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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 10

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books


It Is Time To Seek The Lord

-- Hosea Ten --

Israel was at first a fruitful vine. However their prosperity corrupted them. They turned from God and began to worship idols. The nation of Israel would now face the consequences of their actions. "Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images." ( Hos_10:2 ) The sad condition of the nation was brought about because the people did not fear the Lord. They had broken their covenant with God and now judgment has come.

Those that worshipped idols and bowed before the calves would now mourn because all the glory of those idols would now be taken away. Now they would fear because of this evil that they had done. Their idols would be carried away to Assyria and they would feel the shame of their ungodliness. Idolatry had fatal consequences that will last into eternity. Idolatry, "the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars." ( Hos_10:8 )

Israel had worshipped a calf. Israel had sinned and now iniquity would overtake them. God pictured their idolatry with the plowing of a calf or heifer. The heifer would lead them to punishment.

Verses 1-4

Israel is an empty vine -- Hos_10:1-4 : Israel was a very selfish and idolatrous nation. God had made them into a healthy vine covered with grapes. Sadly, the more prosperous they became the more altars they built to idols. The more prosperous Israel became, the more corrupt she became by making better shrines for pagan gods. Israel's heart was divided. They were deceitful and disloyal to their Maker. Their devotion was mixed, giving some to the true God but most to idols. God promised that they would pay for their sins because He would break down their altars. They wanted to serve God and idols, but this is impossible. God now does to them what they should have already, "break down their altars, and spoil their images."

God said the people would say, "We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?" ( Hos_10:3 ) When Assyria took Israel captive they were deprived of a king. It would do them no good as long as they did not fear God. "Let all the earth fear the LORD; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him." ( Psa_33:8 ) The fear of God encourages us to keep His commandments. Those that did not fear God will not keep His commandments. Israel broke their vows or the promises they made to each other and they even broke the promises they made to God. They vowed that they would serve God but did not keep their promises. God's judgment would come on them like poisonous weeds growing where healthy plants should grow.

Verses 5-8

Idolatry brought destruction to Israel -- Hos_10:5-8 : The entire population of Samaria would come to tremble with regret concerning the practice of idolatry. The calves at Bethel and Dan led the people from God. ( 1Ki_12:29 ) These idols led to national corruption, shame and finally destruction in Assyria. The idols were the pride of the priests, but God would put them to shame. The glory of Israel was taken to Assyria. Assyria was symbolized by the name Jareb. Assyria was given victory over Israel; then Israel was disgraced for worshipping that idol.

Like foam or a twig upon the water the king of Samaria was swept away. Samaria, the cattail city stands for the entire nation of Israel. The nation of Israel was swept away with the ease of water caring away the foam. Without God Israel had no strength to defend themselves or to maintain as a nation. The altars at sinful Bethaven or Bethel had caused Israel to sin. God would cause them to grow over with thorns and thistles. The destruction would be so great and the dejection so deep that the people would be begging for the mountains and hills to cover and protect them. During his last few hours on earth Jesus refereed to or quoted these words saying, "Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us." ( Luk_23:30 )

Verses 9-12

Sow in righteousness; reap in mercy -- Hos_10:9-12 : Israel had never stopped sinning since that time at Gibeah. Now they faced attacked at Gibeah. Gibeah will always be remembered for the horrible rape and murder of the Levite's wife. (Judges 19) Gibeah was also connected with much of the public life of Saul. It was connected to the evil that was carried on there by the nation while Saul was their first king. When Jeroboam set up idols there were two, one at Dan and one at Bethel. ( 1Ki_12:29 ) These two furrows led the children of Israel to all kinds of sins and rebellion. The peo-ple of Assyrians would be gathered together against the nation to chastise them.

In Bible days animals were used to tread out the grain and to pull the plow. The animals enjoyed the easier task of treading out the grain. Early in their history Israel was like that obedient calf that had enjoyed the easy job of threshing the grain. They served God in the homeland. Sadly, they rebelled against God. As chastisement He put a yoke on their powerful neck and made them plow and cultivate the ground. The kingdom was destined to go into captivity as a punishment for its idolatry. It was too late for the nation, but it was not too late for the individual. If a person will sow righteousness they reap mercy. If they would but seek the Lord He would rain down His mercy and saving power like rain.

Verses 13-15

Plowing wickedness, reaping iniquity -- Hos_10:13-15 : If the planted is wickedness, then the thing that is harvested is iniquity. They ate the fruit of their lies. Israel was deceived by trusting in their strength and their powerful forces. When the Assyrians came Israel's fortresses were destroyed. God said, "Your enemies will do to you what Shalman did to the people of Beth-Arbel -- mothers and their children will be beaten to death against rocks. Shalman is another form for Shalmaneser the Assyrian king. He came against Israel and brought with him terrible destruction. ( 2Ki_17:3 )

Sadly God promised, "So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off." ( Hos_10:15 ) The idols that Jeroboam set up at Dan and Bethel started the northern kingdom on its national record of idolatry. The end of the nation was its continual chastisement for its constant worship of idols. When Assyria invaded Israel it did not take long for the king to be overthrown. Wickedness brings sure and certain destruction! The idolatry of this nation had drawn away their hearts from the Creator of all things.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 10". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hosea-10.html. 2014.
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