Him as nothing at all! Woe! When you begin the downward spiral of sin, beware!

Sin will take you further than you ever wanted to stray!
Cost you more than you ever dreamed you would pay!
Keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay!

Trained (chastened, instructed) (03256)(yasar) means to chasten, chastise, admonish, discipline. Literally to chasten with blows or figuratively with words (instruct, correct, punish, reform, reprove). The theological basis for discipline of Israel is grounded in the covenant relationship which Yahweh established with His people. It is a good thing to be disciplined by the Lord for as the psalmist says "Blessed is the man whom You chasten, O LORD, And whom You teach out of Your law." (Ps 94:12) Notice there that the discipline is not in a vacuum but is coupled with teaching, a good pattern! (cp similar pattern in Isa 28:26). Yasar is used 3x in Hosea - Hos 7:12 ("I will chastise them"), Hos 7:15, Hos 10:15. MacKay adds that "Trained is rendered ‘chastise’ in Hos 5:2 (musar not yasar) and Hos 7:12, but here it denotes the whole educative process designed to nurture spiritual and moral vigour.

MacKay comments "I strengthened their arms refers to their limbs (not weaponry), but probably it denotes more than imparting physical power to their bodies. This is the all-encompassing prosperity with which the LORD had blessed the nation’s endeavours, but which had been misunderstood and misused (cf. Hos 2:8, 12)." (Ibid)

Constable has a slightly different interpretation than MacKay - It was Yahweh who had taught His people how to be strong. He had also made them strong militarily (cf. Ezek. 30:24-25), for example during Jeroboam II's reign (cf. 2 Kings 14:25-28).

Yet they devise evil against Me - Note the phrase against Me repeated from Hos 7:12 (where it is found twice). They are not just passive apostates, but actually dared to devise evil against God, slighting Him in the process. They thought about it seriously. It was not a passing thought but a definitive plan. You know a person is deceived when they seek to tangle with God! The Hebrew word for evil (ra'/ra'ah) is translated in the Septuagint with poneros the Greek word signifying active evil, evil calculated to do harm! Poneros denotes determined, aggressive, and fervent evil that actively opposes what is good. Poneros is not just bad in character (like kakos), but bad in effect (injurious)!

Courson - God had provided, protected, and prospered Israel. He had found her, fed her, and fought for her. Yet for all of that, rather than repent and return to Him, Israel rebelled against Him, turning instead to her powerless idols and relying on her faulty alliances. (Ibid)

Hosea 7:16  They turn, but not upward, They are like a deceitful bow; Their princes will fall by the sword Because of the insolence of their tongue. This will be their derision in the land of Egypt.

BGT  Hosea 7:16 ἀπεστράφησαν εἰς οὐθέν ἐγένοντο ὡς τόξον ἐντεταμένον πεσοῦνται ἐν ῥομφαίᾳ οἱ ἄρχοντες αὐτῶν δι᾽ ἀπαιδευσίαν γλώσσης αὐτῶν οὗτος ὁ φαυλισμὸς αὐτῶν ἐν γῇ Αἰγύπτῳ

NET  Hosea 7:16 They turn to Baal; they are like an unreliable bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because their prayers to Baal have made me angry. So people will disdain them in the land of Egypt.

LXE  Hosea 7:16 They turned aside to that which is not, they became as a bent bow: their princes shall fall by the sword, by reason of the unbridled state of their tongue: this is their setting at nought in the land of Egypt.

NLT  Hosea 7:16 They look everywhere except to the Most High. They are as useless as a crooked bow. Their leaders will be killed by their enemies because of their insolence toward me. Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them.

KJV  Hosea 7:16 They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

ESV  Hosea 7:16 They return, but not upward; they are like a treacherous bow; their princes shall fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

ASV  Hosea 7:16 They return, but not to him that is on high; they are like a deceitful bow; their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

CSB  Hosea 7:16 They turn, but not to what is above; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of the cursing of their tongue. They will be ridiculed for this in the land of Egypt.

NIV  Hosea 7:16 They do not turn to the Most High; they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their insolent words. For this they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt.

NKJ  Hosea 7:16 They return, but not to the Most High; They are like a treacherous bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword For the cursings of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

NRS  Hosea 7:16 They turn to that which does not profit; they have become like a defective bow; their officials shall fall by the sword because of the rage of their tongue. So much for their babbling in the land of Egypt.

YLT  Hosea 7:16 They turn back -- not to the Most High, They have been as a deceitful bow, Fall by sword do their princes, From the insolence of their tongue, This is their derision in the land of Egypt!

NAB  Hosea 7:16 They have again become useless, like a treacherous bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword because of the insolence of their tongues; thus they shall be mocked in the land of Egypt.

NJB  Hosea 7:16 They turn to what does not exist, they are like a faulty bow. Their leaders will fall by the sword because of their arrogant talk; how they will be laughed at in Egypt!

GWN  Hosea 7:16 They don't return to the Most High. They are like a defective bow. Their officials will die in battle because they curse. The people in Egypt will ridicule them for this.

BHT  Hosea 7:16 yäšûºbû lö´ `äl häyû Küqeºšet rümiyyâ yiPPülû baHeºreb Särêhem mizzaº`am lüšônäm zô la`Gäm Bü´eºrec micräºyim

BBE  Hosea 7:16 They have gone to what is of no value; they are like a false bow; their captains will come to destruction by the sword, and their ruler by my wrath; for this, the land of Egypt will make sport of them.

  • They turn, but not upward: Ho 6:4 8:14 11:7 Ps 78:37 Jer 3:10 Lu 8:13 11:24-26 
  • They are like a deceitful bow: Ps 78:57 
  • Because of the insolence of their tongue. : Ho 7:13 Ps 12:4 52:2 57:4 73:9 Isa 3:8 Jer 18:18 Mt 12:36 Jas 3:5 2Pe 2:8 Rev 13:5 
  • This will be their derision in the land of Egypt: Ho 8:13 9:3,6 Eze 23:32 36:20 


They turn, but not upward - Where did they turn? To the godless nations around them and not to God! They do not turn Heaven, toward the Most High God (Hos 7:15NIV). This is a "silly dove" turning everywhere but upwards to the only One Who could help them! In Hos 11:7 God says "My people are bent on turning from Me. Though they call them to the One on high, None at all exalts Him."

MacKay - While return/‘come back’ is precisely the response that was required (cf. Hos 3:5; 6:1; 14:1), Ephraim persisted in getting it wrong. They reoriented their ways, possibly seeking to renew failed or rejected alliances, but not to him who is on high (cf. Hos 11:7).

 They are like a deceitful bow - A warped bow sends arrows awry, but not at the bull's eye! The "bull's eye" was Jehovah and His amazing mercy and His all sufficient sovereign power, but they totally missed Him! See "treacherous bow" in Ps 78:57. This could even allude to the fact that instead of shooting their enemies, they used their deceitful bow to shoot (assassinate) 4 of their last five leaders! 

Their princes will fall by the sword - This alludes to the last 5 kings, 4 of whom were assassinated (see notes Hos 7:7)

Because of the insolence of their tongue - The Hebrew more literally is "defiance of their tongue." In English defiance means the act of defying or the disposition to resist with a willingness to contend or fight! The idea of insolence is that they had feelings of intense anger and actions which result from their inner fury. 

Insolence (02195)(za'am) conveys the basic idea is experiencing or expressing intense anger and includes the thought of denunciation. Swanson notes that za'am can be "a curse that demonstrates extreme indignation." (eg Ps 38:4, 69:34). Leon Wood notes that "The verb is used to indicate both the state of being indignant and the activity giving expression to that state." Their tongue empowered by their insolence at the least indicated disparaging speech and possibly even curses against God! (NAS marginal note - "indignation or cursing.")

This will be their derision in the land of Egypt - Egypt would fail to assist Israel and then would belittle God's power (see Dt 9:28).

NIV Study Bible on Egypt - There is no record of a forced exile of large numbers to Egypt. Some captives were taken there (2Ki 23:34; Jer 22:11-14), and some fugitives voluntarily went there (2Ki 25:26; Jer 42-44). A return from Egypt is envisioned in 11:11; Isa 11:11; 27:13; Zec 10:10.

Leon Wood comments on be their derision in the land of Egypt - NLT paraphrases it "Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them." NIV has "they will be ridiculed in the land of Egypt." In the prosperous days of Jeroboam II, Israel had boasted of her strength to Egypt. Now she would be ridiculed in Egypt because of the downfall of her leaders. (Ibid)

Constable - In the days of Jeroboam II the Israelites had also boasted insolently about not needing Yahweh to the Egyptians. But the Egyptians, their treaty partner on several occasions, would deride them for their weakness.

ESV Study Bible - Egypt here is a symbolic name for all foreign powers, and is intended as a metaphorical reference to Israel’s bondage in Egypt prior to the exodus, rather than a literal reference to a new deportation to Egypt. Like other historical references in Hosea, this name bemoans the reversal of Israel’s fortunes. The humiliation and degradation of being taken into captivity is depicted on numerous reliefs from the ancient Near East (cf. Joel 2:17).

Derision (03933)(laag from verb laag = to mock, deride, scoff, sneer; note laag is very close to our word "laugh") means a mocking, deriding or treating with contempt. In English derision means  contemptuous laughter, the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt, state of being laughed at or ridiculed. Laag is used of the Lord's treatment of His rebellious people, making them an object of scorn before Himself and others (Ps. 44:13; Ps 79:4; Hos. 7:16). The wicked mock the righteous (Ps. 123:4).

Gilbrant - Elihu accused Job of "drinking scorn like water" (Job 34:7). He felt that Job's "speech" was a mockery since his adversity was deserved, that surely he must have sinned to have incurred such a horrid fate from God. Yet, he had the audacity to say that he was innocent (v. 5). The psalmist complained that Israel had been made a "scorn" (Ps. 123:4).The people's apostasy would eventually relegate Israel and Judah to a "derision" (with le, HED #3937, "to derision," Ezek. 23:32; 36:4). Ironically, the nation would become "a derision" in Egypt, the land in which they had sought help, trusting in political alliances rather than in the protection of Yahweh (Hos. 7:16).

Laag - 7v - laugh(1), mock(3), mocked(5), mocks(4), scoff(2), scoffs(1), sneer(1), stammering(1).

Job 34:7; Ps. 44:13; Ps. 79:4; Ps. 123:4; Ezek. 23:32; Ezek. 36:4; Hos. 7:16

Sours: https://www.preceptaustin.org/hosea-7-commentary
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Bible Commentaries

Verses 1-16


This chapter may be divided into three sections. In the first section, including Hosea 7:1-7, the prophet reproves with much but deserved severity the depraved morals of king and princes. In the second section, consisting of Hosea 7:8-11, he rebukes their sinfulness, silliness, pride, and stupid obstinacy, notwithstanding the many manifest tokens of decay. Otherwise the first section deals with the internal corruption of the northern kingdom, and the second exposes their sinful and harmful foreign policy. The third section, continuing from the twelfth verse to the end of the chapter, that is, Hosea 7:12-16, threatens the infliction of punishment incurred by their gross wicked. Hess and base ingratitude to God.

Hosea 7:1-3

When I would hays healed Israel. We may, with some, understand this healing of those

(1) prophetic admonitions and rebukes by which God designed to cure the transgressions and heal the backslidings of his people.

(2) It is more probable, however, that the reference is to the partial restoration of the national prosperity in the days of Jeroboam II; who "restored the coast of Israel from the entering of Hamath unto the sea of the plain."

(3) Jerome's exposition is not so natural when he says, "The sense is: When I wished to blot out the old sins of my people, on account of ancient idolatry, Ephraim and Samaria discovered new idols;" the old sins and ancient idolatry he refers to the making and worshipping of the golden calf in the wilderness, while the new idols were the calf-worship which Jeroboam of the tribe of Ephraim instituted, and the people of the capital, Samaria, adopted. When God would heal, or as often as he proceeded to heal, Israel, the evils broke out afresh, or came more fully to light, just like a wound the dangerous nature of which is discovered by the surgeon's probe in the effort to heal it. Then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria. The sin of the northern kingdom manifested itself in high quarters—in the premier tribe of Israel, and in the capital city of Samaria. "Because," says Abort Ezra, in his comment, "they said, He hath torn, and he will heal us, he says, When I was disposed to heal them, the wickedness concealed in their heart stood before my face, which they have not left off until the present time, for they practice falsehood; by night they steal, and by day troops (of bandits) spread themselves outside the cities." Similarly, Rashi explains: "When I was willing to help and to heal them, their iniquities manifested themselves before me, for they practiced lying constantly; while thieves of their number entered in continually, and stole the wealth of their companions, and even their gangs spread themselves for robberies to rob men." For they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth (margin, strippeth)without. Here follows an enumeration of the crimes of which they were guilty. There was falsehood, or fraud, or deception generally, and that, not only in words, but in works; next comes dishonesty, both in public and in private. The thief privately entered the houses, and committed burglary; gangs of highwaymen publicly infested the roads, spoiling the passers-by, or rather roamed or spread themselves abroad for plunder, since it is the causative conjugation of pashat that has the signification of stripping or spoiling others. The thief within, the rubber robs without.

Hosea 7:2

And they consider not in their hearts (margin, say not to their heart)that I remember all their wickedness. Between the common reading libravken and bilravken found in several manuscripts by Kennicott and De Rossi, there is a not unimportant difference. The latter, equivalent to saying "in their heart," which is the usual expression, denotes one's inward thoughts or reasonings with himself; the former, equivalent to saying "to their heart," is an address to, or remonstrance with, the heart with the view of restraining its evil purposes. God's remembrance of wickedness imports its punishment. Now their own doings have beset them about. Their doings

(1) have become evident or conspicuous as a robe or garment with which a man is surrounded, or a troop of body-guards placed about him. Or

(2) the terrors and penal consequences of their sins have surrounded them like a garment, as we elsewhere read, "He clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment." In this latter sense the figure is rather taken from enemies besieging a town or city, and beleaguering it closely all around, or from lictors, i.e. officers of the law surrounding them, or even witnesses confronting them on every side. Kimchi explains the sense as follows: "Now their evil deeds surround them, which were before my face and were not hidden from me; and, while they receive the punishment, they will remember that 1 know all the whole, and that it is I who return their reward upon their head." They are before my face, in the last clause, has a striking and awe-inspiring parallel in the ninetieth psalm: "Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance." Aben Ezra's exposition is somewhat obscure; it is as follows: "They think that I do not see them, and they do not observe that their actions encircle them, as they are before my face."

Hosea 7:3

They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies. The moral corruption and depravity of Israel were extreme and universal. They reached from the rabble to royalty, from the common people to the princes of the court. The king and princes were in full accord with fellows of the basest sort, taking pleasure in their wickedness trod applauding their lies.

(1) Rosenmüller quotes the explanation of Abarbanel to the following purport: "He (the prophet) means to say that the violent men of that ago were accustomed to narrate their atrocities to their kings, that the latter might thence derive entertainment." It is much the same whether the king and princes of that time took pleasure in the villanies which were perpetrated, or in the narratives of those villanies to which they listened,

(2) A somewhat different rendering, and consequently different exposition, have much to recommend them: "In their wickedness they make the king merry, and in their feigning the princes;" their wickedness was their diabolical design to assassinate king and princes; with this object in view they make the king merry with wine so that he might fall an easy and unsuspecting victim; their feigning was their fell purpose of assassination under the profession of friendship. Such was the desperate treachery of those miscreant conspirators. This view tallies well with the context.

Hosea 7:4-7

Hosea 7:4, Hosea 7:6, and Hosea 7:7 are linked together by the figure of an "oven," common to them; while 4 and 6 have also in common the figure of a "baker." Further, we are helped to the literal meaning of the metaphorical language of Hosea 7:4 and Hosea 7:6 by Hosea 7:5 and Hosea 7:7 respectively. They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker. Whether the sin indicated was idolatry, which is often represented as spiritual adultery, or adultery in the literal sense, which was its frequent accompaniment; or in a larger sense faithlessness to solemn obligations such as treason, treachery, or perfidy in general; it was their habitual practice, as intimated by Piel participle in its iterative or intensive sense. The persons charged with this sin were kullam,all of them—sovereign and subjects, princes and people alike. The traitors of the time referred to, or rather their heart heated with lawless lust and pernicious passion, is pictured by the prophet as an oven; and the oven is heated by tile baker, or more literally, burning from the baker.Who or what is represented by the baker? This may be a personification of the spirit of treason like the spirit of whoredoms (Hosea 5:4), or evil agency that impelled these men to their nefarious deeds; or we may understand by the "baker" those persons who were the prime movers in such matters, and who instigated others to become their tools and execute their plans. In either case the burning, once commenced, continued of itself; the primary instigators had no difficulty in securing agents ready and willing as themselves for such bad and bloody work, and who, once set ageing, needed no further impulse, but of their own motion delighted to carry it through. Who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. An interval of time elapses between the inception and execution of the work. The baker ceaseth from raising, more literally, from stirring or stoking; after kindling the fire in the oven he lets it burn on and leaves off stirring it until the kneaded dough is fully fermented. This respite is allowed that the leaven of wickedness may do its work, and completely pervade the minds into which it has been introduced, and until matters are thoroughly matured for action. Meantime the fire burns steadily and sufficiently, until the oven requires to be more highly heated for the well-prepared and perfectly leavened dough. The use of the participle מֵעִיד is well explained by the principle stated by Ewald as follows: "Just as the idea of the verb 'to be' is placed in immediate construction with the word which more exactly forms the predicate, so also may those verbs which describe a somewhat more specific kind of being, e.g.verbs which signify 'commencing' to be, i.e.becoming … verbs of hastening, i.e. quickly becoming … and those of ceasing to be, Hosea 7:4 … The following verb, if such a word be required for the more specific predicate, most readily chooses the participial form.; verbs denoting continuance would be constructed in the same way." The particle עַד, equivalent to usque ad,implies the completeness of the leavening.

Hosea 7:5

In the day of our king. This may mean the anniversary of his birth—his birthday celebration, or the anniversary of his accession or coronation; or it may have been used in an ambiguous sense, and to include the day of his destruction, like the tragic irony or contrast between the knowledge of the spectator and the supposed ignorance of the actor. The expression "our" is either a real acknowledgment of the kings of Israel, or rather the lip-loyalty of the traitorous princes who were compassing his ruin. The princes have made him sick with bottles of wine. The literal rendering is, have made sick the heat of him; i.e. made him sick with heat from wine. The construction resembles Micah 6:13, "I will make sick thy smiting;" i.e. I will make thee sick through smiting thee. The heat from wine repeats in some sort the preceding figure of a heated oven. The object of these wretches was twofold—to inflame their passion, and nerve their hands for the bloody work on which they were set; and to leave the king powerless, a helpless victim in their hands. He stretched out his hand with scorners. Whatever the real origin of this phrase may be, the meaning is plain—he joined in fellowship with those wicked princes, and took part on terms of equality with them in their brutish debauch and profane carousal. He stretched out his hand and hailed them as boon-companions.

Hosea 7:6

For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire. Their heart is the oven, as the comparison here teaches us; the fire by which it is inflamed is the fire of sinful passion, and the fuel that feeds the flame is the murderous machination on which they are at present so intent; the baker is either the original contrivers and prompters of their wickedness, or their own wicked spirit, or the evil one himself at the head of all. But, though there is a temporary suspension, there is no real cessation of their evil purpose; they are only biding their time, lying in wait; the baker sleeps, but it is only whilst the dough is leavening. Soon as the suitable time has come, soon as the occasion has arrived, and all circumstances in readiness, in the morning the baker rouses from his nocturnal slumber, stirs up the fire, and sets the oven ablaze Now that the dough is sufficiently leavened, and the oven thoroughly heated, the bread is put in—the meditated assassination is accomplished—itburneth as a flaming fire.This is the second and last stage of the proceeding, the last scene of the last act of the tragic drama,

Hosea 7:7

They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen. Here we have the application, and so the explanation of the figurative language of the preceding verse, which, as we have seen, is the second stage of the action. The heat of the oven denotes the intense violence of their passion, as also their fierce and fiery power of destruction. Inferior rulers and magistrates fell victims to it; while regicides in incredible number were the result of it. Three regicides were perpetrated in thirteen years; and four in less than forty, the victims being Zechariah, Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah. Also Nadab, Elah, Zimri, Zibni, and Jehoram perished by their successors. There is none among them that calleth unto me. Amid such horrid scenes of blood and violence, of disorder and anarchy, there was none of them to realize the calamities of the times or recognize the cause. Consequently there was no one to discover the remedy, and apply to the true and only source of relief.


Hosea 7:4

The difficulty of the section including Hosea 7:4-7 has occasioned considerable difference of exposition; it may not, therefore, be amiss to supplement the foregoing observations.

1. Aben Ezra accounts for בערה being accented as milel

(1) on the ground that, though a feminine formation, it is really masculine (to agree with תניו), like נחלה and לילה, both of which, though feminine in form, are notwithstanding of the masculine gender. Abarbanel, who is followed by Wunsche,

(2) takes בֹּעָרְה as a participle feminine for בֹּעָרהָ or בֹּעֶרָח, which is justified by the circumstance that the names of fire and of what is connected therewith are feminine in the Semitic, so that חנור is feminine.

2. The word מֵעִיר, which Ewald and others take, properly we think,

(1) as participle of Hiph; is treated

(2) by Genenius and Maurer as infirmitive Qal with min prefixed, which would occasion the awkward and unusual combination of two infinitives each prefixed with min in immediate sequence; while

(3) Kimchi takes it as infinitive Hiph. contracted for מֵהֵעִיר.

3. More important still is the interpretation of the verse. There is

(1) that already given, and which is in some measure supported by the following rabbinic comments: "Their evil passion," says Rashi, "which stirs them up, rests from kneading the dough until it is leavened, i.e.from the time that any one has thought on evil in his heart how he shall execute it, he rests and sleeps till the morning, when he shall be able to execute it, as the baker rests from kneading the dough until it is leavened, when he can bake it." Similar and yet somewhat peculiar is the concluding portion of Kimchi's comment: "As soon as he lays the pieces of wood into the oven, in order to heat it, he commands the women to knead, and he ceases to stir them (the women) up until the dough is leavened, as he estimates it in his heart, and then he rouses them to come with the dough to bake it. And this is the time when the oven is heated."

