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the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 12

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-14

CHAPTERS 11:12-12:14 The Indictment

1. Ephraim’s indictment (Hosea 11:12 ; Hosea 12:1-2 )

2. Remembrance of the past (Hosea 12:3-6 )

3. What Israel had become (Hosea 12:7-14 )

Chapter 11:12-12:2. Lying and deceit had been Ephraim’s course towards Jehovah; instead of trusting Him and following Him faithfully they had attached themselves to idols, while Judah still outwardly cleaved to Jehovah, though it was in a rambling way. The word translated “ruleth” means rambling. The better rendering of the sentence is “and Judah is also rambling towards God (or unbridled against Him) and towards the faithful Holy One.” But while outwardly Judah seemed to be all right, Ephraim fed on wind, was occupied with the vain, the empty things, increased in lies and desolation and turned to Assyria and Egypt for help, sending as a present olive oil to the latter and making a covenant with the former (see 2 Kings 17:4 ). Then the mask is torn from Judah’s face. The Lord had a controversy with them also and would repay them according to their evil deeds.

Hosea 12:3-6 . Jacob’s sons are now reminded of Jacob’s experience. Though he was so weak and sinful yet the Lord in marvelous grace met him. The experience at Peniel is recalled. “Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed; he wept and made supplication unto Him.” There he learned the sufficiency of grace and his strength was made perfect in weakness. The angel who appeared unto him that night was none other than the Son of God. What a reminder it was to them. “He found him (Jacob) in Bethel!” In the very place where the Lord found Jacob and Jacob found the Lord, they had set up their awful, God-denying idol worship. Where God had shown such mercy there they practiced now their abominations. Jehovah, the God of hosts, was still the same. He is the Lord who changes not. He was waiting still for their return. To such a God, who keeps His covenant promises they were urged to return and prove their true return by keeping mercy and justice and by waiting on Jehovah continually. But the call of grace and mercy was unheeded.

Hosea 12:7-14 . The Lord calls apostate Israel a merchant, that is in Hebrew “Canaan.” (Canaan means traffic; see Ezekiel 17:4 .) They had become Canaanites with the balances of deceit, loving to oppress. They had become fraudulent merchants, by cheating and oppression. Their wrong attitude towards Jehovah, having forsaken Him, led to a wrong attitude towards their fellowmen. Instead of repenting they boasted, “I am become rich, I have found me out substance.” They were breaking the law continually Leviticus 19:36 and Deuteronomy 25:13-16 . Yet in all their lawbreaking they prided themselves of being a righteous nation. “In all my labors they shall find no iniquity in me that were sin.” How all this fits a good part of the Jews today is too well known to need further comment.

Some day it will be different through the grace and mercy of the never-changing Lord. He is the Jehovah who delivered them out of Egypt; all their blessing and prosperity they owed to Him; He had guided and preserved them, and all their sinning would not diminish His faithfulness to them. They are going to dwell again some day in tents, a reference to the feast of tabernacles, that great feast which typifies the coming millennial blessings for restored Israel. Such had been the continued testimony of the prophets He had sent, who announced the coming judgments and the final blessings in a future day. But now everything was ruin on account of their idolatry. Gilgal was the seat of a part of their idolatry (Hosea 4:15 , Hosea 9:15 ). Then once more they are reminded of their progenitor Jacob. He fled before Esau his brother, yet though he was weak he served faithfully for a wife and for a wife he kept guard and Jehovah guarded and blest him. So He would concern Himself with them again. The twenty-sixth chapter of Deuteronomy throws light on this passage. But what was Ephraim’s condition? Instead of acknowledging all Jehovah had done for Jacob and his offspring they provoked Him to bitter anger, therefore the Lord would punish them.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Hosea 12". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/hosea-12.html. 1913-1922.
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