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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 13

Old & New Testament Restoration CommentaryRestoration Commentary

Verses 1-8

Hos 13:1-8


TEXT: Hosea 13:1-8

Israel could not stand prosperity. She let pride cause her to forget her prosperity came from Jehovah. Turning, in pride, to idols she persists in idolatry and incurs the terrible wrath of a jealous God.

Hosea 13:1 When EphraimH669 spakeH1696 trembling,H7578 heH1931 exaltedH5375 himself in Israel;H3478 but when he offendedH816 in Baal,H1168 he died.H4191

Hosea 13:1 WHEN EPHRAIM SPAKE . . . THERE WAS TREMBLING . . . The struggles of the proud tribe of Ephraim to get the rule among the tribes of the covenant people led eventually to the secession of the ten tribes and the divided kingdoms and the establishment of the kingdom of Israel. Israel, the northern kingdom, then became powerful and rich, and when Israel “spoke” her neighbor-nations (esp. Judah) listened! When Israel became rich and powerful her kings (esp. Ahab, see 1 Kings 16:29-33) made alliances with heathen nations and brought in the worship of Baal. This offended the righteous and jealous love of Jehovah. From that time onward Israel began slowly but certainly to die—both spiritually, and as a consequence, physically.

Zerr: Hosea 13:1. As long as the people of Israel trembled or had reverence for the Lord, they were exalted in the divine favors. But they did not remain thus faithful; instead, they committed the offence of sacrificing to the false god called BaaL When that took place the Lord decreed that the nation should die. That means it was to die nationally, and it was fulfilled when it was dethroned and taken away into the captivity (Isaiah 22:14; Isaiah 22:18).

Hosea 13:2 And nowH6258 they sinH2398 more and more,H3254 and have madeH6213 them molten imagesH4541 of their silver,H4480 H3701 and idolsH6091 according to their own understanding,H8394 allH3605 of it the workH4639 of the craftsmen:H2796 theyH1992 sayH559 of them, Let the menH120 that sacrificeH2076 kissH5401 the calves.H5695

Hosea 13:2 AND NOW THEY SIN MORE AND MORE . . . THEY SAY . . . LET THE MEN THAT SACRIFICE KISS THE CALVES . . . The farther one goes away from the light, the darker the darkness! The more Israel sinned, the more she wanted to sin, They became stupid and shameless in their sin and melted their silver and fashioned it with their own hands into gods and then bowed down before them and even kissed them. Pusey says, “Kissing was an act of homage in the East, done upon the hand or the foot, the knees or shoulder. It was a token of Divine honor, whether to an idol or to God (cf. 1 Kings 19:18; Psalms 2:12). It was performed, either by actually kissing the image, or when the object could not be approached, (as the moon) kissing the hand, and so sending, as it were, the kiss to it (cf. Job 31:26-27). The apostle Paul reasoned logically with the philosophers of Athens that living men should never think that the Deity is like gold or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man (cf. Acts 17:22-31). Men, rational beings, professing to worship Jehovah, kiss, adore, worship, and expect help from calves made of silver. What foolish, stupid wickedness! There is even enough of the revelation of a personal God in nature that men ought not to worship idols or creatures (cf. Romans 1:18-32). And Israel had in addition to this, a direct, miraculously confirmed, revelation of God!

Zerr: Hosea 13:2. Baal was one of the invisible gods that the idolaters worshiped which was foolish enough, but God accused them of sinning more and more. That was because they were not content to serve a god that was invisible, and in that respect was like the true God, but went further and served the gods of their own making. A little reasoning should have shown them the folly of depending upon a god of human origin, for such a thing could not possibly possess any more power than a human being.