(2) The LXX. takes עיר as a noun prefixed with the preposition min (ἀπὸ τῆς φλογός),and translates the whole as follows: "They are all adulterers, as an oven glowing from flame for hot-baking, from the kneading of the dough until it is leavened." The interpretation

(3) of Wunsche differs considerably from both the preceding; it is, "They are all adulterers, like an even, burning from a baker, who rests while stoking from the kneading of the dough till its fermentation;" and he cites in favor of this view Aben Ezra as follows: "This verse is inverted, and accordingly the sense is: As the oven of a baker burneth from the kneading of the dough till its fermentation, so that the baker can scarcely cease to stir it up, but must stir it up and heat it violently."

Hosea 7:5

A like diversity of exposition is found in connection with Hosea 7:5, at least it, first clause.

1. There is

(1) the rendering already given; but

(2) Wunsche, taking החלו from חלל, to begin, as is done by the LXX; Syriac, Chaldee, and Jerome, translates:" The princes begin [i.e. open] the day of our king in the heat of wine." Consequently, yom is

(a)the object of this verb; while,

(b) according to the usual rendering, it is the accusative of time, equivalent to ביוֹם; others again

(c) take the word as a nominative absolute, or translate the clause as an independent one; thus Simson: "It is the day of our king."

2. Again, חֲמַח st. construct of חֵמָה, from the root חמם or יחם, (for the construct state is used, not only for the genitive-relation, but also before prepositions, the relative pronoun, relative clauses, even ray copulative, etc), is

(1) the accusative of the clause, equivalent to "in the heat (proceeding) from wine;" or

(2)be may be understood; or

(3) the preposition rain may be regarded as transposed,—Rashi explains it: "From the heat of the wine that burneth in them;" or

(4)בַּעֲלֵי may be supplied, as Wunsche suggests, equivalent to "possessors (bearers) of heat from wine."

3.לֵץ is a scoffer and worse than כְסִיל, a fool, or פְחִי, a simpleton; the last acts through inexperience, the second from unwisdom, the first, though possessing in some measure both wisdom and experience, acts in disregard of both. The meaning is given by Kimchi in the following comment: "The sense of חי מי is that the one came with his bottle full of wine, and the other with his bottle; and they made the king sick;" and to this there is an exact parallel in Habakkuk 2:15, "Woe unto him that giveth his neigh-hour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also." In the second clause the expression, "drawing out the hand," is borrowed from drunken carousals, in which the hand is stretched out in asking, receiving, and handing the goblets; or, more simply, according to Pussy, who says, "Men in drink reach out their hands to any whom they meet, in token of their sottish would be friendliness."

Hosea 7:6

This verse, Wunsche thinks, is probably the most difficult in the whole book.

1. The translation of the first clause in the Authorized Version is susceptible of a more literal and improved rendering.

(1) "For they bring near as an oven their heart, whilst they lie in wait;" that is, they approach the king with loyalty on their lips, but hatred in their heart. Their heart (which is the fact) is heated with evil passion, as an oven (which is the figure) is heated for baking purposes; while they are secretly set for wickedness.

(2) Wunsche, after enumerating a great variety of renderings and expositions, with none of which he is satisfied, gives the following: "For they press close together; like an oven is their heart in their artifice (cunning)." The meaning, according to the same author, is that all, scoffers and king alike, press near each other, being of one heart and disposition; cunning makes them one single society.

(3) Keil translates more simply as follows: "For they have brought their heart into their ambush, as into the oven." In this rendering he combines the explanation of Ewald and Hitzig.

2. In the second clause which Keil translates in the same sense as

(1) the Authorized Version, Wunsche

(2) changes the common reading into אַפְהָם, equivalent to אַפָם, their anger, and translates accordingly, "All night their anger sleeps, in the morning it burns like flaming fire." That the reading here is somewhat doubtful may be inferred from the fact that the LXX. has Ἔφραιμ: while the Chaldee and Syrian rugzehon,their fury; still, as it is only a conjectural emendation, we prefer abiding by the ordinary reading and rendering, at least in this instance. The following explanation of the whole verse by Aben Ezra gives a consistent sense: "By בארבם are meant their evil purposes, which they devise all night long. And their heart is like an oven, only with the difference that there the baker sleeps the whole night, and only in the morning kindles the oven; but their heart does not sleep at all, but devises evil the whole night." It is curious how Rashi and Kimchi, while giving in the main the same explanation with Aben Ezra, differ from him about the meaning of the sleeping. The former has the following brief comment: "Their baker lights the oven. After they have prepared their heart and thought out the consummation of their wickedness, how they could carry the same into effect, then their baker sleeps, that is, they sleep till morning; at the break of day, however, they burn like fire, until they have brought their wickedness fully to an end." Kimchi goes into the matter a little more fully, as is usual with him; he comments as follows: "The heart is the instrument of the thought, and the power that works therein is the baker by way of figure. And as the baker lights the oven at night, and in the morning finds that the pieces of wood have burnt out, and he baketh therein the bread, which is the chief end of the work of heating; and lo, the baker sleeps in the night after he has put the pieces of wood into the oven, because he has nothing more to do till the morning. Just so the baker in this figurative sense, which is the power of thought—he sleeps in the night; as if he said he lies there and rests, because the project comes not forth into execution until the morning; and the prophet calls him who thinks sleeping, because that there is no effort of the body in thought, In the morning he burneth, as if he said that they are in flame in the morning to execute the evil which they have devised at night."

Hosea 7:7

1. "To call unto me (God)" is to cry to God for help and succor, to seek safety and deliverance with him. It is not the same with that other expression, viz. "to call on the Name of Jehovah," which is rather to reverence and worship Jehovah.

2. The word דין is more poetic than שָׁפַט, though the meaning of both is "judging," the latter probably derived from שָׁפַח, to set, then to set right, defend.

3. Their not calling unto God is well explained by Kimchi as follows: "Also they (the people) had failed by the hand of their enemies, the kings of the Gentiles; but, notwithstanding this, no one among them calls to me. They should have thought in their heart, There is no power in the hand of our king to help us out of our distress; we will turn to Jehovah, for he will be our Helper." This verse is not so difficult as the three preceding; we proceed, therefore, in regular order to the next.

Hosea 7:8

Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. The people of the northern kingdom had fallen away from Jehovah, and mixed themselves with the heathen nationalities. They resembled a cake which, through neglect of turning, was burnt on the one side and raw on the other. The best commentary on the first clause of this verse is found in Psalms 106:35, Psalms 106:36, and Psalms 106:39; they "were mingled among the heathen, and learned their works. And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them … Thus were they defiled with their own works, and went a-whoring with their own inventions." The second clause is well explained by Bishop Horsley as follows: "One thing on one side, another on the other; burnt to a coal at bottom, raw dough at the top. An apt image of a character that is all inconsistencies. Such were the ten tribes of the prophet's day; worshippers of Jehovah in profession, hut adopting all the idolatries of the neighboring nations, in addition to their own semi-idolatry of the calves." Similarly, the Geneva Bible has, "Baked on one side and raw on the ether, he is neither through hot nor through cold, but partly a Jew and partly a Gentile." Jehovah had chosen Israel out of the nations of the earth, and given them a special constitution. The object of this segregation was that Israel should be a peculiar people and a holy nation. Thus distinguished, they were to dwell alone; but, ungrateful for this high distinction, and unmindful of their high destiny, they mingled with the nations, learned their heathenish ways, and worshipped their hateful idols. Thus they forfeited their theocratic pre-eminence. While it was their privilege as well u duty to follow the precepts of Jehovah, and serve him with undivided affection, they fell away from his service and adopted the idolatries and habits of the heathen; it was only a just retribution, therefore, when God gave them ever into the hand of those heathen peoples to waste their resources and leave them shorn of their strength. The second clause is the counterpart of this; exactly like the peoples subsequently brought from Assyria, and planted in the lands of the dispossessed Israelites, they worshipped the Lord, but served their own gods—they were neither true worshippers of Jehovah nor out-and-out followers of Baal. In religion they were mongrels—inconsistentand worthless hybrids; they were, in fact, what Calvin in rather homely phrase says of them," neither flesh nor fish."The comment of Kimchi is concise as it is clear: "The prophet means to say, He (Israel) mixes himself among the peoples; though God—blessed be he I—separated them from them, yet they mix them. selves among them and do according to their works." His explanation of the second clause is not so satisfactory when he says, "As a cake which is baked upon the coals; if they do not turn it, it is burnt below and not baked above, so is the counsel that is not right when they do not turn it from side to side (sense to sense) until they bring it upon their wheels (into action). So (thoughtless and hasty) is Ephraim in his determination to serve the calves and other gods without proving and choosing what is good."

(2) Other explanations need only be referred to in order to be rejected, as

(1) that of Rashi, who is followed by Grotius. He takes the verb in the future sense: "Ephraim in exile shall be mixed among the peoples." But it is obviously the present, not the future time, that is intended—the present sin, not its future punishment. There is

(2) the explanation of Aben Ezra, followed by Eichhorn and Maurer, referring to the alliances or treaties which the northern kingdom formed with their neighbors to repel their enemies, and by which the resources of the land were consumed; while the second clause,

(a) according to Aben Ezra, refers to the over-hastiness and thoughtlessness with which Israel proceeded in their resolutions; and,

(b) according to Maurer, Jerome, and Theodoret, it signifies what is spoiled, ill-advised, and worthless.

Hosea 7:9

Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not. Israel's intercourse with other nationalities could not but issue in disaster; a specimen of that disaster is here given. As the Greeks called all who did not speak the Greek language, whether they were savage or civilized, barbarians, so Israel called all foreigners, whether near or far off, strangers. The foreign nations here meant were those with which Israel had entered into treaties or formed alliances, in contravention of the constitution which God had given them. These nations, moreover, devoured their national resources by the imposition of taxes and hostile incursions; thus the King of Syria left "of the people to Jehoahaz only fifty horsemen, and ton chariots, and ten thousand footmen; for the King of Syria had destroyed them, and had made them like the dust by threshing;" again, when "Pul, the King of Assyria, came against the laud," we read that Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand. And Menahem exacted the money of Israel, even of all the mighty men of wealth, of each man fifty shekels of silver, to give to the King of Assyria;" then, "in the days of Pekah King of Israel came Tiglath-pileser King of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazer, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria. "The strength here mentioned includes all those things which constitute the wealth and well-being of a country, the produce of the soil and the riches of its inhabitants. Thus Aben Ezra rightly explains this clause, referring it to "the tribute which the Israelites gave to Assyria and Egypt, as is written in the Book of Kings." Yea, grey hairs are here and there (margin, sprinkled)upon him. What from foreign foes and internal feuds, the body politic was manifesting unmistakable symptoms of decay and decrepitude and approaching dissolution, just as grey hairs on the human body give indication of the advance of old age, with its decay of strength and nearness to the tomb. "The course of nature," says Aben Ezra, "has sprinkled grey hairs upon him, just as grey hair comes on men in consequence of the course of nature;" this corresponds to the sentiment of the preceding clause, for, according to the commentator just named," the grey hair denotes that their power is weakened and their possession perished." Yet he knoweth not is parallel to. "And he knoweth (it) not," and repeats the same sentiment, of course with emphasis of what was Israel thus ignorant? Not, surely, of the declining state of the national strength and the decay of the national importance. After so many drains upon their resources and the unsatisfactory position of their foreign relations, they could not shut their eyes upon the steadily and even rapidly approaching decadence. But though they could not pretend ignorance of the fact, they remained in ignorance of the cause, its consequence, and the cure. Notwithstanding the already exhausted condition of their country, and the process of exhaustion still going on, they overlooked the lamentable cause of all, which was their sin, national and individual, in departing from the Lord; and at the same time the dangerous consequences that were neither remote nor capable of being staved off; as also the only possible cure to be found in direct and immediate return and application to that God from whom they had so revolted. The "it" supplied in the Authorized Version

(1) had better be omitted;

(2) the construction adopted by Rashi and others, who make the first part of each clause the object of the second, is erroneous, as we have shown in the preceding observations. "They took it not to heart that the kings of Syria consumed them in the days of Jehoahaz" is the exposition of Rashi just referred to; but that of Kimchi favors the first and correct construction, as may be inferred from the words, "And he (Israel) knows not that on account of his iniquity all this has come upon him, and yet he turns not from his wickedness."

Hosea 7:10

And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the Lord their God, nor seek him for all this (amid all this).If with Keil and others

(1) we understand "the pride of Israel" to mean Jehovah the glory of Israel, and take the verb in the sense of "testify," the meaning will be that Jehovah bore witness to the face of Israel by the weakening and wasting of their kingdom, as portrayed in the preceding verse. We prefer

(2) to understand "the pride of Israel" in the souse of "the haughtiness" of Israel, and the verb in the sense of "being humbled," as at Hosea 5:5. The real meaning, then, is expressed in the following rendering: And the haughtiness of Israel shall be humbled to his face.This humiliation is the effect of the wasting mentioned in the preceding verse; while the evidence of their humiliation is specified in the succeeding verse by their resorting to Egypt and repairing to Assyria from a consciousness of their helplessness. This rendering is countenanced by the LXX; both here and at Hosea 5:5; while Rashi says, "The verb עגה has the meaning of "humiliation." For all this.This emphasizes the obstinate blindness and perverseness of Ephraim, when, amid all the calamities and miseries of the kingdom both within and without, they turned not to Jehovah to solicit help and deliverance, but concluded treaties or made alliances with foreign nations in hope of being lifted up out of their national impotence. On this Aben Ezra makes the judicious remark: "They turned not to Jehovah as paupers who have nothing more to give foreign nations that they may help them."

Hosea 7:11

Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart. The silliness of the dove, with which the stupidity of Ephraim is compared, is not manifested by its missing its nest and resting-place, and then helplessly fluttering about, according to Ewald; nor by its falling into the net of the bird-catcher in its effort to escape from the hawk, according to Hitzig; nor by its neither grieving nor searching for its young when it is robbed of them, according to Jerome; nor by its becoming dejected or devoid of consideration when it has lost its young, according to the Targum; but by its flying right into the net of the bird-catcher, without suspecting or observing it in its search for food, according to Rosenmüller. Thus Kimchi explains it: "The prophet compares Ephraim to a dove which gets caught in a net owing to its simplicity, because it has no sense to perceive that, when it goes to gather grains of corn, a net is spread there to catch it. So Ephraim, when they went and asked help from Assyria or from Egypt, (did not perceive) that they went to their hurt, when they sought help from the foreign nations and not from God—blessed be he!—in whose hand all is. And he mentions the dove, though it is the manner of other birds, because the dove has no bitterness, as if it went in simplicity and without apprehension of the evil that would come upon it." They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria. The position of Palestine exposed its inhabitants to attacks from the two great rival powers of Egypt and Assyria, or Babylon. "It stood midway," says Stanley, "between the two great seats of ancient empire, Babylon and Egypt. It was on the high-road from one to the other of these mighty powers, the prize for which they contended, the battlefield on which they fought, the lofty bridge over which they ascended and descended respectively into the deep basins of the Nile and Euphrates." Accordingly the rulers of the people sought help, now from Egypt to strengthen them against the oppression of Assyria; at another time they sought to secure the support of Assyria. The most powerful enemy of the northern kingdom was Assyria, which distressed that kingdom more and more, until at last they made an end of it. "But," says Kimchi, "while they think to obtain help by them (Egypt and Assyria), they fall into the net of the Almighty—blessed be he—and this is what he says (in the following verse). As they go I spread my net over them."

Hosea 7:12

When they shall go, l will spread my net over them. Threats of punishment are contained in this and the following verses. He begins by the application of the comparison of Ephraim to a dove. Exactly as a dove in its silliness falls into the net set by the fowler, so Israel runs into the net of destruction in seeking help from Egypt and Assyria. The literal rendering is, according as they go,or, whatsoever way they shall go.God threatens to spread a net over them, from which there can be no escape. The chief aim of Hebrew sovereigns and rulers was to defend themselves from Egypt by the help of Assyria, or from Assyria by the aid of Egypt; in either case God threatens to spread over them the net of destruction as the bird-catcher. The application to one or other of these powers God forbade, but when they go to either for relief, the result is sure to prove fatal. The image of a net is frequent in Ezekiel; so in Job, he "hath compassed me with his net." I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven. The comparison with birds and bird-catching continues. Though their sunward soaring flight be high as the eagle's, or rapid as the soft swift wing of the dove, they cannot outspeed or escape the hand of God, but shall be brought down to earth. Or the idea may be that, swiftly as a bird of prey swoops down out of the free air of heaven upon its quarry on the low-lying earth, Jehovah will bring Israel down out of the air of freedom into the net of captivity. Thus in Obadiah 1:4 we read, "Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord;" likewise in Amos 9:2, "Though they dig into hell, thence shall mine hand take them; though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down." I will chastise them as their congregation hath heard. The word אַיְסִידֵם is an anomalous Hiph. instead of אֵיסִירֵם, that is, yod mobile instead of yod quiescent or diphthongal zere.The literal rendering makes the meaning more obvious; it is: "I will chastise them according to the tidings [or,' announcement '] to their congregation." In the Law and by the prophets it was repeatedly declared that judgments would fall upon the disobedient and rebellions. As specimens of such announcements, we may refer to Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; and Deuteronomy 32:15-35 The prophet now assures Ephraim that the judgments so frequently and forcibly announced to the congregation of the children of Israel in the wilderness, and repeated in subsequent times by the prophets, would be executed on the rebellious rigorously, and in exact accordance with those many previous denunciations. Kimchi has the following comment: "I will assemble them through the chastisement of the peoples, as I announced to their assembly in the wilderness words of chastisement, which are written in the Law, if they will not hearken to the words of the Law." The LXX. may have read צרתם, as their rendering is ἐν τῇ ἀκοῇ τῆς θλίψεως αὐτῶν, equivalent to "'I will chasten them with the rumor of their (coming) affliction,"

Hosea 7:13

Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction (margin, spoil)unto them! because they have transgressed against me. Of these exclamations, the first is general and indefinite, the second is specific and precise. The thought of coming chastisement calls forth the exclamation of woe; while the second exclamation fixes the character and explains the nature of that woe denounced. In neither case does יְהִי or יֱבֹא need to be supplied; the opposite expression is שָׁלוֹם לָהֶם or בְּלָכָה לָהָם In assigning the reason, there is a retrospective reference to the figures of the two immediately preceding verses. The word נָדַד with rain is employed in relation to birds which, when scared from their nest, fly away. Kimchi thinks it applies to the abstention or withdrawal of the Israelites from Divine service in the national sanctuary in Jerusalem. His comment is: "They fly from me, from the service of the house of my sanctuary, to the service of the calves; and this is a breach of faith and defection from me." The LXX. translate the beginning of the second clause freely by δειλαῖοι εἰσὶν, equivalent to "they are cowards;" and Jerome by "miseri (maticulose) erunt, et semper timentis ac formidantes." The cause assigned is their breaking covenant with God, which is expressed by פָשַׁע, literally, "to break away from," "tear one's self loose from." Though I have redeemed them. This first part of the last clause is rendered

(1) as a past by some, as Jerome, who refers it to the redemption from Egypt; thus also the Chaldee: "And I was their Deliverer." Rosenmüller approves of this, but, instead of restricting it to the deliverance from Egypt, includes their recent deliverance from the Syrians by Jeroboam II. It is

(2) better rendered in a voluntative or optative sense: "I would (should like) to redeem them, but they speak lies against (or, concerning) me." The verb 'ephdem cannot with any propriety be taken for a preterit. Yet they have spoken lies against me; rather, but they on their part have spoken lies concerning me. The prophet had already charged them with lying at Hosea 7:3, and previously at Hosea 4:2; but their lies were not confined to their intercourse or dealings with their fellow-men; they spoke lies against or, as the preposition sometimes signifies, concerning God. The lies in question included, no doubt, a denial of his essential Deity or sole Divinity; of his power or willingness either to protect or punish. Or they might consist in their falsehood in drawing near to God with their lips without either true faith or real affection in their hearts; some were directly opposed to the claims of Jehovah, some insincere in his service, and others turned aside to the idolatry of the calves—all, with probably some honorable exceptions, had proved false to his covenant with Israel. The last clause has been taken

(3) independently by Ewald, without any considerable alteration of the sense: "I, for my part, would redeem them, but they, on their side, speak lies against me." Other acceptations,

(a) interrogative and

(b) conditional, evidently mistake the sense.

The whole clause is correctly explained by Kimchi thus: "It was in my heart to redeem them out of their distress; but they speak lies against me, while they say that I know nothing nor exercise any providential care over their actions, whether their actions are good or bad. Therefore I have withdrawn my providential oversight, and have hidden my face from them, and they shall be consumed."

Hosea 7:14

And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds. This clause may be more correctly rendered, They did not cry to me in their heart, but howl upon their beds.Their falsehood manifested itself in works as well as words; a practical example is here given. They did not, in reality, seek help from God; if they sought at all, it was insincerely. They cried to God, but that cry did not proceed from their heart. They gave vent to their feelings of distress by howlings upon their beds; but those howlings were the expression of unbelief and despair, not by any means evidences of faith. "They do not cry to me," says Aben Ezra, "as the sick man cries to the physician." The comment of Kimchi is still fuller and more explicit: "They have not cried to me in their heart, because of their notion that I do not see their cry nor know what is good or bad for them; but they howl upon their beds, i.e.when they are upon their bed and when they think of that misfortune which is coming upon them. They howl and weep because of their evil case, and do not think that the evil falls on them from me, because they have broken faith with me." The form of יְיֵלִלִוּ is correctly explained by Gesenius as future Hiph. with preformative put before the third person, the yod of the simple form being superficially taken to belong to the stem. His derivation from אֵל, God, as if a cry to him for help, is incorrect; it is really an onomatopoetic word. They assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me. What this

(1) assembling of themselves was does not clearly appear; whether it was in the market-place or elsewhere to purchase corn in time of famine, as some think; or in idol-temples to propitiate their deities, like the Roman supplicatio or lectiosternium, as others suppose; or for the performance of some extra rite of worship to Jehovah; or for the purpose of plunder in a season of scarcity; or generally their assembling in knots and crowds to discuss anxiously and lament despairingly the distressed state of the country;—their chief design and highest aim being a good supply of corn and wine, that is, the supply of mere bodily wants.

