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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 12

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-14

Hosea 12:4-5 . He found him in Bethel. Christ, the angel, the mystical angel, or the Angel the Word, as St. Clemens of Alexandria calls him: so indeed do all the orthodox fathers. The church knows of no exception, till the time of Arius. See bishop Bull’s defence of the faith of the Nicene fathers. This work has been reprinted in Holland, and it has the first of claims to the study of all ministers.

There he spake with us, even the Lord God of hosts. The name here designates the Speaker, who gave his covenant to the holy patriarchs, and lived throughout all ages to perform it. See on Exodus 3:6. Deuteronomy 4:6. He, the Eternal Word and Wisdom, was always rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth. Proverbs 8:22.

Hosea 12:8 . In all my labours they shall find no iniquity in me. In the preseding verse, Ephraim is charged with having balances of deceit in his hand. The LXX relieve this apparent contradiction. “All his labours,” of which he makes his boast, “shall not survive him, because of the wickedness he has committed.” The Assyrians shall come and desecrate all his tombs to find treasures, and all his altars by way of contempt. Jeremiah 8:1-2. The Romans protected all temples, and worshipped all gods, while the Assyrians cast the gods of conquered nations into the fire.


Ephraim feedeth on wind, on the illusive flatteries and promises of the false prophets and priests of Baal; fine harvests, and Egyptian alliances! But these promises proved to Israel as the east wind, which parched up the verdure of the field. Psalms 48:7. Alas, this heart which would fain feed on riches, on pleasures, and on the news of the day, dignified with the name of life; vanities which fleet away like the chaff.

On the contrary, our holy prophet would feed them with the bread of heaven, the food which their fathers the patriarchs had eaten. They lived not by bread alone, but by the word of the Lord. The Messiah attended their altars, and covered them with his wings in the day of trouble. The great Angel met with Jacob at Bethel, and watched with him in the night that Esau was on his march to destroy him, even JEHOVAH ELOHÈ of hosts; Jehovah is his memorial. What had the bloody Kamarim, besmeared at their altars, to compare with the glory of ancient days? Not Beersheba, the wholesome well of which Abraham drank, but broken cisterns that could hold no water, which mocked their misery, and deceived them in time of drought.

On these strong arguments our prophet builds his exhortation to repentance. Therefore, oh Ephraim, turn to thy God; attend his only altar, keep judgment, and worship the Lord of hosts. He is thy God, from the land of Egypt to the present day. He has multiplied visions to the seers, and used similitudes by the superabundant ministry of his prophets. Return, return to the Lord, and he will make you to dwell safely in his tabernacles.

But alas, there is iniquity in Gilead, once a city of priests, a pleasant and inviting abode. They sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; they flee into Egypt, and to Assyria for help. They bitterly provoke the Lord to anger: therefore the blood of Ephraim shall be on his own head. Oh thou hardened man, a sinner like Ephraim, all means have also been tried to effectuate thy conversion, and all means have failed. Let then the ruin of Ephraim be a final warning to leave the sins which have covered thee in the eyes of God with infamy and shame.

But thou, oh unitarian, who hast denied the existence of demons, and by consequence, of all angels; and now triest to obliterate the name of Christ from the old testament, pretending that all the angels that spake to the prophets were created angels. Thou philosophical hypocrite, the Judge out of thine own mouth will condemn thee; and blot out thy name from the registers of heaven.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Hosea 12". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/hosea-12.html. 1835.
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