Hosea 13:3 ThereforeH3651 they shall beH1961 as the morningH1242 cloud,H6051 and as the earlyH7925 dewH2919 that passeth away,H1980 as the chaffH4671 that is driven with the whirlwindH5590 out of the floor,H4480 H1637 and as the smokeH6227 out of the chimney.H4480 H699

Hosea 13:3 THEREFORE THEY SHALL BE AS THE . . . DEW THAT PASSETH EARLY AWAY . . . Hosea uses four common experiences of men to figuratively express the rapid demise of Israel. As suddenly as the morning clouds vanish, as quickly as the dew is dried up, as violently as the chaff is driven through the air by a whirlwind, and as completely as the smoke rising from a cooking fire vanishes—so will Israel suddenly, quickly, violently and completely vanish from the land. Hosea uses “dew” in other places as a figure of other experiences (cf. our comments on Hosea 6:4 and Hosea 14:5).

Zerr: Hosea 13:3. A morning cloud and early dew soon disappear, and the comparison is made to the shortness and un-certainty of all false gods and the suc-cess of those who worship them. All of the illustrations in this verse are for the same purpose, and they predict the overthrow of the rule of corruption which the men of Israel had maintained to the disadvantage of the common. people.

Hosea 13:4 Yet IH595 am the LORDH3068 thy GodH430 from the landH4480 H776 of Egypt,H4714 and thou shalt knowH3045 noH3808 godH430 butH2108 me: for there is noH369 saviourH3467 besideH1115 me.

Hosea 13:5 IH589 did knowH3045 thee in the wilderness,H4057 in the landH776 of great drought.H8514

Hosea 13:4-5 . . . I AM JEHOVAH THY GOD FROM THE LAND OF EGYPT . . . I DID KNOW THEE IN THE WILDERNESS . . . Again the prophet sets forth the contrast between the true God and the false gods. The enormity of their sin is evident once the comparison is recognized. Their God, Jehovah, delivered them from the power of Egypt and Egypt’s “gods” by demonstrating, through Moses and Aaron, the impotency of Egypt’s idols and His own omnipotence. Jehovah delivered them, sustained them in the wilderness and revealed His will to them by mighty miraculous signs and wonders which their forefathers had seen with their own eyes (cf. Deuteronomy 32:1-43). How utterly stupid of this generation then, not to recognize that there is only One True God, Jehovah, and that He alone can save them.

Zerr: Hosea 13:4. From, the land of Egypt is explained at Hosea 12:9. Shalt know no god but one has a twofold bearing, it denotes the commandment of the Lord and is the first of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:3). It is also a prediction of the state of Israel to he manifested after the captivity. The history quoted in connection With Isaiah 1:25 shows that Israel was completely cured of Idolatry after the captivity. Hosea 13:5. I did know thee denotes the attention the Lord gave to Israel in the wilderness. There were many times that the nation would have perished for the necessities of life had God not been good enough to provide food and water for them.

Hosea 13:6 According to their pasture,H4830 so were they filled;H7646 they were filled,H7646 and their heartH3820 was exalted;H7311 thereforeH5921 H3651 have they forgottenH7911 me.

Hosea 13:6 . . . THEY WERE FILLED AND THEIR HEART WAS EXALTED . . . How could a later generation (of Israelites be so mentally and spiritually depraved as to forget the facts of history? The answer is here in the sixth verse. Pride! They did exactly what Moses warned them not to do in Deuteronomy 8:11-20! When Israel became affluent, they did like so many other nations have done, and like America is doing today, they lifted up their hearts in pride and said “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” Pride—whether it is military pride, political pride, affluent pride or intellectual pride—causes men to “wilfully ignore the fact of history” as Peter points out in II Per. Hosea 3:3-5. Pseudo-scientists, proud of their intellectualism, proud of their erudition, holding to evolutionary, uniformitarian views, will deliberately ignore the historical, empirical facts which testify to creation and catastrophism. Theologians, proud of their erudition or their religious heritages, will deliberately ignore the historical, textual integrity of the Bible and substitute theology and philosophy for the Word of God. Pride is the trap that snared the devil, snared Eve and then Adam and snares many millions today (cf. 1 Timothy 3:6-7).

Zerr: Hosea 13:6. According to their pasture, The Lord provided abundant pasturage for his stock, but the sheep devoured it to excess and then forgot the Shepherd who had done so much for them. Heart was exalted refers to the pride that took possession of the people as a result of their prosperity.