(2) The LXX. seem to have read ויתגדדו, as their rendering is κατετεμνόντο,equivalent to "they cut themselves," or" pined for corn and wine;" corresponding to which rendering is Cyril's exposition: "As enthusiasts and fanatics making incisions with steel in their breasts and both hands, and absurdly all but shedding in sacrifice their own blood, perhaps to graven images."

(3) Jerome, taking the verb from גָּרַר, to ruminate, translates accordingly: "super triticum et vinum ruminabant."

(4) The Syriac, tracing it to גוּר, to be afraid, translates: "They feared (or, were fearfully anxious) about corn and wine." The common reading and rendering are clearly preferable; Kimchi's exposition is in harmony therewith: "When corn or new wine comes into the city for sale, they all assemble at (or, round) it on account of the famine which is in the city; and yet they fall away from me."

The construction of the last clause is pregnant, that is

(1) "they turn aside (and turn) against me." Here, again

(2) the LXX. seem to have read יִוָּסְרוּ, to which their translation, ἐπαιδεύθησαν ἐν ἐμοί,equivalent to "they were instructed by me," corresponds.

Hosea 7:15

Though I have bound (margin, chastened)and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me. The first clause of this verse is more accurately translated as follows: And yet I have instructed, have strengthened their arms.Here we have another instance of God's goodness and Israel's ingratitude. He had done much for them, and would fain have done more; and yet the return they made was devising mischief against him. The arms are the seat and symbol of strength, as the hands and fingers symbolize skill; thus, in reference to the latter the psalmist says, "Blessed be the Lord my Strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight;" and with regard to the former he says, "He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms." Two benefits are here included in the prophet's enumeration. He instructed the arms, by which is meant that he showed them how and where to get strength. But this was not all; he not only directed to the source, and taught the secret of acquiring strength, he actually supplied strength, thereby giving them power to contend against and conquer their enemies. At a time when "there was not any shut up, nor any left [that is, 'neither bond nor free'] nor helper for Israel … the Lord … saved them by the hand of Jeroboam the son of Joash." Notwithstanding all this, they

(1) acted the part of apostates and rebels against him: they devised mischief against him by their idolatry which denied him the Godhead glory which was his due, and by their rebellion which aimed at depriving him of his kingly power and dignity. The reference of the last clause,

(2) according to Ewald, is to the treaties which Israel entered into with Assyria and Egypt for safety and defense; and

(3) according to Kimchi, to Israel's false representations of the government and providence of Jehovah: "For they say the good or evil does not come to them from me, but is purely accidental." With respect to יסר, it must be borne in mind that, like ינח, it has two meanings, viz. the chastisement of punishment (κόλασις) and the chastisement of love (παιδεία).

Hosea 7:16

They return, but not to the Most High. This verse is closely connected in sense with the preceding. Their God-defying attitude, as described in Hosea 7:15, is represented in Hosea 7:16 allegorically as a deceitful bow, which fails to scud the arrow to the mark; also their unsuccess is represented as exposing them to the derision of Egypt; while the princes who spake so exceeding proudly, and who instigated their ungodliness and consequent wretchedness, would be slain with the sword. This is the drift of the whole verse; its details, however, demand more particular consideration.

1. The word עַל is by some identified in meaning with

(1) the adjective עֶלְיוֹן, equivalent to "the Most High;" by others

(2) it is taken adverbially, and translated "upwards."

(3) The Septuagint does not express it. translating ἀπεστράφησαν εἰς οὐθέν,"They turned aside to that which is not [literally, 'nothing']."

(4) Jerome translates it as is עֹל, were equivalent to "yoke: They returned that they might be without a yoke." Their return, according to Jerome, would be to their pristine condition before the can of Abram, like the other nations, without yoke or knowledge of law.

2. The return spoken of implies that there were junctures at which they seemed disposed to return to religiousness, but ere long they again relapsed into idolatry. They disappointed the high hopes raised, and missed their own high destiny, and thus they resembled a bow, of which the string, losing its elasticity, could not propel the arrow to the object aimed at. Appearing to return to the worship of Jehovah, they turned aside to an idol. Thus in Psalms 78:57, they "turned back and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful bow."


Hosea 7:1-7

Crimes charged on Israel; people and princes.

It was a time of great corruption and of atrocious crimes. Nor were those crimes committed only by persons "of the baser sort;" people and princes alike, rulers and ruled, had their share in them; the country and the capital, Ephraim and Samaria; the chief tribe and the chief city, with the common people as well as elite,in the former, and members of the court in the latter. All classes contributed their portion to the national tins, and sins of almost all classes were freely indulged in.

I.THECHARACTEROFSINAS A DISEASE. Sin is represented in Scripture as a disease—an all-pervading disease; it is as universal as the race, for all have sinned; it is an all-embracing disease, for it extends to the faculties and feelings of the soul, and employs as its instruments all the members of the body. It infects whole peoples as well as individual persons. The description which Isaiah gives of its widespread ravages applies to the body politic as well as to the body human: "The whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores." It is thus a loathsome disease, a dangerous disease, a deadly disease; and, unless arrested in time, it is a fearfully fatal disease. The Apostle James gives us the genesis and development of this disease: "When lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death;" and the symbol of this spiritual malady is leprosy—one of the most frightful scourges of humanity.

II.THEMEANSOFHEALINGEMPLOYED. The disease is so desperate that God alone can cure it.

1. If there is balm in Gilead and a physician there, God himself is that Physician, and a Physician who not only supplies the balm but applies it; he has provided the remedy and prescribed the way in which it is made available. Thus the Prophet Jeremiah prays," Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my Praise." To a people as well as a person laden with sin, God promises relief when it is earnestly sought and properly applied for; thus we read in 2 Chronicles 7:13, 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, which are called by my Name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." If, then, sin-sick souls are not healed, it is not that God is either unwilling or unable to heal them. When Christ would have gathered the people of Palestine, or the inhabitants of its principal city, with all the tenderness and all the carefulness that the parent bird exercises in gathering its brood under its outspread wings, they would not. So is it still; sinners condemnation is self-procured as well as justly deserved, while the salvation of the righteous is only of the Lord.

2. The means which God employs for healing, though various, are yet pretty much the same at all times. One of these means, and that most commonly employed, is the Word of his grace read, preached, or meditated on. In all ages the chief instrumentality for reclaiming men has been his message of mercy. Thus he dealt with his ancient people: "The Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes, and sending; because he had compassion on his people, and on his dwelling-place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy" (margin, "healing"). Other means used for the same end are afflictions and adverse circumstances of whatever kind; cases of thin sort, such as dearth, or famine, or pestilence, or impoverishment, or sore sickness and of long continuance, were frequent experiences of God's people in the past. But the purpose was benevolent and salutary: "By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin." It is so still; for while "no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." Again, God sends intervals of prosperity with like design. This he did with Israel in the reign of Jeroboam II; in the days of Joash, and at other periods in their history, in order to wean them from sin and win them to himself. Another means of healing which God resorted to in the case of his ancient people was the removal of ringleaders in iniquity and notable apostates, as when he made an end of the dynasty of Ahab. Not a few similar instances in subsequent and modern times might be, pointed out.

III.THEEXTENTOFTHEHURTDISCOVEREDBYTHEATTEMPTATHEALING. While God was manifesting his intentions of mercy towards Israel, the virulence of their disease became evident. God here, in condescension to our weakness, accommodates himself to the manner of men and adopts their mode of speech. As though he had not known the desperate state of matters before, he speaks of it being now discovered. It is by probing a wound that a surgeon discovers its depth, and whether it reaches some vital part; it is only by careful examination a physician detects the character of his patient's disease, and whether it is curable or likely to prove fatal. So with the good physician on closely examining the state of Israel; he found it even worse than had been supposed—much worse than it appeared to the superficial observer. Much, no doubt, must have appeared on the surface, and much lay hid in secret; it had been, in fact, "half revealed, half concealed." When the iniquity of Ephraim was fully discovered and the wickedness of Samaria clearly seen, it proved incurable, so enormous was their guilt, so hardened were they in their transgressions, above all, so impenitent were they and so unwilling to be helped and healed. Their obduracy barred the door against the entrance of mercy, their refusal to part with their enormities checked the outgoings of the Divine goodness towards them. Nay more; as when a rock rises up in a river-bed, or the stream is narrowed by the encroaching banks, the water rushes with greater violence and is lashed into foam, so the very attempt to repress the sin of Israel rendered it more violent and outrageous. The rulers and those who occupied high places, as the inhabitants of the metropolis Samaria, and the people of the preeminent tribe of Ephraim, proved the most incorrigible of all. Among the vices of the time were falsehood and fraud, and the fraud was both private and public.

IV.THESINSCHARGEDAGAINSTISRAELARECOMMONTOTHEM, WITHTHEUNGODLY, ATALLTIMES. This assertion is proved by the further enumeration of these sins by Hosea. There was also sinful security and senseless stupidity.

1. They did not confer with their own hearts in reference to their state in the sight of God, nor impress on themselves their responsibility to him. They were strangers to any right searching of heart, or any serious reflection on the issues of their conduct and conversation. It is thus with hundreds of our fellow-men; want of consideration has ruined thousands Both for time and eternity; hence the earnest wish of the great lawgiver, "Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end!" Hence, too, the solemn command of "the Lord of hosts; Consider your ways."

2. The want of consideration or of communing with their own heart had special reference to the relationship in which they stood to God. They did not reflect that God remembered all their wickedness, consequently they did not recollect their liability to punishment for their wickedness at the hand of God, and therefore they did not feel any remorse on account of their wickedness when committed. Being spared after their wickedness, and not visited with immediate vengeance because of their wickedness, they thought themselves certain of impunity; enjoying a season of prosperity notwithstanding the greatness of their wickedness, they were emboldened in their wicked ways.

3. Atheism, theoretical or practical, or both, was at the root of the matter with them. The first article of belief embraces the existence of God, and the existence of God implies a Being of Divine attributes and infinite perfections; the second article includes a belief in God that he is a Recompenser of men's actions—a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and a Punisher of all workers of wickedness. They rejected, at least practically, these rudiments of the faith, these primary articles of belief; "as if God could not see their wickedness, though he is all eye; and did not heed it, though his name is Jealous; or had forgotten it, though he is an eternal mind that can never be unmindful; or would not reckon for it, though he is the Judge of heaven and earth. This is the sinner's atheism; as good say there is no God, as say he is either ignorant or forgetful; none that judgeth in the earth, as say he remembers not the things he is to give judgment upon; it is a high affront they put upon God, it is a damning cheat they put upon themselves, when they say, The Lord shall not see" nor remember.

4. The eyes of such shall be opened one day. They shall wake up out of their daydream, and their delusion shall vanish when their doings shall beset them about and the sad effects thereof shall entangle them as in a net. They shall see their sins in the punishments they bring upon them; they shall feel them in the sorrows and sufferings that attend them; and they shall recognize that God had them before his face all the time, having knowledge of them when committed, taking notice of their demerit, and remembering them for the exercise of his retributive justice. Even men's secret sins God sets in the light (literally "luminary," maor)of his countenance; the fire-flashing eye of the Omniscient penetrates the deep recesses of the human heart, and brings forth its secret workings into the sight of the sun and the broad light of day.

V.OBSEQUIOUSNESSTORULERSINTHEIRSINFULCOMMANDSORCOURSESISEXTREMELYPERNICIOUS. It may please ungodly sovereigns or civil rulers to find subjects so pliable as at once to fall in with their wicked works and ways; or to he flattered by them; or to hear the upright who oppose their vileness slandered; or to listen to the lies by which the unscrupulous seek to ingratiate themselves; but such pandering must prove pitiful and profitless work for both the persons who indulge in it and the princes who encourage it. The former have often realized, though not perhaps to the same extent, the hitter experience of the great cardinal when he said-

"Oh, how wretched
Is that poor man that hangs on princes' favors
I There is, betwixt that smile we would aspire to,
That sweet aspect of princes, and their ruin,
More pangs and fears than wars or women have;
And when he falls, he falls like Lucifer,
Never to hope again ...
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies."

There is an alternative interpretation of verse 3 which presents the other side, and another aspect of the case, namely, when deceitful men wickedly and mendaciously impose on the credulity of princes by false professions of friendship at the very time they are plotting their downfall and planning their destruction. The ordinary acceptation, however, suits the sense of the passage very well. When people are so wicked as to conform to the idolatrous worship prescribed by godless rulers, or to imitate their impious and immoral practices, or to applaud their worthless favorites, or to calumniate those known to be obnoxious to them, those rulers are more than gratified add gladdened by such lying and baseness, they are encouraged and stimulated in their wrongdoing, while a terrible responsibility rests upon the head of both. Thus Herod, after harassing the Church and slaying games the brother of John, "because he saw it pleased the Jews, proceeded further to take Peter." People, again, when they see that their acts of wickedness please their rulers, or their accounts thereof amuse them, are emboldened to proceed yet further. Thus sovereigns and subjects encouraging each other in sin ultimately work each other's destruction. There is probably a reference to the people's facile complaisance with the idolatry of the calves legalized by Jeroboam, or of Baal by Ahab—a conscienceless acquiescence which in the end was fraught with the most baneful results to princes and people.

VI.THECOURSEOFSINIS A DOWNWARDSLOPE. After reprehending the profligate pleasure which both princes and people took in sin, the prophet reproves the servile submission of the latter to idolatry, and the debaucheries of the former. The adultery which he proceeds to stigmatize may be understood literally as welt as spiritually, the former being so frequent an accompaniment of the latter. In this case the heart is aptly compared to an oven, its lusts the fire with which it is heated; while Satan supplies by his temptations the fuel to the fire, and at the same time puts the leaven in the dough. Whether the baker, after kindling the fire, ceases from stirring it till morning, by which time the dough is leavened and ready for the oven, which he then raises to a greater heat; or whether he rests comparatively while still stoking during the interval that elapses from kneading the dough till it is leavened and ready for use; in either case there is a respite, not from the fire of lust abating or the fuel of temptation ceasing, but from want of opportunity or courage or ability. Soon, however, as the occasion presents itself or opportunity is afforded, or means of gratification are available, or hope of impunity is cherished, the fire of lust that seemed smoldering flames up with increased intensity; the wicked plot is executed; the covert passion breaks out into the overt act; the half-stifled concupiscence finds vent; the lustful, covetous, or ambitious project is accomplished.

VII.DRUNKENNESSIS A PREPARATIONFOROTHERWICKEDNESS. The reference to it in verse 5 is interjected between the mention of adultery and other enormities, as if it were an incentive thereto,

1. The occasion on which the intemperance took place was a celebration day, whether the king's birthday, or the day of his accession to the throne, or his coronation day. As it was, it is; days of celebration, while not improper in themselves, may be turned into days of sinful carousal. Days of high festival that ought to be days of thanksgiving to God, of grateful praise and holy joy, are too often taken advantage of for purposes of intemperance, gluttony, or dissipation. Days that should be consecrated to religious exercises or real national rejoicing are too frequently desecrated by irreligious sensuality and anti-religious debauch.

2. According to the common rendering, the health of the king suffered; according to another rendering, which some prefer, the day was begun so that his honor was tarnished. According to either, his high dignity was leveled in the dust. It is bad enough and sad enough to see any man indulge in the sin of intemperance—a sin which deranges and disorders the body, damages the soul and its eternal interests, dishonors God, and degrades man below the beast that perisheth. But for a king who is appointed to govern others to lose the government of himself through such scandalous excess, is the extreme of vileness; hence the faithful admonition, "It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine."

3. While the duty of a king was neglected, the dignity of a king was sacrificed. Kimchi has the following judicious remark in reference to this matter: "The prophet says, What was the business of the princes with the king? There was no conversation about the might and conquest of the enemies and about the establishment of justice, as it becomes the king of a free nation, but their business consisted in eating and drinking until they made the king sick from the excessive drinking of wine." Even worse, if possible, was the fact of his debasing himself by companionship with profane scoffers. Rashi aptly observes, "The king withdraws his hand from the good and worthy in order to join in fellowship with scorners. The men that put the bottle to his mouth with professed friendliness were, as the event proved, plotting his ruin and preparing for his assassination."

VIII.THESEEMINGRESPITEFROM, ANDREACTIONARYNATUREOF, SIN. The respite was not a real rest from sin; it was only the interval while the mischief was being premeditated, and the opportunity for putting it in practice waited for.

1. In the morning, at the first and earliest opportunity, soon as the plot was matured and the favorable moment for its execution arrived, the fire of passion or lust that had been burning slowly all the time broke out afresh and with greatly increased vigor. They made ready, applied, or, as Pusey says," literally brought near their heart. Their heart was ever brought near to sin, even while the occasion was removed at a distance from it." While the leaven is commingling with the dough and the fuel combining with the fire, the baker may sleep, or seem to do so; so, while temptation, like fuel, is acting on the fire of lust within, and the evil suggestion of Satan is pervading the powers of the soul in which it has found lodgment, the tempter may appear to slumber. The work is going on internally, and once the occasion offers it shall be carried out externally in full force and certain effect.

2. A man throws a stone in the air and it comes back on his own head; men sin themselves or tempt others to sin, and the consequences recoil on themselves. The Israelitish kings, from the period of the disruption in the days of Jeroboam, corrupted the worship of God or acquiesced in that corruption, and induced the people to conform to that corruption and other sinful courts that followed in its wake; and all for their own political advantage and private selfish ends—to prevent, if possible, the return of power to the Davidic line, and the reunion of the ten tribes with the two. But the time of reaction arrived, and the retributive Nemesis began to work; the people who had been corrupted by their rulers now turned against their corrupters; disloyalty to God brought in its train disloyalty to man; kings and subordinate rulers perished in quick succession. And notwithstanding the times of anarchy, insecurity for life and property, and general upheaval of social order—amid all those scenes of terrible confusion, there was none among them to realize the fact that "for the transgression of a land many are the princes thereof." Consequently there was none among them to call upon God in supplication for relief and preservation.

Hosea 7:8-11

The silly sinful pride and obduracy of Israel, in spite of many manifest tokens of decay, or their disastrous foreign policy.

The prophet had described the corruption; he now turns to the state of the country. From the iniquity of the princes he descends to the sin of the people. The figure of baking is still present to the prophet, as is evident from the metaphor of a cake.

I.THEINCONSISTENCYANDWORTHLESSNESSOFDIVIDEDALLEGIANCE. God had intended to separate Israel from the rest of the nations, and by prohibiting intermarriages to keep them distinct.

1. The great purpose of this separation was to prevent their associating with their heathen neighbors, and conforming to their idolatries and immoralities. Thus they were to conserve the doctrines of the Divine unity, the knowledge of the true God, and the purity of his worship. But by intercourse with their neighbors, and forming alliances now with one then with another, in order to secure their help—the help of one against another—they got mixed up with them, and became like a cake in which two ingredients at least, Judaism and Gentilism, were kneaded together. The consequence of such admixture, as the word (בלל) implies, was confusion.

2. But, in addition to baking the cake of such heterogeneous elements, there was the defective evening, or rather imperfect hardening of the cake by fire, so that one side was burnt and blackened, the other doughy and damp—neither roast nor raw, and consequently useless. Thus Israel was often, as in the days of Ahab, halting between God and Baal; now zealous for the latter and indifferent to the former, or the converse; more commonly cold towards Jehovah and warm for Baal; frequently neither cold nor hot, but lukewarm. They blended Gentile idolatry with the worship of the true God; they joined in the calf-worship at Dan and Bethel, while they swore by the Name of Jehovah. It is thus also with many professing Christians: they have a name to live, but are dead; they have a form of godliness, but want the power; they are hypocritical professors, but are devoid of real godliness. Whatever outward services they perform, it is for parade or to be seen of men, while they are strangers to the practice of piety and exercise of charity. The Targum explains this of punishment rather than of position. "The house of Ephraim is like to a cake baked on coals, which before it is turned is eaten;" that is, they are suddenly destroyed by their enemies, who are like hungry men that, without waiting for the turning and proper baking of a cake, snatch it up, though only half baked, and speedily devour it.

II.TOKENSOFDIVINEDISPLEASURE. When God is displeased with a person or a people, one way in which he manifests such displeasure is by desertion. He leaves them in the hands of their enemies. On the contrary, when a man's ways please the Lord, he makes his enemies to be at peace with him. When Israel, in consequence of sin, was thus deserted, strangers devoured his strength, that is to say, his substance; they robbed him of his wealth, they wasted the fruits of his field, they dismantled his fortresses, they destroyed the flower of the population, and they imposed oppressive tribute. The strangers referred to included several nationalities. The Syrians had so weakened and distressed Israel in the reign of Jehoahaz that they had made them "like the dust by threshing." Then came the Assyrians under Pul in the days of Menahem King of Israel, and exacted a tribute of a thousand talents of silver, thus draining their resources and devouring their strength. Subsequently, Tiglath-pileser, monarch of Assyria, captured many of the Israelitish fortresses, and carried the inhabitants into captivity. By such exactions and devastations strangers exhausted the strength of Israel

III.MARKSOFNATIONALANDSPIRITUALDECAY. Grey hairs, if plentiful, are a sign that old age has already arrived; grey hairs, when sprinkled here and there, are symptoms of its approach, and of life's decline.

1. Grey hairs had at this time appeared here and there in Israel, and thus proved the kingdom to be in a weak and declining state; they were not only symptomatic of the present, but prognostic of the future. The afforded proof plain and palpable of national declension at present existing through the depredations and exactions of the enemy; they also foreboded the melancholy fact that utter decay was near at hand.

