Lectionary Calendar
Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 10

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-15

CHAPTER 9:10-11:11 Retrospect, Israel’s Failure and Ruin

1. Israel once beloved, now fugitive wanderers (Hosea 9:10-17 )

2. Their guilt and punishment (Hosea 10:1-11 )

3. Exhortation and rebuke (Hosea 10:12-15 )

4. The mercy of a merciful God (Hosea 11:1-11 )

Hosea 9:10-17 . Like a wayfaring man who finds grapes and figs in the desert and delights in them, so the Lord found Israel in the desert and they were His pleasure when He led them out of Egypt. But they requited His love by going after Baal-peor, one of the filthiest gods of heathendom. To this they consecrated themselves and practiced their vile abominations. Therefore the glory which He had given to His people will fly away like a bird and their licentious worship of unnatural vices would avenge itself so that there would be no pregnancy and no birth, the promised increase would stop. It seems Hosea 9:14-17 are an outburst of the prophet. How literally the sentence has been fulfilled. “They will be wanderers.”

Hosea 10:1-11 . Here is another retrospect, Israel once called to be a thriving vine (not empty), called to be fruitful; but Israel did not bring forth the expected fruit. As the nation abounded and prospered they increased their idol altars; as the land yielded its increase in the same measure they made their images. Their heart was smooth, or deceitful, for this they will now have to suffer. “Their heart is smooth; now will they make expiation.” They will have no more king. The smooth or deceitful heart is described in Hosea 10:4 , while in the verse which follows the judgment upon their calves they worshipped is announced. It, the calf, will be carried to Assyria to be made a present of to the king. The high places will be destroyed and thorns and thistles will overgrow its altars. Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall upon us!” Well, it is to read In connection with this prophetic statement what our Lord said about the judgment of Jerusalem in Luke 23:30 and what is written in connection with the breaking of the sixth seal in Revelation 6:16 .

Gibeah is mentioned (Hosea 10:9 ). The corruption of Gibeah is also noted in Hosea 9:9 . The horrible abomination of Gibeah is recorded in Judges 19:1-30 in consequence of which the tribe of Benjamin was almost wiped out. And the people had become as wicked and guilty as Benjamin at Gibeah. The nations are now to be used to punish Israel. “And the nations will gather themselves against them, when I bind them for their offenses” (Hosea 10:10 , literal translation) .

Hosea 10:12-15 . Here is a break in the judgment message. If they would return to the Lord and would sow righteousness, they would reap mercy. But such sowing is impossible unless the fallow ground is broken up, that is, true repentance and a heart return unto the Lord. “For it is time to seek the Lord, until He come and rain righteousness upon you.” In what infinite patience He waited for the repentance of His people! But while He would save them, they would not! Still God’s gifts and calling are without repentance and the day will come when a remnant of Israel will seek the Lord; then He will come and rain righteousness upon them.

How different was their condition! The Lord rebukes them, for they had ploughed wickedness, and reaped iniquity. The noise of war is now heard; Shalman (a contracted form of Shalmanezer, the King of Assyria) is advancing and shall destroy all their fortresses as he destroyed Beth-arbel. (There is no further record of Beth-arbel and its destruction.) And who was responsible for all this havoc and the impending calamity? “Thus has Bethel done to you, for the evil of your great evil. In the early morning the king of Israel shall be utterly cut off.” Bethel was the seat of Israel’s idolatry, it drew God’s wrath and finally ended the monarchy in Israel and their national existence.

Hosea 11:1-11 . This chapter starts with a beautiful allusion to Israel’s youth, when in sovereign love He called Israel, His firstborn son, out of Egypt, redeeming them by blood and power Exodus 4:22-31 . But this passage is quoted in the second chapter of the Gospel of Matthew: “That it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called My Son” Matthew 2:15 . The blending together of Israel and Christ is very interesting. Christ is the true Israel and goes through the entire history of the nation, without failure and in divine perfection. He was carried as an infant into the land where Israel suffered in the fiery furnace; and finally He died for that nation and in some future day through Him, the true Israel (called such in Isaiah 49:1-26 ), Israel’s great future and glory will come to pass.

But while the Son of God, the true Israel, was perfect and holy in all His ways, Israel was unfaithful. This record of Jehovah’s faithfulness and mercy is here unfolded. He sent them prophets who called them, but they turned away from Him and gave themselves over to the Baalim and the idol-gods. How loving He had been to them! He led them, took them into His arms and healed them. He drew them with cords of love and was towards them “as those that would raise the yoke-strap over their jaws, and I reached out to them to eat” (Hosea 11:4 ). It is a beautiful picture of His great gentleness with them. Perhaps some of them were anxious to turn to Egypt and find a home there and thus escape the cruel Assyrian. But the Lord declares that they shall not return to Egypt, but Assyria is to be their king, because they refused to return. The sword of judgment would do its work completely (Hosea 11:6-7 ). Then follows a most wonderful outburst of deepest sorrow over the stubborn nation:

How should I give you up, Ephraim?

How shall I surrender thee, Israel?

How should I make thee like Admah?

Or set thee like Zeboim?

My heart is turned within me;

My repentings are kindled together.

It is the same Lord who speaks here, who centuries later stood before the city and broke out in loud weeping when He beheld the city: “If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes” Luke 19:42 . “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! Behold your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord” Matthew 23:37 . How He loves His people! And though He has punished them, He does not forsake them; He will not be angry forever; He is a covenant keeping God, “For I am God and not man” (Hosea 11:9 ). “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed” Malachi 3:6 . And so here, this chapter of Jehovah’s mercy ends with the assurance of their future restoration and blessing. “They will follow the Lord.” That will be “when like a lion He roars.” That is the day when He appears again as “The lion of the tribe of Judah.” Then, in that day, like a bird from Egypt they will hasten back and like a dove from Assyria. “Then will I make them dwell in their houses, saith the Lord.” Here is another prophecy of their restoration to their own, God-given home land.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Hosea 10". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/hosea-10.html. 1913-1922.
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