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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 11

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-12

Chapter 11

God continues His lament and all. He said,

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt ( Hsa Hosea 11:1 ).

Now, this verse has been used in Matthew's gospel as a prophecy concerning the fact that Jesus would be taken to Egypt when a baby. And you remember when the wise men inquired of Herod where the Christ child should be born, Herod inquired of the scribes and they said, "According to the scriptures, in Bethlehem." And so he sent the wise men to Bethlehem where they found a young child with His mother. And they worshipped Him and offered Him gifts: gold, frankincense and myrrh. And while they were there, the Lord spoke to the wise men. Herod said, "Go seek for the child and when you have found Him come and tell me so that I might also come and worship Him." Of course, Herod had no intention of worshipping the child.

Herod was a very vicious, cruel, really paranoid individual. He always thought people were plotting to take his throne away. He killed his wife because he thought she was in a plot. He killed his sons. In fact, there was a saying, "It was safer to be Herod's pig than it was to be his son," because he was so paranoid about losing his power. Now, Herod was a magnificent builder. You go to Israel today and you still see those tremendous mind-boggling monuments that were left by Herod the Great. You see the Herodian, you see Masada, you see those portions of the walls of Jerusalem that were built by Herod, and it just absolutely boggles your mind, these huge building projects and how lavish and ornate they were. All built by Herod. He was a tremendous builder, built the city of Caesarea and built these great monuments. But he was fearful constantly that he was gonna... that there were assassination plots and all, and so he was always killing off those that were around him. And it was dangerous to be in the close circle with Herod because he'd get suspicious and say, "Oh ho, you're looking at my throne" and then he, the next thing you know, your head was on a charger.

So, when he heard the wise men, here they came, and they asked him, "Where is He to be born who is the King of the Jews?" That was his title. So, they told him of the star. He said, "Go and find the young child, and when you have found him, come and tell me that I might come and worship Him too." Intending, of course, to assassinate Jesus Christ. So the wise men were warned by the Lord not to return to Herod, but they went directly back to their places in the east. And the angel of the Lord warned Joseph to take the mother and the child and flee to Egypt. And then Matthew quotes this verse from Hosea, "For out of Egypt shall My Son be called."

Now, you see as you read the verse that the primary understanding is that God is talking about how that He brought Israel, the people Jacob when they were a child and God loved them, and He brought His Son out of Egypt. That primarily the understanding and the interpreting would be that of the nation of Israel coming out of Egypt and into the land that God promised. But by the Holy Spirit and the commentary of Matthew, we know that there is a twofold understanding to the scripture, and that it also is in reality a prophecy of the flight of Mary and Joseph to Egypt when Jesus was just a child, remaining of course in Egypt until the death of Herod.

And as they called them, so they went from them: and they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images ( Hsa Hosea 11:2 ).

Now when Israel was just a child, just a new nation, God loved them. He brought them out of Egypt. He called them, but they went from them and then they began soon to sacrifice unto the false gods.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them ( Hsa Hosea 11:3 )

When they were child, I taught them really to walk.

I took them by the arms;

And held them. I was just developing them, helping them in their development.

but they knew not that I healed them ( Hsa Hosea 11:3 ).

They didn't really recognize the place of God in their national life. Though God had brought them into existence, though God was nurturing them, taking care of them, taking them by the arms, helping them to walk; yet they did not recognize that it is God's hand that is upon us and that is developing. Even as we now seem to fail to realize the place that God had in the birth of this nation and in the development of this nation.

And God said,

I drew them with cords of a man, and with bonds of love: bands of love ( Hsa Hosea 11:4 ):

Oh, how God loved them.

and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them ( Hsa Hosea 11:4 ).

But now they are thinking, some of them, of going back to Egypt to escape the Assyrians. God had brought them out of Egypt. But oh how tragic when we go back to those things from which God once delivered us or even think about going back to those places from which God has delivered us. But though they are thinking about going to Egypt.

the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return ( Hsa Hosea 11:5 ).

So rather than going to Egypt, they are going to be conquered by Assyria.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. And my people are bent to backsliding from me: and though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt him ( Hsa Hosea 11:6-7 ).

Their hearts were just turned and they were determined to just leave the worship of God.

How shall I give thee up, O Ephraim? ( Hsa Hosea 11:8 )

Listen to God's cry. Listen to this plaintive cry of God for these people. Even though they've turned their back on Him, even though they won't acknowledge Him, even though they're worshipping these other gods, God is unwilling to let them go. Oh, love that will not let me go.

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? my heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together ( Hsa Hosea 11:8 ).

God's cry, "Oh, how can I give you up? How can I let you go?"

And thus God said,

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man: the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city ( Hsa Hosea 11:9 ).

And then the glorious promise here of that day that is coming when God will restore Israel to his place of prominence in the kingdom.

They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west ( Hsa Hosea 11:10 ).

Now, when Jesus Christ, the lion of the tribe of Judah, comes again, He is going to let out a roar like a lion. He came in meekness and humility, as a lamb to be sacrificed for the sins of the world. Isaiah said of Him, "As a sheep that is before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth" ( Isaiah 53:7 ). And He came as a lamb, as a sacrificial lamb in order that He might be the sacrifice for our sins. But when He comes again, He's coming as a lion, the king of the beasts, in triumph, in power, in glory. "Then shall they see the Son of man," He said, "coming with clouds and great glory" ( Matthew 24:30 ). And He, when He sets His foot there upon the Mount of Olives, He's gonna roar like a lion. Oh, I can hardly wait to hear that. Man.

There are several places in the Old Testament where this is mentioned. The next reference will be in our next week's reading. Joel, chapter Hos 3:16 ,has a reference there to His roaring like a lion. But when you get to the book of Revelation chapter 10 and Christ returns, sets one foot upon the sea and one upon the land and holds the scroll open now in His hands and the declaration is made, the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, it said, "and he shall roar as a lion who has triumphed over his prey." So the fulfillment of Hos 11:10 here will take place; its fulfillment is described in Revelation chapter 10. So you might want to read that in conjunction with His roaring here like a lion.

They shall tremble [that is, the nations from the west] as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD. Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah is still retaining its position with God, and is faithful with the saints ( Hsa Hosea 11:11-12 ).

So the Northern Kingdom is apostate; it's to be destroyed. Judah, for the time being, is still faithful, but their day's also coming. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Hosea 11". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/hosea-11.html. 2014.
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