2. But there is also spiritual decay, and the life of the soul is subject to it. How many professing Christians—members of the visible Church—are in this sad condition of spiritual declension, and hardly conscious of it! Grey hairs are here and there upon them, and they know it not. The dwelling-place of God is not so lovely, nor the tabernacles of iris grace so amiable, as they once were; there is not the same relish for the Word of God as there once was; prayer is not so fervent or so frequent as formerly; prairies are not so hearty nor so heavenly as when the Christian life began;—all such circumstances give evidence that grey hairs are here and there upon persons in the condition indicated, whether they perceive them or not. But we cannot stay to dwell on the nature of spiritual decay and the marks thereof; we may, however, briefly sum them up. They are such as the following: diminished appreciation of the Divine Word, without self-application of it or growth in the knowledge of it; restraining prayer before God, without supplication for one's self on special occasions and under particular circumstances, and without earnest intercession for others; less love to Christ and less leaning on him; less hatred of sin and less esteem for the righteous.

3. It is of prime importance to ascertain the causes of decay. What caused the national decay of Israel? There was the prevalence of lust: "They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker;" this was one of the causes of Israel's decline. Another cause was their intercourse with the ungodly: "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people." These may be taken as specimens of the causes which brought about the national decline of Israel. When lust prevailed, or when they associated freely among the nations instead of dwelling alone, grey hairs appeared here and there upon them. So is it with spiritual decay in the case of Christians. When sensual lust, or last for gold, or for pleasure, or for praise, overmasters a follower of Christ, decay has set in, grey hairs show themselves here and there upon him. Again, when worldly society is eagerly sought and keenly relished by Christians, forgetful that, like Israel of old, they are a peculiar people, as our Lord has said, "Ye are not of the world, as I am not of the world," then spiritual affections are decaying, grey hairs are here and there upon them.

4. The most surprising circumstance of all is the ignorance of those who are sufferers by this process of decay. Israel did not know because he did not wish to know, as if by ignoring it he could conceal it from himself or others. "He knoweth not," says Pusey, "the tokens of decay in himself, but hides them from himself; he knoweth not God, who is the Author of them; he knoweth net the cause of them, his sins; he knoweth not the end and object of them, his conversion; he knoweth not what, since he knoweth not any of these things, will be the issue of them, his destruction." Somehow thus it is with spiritual decay. Most persons dislike the idea of growing old, or even of being thought old. They care not to notice themselves, and they conceal from others as much as possible, the marks of age and the progress of decay. All the while grey hairs multiply, and old age creeps on apace, almost imperceptibly and without being observed, so that in a certain sense many persons become old without fully realizing the fact. Likewise in the decay of life in a Christian's soul, it goes on secretly, and little, if at all, noticed, like the silent advance of age with its gradually increasing decrepitude and decay; grey hairs are here and there upon him, and he knows it not. Let us beware of the insidious approach of spiritual decay, and be on ore' guard against it.

IV.PRIORRAISES A GREATBARRIERBETWEENTHESOULANDGOD, Notwithstanding Israel's decline, pride attended them still; it remained unsubdued; it prevented their return to God; it stood in the way of their seeking him. Or, if the other translation be preferred, and if it be granted that Israel's pride was humbled by the calamities that had come upon them, those calamities had not been sanctified, and so they returned not to nor sought the Lord. For all this,and in spite of all God's merciful dealings with them, they persisted in their impenitence and stood out against the Most High. God had shown them his loving-kindness, and again he had visited them with severe corrections; he had almost exhausted the resources of his grace; and yet they were in no way bettered, but rather grew worse. So is it with many. God's gracious dealings fail to draw them to God; his afflictive dispensations too often drive them away from God. And yet, when he sends affliction, it is a loud call on men, not only to seek relief from God, but also to seek God himself, his face and favor-free as well as that help which he alone can give; whereas obstinate impenitence frustrates the dispensations of Providence, and afflictions unsanctified in no way better men or improve their


1. Simplicity with godly sincerity, in accepting the Word of God and in obeying the will of God, is estimable and highly commendable; simplicity without a heart to love God, following his guidance, and delighting in his governance, is both wrong-headed and reprehensible. With regard to the former there is the promise, "The Lord preserveth the simple;" in relation to the latter the solemn question is asked, "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?" The union of simplicity or ingenuousness of purpose with understanding of heart is commended by the exhortation of our Lord, "Be ye wise as serpents, harmless [or, 'simple '] as doves."

2. The silliness of Israel was simplicity in its bad sense, as we learn from the specimen of their conduct which the prophet subjoins. The calamities which befell them were so many calls to them to return to God and seek his merciful interposition; but, instead of applying to God, they exhibited unspeakable folly in having recourse to one or other of the two great rival powers, Egypt and Assyria, of which the former was as unreliable as a broken reed, piercing the hand that leans on it, and the latter crushing and cruel as the king of foreign beasts in devouring his prey. "Egypt," it has been well said, "was a delusive promiser, not failing only, but piercing those who leant on it; Assyria was a powerful oppressor."

3. The miseries which Israel brought upon himself, and in which men frequently involve themselves by taking a similarly silly and simple course, were

(1) inescapable, and such as they could by no possibility extricate themselves from, for the net of God would ensnare and envelop them.

(2) They are unquestionably certain; for however high hopes men may entertain of their carnal confidences, to whatever height of temporary prosperity they may be elevated, God is sure to bring them down, and their fall will be disgraceful in proportion to the elevation they fancied themselves to have attained.

(3) They will consist of sore chastisements, and all the sorer from being so well deserved.

4. The folly of such conduct in the face of warnings so great and manifold is as inexcusable as undeserving of pity. Israel sent southward to Egypt or traveled northward to Assyria in search of human helps, all the time turning their back on God; while to all the exhortations and remonstrances addressed to the congregation of Israel they refused to lend an ear. Line upon line they had been favored with in the book of the Law—in the blessings on obedience and the curses on disobedience which Ebal and Gerizim respectively re-echoed—in the teachings of other prophets, in the appeals of Hosea himself; their heedlessness to all these disentitled them to sympathy from man or succor from God.


Hosea 7:1-7

Sins of court and country.

The reproofs contained in this chapter lay special emphasis upon the sins of the upper classes. But the prophet brands the whole nation also for its irreligion and immorality, and (in the second part of the chapter) for its political corruption.

I.THEEXPOSUREOFISRAEL'S SIN. The wickedness of the people is portrayed, both as regards principles and individual acts. It may be described as:

1.Gold-blooded in its principles.(Hosea 7:1-3) These showed themselves in habits of:

(1) "Falsehood." (Hosea 7:1) There was "no truth in the land" (Hosea 4:1). The life of the nation had become a lie. Towards God there was chronic hypocrisy, and towards man habits of theft and robbery (Hosea 6:6-10).

(2)Sympathy with sin and crime.(Hosea 7:3) The ruling classes had become morally so corrupt that not only was their example always evil, but it also gave them positive satisfaction to take note of the immoralities of their subjects. Such satisfaction is itself the climax of human wickedness (Romans 1:32).

(3)Spiritual inconsiderateness.(Hosea 7:2, Hosea 7:7) The root of all the evil was Israel's forgetfulness of God. They failed to remember his holiness, his justice, his omniscience. And, in ignoring these truths, they neglected also their own highest interests; for, from the lack of timely repentance, their sins "beset them about." This inconsiderateness is the cardinal error of all ungodly men. Multitudes, like Ephraim, have had their attention loudly called to spiritual things by the voice of temporal blessings, of gospel promises, and of providential chastisements; but they will not hear! But, again, Israel's sin was:

2.Hot-blooded in its acts.(Hosea 7:4-7) Here the people are com- pared three several times to a baker's "oven," the meaning being that in doing their deeds of guilt they were enthusiastic and passionate, They sinned hotly in the direction of:

(1)Idolatry. (Hosea 7:4) "They are all adulterers;" i.e.king, princes, and people alike were guilty of apostasy from Jehovah, and shared in the dissoluteness which was associated with the worship of the Phoenician deities. "They had violated their faith pledged to God, they gave themselves up to filthy superstitions, and they had wholly corrupted themselves; for faith and sincerity of heart constitute spiritual chastity before God" (Calvin). Their souls were inflamed with their idolatrous lusts like a burning oven.

(2)Debauchery.(Hosea 7:5) Both the king and the nobles followed habits of intemperance. At the banquet held on the royal birthday he and they "erred through strong drink," and scoffed together at the majesty of Jehovah. In our own country, too, how many there are who spend Christmas as if they were celebrating the birth of the devil rather than that of the Redeemer!

(3)Anarchy.(Hosea 7:6, Hosea 7:7) The fiery passions of the people caused the land to be long torn by disorder and revolution. Their rulers became fuel for the fire of their anger. "All their kings are fallen;"—Zechariah was murdered by Shallum, Shallum by Menahem, Pekahiah by Pekah, etc. Indeed, very few of the monarchs of the northern kingdom died in peace. During its entire course, the heat of political violence devoured like a furnace; and in the deepest national calamities none sought the aid of the Divine King.


1.Theencircling presence of their sins.(Verse 2) The people sinned so deeply and so boldly that their enormities grew up around them like a rampart. Wherever they went their wickedness attended them, and became a swift witness against them. A man's iniquity wraps him round like a poisoned tunic. He is "holden with the cords of his sins" (Proverbs 5:22); and it is his own hands, alas! that have forged and riveted his chains. Evil doings "beset" a man through the accusations of conscience, through the power of habit, through the action of natural law, and through the providence of God, which makes sure that his "sin will find him out."

2.God's remembrance of their sins.(Verse 2) The Lord must take notice of sin, for he must punish it. Although the sinful nation has forgotten this, the fact remains. "They are before my face;" i.e.ever present to me; I cannot avoid seeing them. "These words ["before me"] in the first commandment teach us that God, who seeth all things, taketh notice of, and is much displeased with, the sin of having any other god" (Westminster Assembly's Shorter Catechism).

3.God's efforts to cure them of their sins.(Verse 1) As the depth and seriousness of a wound are often not known until the surgeon probes it, and as the nature of a disease may not be fully understood for some time after the physician has begun to grapple with the case, so the depravity of Israel was adequately exposed only when God adopted strong measures in connection with it, by the chastisements of his providence, and the warning voices of his prophets. For the people refused to obey each summons to repentance; and, instead of placing confidence in Jehovah, "they called to Egypt, and went to Assyria" (verse 11). So the very means of grace which God used in order to save Israel, became the occasion of showing how far the nation had already wandered from him, and even of inducing them to wander still further. And thus is it still, when God deals with men by his Word and Spirit. "By the Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). The primary work of the Holy Ghost is to "convince the world of sin" (John 16:8). By his common grace he gives, even to the unconverted, a partial view of their own unworthiness. And, in the case of all who enter upon the Christian life, he uses the disclosure of sin to lead the penitent to renounce all self-righteousness, and to fall at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy.—C.J.

Hosea 7:8

A cake not turned.

There are many striking sayings in Hosea. This one, in particular, has a quiet touch of humor in it, as well as a severe reproof. There is nothing conventional in the style of the Bible writers. When they have anything practical to say, they do not wrap it up in verbiage. The Book of Hosea contains strains of poetry of surpassing splendor; yet here is an illustration from the cottager's kitchen. Let us look at this cake. It is burnt to a cinder on one side, and remains lamp and doughy on the other. It is partly underdone, partly overdone; and thus, being neither dough nor bread, it is quite spoiled, and fit only to be thrown away. The metaphor reminds us of the English legend of good King Alfred, when a wanderer in the forest of Selwood: the royal fugitive kept mending his bow and arrows, and forgot to turn the cakes which the neat-herd's wife had committed to his care. The first part of the verse helps us to understand the metaphor in its application to the kingdom of the ten tribes. Ephraim had "mixed himself among the people," i.e.entered into political alliances with the heathen round about, and conformed to their idolatrous usages. Yet he did not wish to break with Jehovah altogether; the Israelites continued to observe the sabbaths and the feast-days (Hosea 2:11). But the simile before us may be used with a still wider application. It describes—

I.THENATURALSTATEOFMANKIND. Human nature since the Fall has been spoiled and worthless. There clings to it a radical defect Godward. Man is like a cake which has its warm side to the earth, and its cold side towards heaven. Some unrenewed men are very kindly in feeling and unselfish in action towards their fellow-men, but all the while their hearts remain cold and ungrateful towards God. We remember the young man who came to Christ, of whom it is said that "Jesus, beholding him, loved not turned."

"Low, but majestic, though most strangely formed
Of contradictions and antitheses,
With head of gold and feet of miry clay,
One half of dust, one half of deity;
Touching the angel here, and there the brute.
Here, 'thoughts that wander through eternity;'
There, passions sounding all the sties of time;
His rooted selfishness and lofty love,
His little life, his princely intellect,
His pure desires, his hateful selfishness,
Deeds of darkness, and his thoughts of light."



1. In this connection various ideas are suggested.

1.Hypocrisy.Ephraim boasted that he was a nation sacred to Jehovah all the while that he addicted himself to the idolatry of Baal and Ashtaroth. So, still, the man who shags at meeting and swears at market is a hypocrite. It is in vain to call out "Lord, Lord," if we do not the things which Christ says. Obedience in the letter is valueless, when divorced from obedience in the spirit. The bottles of profession are of no use if we do not pour into them the wine of principle.

2.Inconsistency.The people of the northern kingdom betrayed this in "mixing themselves" spiritually with the uncircumcised and unclean Gentiles. And, in our own day, how many there are whose fixed resolve seems to be to wear the Christian name, and at the same time take care not to part from the world! Their business habits assume the form of an ingeniously adjusted compromise between the service of God and that of mammon. And in social and domestic life they try to retain some relish for the pleasures of religion, even amidst the pursuit of amusements that are distinctively worldly. But it is a wretched thing to be "neither fish nor flesh" as regards character. It is impossible to "run both with the hare and the hounds." Spiritually, each of us is really either one thing or the other, and we should seem to be what we are. The Lord's command is," Be not conformed to this world" (Romans 12:2); "Come out from among them, and be ye separate" (2 Corinthians 6:17).

3.Half-heartedness.There are many who name Christ's Name by partaking of the Lord's Supper, whose religion, as reflected in their daily lives, seems little more than nominal. You cannot say that they are wicked sinners, but neither dare you call them saints. They are too good to ban, and too bad to bless; too good for hell, but not nearly good enough for heaven. Their character is one of insipid negative respectability. Then there are those also who make only a half-and-half profession—who confess Christ's Name so far as to attend public worship, but stop short at the threshold of the guest-chamber, where the Lord's Supper is spread. Perhaps they think that only conscientious scruples keep them back; but God, who knows the heart, may judge that it is rather half-heartedness. For, if Christianity be true, it is a tremendous verity. And if it be right to hear Christ's gospel preached, it is dutiful also to obey his other precepts; as, e.g; to "do this in remembrance of him," and, "whatsoever we do, to do all in the Name of the Lord Jesus."

III.THESPIRITUALCONDITIONOFMANYTRUECHRISTIANS. Indeed, we might almost say, of all.For where is the believer whose spiritual condition satisfies his own enlightened convictions as to what he ought to be? Our personal deficiencies abound; and these are due either to our moral ignorance or to our moral supineness.

1.Our Christian character lacks thoroughness.The process of sanctification is designed to renew us "in the whole man," and yet we know that in fact a holy character is never perfected in this life. Every believer has within him a mixture of good and evil, and the purer he becomes he is the more ready to acknowledge the imperfection of his nature. Many true Christians, however, do not co-operate with God's Spirit so earnestly as they might, in striving to rid themselves of indwelling sin. They carry with them that Laodicean lukewarmness which the Lord abhors (Revelation 3:16); their Christian character, in wanting thoroughness, is like "a cake not turned."

2. It also lacks all-sidedness.A man may be a true believer for a lifetime, and yet neglect entirely to bring some important departments of conduct into contact with the fire of Divine grace. He may try to regulate his domestic affairs by the law of Christ, and forget all the while to subject his business concerns to the same law. Some good men trust God absolutely about their souls, but only partially about their temporal affairs. Some are zealous workers in the cause of Christ, but would rather avoid putting money into his treasury; while others seldom refuse to give a subscription, but give it on the understanding that they are not to be expected to take any personal trouble. Now, if we distinguish in this way between one duty and another, both of which are equally binding, what are we but "a cake not turned"? To avoid such defects, we must enlighten conscience and strengthen its authority; and expose our whole nature, in spirit and soul and body, to the fire of gospel truth and grace.—C.J.

Hosea 7:9

Grey hairs.

In Scripture these are sometimes associated with sentiments of honor and reverence, for they suggest the thought of ripe wisdom and venerable piety (Leviticus 19:32; Proverbs 16:31). Here, however, they are viewed simply as premonitions of old age, and of an old age, besides, that was premature. There is a lesson in our text, taking it even in its most literal sense. The believer's first grey hairs should remind him that the grace of God will enable him to "grow old gracefully." Bat the "grey hairs" spoken of in this verse are, of course, figurative. We may consider the text in connection with—

I.THEDECLINEOFNATIONS. Its primary reference is to "Ephraim," and to the symptoms which Ephraim showed of approaching national ruin. But the whole Bible, and especially the Old Testament, is full of teaching about the decadence of nations. The Hebrew prophets point to "the giant forms of empires on their way to ruin." Hence the priceless value of their writings to the Christian patriot, and to the devout student of history. What are some of the "grey hairs" which forebode national decay?

1.Idolatry.The northern kingdom had departed from God, first in worshipping Jeroboam's calves, and afterwards in serving the idol-deities of Phoenicia. And now, in his time of political need, Ephraim was looking for help to Egypt and Assyria (Hosea 7:8-11), instead of returning to Jehovah as his Portion. This "grey hair" led quickly to the degradation and ruin of the kingdom. So, still, those nations that will not serve the Lord our God shall perish, and be utterly wasted.

2.Immorality.A people may increase greatly in civilization and intellectual culture, and yet be sprinkled all over with this "grey hair." Ancient Greece, when it was the land of art and poetry and philosophy, was morally all the while a mass of corruption. Rome, during the first century of the Christian era, was even worse. Juvenal calls it "a filthy sewer," and Seneca "a cesspool of iniquity." When immorality is rampant, it marks the commonwealth as moribund, and forebodes its "decline and fall."

3.Viciousluxury.It was a sign of decay when Ephraim began to" live deliciously," like ancient Tyre and Babylon (Amos 6:3, et seq).In the palmy days of the Roman commonwealth the Romans were brave, hardy, and victorious; but under the Empire the inner life of the people was gradually eaten away by the canker of luxury. Our own nation, and all the great Anglo-Saxon communities at the present time, need to guard against this "grey hair."

4.Oppression of the poor.If a nation is to continue safe against dissolution, it must be governed by justice and humanity. The French revolution of 1789 was the result of the sinful waste of the Bourbon kings, and the misery of the French peasantry. But every nation is in danger which takes no care to "judge the poor of the people." This text reminds us, accordingly, of our duty as citizens.We must take order that our political representatives shall act in all public matters with justice and honor. Every Christian elector should use his ballot-paper under a sense of his responsibility to the Lord Jesus Christ, the King of nations; and he ought to do what he can otherwise to strengthen public opinion in the direction of wise political principles, and of a healthy condition of the national conscience.

II.THEDECLINEOFCHURCHES. For, alas! the marks of decay are often found there also. It was so with the seven Churches of proconsular Asia in the first century. In most of the epistles which the Lord addressed to them (Revelation 2:1-29; Revelation 3:1-22) he points out the "grey hairs." How gradually, too, premonitions of spiritual decline appeared in the Church of Rome! The student of Church history sees at first only one or two "grey hairs" upon its head. We may indicate some of the signs of spiritual decay in Churches.

1.Prevalence of unsound doctrine.A Church, to be spiritually healthy, must be thoroughly evangelical. Its ministers must not regard themselves merely as the educators of some native goodness in man; and they must not preach as if the cross were only a myth, or the Holy Ghost a metaphor. The Church's best times are those in which it teaches most clearly and emphatically the three evangelical "R's," viz. ruin by the fall, redemption by the Lord Jesus, and regeneration by the Holy Spirit.

2.Lack of missionary zeal.This detect frequently accompanies unwholesome doctrine. The continued vigor of a Church depends upon its aggressiveness as a crusading institute in opposition to the sin and misery of the world. It is not enough that it provide carefully for its own edification, and know that its members are benefited by its services. It will decline in spiritual life if it forgets those around who perish "for lack of knowledge."

3.Decadence of family religion.In the Bible the true ecclesiastical unit is not the individual, but the family. Holy Scripture magnifies "the Church in the house." And experience shows that a congregation, to be strong and healthy, must be composed of well-trained, intelligent, and devout families. What both the Church and the nation greatly need today is godly households. The lack of family religion is a precursor of spiritual ruin.

4.Thespirit of worldliness.The Lord Jesus detected this "grey hair" in the Church of Ephesus (Revelation 2:4) and in the Church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:15). And those of our own day are not untainted with the same spirit. It is a mark of decay when a denomination or congregation plumes itself upon its social importance; or when it makes an idol of decorum and good taste; or when it becomes formal in spirit, and discourages religious enthusiasm; or when it relaxes in faithfulness of discipline.

III.THEDECLINEOFSPIRITUALLIFEINTHESOUL. The figure appropriately describes the backslidings of true and professed believers. We shall mention one or two symptoms which even those who themselves manifest them are prone to fail to recognize.

1.Habits of sin.It may be that seeds of evil which we sowed long ago in our hearts are growing up now, and occasioning us spiritual failure and confusion. Little sins are like these" grey hairs;" e.g.the spirit of over-carefulness, the spirit of caviling, the spirit of ostentation in religious duties, the unforgiving spirit, undue love of human praise, uncharitable judging, etc.