Hosea 13:7 Therefore I will beH1961 unto them asH3644 a lion:H7826 as a leopardH5246 byH5921 the wayH1870 will I observeH7789 them:

Hosea 13:8 I will meetH6298 them as a bearH1677 that is bereavedH7909 of her whelps, and will rendH7167 the caulH5458 of their heart,H3820 and thereH8033 will I devourH398 them like a lion:H3833 the wildH7704 beastH2416 shall tearH1234 them.

Hosea 13:7-8 THEREFORE I AM UNTO THEM AS A LION . . . AND WILL REND THE CAUL OF THEIR HEART . . . God’s flock had been caused to lie down in green pastures and drink beside the still waters. But now God will come upon this flock of helpless sheep (Israel) like all of the wild beasts and tear this nation to pieces. Caul is the pericardium or membranous sac surrounding the heart. God is going to tear the very heart out of this nation. He will cause it to be devoured and swallowed up in Assyrian captivity, like a lioness devours its prey.

Zerr: Hosea 13:7. The Lord was a tender shepherd over his people while they respected the divine law. However, they were unappreciative of the many favors that were shown them, and then God changed his attitude toward them and threatened to act as a harsh beast. The figure has reference to the exile into a strange land that was destined to come upon the unfaithful nation. Hosea 13:8. This verse continues the figures that indicate the fierceness of God’s wrath against the wicked nation. Caul is from CEGOWE, which Strong defines, “Shut up, i. e., the breast (as inclosing the heart)." The clause means that God will rend the protecting covering of their heart, and expose it to the rigors of the chastising wrath of Him whom they so ungratefully disobey.


1. Who “trembled” when Ephraim spoke?

2. When did Israel begin her downward plunge into moral decadence?

3. Did men actually “kiss” claves? Why?

4. How did Paul, the apostle, argue against idolatry to philosophers?

5. Why should Israel have known the difference between Jahovah and idols?

6. Why did Israel refuse to acknowledge the difference between God and idols?

7. How extensive will the judgment of God be upon Israel?

Verses 9-16

Hos 13:9-16


TEXT: Hosea 13:9-16

The prophet once more discloses to the people the reason for their corruption. Then, after pointing to the saving power of the Lord, he holds up before them utter destruction as the just punishment for their guilt.

Hosea 13:9 O Israel,H3478 thou hast destroyedH7843 thyself; butH3588 in me is thine help.H5828

Hosea 13:9 IT IS THY DESTRUCTION, O ISRAEL, THAT THOU ART AGAINST ME . . . What a statement this is—pregnant with meaning! Man’s sin, judgment, sentence and destruction are not, in themselves, from God, but from man’s moral choice to rebel against God. Whoever casts himself against the Rock of Ages will destroy himself (cf. Matthew 21:42-44), for God’s justice, mercy, righteousness is immutable. An ancient church father wrote, “Rightly is God called, not the Father of judgments or of vengeance, but the Father of mercies, because from Himself is the cause and origin of His mercy, from us the cause of His judging or avenging.” Hosea is here speaking of the ten tribes in their rebellion against Jehovah when they withdrew from the rule of the house of David under Rehoboam and made Jeroboam their king. The ten tribes showed their contempt for Jehovah when they renounced allegiance to and portion in the throne of David (cf. 1 Kings 12:16). Of course, this spirit of desiring to be rid of the rule of Jehovah began in the days of Samuel (cf. 1 Samuel 8:5) when all the people desired to imitate the nations about them and be ruled over by a visible, physical king.

Zerr: Hosea 13:9. Self-destruction in the physical sense is called suicide, and is classed with the most wicked of deeds. It should be regarded with equal or greater horror when it pertains to moral or spiritual matters; the Lord accused his people of this very evil thing. By plunging into a life of idolatry Israel incurred the wrath of the true God which waa to be satisfied only by the national death (Isaiah 22:14). Since this calamity was to be the result of their own rash deeds, it should be regarded as nothing short of national suicide.

