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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 12

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


The Course Leading to Destruction

-- Hosea Twelve --

The path of forsaking God always leads to sure and certain destruction. Ephraim forsook God, and courted the alliance of idolatrous nations. Such a path could only lead to destruction. God had been so good to the man that He named Israel and later to the nation that bore that name. Yet the nation became dishonest and deceitful. Hosea described in very understandable terms how unprofitableness Israel had become and desolation that would attend their choices and actions.

The children of Israel would lose their possessions are a result of their rebellion against God. God said, "I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast." ( Hos_12:9 ) God had provided them many opportunities of instruction and repentance for Israel, yet they refused. He said, "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." ( Hos_12:10 ) God raised these people from a very humble beginning to become a strong nation. Divine judgments was about to fall upon Israel. "Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him." ( Hos_12:14 )

Verses 1-4

God's controversy with Israel and Judah -- Hos_12:1-4 : Israel was wasting her time on that which had no spiritual substance. It was like feeding on the wind. It was an "east" wind or a wind off of the desert. It would be a hot, dry, dusty wind that would have no value but would even do injury. Israel had become so corrupt that deceit and violence were found everywhere. They made threats with Assyria and took olive oil to Egypt. Observe how evil the people of the Northern Kingdom had become. In addition to His disappointment with Israel God also brought charges against the people of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. They were also descendants of Jacob or Israel. Punishment would likewise be brought upon them for what they had done. Israel was wicked and would now pay for their sins. Judah would face their wrongs too.

We see from this verse how Jacob was blessed. "He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God." ( Hos_12:3 ) This was in keeping with God's promises in Gen_25:23 . "And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger." God's power worked in the life of Jacob. "Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us." ( Hos_12:4 ) God promised to bless and be with Jacob. It was said, "God spoke to us there" and this was in the sense that these people were in the loins of Jacob at Bethel.

Verses 5-6

Trust the Lord and return to him -- Hos_12:5-6 : Hosea wanted to communicate to both Israel and Judah that Jehovah is the same God as when Jacob so successfully wrestled with Him. He is, was and always be the same. God's name is the LORD, the LORD God All-Powerful." He was unchangeable in the way that he had blessed Jacob and his descendants. “Jehovah has all the power of heaven and earth at His command. He is the LORD God of hosts. Host means an army, especially the army of heaven. The Lord God Jehovah is that name that is expressive of the character and of the power of God.

Hosea appealed to the people to return to God, to patiently trust Him, and to show love and justice. He appealed to those that wised to be true descendant of Jacob. They had bound themselves by covenant to God and He had bound Himself to them. They were not bound to idols and they should abandon them quickly. Imagine the joy that Israel could have had if only they had returned to the Lord. He is the same God that had blessed Jacob. If they served Him as Jacob did they would have found Him to be the same merciful and compassionate God.

Verses 7-10

Paying for dishonesty in business -- Hos_12:7-10 : Israel had become deceitful. They enjoyed cheating and taking advantage of other people. These dishonest people would use a heavy weight to buy with and a light weight to sell by. The people of the land had become deceitful, and it was especially sad that their leaders were deceitful also. Their gain caused them to say to themselves, "I'm rich! I earned it all on my own, without committing a sin." Israel was prosperous and as a result had been very vain and rebellious. The situation described in Deu_32:15 is very parallel to Israel's situation. "But Jeshurun waxed fat, and kicked: thou art waxen fat, thou art grown thick, thou art covered with fatness; then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation."

Even though Israel had rebelled and refused God He said, "I, the LORD, am still your God, just as I have been since the time you were in Egypt." God promised to reduce Israel to a miserable state in Assyrian captivity. He promised, "Now I will force you to live in tents once again, as you did in the desert." When some returned from captivity they also found themselves living in tents. Israel was without excuse for their sinful conduct. God had communicated His message to them in many ways and yet they still rebelled. God said, "I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets." ( Hos_12:10 ) They would have no grounds for complaint when the captivity came.

Verses 11-14

Israel provoked God to Anger -- Hos_12:11-14 : Gilead was a large area in Palestine known for producing many healing items but they had become terribly sinful. Now they will end up in ruin. Bulls were sacrificed to idols in Gilgal on altars made of stones. There were also idols scattered in every field. What a horrible picture of the national corruptions of the people of God. Places on each side of the Jordan were known equally know for their idolatry. Their worship was vain because it was devoted to false gods.

God said, "Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep." The purpose of this mention was to let Israel know the humble background of the man from whom they received their name and how God blessed him. The dependence of the nation of Israel upon God is seen in the words, "I sent the prophet Moses to lead Israel from Egypt and to keep them safe." Without God guidance and protection Israel would never have made it to escape Egypt. He preserved and protected them in the wilderness. Yet, they provoked the Lord with many acts of rebellion. Now God would make them pay for their terrible sins and for disobeying and insulting him. Israel would be chastised for their iniquity.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 12". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hosea-12.html. 2014.
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