2.Neglect of ordinances.Christ has given us his Word, and has invited us to come to the throne of grace, and has spread for us the communion-table. But how gradually may we lose our relish for these means of grace, and how easily may the habit of neglecting them steal in upon our souls!

3. Covetousness.Some one has described the love of money as "the Church member's sin." Thomas Binney has said of it that it is "about the only great damning vice which can be indulged and clung to in connection with a recognized modern religious profession." There is no sin more insidious; it may occupy the heart and one "not know" it.

4.Conformity to the world.The daily circumstances of our lot constantly appeal to sense and self, and continually tempt us to give up trying to lead a spiritual, pure, and consecrated life. Even a true believer, before he knows it, may be "following afar off," and slowly abating his testimony as a nonconformist to the ungodly customs of the world.

CONCLUSION. We require frequently to "examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith." We ought constantly to hold up before our eyes the clear mirror of Holy Scripture, that we may detect the "grey hairs." We must also see reflected in it the glorious form of the Lord Jesus, the one Image of perfect manhood. There are no "grey hairs" upon him; "his locks are bushy, and black as a raven" (So Romans 5:11). We must seek grace to give ourselves constantly to the imitation of Christ.—C.J.

Hosea 7:11-16

Ephraim's folly and falseness.

In this passage the Lord threatens the northern kingdom for its unnatural and untheocratic policy of seeking support from the neighboring heathen powers. These verses, therefore, deal primarily with the sins of the court and the government. The nation is to be punished for—

I.POLITICALINFATUATION. (Hosea 7:11, Hosea 7:12) The true resting-place of the commonwealth was in God; but Ephraim had wandered from him, and was fluttering about inconsiderately "like a silly senseless dove," now seeking help from Egypt and now from Assyria (2 Kings 17:3, 2 Kings 17:4). How prone are governments to lay stress upon statecraft and diplomacy, when they should be simply trusting in God and following righteousness! Dr. Pusey aptly refers in this connection to "the balance of power" which for so long a period controlled the policy of European statesmen. But this theory has of late years largely lost its influence, and given place to a policy of non-intervention, accompanied with an enormous increase of military armaments. The true balance of power will be established only when the nations everywhere acknowledge the kingship of Christ, and deal with one another on the principles of justice and amity which his Law enjoins. As Ephraim was caught in the "net" of his own foreign entanglements—these becoming his ruin—so will all those nations be that forget God, and make flesh their arm. In the case of Israel, "their congregation had heard" the threat of such chastisement from Moses and the prophets; while modern states "hear" it from the Word of God, and witness its execution in the retributions of history.

II.MORALINGRATITUDE. (Hosea 7:13-15) During the whole career of the Hebrew people God had lavished upon them his tender love and compassion; but they had requited him with the basest ingratitude. They had been unthankful and evil, although he was:

1.Their Redeemer.(Hosea 7:13) Jehovah had delivered them from Egypt; he had protected them in the desert; he had raised up the judges to repel their foreign oppressors; he had "saved" the northern kingdom "by the hand of Jeroboam II; the son of Joash ' (2 Kings 14:27). The Lord had constantly redeemed them; and he was prepared to do so again, if they would but turn to him in penitence and faith. But, alas! Ephraim persisted in his apostasy, and by his idol-worship and insincerity "made God a liar," and his own national life also a lie.

2.The Giver of their harvests.(Hosea 7:14) In the time of prosperity Israel ignored Jehovah as the Author of fruitful seasons (Hosea 2:8). In the time of famine, however, the people in their distress wildly" howled" for bread; but if they cried to Jehovah at all, they did not do so "with their heart."

3.Their Physician.(Hosea 7:15) Jehovah had acted towards Israel like a wise and skilful surgeon. He had seen their power enfeebled, like a relaxed or dislocated arm; and he had bound the arm, to make it once more strong and sinewy. Yet the first use to which Israel put the healed arm was to raise it to strike the Healer. What a warning have we here against the sin of unthankfulness! The Lord's reproach reminds us that apart from the grateful heart there can be no true piety. Gratitude is inseparable from faith in God. And the reflex influence of gratitude upon the soul is to inspire and ennoble it. "Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness!"

III.SPIRITUALINSTABILITY. (Hosea 7:16) The princes of Israel were constantly changing their policy; but they never, amidst all their changes, really turned towards God. The nation often professed to seek him, but their evil heart constantly drew them aside to idols. "They are like a deceitful bow," which has either been faultily constructed at the first, or the string of which has lost its elasticity, and which, therefore, disappoints the archer by sending forth the arrow wide of the mark. So Ephraim had given a wrong direction to his whole spiritual life. The nation had failed to accomplish the end for which God had chosen it. Its profession and its practice were at variance. Its arrows were not directed towards the Divine glory, and therefore it must presently "fall by the sword," and suffer the "derision" of Egypt, in whom it had foolishly trusted. But does not this graphic metaphor, "a deceitful bow," describe the character of every unbeliever; and of every Christian, in so far as he trusts in his own strength? "In like way doth every sinner act, using against God, in the service of Satan, God's gifts of nature or of outward means, talents, or wealth, or strength, or beauty, or power of speech. God gave all for his own glory; and man turns all aside to do honor and service to Satan" (Pusey). We must be daily strengthened with the grace that is in Christ Jesus, if our bow is to "turn not hack," but to "abide in strength."—C.J.


Hosea 7:2

An unconsidered truth.

Two facts are suggested here.

I.THATGODREMEMBERSTHEWICKEDNESSOFMAN. "Wickedness" may exist in thought or intention (Psalms 139:23, Psalms 139:24), in word (Matthew 12:36), in act (Psalms 51:4).

1.This fact is proclaimed in God's Word.

(1)Statements.Jeremiah 14:10 proves God's watchfulness, Jeremiah 17:1 his recollection, Isaiah 44:22 his record, etc.

(2)Examples seen in the sin of Adam, the antediluvians, Joseph's brethren, Abraham in Egypt, David, etc.

2.This fact is necessitated by the Divine nature.God's omnipresence, omniscience, and immutability imply it. His absolute perfection makes impossible either defect of knowledge or decay of faculty.

3.This fact is exemplified in the life of the Lord Jesus."He knew what was in man;" "He knew their thoughts," etc. Show how completely he detected the plots of his foes, knew the doubts of his disciples (John 20:27), overheard the discussions of distant followers (Mark 9:34), perceived the unexpressed longings of the unpardoned (Matthew 9:2-7), and read the secrets of a sinful life (Luke 7:37-50).

4.Thisfact is a requisite to a just judgment.See references to the coming judgment (Ecclesiastes 12:14; Jeremiah 32:18, etc). No fair decision could be given except by One who knew all our sins and struggles, and had forgotten none of their circumstances.

II.THATMANFORGETSTHESUPERVISIONOFGOD. "They consider not," etc. It is not said man has no knowledge of the fact, but that he does not reflect upon it. To "consider in the heart" is to think over the truth seriously, closely, with sincere application to ourselves. If the charge were not true, we should no longer continue in sin; we should not attempt to extenuate it; we should mourn over it as an offence against God rather than as a cause of dishonor or loss to ourselves. Show the sinfulness of this.

1. It is disobedience to the exhortation of God."Now therefore consider your ways;" "Oh that they were wise, that they would consider," etc.!

2.It is rebellion against the rule of conscience. Show what conscience is to the child at his first offence, and what it becomes through continued heedlessness.

3.It is encouragement to secret s/n. "They say, Doth God know?" etc. Many sins are disguised from the world, unsuspected by our friends, from which, therefore, no regard for reputation will save us. The secret sin undermines the character. Open sin follows. Even if it does not, the judgment of God is against those that do such things.

4.It is a hindrance to true repentance.Men do not come to Christ until they feel their need of him, who "saves his people from their sins."—A.R.

Hosea 7:8

The sin of half-heartedness.

When the discipline which God sends to arouse men to thought fails of its purpose, it cannot but harm the nation or the individual receiving it. There is a light from heaven which ushers in the new day, and wakes the world to life and joy; but there is also a light from heaven, seen in the lightning-flash, which serves only to make the darkness visible; and this, not that, was the emblem of the light shed upon Israel by exhortation and discipline in Hosea's times. They were scorched, not blessed, because they refused to turn to the Lord. Subject—The sin of half-heartedness is set before us in the graphic imagery of our text.

I.THECAUSEOFTHISSIN. Doubtless it varies according to the circumstances and the character of each one who is guilty of it. Sometimes the sin results from weakness of character and vacillation of purpose, and sometimes from want of earnest consideration. But the cause mentioned in our text is by no means infrequent. "Ephraim hath mixed himself among the people," i.e. the heathen. Israel was ordained to be a separated people (Exodus 34:12, Exodus 34:13; Le Exodus 20:24). Balaam was shrewd enough to see that their strength lay in their separateness (Numbers 23:9). He knew that the curse Balak sought against them would fall, if only they could be blended with the idolatrous people around. Partakers in guilt, they would be partakers in punishment. To us the restrictions placed on their marriage and their commerce appear illiberal; but he who imposed them understood the weakness of this people, and estimated rightly the universality and intensity of idolatry. Results justified God's ordinance. Jeroboam's residence in Egypt brought calf-worship into Israeli Ahab's marriage with Jezebel introduced the rites of Baal and Ashtaroth. In Hosea's time the people were leavened by idolatry, and the allusion here is to this fact, and not to the political alliances formed with heathen empires, or to the conquest of parts of Israel's territory by idolatrous kings. To him loss of character was more ominous than loss of territory. Israel was no longer worth preserving. The object of their existence, to witness to the one living and true God, could no longer be attained. The salt had lost its savor, and was henceforth good for nothing. With their remembrance of Mosaic Law and their practice of idolatrous rites, they were like "a cake not turned"—irremediably spoilt. Show from this the importance of right companionship, especially to those whose characters are in the formative stage. Jealously as parents watch against the intrusion of one who is suffering from infectious disease, how much less watchful and firm are they against the introduction to their homes of those whose presence cannot fail to be a source of moral infection! When the result of such association is not seen in outward depravity, it is often seen in a wasted and frivolous life. The effect is gradually produced. The Rhine and the Arno flow side by side in the same channel without mingling their waters; but though the swifter stream keeps clear for a while, at last it is defiled; and it is the turbid stream that conquers. "Gather not my soul with sinners;" "He that walketh with wise men shall be wise, but a companion of fools shall be destroyed."

II.THENATUREOFTHISSIN. The cake (uggah)was a thin circular pancake, exposed to the scorching heat of red-hot stones, and of necessity must be quickly turned, or it would be burnt on one side and moist dough on the other: spoilt, because not penetrated. A good figure to represent this people, who knew God's Law, remembered his worship, but were in practice idolaters. They refused to turn to God the other half, the practical part of their being. Give examples of those who have served God by halves; belonging neither to the world nor to the Church. In Elijah's days the people were impressed by the power of Jehovah, yet loved the pleasures of idolatry; hence the question of the prophet, "How long halt ye between two opinions?" Christ Jesus had around him those who admired his teaching; but they would not risk being put out of the synagogue, nor associate with illiterate peasants, nor follow One who would lead them to the cross; so to them he said, "Ye cannot serve God and mammon." See also the condition of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-18). Such a character is discoverable still, in those who join in worship, though in heart they neither pray nor praise; in those conscious of sin, yet not justified by faith; in those using the words of prayer, without any speaking to the Father who seeth in secret, etc. God seeks not for such. We are to be fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; whole-hearted in all we offer to him—not as Ephraim, the cake not turned.

III.THEEFFECTSOFTHISSIN. We are responsible for our unconscious influence over others. Our Lord condemned the scribes and Pharisees; "for," said he, "ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in." Better far would it have been had they been openly irreligious. Picture a man standing near the door of the ark—a wise and prominent man in antediluvian society, hesitating whether to believe Noah or the skeptics; while others wait to see his decision. How deep and loud their curses afterwards if he decided not to enter, or if he hesitated so long that it was too late for him and them! Apply this to modern life. A father has children whose characters are rapidly forming; and he is not in the kingdom, though not far from it. They naturally say, "We are waiting for father; he is a hearer of the truth; he knows more than we; he is an upright man; if it be right to be wholly on Christ's side he will be, so let us wait for his decision." For the sake of others let procrastination come to an end, and be it yours to say with Joshua, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."


1.You strengthen temptations against yourself.You say in effect to influences for evil," Don't give me up yet, for I am not decided." A candidate, who in canvassing finds one voter who has not made up his mind, will call again with others who have more influence than himself, and the waverer is won ever. In the counsels of the wicked concerning one who is half-hearted it is said, "We will ask him again; his answer was not decided; he is not an avowedly Christian man; by a little pressure we can bring him over." How can such a man pray, "Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"?

2.You weaken powers for good, and lessen hope of the future.There is a blossoming time for every tree, a flowering time for every corn-field, and then the future is decided, for fruit or for barrenness. Our Lord comes down to listen at every heart for prayer, to see the effect of all he has done for each. He looks and feels for fruit amidst the leaves of the fig tree, and finding none he finally utters the word, "Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever."—A.R.

Hosea 7:9

The unperceived signs of moral decay.

This chapter is occupied with a denunciation of the sins of the princes and chief men in Israel, who are designated (in Hosea 7:1) by "Ephraim," the principal tribe, and "Samaria," the principal city. Such men are ever most condemned in Scripture, because they have

(1) more opportunity of knowing God's will, and

(2) more influence over others (see Matthew 11:20-24).

A godless lad who has been brought up under Christian influence, and has seen the Christian life represented in his home, is more deserving of condemnation than the waif thrown up by the sea of irreligious life, who has been unblessed by teaching and prayer. The man successful in business or scholarship, the attractive and popular visitor, the gifted writer, the eldest in a family, the leader in policy, etc; have heavier responsibilities than others because they have nobler powers. The sins condemned here were

(1) drunkenness, which specially prevailed on the king's birthday (Hosea 7:5) and at similar festivities;

(2) passion for idolatry and its licentious rites, the heart of the people being like the oven heated hot, and needing only the stirring of opportunity to burst into flame (Hosea 7:4, Hosea 7:6, Hosea 7:7);

(3) refusal to believe in God's presence and watchfulness (Hosea 7:2). These and other sins were the signs of moral decay, which were reflected in national disasters. Yet none of these were perceived by the infatuated people. (See Keil and Delitzsch in justification of the rendering "He knoweth it not" in both clauses) Subject—Unnoticed signs of moral decay.

I.THATMORALDECAYHASASCERTAINABLECAUSES. Exemplify from the sources of Israel's decadence.

1.Want of consideration.(Hosea 7:2; Isaiah 1:3; Haggai 1:5) Every faculty fails after disuse; e.g.the eyeless fishes of lakes in dark caverns. Muscular and mental development or decay, by exercise or inertness. He who will not think of God, at last cannot think of him.

2.Association with evil.(Hosea 7:8) Show the effects of unconscious influence in the formation of character. They must be jealously watchful over themselves who are necessarily associated with the godless. The companionship of books equally important. Sensuous or skeptical literature may emasculate character.

3. Forgetfulness of God.All are prone to this. Material life becomes increasingly aggressive in thought. The hurry of business, the whirl of society, lessen the frequency and intensity of prayer.

4.Self-indulgence.Israel gave way to drunkenness and the licorice of idolatry. It was the opportunity for gratifying the worst passions that made the worship of the groves so popular. Many begin by staining the imagination who end by defiling the life. Depict the ruin of the drunkard, who once perhaps was a leader in Christian and benevolent enterprise.

II.THATMORALDECAYHASOBSERVABLESYMPTOMS. "Strangers have devoured his strength." Egypt and Assyria had despoiled Israel, sometimes by exacting tribute, sometimes by violent attack (2 Kings 13:7; 2 Kings 16:9). Compare the condition of the Roman empire just before its ruin by the Goths. With Israel the losses were the direct result of leagues made, contrary to God's will, with idolatrous nations around; for they became thereby involved in their disputes and disasters. Still this was not perceived. These and other signs of wasting and decay were visible to the prophet, and seemed to him like grey hairs sprinkled here and there—the effects of declining age, the tokens of decay. Point out symptoms of spiritual decline in the soul.

1.Want of appetite for what is good.The house of God neglected, the old service forsaken, the infrequency and unreality of prayer, etc.

2.Want of sensibility to what is evil.Contentment with a lower standard for Christian life, flippancy in dealing with infidelity, indifference to acts and words which at one time would have raised a flush of shame, etc.

III.THATMORALDECAYHASIRREVERSIBLEISSUES. These grey hairs were the precursors of death. Israel would never be restored. The life was lived, was nearly over, and without hope of resurrection. Christ Jesus speaks of a time of probation given now which will not be given hereafter. He will do all that can be done even for a fruitless fig tree, but at last must say, "Cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?"

IV.THATMORALDECAYMAKESIMPERCEPTIBLEADVANCE. At first grey hairs are sprinkled here and there. How fast they multiply, though no one notices the change in each hair! When first noticed, an endeavor may be made by nostrums to disguise the fact; but the decay goes on. The march of old age, as he sprinkles his snows, is not really checked. If a man could persuade himself as well as others that he was still young, that would not prolong his life. But it is far easier to disguise from ourselves the signs of moral decay, and this has been done with fatal frequency. The old world, though often warned," knew not till the flood came and swept them all away." Samson betrayed the source of his strength and lost it; but when he rose against his foes as aforetime, "he wist not that the Lord was departed from him." King Saul was robbed of his means of defense and refreshment, but he still slept on (1 Samuel 26:1-25). So Israel shut its eyes to the loss of strength and hope. Beware lest character be like the cliff, secretly honeycombed by the sea, until in an unexpected moment it falls in irreparable ruin.

CONCLUSION. Address the aged.There is a natural decay, which may be the precursor of destruction or the promise of resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-58).

1. "The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness."Eleazar said, "I will not do that which seems to be evil, lest I should spot my white head."

2. The hoary head is a call to repentance, if it be found in the way of wickedness."I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye."—A.R.

Hosea 7:14

Useless prayers.

Two instances in Scripture of true repentance at the point of death. Manasseh in the Old Testament, the dying thief in the New Testament. These save from despair, yet are too few to allow any to presume on them, Four characteristics of the useless prayer mentioned in the text,

I.ITIS A DEFERREDPRAYER. "On their beds." In health and strength the idols had been worshipped. Now death seemed near, the Name of Jehovah was on the trembling lip. Mercifully, delay is not of itself sufficient to make a cry to God useless. David lingered in sin till Nathan rebuked him. The prodigal dwelt in the far country till all was gone, etc. Still it is perilous to defer any known duty, most of all that of coming to God.

II.ITISANINSINCEREPRAYER. "They have not cried unto me with their heart." This fact would make any prayer useless. "God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit, and in truth." Compare the prayers of the Pharisees' m the temple or the street with those of publicans and sinners (Matthew 6:7; Matthew 15:1-39, etc).

III.ITIS A DESPERATEPRAYER, "They howled upon their beds." The agony of paint or the dread of meeting God, not the consciousness of sin, caused this. Repentance is not the dread of sin's punishment, but the turning from sin because of its sinfulness. Contrast the cry of the condemned criminal with the prayer of the dying Christian. Depict, for example, the death of Stephen, and the utterance of Paul about his departure (2Ti 6:6).

IV.ITISUNAVAILING. The unreality of the prayer was seen in the subsequent conduct of those who offered it. This is described in the next clause. No sooner were they restored to health than "they assembled for corn and wine," i.e.went back to the old revelries and forgetfulness. How many have dealt thus with God I Brought back from the gates of death, the spared life is no more sober, devout, and holy than the past. Let us beware lest we harden ourselves through the deceitfulness of sin. If, of those restored, so small a proportion prove that the prayers and vows in illness were genuine and availing, how can we indulge much hope of those whose future is not in time but in eternity?

In view of this solemn subject:

1.Urge Christians to speak faithfully to sinners in the day of health.

2. Urge sinners to come humbly to the Savior in the day of hope.—A.R.


Hosea 7:2

God's memory of man's wickedness.

There is something to all unreconciled and unpardoned sinners very terrible in this assertion, "I remember all their wickedness."

I.GODREMEMBERSMAN'S WICKEDNESSINTHEEXERCISEOFHISOMNISCIENCE. "All" here comprehends every kind of wickedness, in thought, word, and deed; every instance of wickedness, whether noted or not by fellow-men; the aggravations of wickedness which has been more serious because of the light and privileges notwithstanding which the sinner has transgressed.

II.GODREMEMBERSMAN'S WICKEDNESSINHISCHARACTEROF A PERFECTLYHOLYBEING. It is not simply a matter of knowledge; the evil he knows God hates. Every such recollection is accompanied with displeasure. "He is angry with the wicked every day;" and whilst men, through familiarity with human sins, often become either indifferent or cynical, the Most Holy retains his disapproval and his loathing undiminished.

III.GODREMEMBERSMAN'S WICKEDNESSINHISCHARACTEROF A RIGHTEOUSJUDGE. The upright and pure man may view the prevalence of wickedness with revulsion and distress; but "vengeance belongeth unto God." As the sovereign Ruler of the universe, bound by his own nature to maintain his authority, and to do righteously as the Judge, the Lord exercises his judicial attributes and functions. And what he remembers he will one day bring forward, for the confusion of the impenitent.

IV.GODHASPROMISEDTHAT, IFTHESINNERWILLREPENT, HEWILLREMEMBERHISSINSNOMORE. We need not trouble ourselves with the attempt to reconcile what may seem to us conflicting statements, which, however, are both necessary to set forth all the truth. Let the impenitent bear in mind the fact that the righteous God remembers all their iniquities; and let the penitent and believing hearers of the gospel rest assured that a merciful God will cast their sins behind his back, and sink them in the depths of the unfathomable sea of oblivion.—T.

Hosea 7:7

None calleth unto God.

The calamities and miseries which befell Israel were in themselves awful, but perhaps the most terrible circumstance connected with them was this: they failed to lead the people to a better mind, to true repentance, to sincere supplication unto God.