Hosea 13:10 I will beH165 thy king:H4428 whereH645 is any other that may saveH3467 thee in allH3605 thy cities?H5892 and thy judgesH8199 of whomH834 thou saidst,H559 GiveH5414 me a kingH4428 and princes?H8269

Hosea 13:11 I gaveH5414 thee a kingH4428 in mine anger,H639 and took him awayH3947 in my wrath.H5678

Hosea 13:10-11 WHERE NOW IS THY KING, THAT HE MAY SAVE THEE . . . I HAVE GIVEN THEE A KING IN MINE ANGER . . . The challenge of Hosea 13:10 does not presuppose that Israel had no king at all at that time, but simply challenges the people to put forth any of their kings that could save them. None could. We are reminded of Isaiah’s challenge to idols and false prophets (Isaiah 42:21-24; Isaiah 44:6-20), to prove their omniscience—they could not. Israel had put all her trust in her kings to save her from economic and political ruin, but “all the king’s horses and all the king’s men, couldn’t put Israel together again.”

Zerr: Hosea 13:10. The first sentence of this verse is rendered, “Where is thy king’’ in the margin of the Bible. Moffatt’s translation renders it likewise and 2 Kings 17:4 gives the reason for the humiliating question. That passage states that the king of Israel had been shut up and bound in prison by the king of Assyria. The Lord further asks them the accusing question about their having anyone else to take the place of this king who was then in prison.

Hosea 13:11 does not refer simply to the dethronement of one king by another, but to the kingdom generally, which God would overthrow in His anger. The anger of God stands at the beginning and at the end; giving kings and taking them away, are both an evidence of His displeasure, Lange says:

“The whole (temporal) kingdom was a divine system of punishment and chastening. At the request of the people, He granted them a king, but with the expression of His displeasure at their desire because it proceeded from unbelief and vanity, and with the declaration that they would lose their freedom by its realization. But, at the same time, this kingdom of Israel might become a blessing if it with its king would obey God. Nay, God, by establishing the throne of David in Zion, even connected the most precious promises with this kingdom, if the king were entirely one with God and should gather about him a nation obedient to God. But the people with their king followed more and more decidedly a course opposed to God by separating (in the kingdom of the Ten Tribes) from the house with which God had connected his promises, and so forsaking the king which God had given them, they must therefore be punished by having this self-erected kingdom taken away, and the punishment is all the greater that they shall never return to a state of freedom, but must lie under the much viler bondage of foreign rulers until they return to the king whom God had promised to raise up from the House of David.”

Zerr: Hosea 13:11. The subject of the “state of the nation” was brought up to the point where it was appropriate to make the statement of this verse. The overthrow of the last king this part of Israel ever had was not to he regarded as an unexpected or unavoidable event, for the very first king they ever had was the victim of God’s wrath. The first clause of the verse refers to the tact that God waa displeased when the people called for a king, although he suffered them to have one (1 Samuel 8:7). The second clause was fulfilled when the Lord declared that Saul was to be removed from the throne because of his rebellion (1 Samuel 15:23),

God gave the tribes who were discontented with the rule of the House of David, a king of their own that He might punish them for their resistance to His divinely appointed government. God held the rebellious ten tribes responsible for separation from the royal house to which the promise of covenant fulfillment had been given. So when Israel separated itself from the theocracy, it separated itself from the divinely appointed worship and altar, and formed an apostate worship, priesthood and an idol-god. God, after a long period of grace in which He sent many prophets to turn the people back to His will, finally took away Israel’s government and gave the nation into the hands of the Assyrians to serve as slaves.

Hosea 13:12 The iniquityH5771 of EphraimH669 is bound up;H6887 his sinH2403 is hid.H6845

Hosea 13:12 THE INIQUITY OF EPHRAIM IS BOUND UP . . . The word tsarur means, boundup in a bundle to store away or preserve with certainty, so as not to be lost. So, the idea here is the certainty of the punishment of Israel. Israel thought, as do all sinners, that because God does not punish sin at once, He never will. They think that God will bear with them always, because He bore with them so long; or that He does not see, does not regard it, is not so precise about His laws being broken (cf. Ecclesiastes 8:11). But unrepented sin is increasingly stored up, piled one upon another, stored up until the patience of God reaches the divine day of appointment.