I.THEHANDTHATAFFLICTSALONECANHEAL. Chastisement is necessary in the economy of Divine government; yet our heavenly Father chastens, not for his pleasure, but for our profit. He is more ready to cherish and to comfort than to smite. And when he has afflicted, it is vain to look elsewhere than to him for solace.

II.THECALLOUSNESSOFSINNERSMAYPREVENTTHEMFROMSEEKINGDIVINEMERCYANDCONSOLATION. Surely the first thing for those to do who are smarting beneath the rod is to humble themselves beneath the mighty hand of God, to repent of sin, to entreat clemency, favor, forgiveness. But so hardening is the effect of sin, that there are many cases in which this is the last thing that occurs to the mind. It is an addition to the heinousness of sin, when the sinner refrains from bringing his transgression with penitence before the throne of him whom he has offended.

III.YETTHEREISNORELIEFEXCEPTUPONTHECONDITIONOFAPPLICATIONTOTHEALL-MERCIFUL. TO call upon man is vain. To sink into apathy is to despair. Hope is in one direction only. Let the sinner call upon God, and God will hear, answer, and save.—T.

Hosea 7:10

They return not unto the Lord.

The life of man is a journey, and the sinner has taken the wrong road—the road which leads to destruction.

I.THEIMPORTANCEANDNECESSITYOFRETURNINGUNTOTHELORD. The further the sinner proceeds the nearer he approaches final ruin, and the harder it is for him to reverse his steps.

II.THEMETHODOFRETURNINGUNTOTHELORD. The sinner must change his view of God and his view of himself. He must repent of sin and believe the gospel

III.THEENCOURAGEMENTTORETURNUNTOTHELORD. There are the express directions, and the faithful promises of Heaven.

IV.THERESULTSOFRETURNINGUNTOTHELORD, To return to God is to return to holiness and happiness, to peace and hope. Truly to return to him is to remain forever in his favor and his fellowship.—T.

Hosea 7:11, Hosea 7:12

The silly dove.

The folly of sin is a frequent topic with the inspired writers, and is urged upon the attention of some who may be more fearful of lacking wisdom than of grieving God. In this passage the prophet makes use of a homely and striking similitude with a view to impress upon the rebellious the vanity and simple credulity of their sinful conduct.

I.THEDOVE'S PERPLEXITY. Alarmed by a bird of prey hovering over her and ready to seize her, the simple dove is ready to rush into any danger. An emblem of Israel of old. placed between Assyria and Egypt, and, when alarmed by the threats of one power, ready to court the alliance of the other. And an emblem of foolish sinners, of all nations and of all times, whose only safety and whose only guidance is in God, but who are ever prone to look hither and thither, to human counselors and to human helpers.

II.THEDOVE'S FLIGHT. As the simple dove, in her danger and perplexity, makes straight for the fowler's net, so Israel, seeking security by her fancied policy, which in reality was short-sighted and vain, again and again brought herself into national disaster and misery. "They said, We will ride upon horses." "Therefore," was the responsive prediction, "shall ye flee." Where is the foolish rebel against God who has not by his own unwise precipitation brought himself into ruin and calamity?

III.THEDOVE'S CAPTUREINTHENET. The dove fails to escape, falls into the snare of the fowler, and perishes. Israel, however she might forget and forsake God, could not evade the penalties of disobedience; for she could not get beyond the range of the Divine government and judicial sway. "I," said Jehovah, "will chastise them, according to the announcement to their congregation." "Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not go unpunished." Let none imagine that there is a possibility of eluding Divine justice.

APPLICATION The way of wisdom is the way of safety; and "the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom." It is better to flee to the Lord as to a Tower of refuge, than to fall into the net of retribution.—T.

Hosea 7:14

Failure to cry unto the Lord.

As a child in trouble calls aloud upon his father for help, as a soldier in danger calls upon a comrade for succor, so sinful, feeble, helpless man calls upon his God for deliverance and consolation, and does not call in vain. The guilt and folly of Israel was great in sinning, but far greater in neglecting to call upon the Lord with the heart. It appears when it is considered that this duty was neglected—

I.ALTHOUGHCIRCUMSTANCESMIGHTHAVEIMPELLEDTOSUCHANINVOCATION, Many a time had Israel been afflicted, and her afflictions were intended in mercy to drive her to the God she had forsaken. No one of us has been without occasion, urgent and distressing occasion, to seek God. Providence has not left us without the inducement, furnished by great straits and sore needs, to seek the God of salvation.

II.ALTHOUGHNOOTHERREFUGEORHELPERCOULDBEFOUND. Israel was ever seeking safety by heathen alliances, by the policy of diplomacy, or by the might of arms. Yet events constantly taught the unwisdom of such recourse to human aid. It is well when the soul is led to exclaim, "Beside thee there is none else;" "To whom shall I go, but unto thee?"

III.ALTHOUGHENCOURAGEDBYTHECHARACTERANDTHEPROMISESOFTHEDIVINEHELPER. AS in the history of Israel, so through all time, the great Ruler has revealed himself as the great Deliverer. To us as Christians this revelation is especially plain and effective; for in Jesus we see the salvation of the Eternal." If it be hard to cry upon a God who is known to us only as a just and almighty Judge, surely it is not hard to call upon a God who has come to us in the person of his Son, full of "grace and truth."

IV.ALTHOUGHTHEVANITYISAPPARENTOFCALLINGUPONTHELORDONLYWITHTHELIPS. We have only to consider our own spiritual nature, and to remember that God is a Spirit, in order to feel the absurdity and uselessness of offering to Heaven the homage of the lips, and withholding the reverence, the faith, the aspirations of the heart, Ye shall find the Lord, if with all your heart ye truly seek him.—T.


Hosea 7:2, Hosea 7:3

God's remembrance of sin.

"And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face. They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies." These words contain three facts.

I. That God REMEMBERS men's sins. "I remember all their wickedness." This is a wonderful fact. When we think of the infinite greatness of him to whom the universe is as nothing, we are struck at first with amazement that God remembers the sins of a creature so frail, so insignificant as man. Still, as we reflect, we soon get the conviction that there is nothing absurd, nothing unreasonable, in the fact. To the Infinite there is nothing great or small; to the Omniscient there is nothing unobserved; to the Holy there is nothing so distressing, so oppressive, as sin. Sin is no trifle in the eye of him whose glory is his holiness. This is not only a wonderful, but a solemn fact. God not only observes and knows my sins, but he remembers them—does not lose sight of one. They are in his memory. What a book is the memory of God! The whole history of the universe is there! Every sin that has ever been committed by any moral intelligence in the creation, however insignificant, has record there. "Thou art acquainted with all my ways; for there is not a word in my tongue, but thou, Lord, art acquainted with it altogether." "Doth not he see all my ways, and count all my steps?" "All things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." "Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering."" How much more then the hearts of the children of men!" How useless the attempt to dissemble our sins from him! How awful the revelations of the last day!

II.MENDISREGARD God's remembrance of their sins. "They consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness." "They say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it." Sinners, the world over, are indifferent to this fact. So far from considering that all their sins are in the memory of the holy and just One, they practically ignore his very existence. In their plans, engagements, and avocations they take no account of him. Why do they not consider? Is it because the thought strikes them as so manifestly improbable as not worthy of their attention? Assuredly not. They have only to reflect on this subject to see that it must be so. Why, then?

1. Because other thoughts engross their minds—thoughtsof worldly wealth and power, thoughts of selfish gains and sensual pleasures. They are too full of vain and worldly thoughts to admit an idea so grand and solemn as this.

2. Because this thought, if it occurs to them for a moment, is too painful to be entertained.The corrupt nature revolts from it, expels it the moment it gains admission, and bolts every door against it, environs itself with associations that keep it far away in the distance. "It desires not a knowledge of it."

III. That men's disregard of God's remembrance of their sins LEADSTHEMTOREVELININIQUITY. "Now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face." Here we have their sins:

1. In general.They are abundant and daring. Their sins encompass them on all sides, and they perpetrate them without shame under the very face of God himself; they give full play to all their passions, an unbridled license to all their sinful impulses and lusts.

2. In particular.Some of their sins are specified here. "They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies." "It pleases them," says an old writer, "to see the people conform to their wicked laws and examples in their worship of their idols, and other instances of impiety and immorality, and to hear them flatter and applaud them in their wicked ways. When Herod saw that his wickedness pleased the people he proceeded further in it. Much more will the people do so when they see that it pleases the prince" (Acts 13:3). Particularly, they made them glad with their lies,with the lying praises with which they crowned the favorites of the prince, and the lying calumnies and censures with which they blackened those whom they knew the princes had a dislike to. Those who show themselves pleased with slanders and ill-natured stories shall never want those about them who fill their ears with stories. Proverbs 29:12, "If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked," and will make him glad with their lies.—D.T.

Hosea 7:8, Hosea 7:9

Sad aspects of character.

"Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned. Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not; yea, grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not." The primary application of these words to Ephraim is obvious from the context, anti from the history of Israel at the time. We shall use them as indicating certain bad aspects of human character.

I.WRONGCOMPANIONSHIP. "Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people." The reference is here not to the punishment or dispersion of the Israelites among the nations, but to the state in which Israel was at the time. Heaven's plan was that the Hebrew people should separate from the nations, and be holy to him (Leviticus 20:24-26); to be as Balaam predicted, "a people dwelling alone" (Numbers 23:9). But in opposition to this the ten tribes had mingled with the heathen, learned their works and served their idols. Now, what is a wrong mixing with the people? Not intermixture in marriages.It appears to us that the mingling of the different tribes of mankind in matrimonial alliances is, according to the plan of the Creator, highly promotive of the good of the entire race. Not intercourse in business.Such is the state of human society that good men are bound in worldly affairs to have dealings with the irreligious and depraved. Not associating with them for spiritual usefulness.Those who think that the saints of God should shut themselves up from the world, dwell in monasteries, and live as hermits, make a great mistake. The more Divine love and truth a man has in him, the more bound is he to be out in the world, and to let the light of his doctrines and his character flash widely and strongly upon the heart of his compeers. The man who has "mixed himself with others" does as did the ten tribes now; for worldly advantage and unholy gratifications make bad people companions. It is said that Pythagoras, before he admitted any one into his school, inquired who were his intimates, justly concluding that they who could choose immoral companions would not be much profited by his instructions.

II.MORALWORTHLESSNESS. "Ephraim is a cake not turned." The Easterns hake their bread on the ground, covering it with embers, and turn it every ten minutes to bake it thoroughly without burning it (1 Kings 19:6). Without the turning it would be charcoal on one side and dough on the other, and the bread would be worthless. Worthlessness is the idea. Ephraim or Israel—for the words seem to be used convertibly—had become utterly useless in a spiritual sense. It no longer fulfilled its Divine mission maintaining and promoting the worship of the one true and living God. As the unturned cake would be thrown away as utterly unfit for human food, Israel was to be thrown away by God as utterly unfit to fulfill its mission. What a sad thing to be utterly worthless in a moral sense!—salt that has lost its savor, only fit to be trodden underfoot; trees that have lost their fruit, only fit for the fire! Usefulness is the grand purpose of our being. The man who does not make the world better than he found it, must be accursed.

III.SOCIALDESPOILMENT. "Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not." The reference probably here is to the fact that Shalmaneser King of Assyria finally carried away Israel captive because of the defection of Hoshea King of Israel to So King of Egypt (see 2 Kings 13:7; 2Ki 15:19, 2 Kings 15:20; 2 Kings 17:3, 2 Kings 17:6). In consequence of their unholy mingling with idolatrous people and their dependence upon foreign nations, they got rifled of their property, their power, and their influence. Thus strangers devoured their strength. How many souls in all ages lose their "strength" under the influence in which they mingle! Their intellectual power, social sympathies, moral sensibilities, get used up, and they become the mere creatures of others and of circumstances. The man of society "has his strength devoured;" he loses freedom and force and manhood.

IV.UNCONSCIOUSDECAY. "Yea, grey hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not." Moral strength goes so slowly from men that they are often not conscious of its loss until they are reduced to the utmost prostration. Thus with Samson, "He wist not that the Spirit of the Lord had departed from him." Nations have their grey hairs, and they don't know it; Churches have their grey hairs, and are unconscious of them. So also with individuals; decay is so gradual that the subject is unconscious that death is working its ruin.

CONCLUSION. Let us look at these aspects of character and learn practical wisdom. Form no friendship with sinners; come out from amongst theme "the companion of fools shall be destroyed." Avoid a worthless life. Be not like the unturned cake; render some service to the universe. Allow not the social influences of your sphere to steal away your strength, to eat up your manhood; conclude not that decay is not working within you because you are unconscious of it. Wake up to the great realities of your spiritual being, and be strong in the Lord.—D.T.

Hosea 7:11

The silliness of sin.

"Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart." "There is much force and beauty in this comparison of Ephraim to a 'silly dove without heart,' or rather without understanding, which when pursued by a bird of prey trusts to the rapidity of its flight; that is, relics upon its own powers for the means of escape, instead of at once throwing itself into the nearest recess, where the interference of man or the narrowness of the place might render it secure from molestation. Israel, instead of taking shelter under the wing of the Almighty, who is a God near at hand,and not afar off, rested his hope of defense upon the celerity of his movements—stretching his wing towards Assyria or Egypt; but in the length of the flight is overtaken, secured, and dies in the cruel talons of his unrelenting pursuer" ('Pictorial Bible'). The passage may be used to illustrate the silliness of sin.Men under the influences of sin are as silly as the dove. What do naturalists say about the dove?

I.ITISTOOSILLYTODEFENDITSOWN. Most creatures will stand by their young and fight for them to the last, but the dove, it seems, cares but little for them, and allows them to be captured without resistance. Ephraim had sunk into this state; his most distinguished blessings were going from him, and he struggled not to retain them. The sinner will not battle with the devil to defend his own—his force of thought, his sensibility of conscience, his freedom of will, his purity of love; he allows these precious things to be taken from him without a struggle.

II.ITISTOOSILLYTOFEELITSLOSS. It is said that the dove will lose its nest and not feel it. The tree seems as attractive to it without its nest as with it. Men under the influence of sin do not feel their loss. Though sin has broken up their nest, they still strive to make the world a resting-place. Whatever is taken from them, they still cling to earthly things.

III.ITISTOOSILLYTOESCAPEDANGER. More dull than other fowls, it discovers not its perils; it "hasteneth to the snare, and knoweth not it is for her life" (Proverbs 7:23). Thus it was with the ten tribes politically, and thus it is with all souls morally in their fallen state. They will not flee to the right place of safety—too silly to be calm under trial. It is said of the dove that it has not courage to stay in the dove-house when frightened, where it is safe under the careful protection of its owner, but flutters and hovers, seeking rest first in one place and then in another, and thus exposes itself to new and greater dangers. Thus with Ephraim: instead of settling down under the protection of God, he hurried forth in quest of foreign help, and was the more exposed to calamities and ruin. Thus, too, with souls under the influence of sin.

CONCLUSION. Sin is folly. The fool and the sinner are, in God's vocabulary, convertible terms. Oh, how sad it is to see human souls hovering and fluttering about like silly doves, with no sense of their loss, no resting-place, no security, no peace!

"A soul immortal spending all her fires,
Wasting her strength in strenuous idleness,
Thrown into tumult, raptured, or alarmed,
At aught this scene can threaten or indulge,
Resembles ocean into tempest wrought,
To waft a feather or to drown a fly."



Hosea 7:12

The fowler of retribution,

"When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven." Tills should be translated, "As they go I spread my net over them; I bring them down as fowls of the heavens" (Keil and Delitzsch). "As they go." Whither? "The preceding verse answers the question: to Egypt and Asshur seeking help in their difficulties rather than to Jehovah. Israel, here spoken of as Ephraim, being sorely pressed by Asshur, at one time seeks help from Egypt against Asshur; whilst at another they try to secure the friendship of the latter. For what threatened Israel was the burden of 'the king of princes.' And that they tried to avert, partly by their coquettish arts (Hosea 8:9), and partly by appealing to the help of Egypt; and while so doing, they did not observe that they had fallen into the net of destruction by the power of Assyria. In this net will the Lord entangle them as a punishment. As they go thither God will spread his net over them like a bird-catcher, and bring them down to the earth like flying birds; i.e.bring them from the open air, that is to say, from freedom—unto the net of captivity or exile." Here the work of retribution is spoken of as the work of the fowler, and it includes two things—entrapment and abasement.

I.ENTRAPMENT. The spreading of the net refers to the taking of the birds that lay on the ground. The literal reference here is to 2 Kings 17:4. Here the retributive providence of God employed the Assyrians as a net, but so ensnared the Israelites that they could not escape. Eliphaz observed this ensnaring work of Providence: "He taketh the wise in their own craftiness." So did David, who says, "He made a pit and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate." How often in the history of the world is this retributive entrapment witnessed I The cases of Joseph's brethren and the crucifixion of Christ are striking examples in sacred history. Popery confined Luther in the Wartburg Castle, but there he translated that Bible which shattered the whole system. Anglican bigots confined Bunyan in Bedford Jail; there he produced a book that has given him immortal fame. The net that entangled sinners is not manufactured in heaven; it is made on earth, made by themselves. Righteous Providence allows them to be so ensnared by it as to render that enthrallment painful and lasting. Take care of the net.

II.ABASEMENT. "I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven." However high up they may tower in their ambitious work, retribution has missiles to bring them down. "Thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down." There are men on earth who in their worldly prosperity, pride, and ambition soar like the eagles high up in heaven above all the rest. It is said that an ancient philosopher, when once asked what Jupiter did in the highest heaven, replied, "He pulls down the haughty, and exalts the humble." Hear these words: "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high, that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the Lord."

CONCLUSION. Ponder well thy condition, sinner. Not only is the eye of retributive justice upon thee wherever thou art and whatever thou dost, but it has all the machinery for thy ruin. Art thou down groveling in the earth, working out thy sordid soul? it has nets that will ensnare thee there! Or art thou high up in the heavens of worldly prosperity and haughty ambition, proudly exulting in thy superiority? it has shots that will reach thee and bring thee down to the dust. Thy only safety is the cross.—D.T.

Hosea 7:15

Divine dispensations abused.

"ThoughI have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.' This text has received different translations. "And I have instructed them and strengthened their arms, and yet they think evil against me" (Delitzsch). "Whether I chastised or strengthened their arms, yet they thought evil against me" (Elzas). I accept the latter translation; then the idea is, that God's treatment of man, whatever its character, afflictive or otherwise, is abused. Observe—

I.THATGOD'S DISPENSATIONSWITHMENARECHARACTERIZEDBYVARIETY. "I have bound and strengthened," or, "I have chastised and strengthened." The events of human life are of a mixed and conflicting character. There is affliction and health, prosperity and adversity, friendship and bereavement, sorrow and joy, wounding and healing. All these conflicting events are under the direction of the great Father, whose aim in all is to make his children "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." As the soil to be fruitful requires the frosts of winter as well as the sunbeams of spring and summer, man requires trials as well as joys to make his spirit fruitful in good works. As the loving father has the good of his child at heart whether he chastens him with a rod or presses him to his bosom, so has the Almighty Father in all his dispensations with men, whether the painful or the pleasant. "All these things worketh God oftentimes in man, that he may bring him back from the pit and enlighten him with the light of the living."

II.THATWHATEVERTHECHARACTEROFTHEDIVINEDISPENSATIONS, THEYAREOFTENPERVERTED. "They imagine mischief against me."It matters not what the treatment, they continue to rebel. They are like the sterile ground to which all seasons, all weathers, are alike. Observe:

1.The force of the human will.It can oppose the influences of God, and turn what he designs for good to in. Man is no passive being. He is not to be acted upon as a machine, not to be coerced either by anathemas or benedictions. He is a voluntary agent. This links him to moral government, makes him responsible for his actions, and invests his existence with a momentous solemnity.

2.The depravity of the human heart.This force of will explains, not man's rebellion, for regenerate souls and holy angels have it, and they run in the way of the Divine commandments. The reason of the rebellion is the depravity of the human heart, which is desperately wicked.

CONCLUSION. Open your hearts to the various dispensations of Heaven. Be thankful for their variety. One is designed to touch a chord within thee that another cannot reach. The one may strike conviction of sin, another may tune thy heart to gratitude and hope.

"God, full as kind as he is wise,

Sours: https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tpc/hosea-7.html
Hosea 7 - \

Matthew Henry :: Commentary on Hosea 7

Chapter 7

In this chapter we have,

  • I. A general charge drawn up against Israel for those high crimes and misdemeanors by which they had obstructed the course of God's favours to them (v. 1, 2).
  • II. A particular accusation,
    • 1. Of the court-the king, princes, and judges (v. 3-7).
    • 2. Of the country. Ephraim is here charged with conforming to the nations (v. 8), senselessness and stupidity under the judgments of God (v. 9-11), ingratitude to God for his mercies (v. 13), incorrigibleness under his judgments (v. 14), contempt of God (v. 15), and hypocrisy in their pretences to return to him (v. 16). They are also threatened with a severe chastisement, which shall humble them (v. 12), and, if that prevail not, then with an utter destruction (v. 13), particularly their princes (v. 16).

Hsa 7:1-7

Some take away the last words of the foregoing chapter, and make them the beginning of this: "When I returned, or would have returned, the captivity of my people, when I was about to come towards them in ways of mercy, even when I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim (the country and common people) was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria, the court and the chief city." Now, in these verses, we may observe,

  • I. A general idea given of the present state of Israel, v. 1, 2. See how the case now stood with them.
    • 1. God graciously designed to do well for them: I would have healed Israel. Israel were sick and wounded; their disease was dangerous and malignant, and likely to be fatal, Isa. 1:6. But God offered to be their physician, to undertake the cure, and there was balm in Gilead sufficient to recover the health of the daughter of his people; their case was bad, but it was not desperate, nay, it was hopeful, when God would have healed Israel.
      • (1.) He would have reformed them, would have separated between them and their sins, would have purged out the corruptions that were among them, by his laws and prophets.
      • (2.) He would have delivered them out of their troubles, and restored to them their peace and prosperity. Several healing attempts were made, and their declining state seemed sometimes to be in a hopeful way of recovery; but their own folly put them back again. Note, If sinful miserable souls be not healed and helped, but perish in their sin and misery, they cannot lay the blame on God, for he both could and would have healed them; he offered to take the ruin under his hand. And there are some special seasons when God manifests his readiness to heal a distempered church and nation, now and then a hopeful crisis, which, if carefully watched and improved, might, even when the case is very bad, turn the scale for life and health.
    • 2. They stood in their own light and put a bar in their own door. When God would have healed them, when they bade fair for reformation and peace, then their iniquity was discovered and their wickedness, which stopped that current of God's favours, and undid all again.
      • (1.) Then, when their case came to be examined and enquired into, in order to their cure, that wickedness which had been concealed and palliated was found out; not that it was ever hid from God, but he speaks after the manner of men; as a surgeon, when he probes a wound in order to the cure of it and finds that it touches the vitals and is incurable, goes no further in his endeavour to cure it, so, when God came down to see the case of Israel (as the expression is, Gen. 18:21), with kind intentions towards them, he found their wickedness so very flagrant, and them so hardened in it, so impudent and impenitent, that he could not in honour show them the favour he designed them. Note, Sinners are not healed because they would not be healed. Christ would have gathered them, and they would not.
      • (2.) Then, when some endeavours were used to reform and reclaim them, that wickedness which had been restrained and kept under broke out; and from God's steps towards the healing of them they took occasion to be so much the more provoking. When endeavours were used to reform them vice grew more impetuous, more outrageous, and swelled so much the higher, as a stream when it is damned up. When they began to prosper they grew more proud, wanton, and secure, and so stopped the progress of their cure. Note, It is sin that turns away good things from us when they are coming towards us; and it is the folly and ruin of multitudes that, when God would do well for them, they do ill for themselves. And what was it that did them this mischief? In one word, they commit falsehood; they worship idols (so some), defraud one another (so others), or, rather, they dissemble with God in their professions of repentance and regard to him. They say that they are desirous to be healed by him, and, in order to that, willing to be ruled by him; but they lie unto him with their mouth and flatter him with their tongue.
    • 3. A practical disbelief of God's omniscience and government was at the bottom of all their wickedness (v. 2): "They consider not in their hearts, they never say it to their own hearts, never think of this, that I remember all their wickedness." As if God could not see it, though he is all eye, or did not heed it, though his name is Jealous, or had forgotten it, though he is an eternal mind that can never be unmindful, or would not reckon for it, though he is the Judge of heaven and earth. This is the sinner's atheism; as good say that there is no God as say that he is either ignorant or forgetful, that there is none that judges in the earth as that he remembers not the things he is to give judgment upon. It is a high affront they put upon God; it is a damning cheat they put upon themselves; they say, The Lord shall not see,Ps. 94:7. They cannot but know that God remembers all their works; they have been told it many a time; nay, if you ask them, they cannot but own it, and yet they do not consider it; they do not think of it when they should, and with application to themselves and their own works, else they would not, they durst not, do as they do. But the time will come when those who thus deceive themselves shall be undeceived: "Now their own doings have beset them about, that is, they have come at length to such a pitch of wickedness that their sins appear on every side of them; all their neighbours see how bad they are, and can they think that God does not see it?" Or, rather, "The punishment of their doings besets them about; they are surrounded and embarrassed with troubles, so that they cannot get out, by which it appears that the sins they smart for are before my face, not only that I have seen them, but that I am displeased at them;" for, till God by pardoning our sins has cast them behind his back, they are still before his face. Note, Sooner or later, God will convince those who do not now consider it that he remembers all their works.
    • 4. God had begun to contend with them by his judgments, in earnest of what was further coming: The thief comes in, and the troop of robbers spoils without. Some take this as an instance of their wickedness, that they robbed and spoiled one another. Nec hospes ab hospite tutus-The host and the guest stand in fear of each other. It seems rather to be a punishment of their sin; they were infested with secret thieves among themselves, that robbed their houses and shops and picked their pockets, and troops of robbers, foreign invaders, that with open violence spoiled abroad; so far was Israel from being healed that they had fresh wounds given them daily by robbers and spoilers; and all this the effect of sin, all to punish them for robbing God, Isa. 42:24; Mal. 3:8, 11.
  • II. A particular account of the sins of the court, of the king and princes, and those about them, and the tokens of God's displeasure that they were under for them.
    • 1. Their king and princes were pleased with the wickedness and profaneness of their subjects, who were emboldened thereby to be so much them ore wicked (v. 3): They make the king and princes glad with their wickedness. It pleased them to see the people conform to their wicked laws and examples, in the worship of their idols, and other instances of impiety and immorality, and to hear them flatter and applaud them in their wicked ways. When Herod saw that his wickedness pleased the people he proceeded further in it, much more will the people do so when they see that it pleases the prince, Acts 12:3. Particularly, they made them glad with their lies, with the lying praises with which they crowned the favourites of the prince and the lying calumnies and censures with which they blackened those whom they knew the princes had a dislike to. Those who show themselves pleased with slanders and ill-natured stories shall never want those about them who will fill their ears with such stories. Prov. 29:12, If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked, and will make him glad with their lies.
    • 2. Drunkenness and revelling abound much at the court, v. 5. The day of our king was a merry day with them, either his birth-day or his inauguration-day, of which it is probable that they had an anniversary observation, or perhaps it was some holiday of his appointing, which was therefore called his day; on that day the princes met to drink the king's health, and got him among them, to be merry, and made him sick with bottles of wine. It should seem the king did not ordinarily drink to excess, but he was not upon a high day brought to it by the artifices of the princes, tempted by the goodness of the wine, the gaiety of the company, or the healths they urged; and so little was he used to it that it made him sick; and it is justly charged as a crime, as crimen laesae majestatis-treason, upon those who thus imposed upon him and made him sick; nor would it serve for an excuse that it was the day of their king, but was rather an aggravation of the crime, that, whey they pretended to do him honour, they dishonoured him to the highest degree. If it is a great affront and injury to a common person to make him drunk, and there is a woe to those that do it (Hab. 2:15), much more to a crowned head; for the greater any man's dignity is the greater disgrace it is to him to be drunk. It is not for kings, O Lemuel! it is not for kings, to drink wine,Prov. 31:4, 5. See what a prejudice the sin of drunkenness is to a man, to a king.
      • (1.) In his health; it made him sick. It is a force upon nature; and strange it is by what charms men, otherwise rational enough, can be drawn to that which besides the offence it gives to God, and the damage it does to their spiritual and eternal welfare, is a present disorder and distemper to their own bodies.
      • (2.) In his honour; for, when he was thus intoxicated, he stretched out his hand with scorners; then he that was entrusted with the government of a kingdom lost the government of himself, and so far forgot,
        • [1.] The dignity of a king that he made himself familiar with players and buffoons, and those whose company was a scandal.
        • [2.] The duty of a king that he joined in confederacy with atheists, and the profane scoffers at religion, whom he ought to have silenced and put to shame; he sat in the seat of the scornful, of those that had arrived at the highest pitch of impiety; he struck in with them, said as they said, did as they did, and exerted his power, and stretched forth the hand of his government, in concurrence with them. Goodness and good men are often made the song of the drunkards (Ps. 69:12; 35:16); but woe unto thee, O land! when thy king is such a child as to stretch forth his hand with those that make them so, Eccl. 10:16.
    • 3. Adultery and uncleanness prevailed much among the courtiers. This is spoken of v. 4, 6, 7, and the charge of drunkenness comes in in the midst of this article; for wine is oil to the fire of lust, Prov. 23:33. Those that are inflamed with fleshly lusts, that are adulterers (v. 4), are here again and again compared to an oven heated by the baker (v. 4): They have made ready their heart like an oven (v. 6); they are all hot as an oven,v. 7. Note,
      • [1.] An unclean heart is like an oven heated; and the unclean lusts and affections of it are as the fuel that makes it hot. It is an inward fire, it keeps the heat within itself; so adulterers and fornicators secretly burn in lust, as the expression is, Rom. 1:27. The heat of the oven is an intense heat, especially as it is here described; he that heats it stirs up the fire, and ceases not from raising it up, till the bread is ready to be put in, being kneaded and leavened, all which only signifies that they are like an oven when it is at the hottest; nay, when it is too hot for the baker (so the learned Dr. Pocock), when it is hotter than he would have it, so that the raiser up of the fire ceases as long as while the dough that is kneaded is in the fermenting, that the heat may abate a little. Thus fiery hot are the lusts of an unclean heart.
      • (2.) The unclean wait for an opportunity to compass their wicked desires; having made ready their heart like an oven, they lie in wait to catch their prey. The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight,Job 24:15. Their baker sleeps all the night, but in the morning it burns as a flaming fire. As the baker, having kindled a fire in his oven and laid sufficient fuel to it, goes to bed, and sleeps all night, and in the morning finds his oven well heated, and ready for his purpose, so these wicked people, when they have laid some wicked plot, and formed a design for the gratifying of some covetous, ambitious, revengeful, or unclean lusts, have their hearts so fully set in them to do evil that, though they may stifle them for a while, yet the fire of corrupt affections is still glowing within, and, as soon as ever there is an opportunity for it, their purposes which they have compassed and imagined break out into overt acts, as a fire flames out when it has vent given it. Thus they are all hot as an oven. Note, Lust in the heart is like fire in an oven, puts it into a heat; but the day is coming when those who thus make themselves like a fiery oven with their own vile affections, if that fire be not extinguished by divine grace, shall be made as a fiery oven by divine wrath (Ps. 21:9), when the day comes that shall burn as an oven,Mal. 4:1.
    • 4. They resist the proper methods of reformation and redress: They have devoured their judges, those few good judges that were among them, that would have put out these fires with which they were heated; they fell foul upon them, and would not suffer them to do justice, but were ready to stone them, and perhaps did so; or, as some think, they provoked God to deprive them of the blessing of magistracy and to leave all in confusion: All their kings have fallen one after another, and their families with them, which could not but put the kingdom into confusion, crumble it into contending parties, and occasion a great deal of bloodshed. There are heart-burnings among them; they are hot as an oven with rage and malice at one another, and this occasions the devouring of their judges, the falling of their kings. For the transgressions of a land many are the princes thereof,Prov. 28:2. But in the midst of all this trouble and disorder there is none among them that calls unto God, that sees his hand stretched out against them in these judgments, and deprecates the strokes of it, none, or next to none, that stir up themselves to take hold on God, Isa. 64:7. Note, Those are not only heated with sin, but hardened in sin, that continue to live without prayer even when they are in trouble and distress.

Hsa 7:8-16

Having seen how vicious and corrupt the court was, we now come to enquire how it is with the country, and we find that to be no better; and no marvel if the distemper that has so seized the head affect the whole body, so that there is no soundness in it; the iniquity of Ephraim is discovered, as well as the sin of Samaria, of the people as well as the princes, of which here are divers instances.

  • I. They were not peculiar and entire for God, as they should have been, v. 8.
    • 1. They did not distinguish themselves from the heathen, as God had distinguished them: Ephraim, he has mingled himself among the people, has associated with them, and conformed himself to them, and has in a manner confounded himself with them and lost his character among them. God had said, The people shall dwell alone; but they mingled themselves with the heathen and learned their works,Ps. 106:35. They went up and down among the heathen, to beg help of one of them against another (so some); whereas, if they had kept close to God, they would not have needed the help of any of them.
    • 2. They were not entirely devoted to God: Ephraim is a cake not turned, and so is burnt on one side and dough on the other side, but good for nothing on either side. As in Ahab's time, so now, they halted between God and Baal; sometimes they seemed zealous for God, but at other times as hot for Baal. Note, It is sad to think how many, who, after a sort, profess religion, are made up of contraries and inconsistencies, as a cake not turned, a constant self-contradiction, and always in one extreme or the other.
  • II. They were strangely insensible of the judgments of God, which they were under, and which threatened their ruin, v. 9. Observe,
    • 1. The condition they were in. God was not to them, in his judgments, as a moth and as rottenness; they were silently and slowly drawing towards the ruin of their state partly by the encroachments of foreigners upon them: Strangers have devoured his strength, and eaten him up; they have wasted his wealth and treasure, lessened his numbers, and consumed the fruits of the earth. Some devoured them by open wars (as 2 Ki. 13:7, when the king of Syria made them like the dust by threshing), others by pretending treaties of peace and amity, in which they extorted abundance of wealth from them, and made them pay dearly for that which did them no good, but which afterwards they paid more dearly for, as 2 Ki. 16:9. This Ephraim got by mingling with the heathen, and suffering them to mingle with him; they devoured that which he rested upon and supported himself with. Note, Those that make not God their strength (Ps. 52:7) make that their strength which will soon be devoured by strangers. They were thus reduced partly by their own mal-administrations among themselves: Yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him (are sprinkled upon him, so the word is), that is, the sad symptoms of a decaying declining state, which is waxing old and ready to vanish away, and the effects of trouble and vexation. Cura facit canos-Care turns gray. The almond-tree does not as yet flourish, but it begins to turn colour, which speaks aloud to him that the evil days are coming, and the years of which he shall say, I have no pleasure in them,Eccl. 12:1, 5.
    • 2. Their regardlessness of these warnings: He knows it not; he is not aware of the hand of God gone out against him; it is lifted up, but he will not see,Isa. 26:11. He does not know how near his ruin is, and takes no care to prevent it. Note, Stupidity under less judgments is a presage of greater coming.
  • III. They went on frowardly in their wicked ways, and were not reclaimed by the rebukes they were under (v. 10): The pride of Israel still testifies to his face, as it had done before (ch. 5:5); under humbling providences their hearts were still unhumbled, their lusts unmortified; and it is through the pride of their countenance that they will not seek after God (Ps. 10:4); they do not return to the Lord their God by repentance and reformation, nor do they seek him by faith and prayer for all this; though they suffer for going astray from him, though it can never be well with them till they come back to him, and though they have in vain sought to others for relief, yet they think not of applying to God.
  • IV. They were infatuated in their counsels, and took very wrong methods when they were in distress (v. 11, 12): Ephraim is like a silly dove without heart. To be harmless as a dove, without gall, and not to hurt or injure others, is commendable; but to be sottish as a dove, without heart, that knows not how to defend herself and provide for her own safety, is a shame.
    • 1. The silliness of this dove is,
      • (1.) That she laments not the loss of her young that are taken from her, but will make her nest again in the same place; so they have their people carried away by the enemy, and are not affected with it, but continue their dealings with those that deal barbarously with them.
      • (2.) That she is easily enticed by the bait into the net, and has no heart, no understanding, to discern her danger, as many other fowls do, Prov. 1:17. She hastes to the snare, and knows not that it is for her life (Prov. 7:23); so they were drawn into leagues with neighbouring nations that were their ruin.
      • (3.) That, when she is frightened, she has not courage to stay in the dove-house, where she is safe, and under the careful protection of her owner, but flutters and hovers, seeking shelter first in one place, then in another, and thereby exposes herself so much the more; so this people, when they were in distress, sought not to God, did not fly like the doves to their windows where they might have been secured from all the birds of prey that struck at them, but threw themselves out of God's protection, and then called to Egypt to help them, and went in all haste to Assyria, to seek for that aid in vain which they might, by repentance and prayer, have found nearer home, in their God. Note, It is a silly senseless thing for those who have a God in heaven to trust to creatures for the refuge and relief which are to be had in him only; and those that do so are a people of no understanding, they are without heart. Now,
    • 2. See what becomes of this silly dove (v. 12): When they shall go to Egypt and Assyria, I will spread my net upon them. Note, Those that will not abide by the mercy of God must expect to be pursued by the justice of God. Here,
      • (1.) They are ensnared: "I will spread my net upon them, bring them into straits, that they may see their folly and think of returning." Note, It is common for those that go away from God to find snares where they expected shelters.
      • (2.) They are humbled; they soar upward, proud of their foreign alliances and confiding in them; but I will bring them down, let them fly ever so high, as the fowls of heaven, that are shot flying. Note, God can and will bring those down that exalt themselves as the eagle,Obad. 3, 4.
      • (3.) They are made to smart for their folly: I will chastise them. Note, The disappointments we meet with in the creature, when we put a confidence in it, are a necessary chastisement, or discipline, that we may learn to be wiser another time.
      • (4.) In all this the scripture is fulfilled. It is as their congregation has heard; they have been many a time told by the word of God, read, and preached, and sung, in their religious assemblies, that "vain is the help of man, that in the son of man there is no help; they have heard both from the law and from the prophets what judgments God would bring upon them for their wickedness; and as they have heard now they shall see, they shall feel." Note, It concerns us to take notice of the word of God which we hear from time to time in the congregation, and to be governed by it, for we must shortly be judged by it; and it will justify God in the condemnation of sinners, and aggravate it to them, that they have had plain public warning given them of it; it is what their congregation has heard many a time, but they would not take warning. "Son, remember thou wast told what would come of it; and now thou seest they were not vain words." See Zec. 1:6.
  • V. They revolted from God and rebelled against him, notwithstanding the various methods he took to retain them in their allegiance, v. 13-15. Here observe,
    • 1. How kindly and tenderly God had dealt with them, as a gracious sovereign towards a people dear unto him, and whose prosperity he had much at heart. He had redeemed them (v. 13), brought them, at first, out of the land of Egypt, and, since, delivered them out of many a distress. He had bound and strengthened their arms,v. 15. When their power was weakened, like an arm broken or out of joint, God set it again, and bound it, as a surgeon does a broken bone, to make it knit. God had given Israel victories over the Syrians (2 Ki. 13:16, 17), had restored their coast (2 Ki. 14:25, 26), had girded them with strength for battle. "Though I have chastened them" (so the margin reads it), "sometimes corrected them for their faults and thereby taught them, at other times strengthened their arms and relieved them, though I have used both fair means and foul to work upon them, it was all to no purpose; they were mercy-proof and judgment-proof."
    • 2. How impudent their conduct had been towards him notwithstanding, which is described here for the conviction and humiliation of all those who have gone on in any way of wickedness, that they may see how exceedingly sinful their sin is, how heinous, how the God of heaven interprets it, how he resents it.
      • (1.) He had courted them to him, and taken them into covenant with himself; but they fled from him, as if he had been their dangerous enemy who had always approved himself their faithful friend. They wandered from him, as the silly dove from her nest, for those who forsake God will find no rest nor settlement in the creature, but wander endlessly. They fled from God when they forsook the worship of him, and ran away from his service, and withdrew themselves from their allegiance to him.
      • (2.) He had given them his laws, which were all holy, just, and good, by which he designed to keep them in the right way; but they transgressed against him; they sinned with a high hand and a stiff neck, wilfully and presumptuously (so the words signifies); they broke through the fence of the divine law, and therein thwarted the design of the divine love.
      • (3.) He had made known his truths to them, and given them all possible proofs of the sincerity of his good-will to them; and yet they spoke lies against him. They set up false gods in competition with him; they denied his providence and power; thus they belied the Lord,Jer. 5:12. They rejected his messages sent them by his prophets, and said that they should have peace, though they went on in sin, directly against what he said. In their hypocritical professions of religion, shows of devotion, and promises of amendment, they lied to the Lord, which he took as lying against him.
      • (4.) He was their rightful Lord and King, and had always ruled in Jacob with equity, and for the public good; and yet they rebelled against him,v. 14. They not only went off from him, but took up arms against him, would have deposed him if they could and set up another.
      • (5.) He designed well for them, but they imagined mischief against him,v. 15. Sin is a mischievous thin; it is mischief against God, for it is treason against his crown and dignity; not that the sinners can do any thing to hurt their Creator (as one of the ancients observes on these words), but what they can they do; and it is so much the worse when it is not done by surprise, or through inadvertency, but designedly and with contrivance. The Jews have a saying, which Dr. Pocock quotes here, The thoughts of transgression are worse than the transgression. The designing of mischief is doing it, in God's account. Compassing and imagining the death of the king is treason by our law. Those that imagine an evil thing, though it prove a vain thing (Ps. 2:1), will be reckoned with for the imagination.
    • 3. How they shall be punished for this (v. 13): Woe unto them! for they have fled from me. Note, Those who flee from God have woes sent after them, and are, without doubt, in a woeful case. The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against them; the word of God says, Woe to them! And observe what follows immediately, Destruction unto them! Note, The woes of God's word have real effects; destruction makes them good. The judgments of his hand shall verify the judgments of his mouth. Those whom he curses, and pronounces woeful, they are cursed, they are woeful indeed.
  • VI. Their shows of devotion and reformation were but shows, and in them they did but mock God.
    • 1. They pretended devotion, but it was not sincere, v. 14. When the hand of God had gone forth against them they made some sort of application to him. When he slew them, then they sought him. Lord, in trouble have they visited thee. But it was all in hypocrisy.
      • (1.) When they were under personal troubles, and called upon God in secret, they were not sincere in that: They have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds. When they were chastened with pain upon their beds, and the multitude of their bones with strong pains, perhaps ill of the wounds they received in war, they cried, and groaned, and complained in the forms of devotion, and, it may be, they used many good words, proper enough for the circumstances they were in; they cried, God help us, and, Lord, look upon us. But they did not cry with their heart, and therefore God reckons it as no crying to him. Moses is said to cry unto God when he spoke not a word, only his heart prayed with faith and fervency, Ex. 14:15. These made a great noise, and said a great deal, and yet did not cry to God, because their hearts were not right with him, not subjected to his will, devoted to his honour, nor employed in his service. To pray is to lift up the soul to God, this is the essence of prayer. If this be not done, words, though ever so well chosen, are but wind; but, if it be, it is an acceptable prayer, though the groanings cannot be uttered. Note, Those do not pray to God at all that do not pray in the spirit. Nay, God is so far from approving their prayer and accepting it that he calls it howling. Some think it intimates the noisiness of their prayers (they cried to God as they used to cry to Baal, when they thought he must be awakened), or the brutish violent passions which they vented in their prayers; they snarled at the stone, and howled under the whip, but regarded not the hand. Or it denotes that their hypocritical prayers were so far from being pleasing to God that they were offensive to him; he was angry at their prayers. The songs of the temple shall be howlings,Amos 8:3. God will be so far from pitying them that he will justly laugh at their calamity, who have so often laughed at his authority.
      • (2.) When they were under public troubles, and met together to implore God's favour, in that also they were hypocritical; they assembled themselves, for fashion-sake, because it was usual to call a solemn assembly in times of general mourning, Zep. 2:1. But it was only to pray for corn and wine that they came together, which were the things they wanted, and feared being deprived of by the want of rain, the judgment they now laboured under. They did not pray for the favour or grace of God, that God would give them repentance, pardon their sins, and turn away his wrath, but only that he would not take away from them their corn and wine. Note, Carnal hearts, in their prayers to God, covet temporal mercies only, and dread and deprecate no other but temporal judgments, for they have no sense of any other.
    • 2. They pretended reformation, but neither was that sincere, v. 16. Here is,
      • (1.) The sin of Israel: They return, that is, they make as if they would return; they pretend to repent and amend their doings, but they make nothing of it; they do not come home to God nor return to their allegiance, whereas God says (Jer. 4:1), If thou wilt return, O Israel! return to me; do not only turn towards me, but return to me. This dissimulation of theirs makes them like a deceitful bow, which looks as if it were fit for business, and is bent and drawn accordingly, but, when strength comes to be laid to it, either the bow or the string breaks, and the arrow, instead of flying to the mark, drops at the archer's foot. Such were their essays towards repentance and reformation.
      • (2.) The sin of the princes of Israel. That which is charged upon them is the rage of their tongue, quarrelling with God and his providence and with all about them when they are crossed. Princes think they may say what they will, and that it is their prerogative to huff and bluster, to curse and rail, and to call names at their pleasure, but let them know there is a God above them that will call them to an account for the rage of their tongues and make their own tongues to fall upon them.
      • (3.) The punishment of Israel and their princes for their sin. As for the princes, they shall fall by the sword either of their enemies or of their own people, some by one and some by the other; and this shall be their derision, this is that for which they shall be derided in the land of Egypt, when they flee to the Egyptians for succour, v. 11. Their sin and punishment shall make them a laughing-stock to all about them. Note, Those that are treacherous and deceitful in their dealings with God, and passionate and outrageous in their conduct towards men, will justly be made a derision to their neighbours, for they make themselves ridiculous.