Zerr: Hosea 13:12. Bound up and hid are said in the sense of being held under consideration by the Lord, to be dealt with as the sin deserves when the proper time comes.

Hosea 13:13 The sorrowsH2256 of a travailing womanH3205 shall comeH935 upon him: heH1931 is an unwiseH3808 H2450 son;H1121 forH3588 he should notH3808 stayH5975 longH6256 in the place of the breaking forthH4866 of children.H1121

Hosea 13:13 THE SORROWS OF A TRAVAILING WOMAN SHALL COME UPON HIM . . . FOR IT IS TIME HE SHOULD NOT TARRY IN THE PLACE OF THE BREAKING FORTH OF CHILDREN. Here is an example of the prophet slipping from one figure to another with application to the same object. It is a very graphic use of figures of speech to portray the obstinacy of Israel. First Hosea describes the punishment Israel will endure by the figure of alluding to the pains of childbirth. Yet, though there is pain in child-birth, it brings forth new life. So, Israel, if she allows her sorrow and travail to turn her to God will be bring forth new life (cf. Micah 4:9-10; Isaiah 26:17-18). But death comes if the foetal child does not enter the vagina during labor. So, now, Hosea turns to this tragic picture to represent the stubborn resistance of Israel to the divine purpose in its travial. Israel is an unwise son because, while under the chastening judgment, he resists conversion and new birth. The “place of the breaking forth of children,” is in Hebrew, Mishbar banim, which means literally, “the breach; the place of bringing forth.”

Zerr: Hosea 13:13. The thought of the preceding verse is continued in this, but it is represented in a figure. The pains of approaching childbirth are used to compare those soon to come upon Israel when the time arrives for him to go through the ordeal of invasion and overthrow. The figure is continued and is worded to fit the facts as they were to occur. The pains of the birth were not to be continuous or lasting as is sometimes the case, which is indicated by the words not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. The fulfillment of this was to be when the captivity (the event illustrated by the pains of childbirth) would be ended. This passage lays the foundation for a wonderful twofold prediction of the rescue of Israel from the national grave, and that of mankind from the literal grave at the resurrection.

Hosea 13:14 I will ransomH6299 them from the powerH4480 H3027 of the grave;H7585 I will redeemH1350 them from death:H4480 H4194 O death,H4194 I will beH165 thy plagues;H1698 O grave,H7585 I will beH165 thy destruction:H6987 repentanceH5164 shall be hidH5641 from mine eyes.H4480 H5869

Hosea 13:14 . . . O DEATH WHERE ARE THY PLAGUES? O SHEOL, WHERE IS THY DESTRUCTION? . . . This verse contains a promise, not a threat, as some commentators have mistakenly understood. The primary intent of the statement is for a faithful remnant of Israel (the Ten Tribes). God’s promise here is that He has the power even to redeem Israel (from the premature death mentioned in Hosea 13:13, by raising them from the dead (so to speak) even as Ezekiel predicted in his figure of the “dry bones” in Ezekiel 37! Some of the Ten Tribes did eventually return with Judah and form the Messianic people. But the ultimate fulfillment of this promise was fulfilled when Christ, the true Israel, conquered death and hell, when He died and rose from the grave (cf. 1 Corinthians 15:55). The Israel restored from the captivity became a type of the Messiah and the Messianic people (cf. Isaiah 25:8 ff).

Zerr: Hosea 13:14. This verse gives the two-fold prediction mentioned In the preceding paragraph. Its first fulfillment was to be when Israel was released from the captivity in Babylon, predicted in so many places. And we are certain the second fulfillment is to be at the general resurrection of mankind, for Paul uses virtually the same language in 1 Corinthians 15:55, where we know he is writing upon that subject. Repentance shall be hid means the Lord has his mind made up on the matters predicted and it will not be changed.