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Commentary hosea 7

Hosea 7


I. God remembers all their evil (1-3)
II. The Israelite’s lust burned like fire (4-7)
III. The nation’s time is short but they don’t know it (8-16)

I. God remembers all their evil (1-3)

Discussion Questions

  • When are their iniquities revealed?
  • Who does Ephraim and Samaria represent?
  • What does it mean that God remembers all their evil (2)?
  • How is this different than how God deals with the sin of those who are saved?
  • How can their evil “make the king glad?”


John 3:19-20 – And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed.

Numbers 32:23 – But if you will not do so, behold, you have sinned against the Lord, and be sure your sin will find you out.

Ecclesiastes 12:14 – For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil.

Isaiah 43:25 – I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.

Hebrews 10:17 – Then he adds, “I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”

Teaching Points

1. When I would heal Israel the iniquity of Ephraim is uncovered – Different translations render this phrase differently. The King James Version may be the easiest to understand. It says, “When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered.”

In these several chapters we have seen that God wants to restore Israel. He desires to have them repent and turn to Him. But here we see that when He was ready to heal and restore them, their sins were exposed, and therefore the healing did not yet come.

Take for example a child who is grounded for lying. The time of his discipline is nearly over and his parents are about to restore the child to freedom. But on the last day they discover that he has been cheating on his schoolwork the whole time. He would have been restored, but his sins were uncovered.

In like manner, when Israel would have been healed, her sins were exposed and her lack of sincere repentance was made clear to all. Therefore Israel did not yet receive the healing and is not yet restored. Only when Israel turns to Jesus in repentance will her sins be taken away so that she can be restored to the Lord.

There is a similar example in the parable of the wedding banquet in Matthew 22. A man attends, but is not wearing the correct wedding clothes. He is therefore thrown out. This man is not willing to wear the clothes the King graciously provided. He comes based on his own merit. And his unworthiness is exposed so he is tossed out.

Application: The only way to be healed is to confess your sins and place your complete faith in Jesus. Isaiah 53:5, “Upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.”

2. They do not consider that I remember all of their evil – The people were prideful. Like most who are pursuing sin, they thought that God was far away and would take no notice of them or their sins. Their thinking was very much like described in the following verse:

Psalm 10:4-5 – In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, “There is no God.” His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them.

Notice a few things in these verses. Firstly, it is pride that make a person think God does not exist and will not see. He keeps telling himself, “there is no God.” It could be that he doesn’t entirely believe this, but through repetition slowly convinces himself that this is the case. Certainly he hopes this is the case. God’s judgments are far away from his thoughts. Out of sight, out of mind.

But God does see. He remembers all their evil. The statement seen here is in stark contrast to how God deals with the sins of the repentant.

Psalm 103:12 – As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

When a person places faith in the Lord and confesses his sins, God forgives and forgets. He remembers our sins no more (Hebrews 11:17). Of course God knows everything. His memory is not wiped. But He does not take our sins into account. He does not hold them against us. He doesn’t add them to a ledger and then call us to account. They are erased from the balance book, fully dealt with by Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.

On the other hand, God remembers every single sin committed by those who continue to rebel against him. Each person has books upon books of life deeds recorded and stored. These books will brought out and examined. The deeds inside will be the basis of the eternal judgment (Revelation 20:12).

Think for a moment about your deeds, big and little, seen and unseen, recent and long ago. Now imagine how you would feel if these books are opened up and read aloud in God’s presence for all to hear. What a terrible doom! What hope would any of us have to stand in the day of that judgment? But there is hope. Jesus. By His sacrifice your name can be written in another book, the Book of Life. And those deeds will be washed clean by the blood of Christ.

Application: If you have never placed your faith in Christ, do not delay. Confess your sins to Him so that you don’t have to face the judgment for them yourself. If you have, then spend time in prayer praising and thanking God for His amazing grace!

II. The Israelite’s lust burned like fire (4-7)

Discussion Questions

  • What does it mean in verse 4 and 7 that they are “like a heated oven?”
  • What do verses 4-7 show us about the people?
  • What was their lust like?
  • What is “their intrigue” in verse 6?
  • How can a person deal with lustful thoughts?


1 John 2:16 – For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Galatians 5:16 – But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.

Colossians 3:5 – Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.

Romans 13:14 – But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

Philippians 4:8 – Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Teaching Points

1. They are like a heated oven – Their sinful lusts burned passionately like a fire left unattended. It is not only passionate lust. In verse 5 it says that they “become sick with the heat of wine.” In verse 6 the description continues “with hearts like an oven they approach their intrigue” and “all night their anger simmers.”

The description highlights their wild and unrestrained behavior. Their desires overpower their common sense, decency, and self-control. Drinking so much wine, they become sick. Their hearts are filled with plotting and intrigue. Israel’s history already proved this as coups, assassinations, and treachery ended many a dynasty.

My ten year old son read through 1 and 2 Kings. His conclusion? “I really wouldn’t want to be a king of Israel! They had a very short lifespan. One was only king for eight days!”

They chased after sex. They chased after pleasure. They chased after power. Wholly unrestrained, they allowed unchecked whims to guide them ever further from God. Their rulers were devoured by this behavior. And they would be too.

2. Believers need self control, a fruit of the Spirit – Lust is one of many powerful passions. Desire for power and pleasure are others (1 John 2:16). When we come to Christ we must walk by the Spirit and not by the flesh. That means surrendering control of even our thoughts to God. You should not let your thoughts control you, but you should control them. How is this possible? How can you control your thoughts?

  • Feed your mind the right content. If you fill your mind with godly things it is natural that more time will be spend thinking of these things. But if you fill your mind with junk, then that is what you think about.
  • Philippians 4:8. Meditate on pure and noble things. Proactively think about things that are edifying.
  • Think about what you are thinking about. Evaluate your own thoughts. When a lustful thought just pops into your mind, then you need to think “this is wrong” and intentionally divert your mind from this.
  • Pray. When a wrong thought enters you mind immediately take it to God in prayer. Don’t go down the rabbit hole by allowing a wrong thought process to take hold and lead your thinking.
  • Sing. When a sinful thought enters your mind, change your thought’s directions by singing a praise song.

Application: You have to rewire your brain, to train yourself into different thought patterns by being very intentional and seeking help from the Spirit. Our brains are kind of like paths for water. Water flows in the path of least resistance. It will naturally flow toward well worn grooves, just as your thoughts will go along well worn paths. You have to intentionally divert that water (thought) by blocking destructive pathways and carving out new edifying pathways.

III. The nation’s time is short but they don’t know it (8-16)

Discussion Questions

  • What does it mean in verse 8 that Ephraim “mixes himself with the peoples?”
  • In what ways do believers wrongly “mix with the peoples” today?
  • What does it mean in verse 9 that “gray hairs are sprinkled upon him and he knows it not?”
  • In what way is Ephraim silly (11)?
  • What was keeping God from redeeming them (13)?
  • What do you think was causing their wailing and gnashing in verse 14?
  • What was the problem of their speech in verse 16?
  • What lessons can you learn about God’s character in this chapter?
  • What is the appropriate response to what we have learned?
  • Write down one way you obey what you have learned in this chapter this week?


Isaiah 52:11 – Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:17 – Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.

Ephesians 5:11 – Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.

Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Isaiah 55:6 – Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near.

Teaching Points

1. Ephraim mixes himself with peoples –

Leviticus 20:26 – You shall be holy to me, for I the Lord am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.

God had commanded His people to be set apart, holy. Commands like the above can be found throughout the Old Testament. The people were not supposed to intermarry with the peoples of the land (Deuteronomy 7:3). Even the food laws given by God were partially intended to keep them separate from other peoples who did not eat the same things as they did. God knew that the peoples in the land were wicked and would lead His people astray.

He wanted the Israelite nation to be an example of holiness, a light to shine to the nations. Instead they mixed with the nations and became like them. They lost their testimony. The light was quenched. They were like the New Testament reference to salt which loses its flavor (Matthew 5:13-20).

God calls us to be holy. We are to be set apart. We must not be conformed to this world. Instead we should shine the light of Christ, attracting people to the truth of the gospel.

Application: What are some ways that Christians “mix with the peoples?” What are some examples of things worldly people do that we should not? Since we called as ambassadors to win the world for Christ how can we balance the mission to win the world (meaning we can’t isolate ourselves), with the command to be different?

2. Verse 9 – “Strangers devour his strength and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.” This statement brings to mind the story of the King with No Clothes. Parading around with immense pride in himself, he was the only one who didn’t realize his own shame. The Israelites were like this. They proudly indulged in their own sin. All the while the clock was ticking toward their demise and they didn’t notice.

The nation was growing weak and old. Its foundation was crumbling. It was rotten to the core. The end creeping closer. In spite of loud warnings from God’s prophets their blissful ignorance blocked out anything that might have waken them up from their stupor.

It is not difficult to make a comparison to Western Civilization. Many countries which were once Christian are proudly abandoning their beliefs. Like the King with No Clothes they are parading around in their new found “woke” state. But the clock is ticking.

3. The pride of Israel testifies to his face – God sent many prophets who warned them of their conduct. In their pride, they spurned it. Pride goes before the fall.

4. Ephraim is like a silly dove with without sense – Israel turned to Assyria and Egypt for help. But these nations could not help them. The root problem was a spiritual one and only God could heal them.

5. Verses 12 – Even while they are seeking help from other sources, God was going to cast a net over them. Interestingly, God actually used Assyria (the one they turned to for help) to bring upon them His judgment. The very one they sought help from was the very one who destroyed them

Earthly wisdom only brought about disaster, but heavenly wisdom brings a harvest of righteousness (James 4:13-18).

6. Verses 13-16 – In these verses the rebellion of the Israelites is described in great vivid detail:

  • They have strayed.
  • They have rebelled against Me.
  • They do not cry to Me from their hearts.
  • They wail on their beds.
  • They turn away from Me.
  • They devise evil against Me.
  • They are like a deceitful bow.
  • They have an insolent tongue.

The main point of the whole chapter can be summed up: God is going to judge the Israelites for their rebellion Every person who rejects God and Jesus His Son will likewise face judgment. Therefore the main application from this passage can be summed up: sincerely seek the Lord and repent of your sins to receive salvation!

God’s patience will not last forever. The world’s sins pile up to heaven. We must each seek God’s mercy while we still can.

Hosea Bible Study Guide E-book – If this study is helpful, you can get the complete downloadable study e-book for any device.

Hosea 8

Sours: https://studyandobey.com/inductive-bible-study/hosea-studies/hosea-7/
HOSEA: Israel's Rebellion Exposed (Chapter 7)

Hosea 7

Hosea 7 is the seventh chapter of the Book of Hosea in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the ChristianBible.[1][2] The book contains the prophecies attributed the prophet Hosea son of Beeri and this chapter is about Israel reproved for multiple sins (Hosea 7:1-10) resulting in God's wrath against them for their hypocrisy (Hosea 7:11-16).[3] It is a part of the Book of the Twelve Minor Prophets.[4][5]


The original text was written in Hebrew language. This chapter is divided into 16 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text tradition, which includes the Codex Cairensis (895), the Petersburg Codex of the Prophets (916), Aleppo Codex (10th century), Codex Leningradensis (1008). Fragments containing parts of this chapter in Hebrew were found among the Dead Sea Scrolls, including 4Q78 (4QXIIc; 75–50 BCE) with extant verses 12–13;[8][10] and 4Q82 (4QXIIg; 25 BCE) with extant verses 1, 12–16.[8][13]

There is also a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint, made in the last few centuries BCE. Extant ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint version include Codex Vaticanus (B; {\displaystyle {\mathfrak {G}}}B; 4th century), Codex Alexandrinus (A; {\displaystyle {\mathfrak {G}}}A; 5th century) and Codex Marchalianus (Q; {\displaystyle {\mathfrak {G}}}Q; 6th century).[a]

Verse 11[edit]

Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart:
they call to Egypt,
they go to Assyria.[16]
  • "Like a silly dove": a bird proverbial for simplicity: easily deceived.[3] "There is nothing more simple than a dove," says the Eastern proverb.[17] It's neither grieving nor searching for its young when it is robbed of them, according to Jerome.[18] Simplicity is good or bad, not in itself, but according to some other qualities of the soul, good or evil, with which it is united, to which it opens the mind, and which lead it to good or mislead it to evil. The word describes one, easily persuaded, open, and so, one who takes God's word simply, obeys His will, without refinement or subtlety or explaining it away; in which way it is said, "The Lord preserveth the simple;" or, on the other hand, one who lets himself easily be led to evil, as the pagan said of youth, that they were "like wax to be bent to evil" Psalm 116:6. In this way, it is said, "How long, ye simple one, will ye love simplicity?" Proverbs 1:22. Our Lord uses this likeness of the dove, for good, "be wise as serpents, simple, or harmless as doves" Matthew 10:16.[17]
  • "They call to Egypt": that is, for help; as Hoshea king of Israel, when he sent messengers to So or Sabacon king of Egypt, for protection and assistance, 2 Kings 17:4. Such a foolish part, like the silly doves, did they act; since the Egyptians had been their implacable enemies, and their fathers had been in cruel bondage under them.[19]
  • "They go to Assyria": send gifts and presents, and pay tribute to the kings thereof, to make them easy; as Menahem did to Pul, and Hoshea to Shalmaneser, 2 Kings 15:19. Some understand this last clause, not of their sin in going to the Assyrian for help; but of their punishment in going or being carried captive thither; and so the Targum seems to interpret it, "they go captive, or are carried captive, into Assyria."[19]

See also[edit]



  1. ^Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary. 24th edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1965. p. 355
  2. ^Holman Illustrated Bible Handbook. Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee. 2012.
  3. ^ abRobert Jamieson, Andrew Robert Fausset; David Brown. Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown's Commentary On the Whole Bible. 1871.Public DomainThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^Metzger, Bruce M., et al. The Oxford Companion to the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  5. ^Keck, Leander E. 1996. The New Interpreter's Bible: Volume: VII. Nashville: Abingdon.
  6. ^ abDead sea scrolls - Hosea
  7. ^4Q78 at the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library
  8. ^4Q82 at the Leon Levy Dead Sea Scrolls Digital Library
  9. ^Shepherd, Michael (2018). A Commentary on the Book of the Twelve: The Minor Prophets. Kregel Exegetical Library. Kregel Academic. p. 13. ISBN .
  10. ^Hosea 7:11
  11. ^ abBarnes, Albert. Notes on the Old Testament. London, Blackie & Son, 1884. Reprint, Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998.Public DomainThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  12. ^Joseph S. Exell; Henry Donald Maurice Spence-Jones (Editors). The Pulpit Commentary. 23 volumes. First publication: 1890.Public DomainThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  13. ^ abJohn Gill. John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible. Exposition of the Old and New Testament. Published in 1746-1763.Public DomainThis article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.


  • Collins, John J. (2014). Introduction to the Hebrew Scriptures. Fortress Press. ISBN .
  • Day, John (2007). "27. Hosea". In Barton, John; Muddiman, John (eds.). The Oxford Bible Commentary (first (paperback) ed.). Oxford University Press. pp. 571–578. ISBN . Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  • Fitzmyer, Joseph A. (2008). A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN .
  • Hayes, Christine (2015). Introduction to the Bible. Yale University Press. ISBN .
  • Ulrich, Eugene, ed. (2010). The Biblical Qumran Scrolls: Transcriptions and Textual Variants. Brill.
  • Würthwein, Ernst (1995). The Text of the Old Testament. Translated by Rhodes, Erroll F. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans. ISBN . Retrieved January 26, 2019.

External links[edit]



Sours: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hosea_7

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Bible Commentary: Hosea 7

A Cake Unturned

In chapter 7 we see Israel's widespread corruption. Again Hosea warns Israel of its failure to heed the warnings. Samaria, the capital, may be representative or symbolic of the whole nation.

Hosea uses "fire" and "oven" in several similes here (verses 4-8). The word in verse 6 translated "baker" in the New King James Version is translated as "passion" or the like in other versions. "The people in their zeal for this sin were compared to a heated oven—a striking illustration of lust. The oven was so hot that a baker could cease tending the fire during an entire night—while the dough he had mixed was rising—and then, with a fresh tending of the fire in the morning, have sufficient heat for baking at that time. In…verses [5-7] the prophet gave an example of the kind of sin that resulted from such inflamed passion: the assassination of the king. Hosea saw it happening on a special day, a festival day, for the king. During the festivities the ringleaders planning the crime became drunk, and the king with them. Keeping the figure of the oven, the prophet stated that the hearts of the plotters were hot with desire to perform their treacherous deed. Each time they were near the king, their hearts flamed up, as they contemplated their deed. They waited during the night, however, with their passion smoldering like the baker's fire, anticipating the morning" (Expositor's, note on verses 3-7). "The background of these verses is the political turmoil of the northern kingdom. During a 20-year period (752-732 b.c.), four Israelite kings were assassinated (see 2 Kings 15)" (Nelson Study Bible, note Hosea 7:4-7Hosea 7:4-7[4] They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceases from raising after he has kneaded the dough, until it be leavened. [5] In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners. [6] For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleeps all the night; in the morning it burns as a flaming fire. [7] They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calls to me.
American King James Version×).

Israel's sins were not only internal, but extended to their relations with other nations. The language of verse 8 ("mixed himself") indicates that entanglement in foreign alliances, and adoption of their ways, was deliberate on Israel's part. "The Israelites associated with and adopted heathen people and customs. a cake not turned, i.e., like a pancake that is burned on one side and uncooked on the other and is therefore altogether useless" (Harper Study Bible,1991, note on verse 8). There is certainly a parallel here for Christians. Spiritually, while we are to interact with the world, we are not to become entangled in it or adopt its ways, particularly its ways of worship. Quite the contrary, God says, "Come out from among them and be separate" (2 Corinthians 6:172 Corinthians 6:17Why come out from among them, and be you separate, said the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
American King James Version×).

In mixing with the nations, Israel sought help from Egypt and Assyria, flitting back and forth between them "like a silly dove" (Hosea 7:11Hosea 7:11Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.
American King James Version×)—foolishly forgetting that their real help should have been from God. If they had followed God, they wouldn't have needed to go to other nations. Yet they even plotted against God (verse 15).

Paradoxically, God says, "They return, but not to the Most High" (verse 16). This shows some kind of repentance, but not to the true God. He says, "They did not cry out to Me with their heart when they wailed upon their beds" (verse 14). So just who do they cry out to in a form of repentance? Notice this regarding their assembling together (apparently a religious service) for grain and new wine: "God sent a drought that took away Israel's grain and new wine. Yet instead of turning to Him in repentance, the idolatrous Israelites demonstrated their devotion to Baal. [In fact, many mistakenly equated Baal, meaning "Lord," with the true Lord.] According to Canaanite religious beliefs, prolonged drought was a signal that the storm god Baal had been temporarily defeated by the god of death and was imprisoned in the underworld. Baal's worshipers would mourn his death in hopes that their tears might facilitate his resurrection and the restoration of crops" (Nelson, note on v. 14). Perhaps another way to look at this is to think of people assembling in congregational worship services praying, "Give us our daily bread," yet refusing to obey the true God and practice His ways.

This would have served as quite an indictment against the Israelites of Hosea's day. Yet even so, religious people of the modern nations of Israel usually pray to a totally false concept of God as well (with worship customs curiously similar to those ancient Israel adopted from the Canaanites)—and will cry to this "Lord" loudly when trouble becomes hard. Only when they rediscover the true God of the Bible and call upon Him will God ultimately deliver them. Thankfully, God will make sure that they do at last rediscover Him.

Sours: https://www.ucg.org/bible-study-tools/bible-commentary/bible-commentary-hosea-7

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