The phrase “repentance shall be hid from mine eyes,” simply signifies that what God has promised to do will be certainly and absolutely accomplished, conditioned upon the response of Israel to His promise. God does not repent! He does not change! His will is immutable! (cf. Psalms 89:34-36; Psalms 110:4). Israel, if she will, can put her trust completely in God’s promise to redeem her from the “death” of captivity and restore her to her intended destiny as a part of the Messianic people—if she will! It is not God’s will that has changed—He does not repent—it is Israel’s choice that has changed.

Hosea 13:15 ThoughH3588 heH1931 be fruitfulH6500 amongH996 his brethren,H251 an east windH6921 shall come,H935 the windH7307 of the LORDH3068 shall come upH5927 from the wilderness,H4480 H4057 and his springH4726 shall become dry,H954 and his fountainH4599 shall be dried up:H2717 heH1931 shall spoilH8154 the treasureH214 of allH3605 pleasantH2532 vessels.H3627

Hosea 13:15 THOUGH HE BE FRUITFUL AMONG HIS BRETHREN . . . We prefer K & D translation of the conjunction in Hosea 13:15 which makes it read “For he will bear fruit among brethren,” rather than the “Though he be fruitful . . .” of the text. The opening phrase of Hosea 13:15 then becomes a play upon the name “Ephraim” which means “double-fruit-fulness.” The prophet is saying, in essence, “Yes, even your name signifies the promise of God that some of Ephraim will be redeemed and bear fruit.” Of course, all the promises of God are fulfilled to those who adhere to the conditions under which they are given. Of the whole nation of Israel in Hosea’s day, only that small remnant who walked in faith in the promises of God and were obedient to His commandments, would be fruitful among their brethren. On the other hand, upon the majority of the people of Israel that has turned itself into Canaan (cf. Hosea 12:8), an “east wind” will come. A storm from the “east” will come upon them. This storm from the east (Assyrian soldiers) will consume the fruitful land of the northern kingdom, and all the impenitent sons of Ephraim with it. Their treasures shall be plundered. They become paupers.

Zerr: Hosea 13:15. Though he be fruitful denotes that the apparent success of the unfaithful leaders of Israel will be reversed. As the east wind (see the comments at Hosea 12:1) would destroy all vegetation, so the wrath of God will put an end to the unrighteous rule of these proud leaders. It is significant that the figurative east wind was to be accomplished by a nation (Assyria) that was literally east of Palestine.

Hosea 13:16 SamariaH8111 shall become desolate;H816 forH3588 she hath rebelledH4784 against her God:H430 they shall fallH5307 by the sword:H2719 their infantsH5768 shall be dashed in pieces,H7376 and their women with childH2030 shall be ripped up.H1234

Hosea 13:16 SAMARIA SHALL BEAR HER GUILT . . . Samaria (Israel represented by her capital city) must atone for her sins. She must pay! She has sown the wind—now she shall reap the whirlwind! One word summarizes the past and present history of the Northern Kingdom: REBELLION (cf. 1 Kings 12:19; 2 Kings 17:14-17). There is a gruesome description of the cold-blooded cruelty of the Assyrian conquest here. Children will be dashed to death upon the pavements of village streets; women, pregnant with child, will be ripped open with the swords of the soldiers. For a record of the actual fulfillment of this see 2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 15:16.

Zerr: Hosea 13:16. Samaria shall become desolate is a prediction that was to he fulfilled literally, for that city was the capital of the 10-tribe kingdom, and it was destined to be overthrown by the Assyrians. The reason for such a fate against the people of Israel is stated in the words for she hath rebelled against her Lord.


1. Why is rebellion against God a prelude to self-destruction?

2. How did God give them a king in anger and take away a king in wrath?

3. Why does the prophet liken Israel’s situation to child-birth?

4. What is the promise concerning victory over hell and death to Israel?

5. Where is this promise quoted in the New Testament and what is its meaning?

6. What is the “east wind” that will come and destroy impenitent Israel?

7. Where is the record of the fulfillment of Hosea 13:16?

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on Hosea 13". "Old & New Testament Restoration Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/onr/hosea-13.html.
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