Hosea 13


‘When Ephraim spoke, people trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died. Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of these people, “They offer human sacrifices! They kiss calf-idols!” Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window.’ Hosea 13:1-3

The LORD’s Anger Against Israel

Hosea now tells Israel that their doom is unavoidable. As the father of one of the tribes of Israel, Genesis 48:14, Ephraim was a dominant personality, in the main tribe in the Northern Kingdom, 1 Kings 12:20 / 2 Kings 14:25-27. When he spoke others trembled but their punishment is coming because of their idolatry and as a result, they died spiritually.

Hosea tells them they just keep on sinning, especially in connection with idolatry, 1 Kings 12:25-30 / 1 Kings 16:29-33. They made idols out of silver and worshipped them and they offered human sacrifices and kissed the calf idols, the idols of fertility.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Kissing the calves, or kissing the hand toward the calves or idols, was an act of devotion or homage expressed toward the false deity. The practice of ‘kissing the hand toward’ is found as early as Job and later in the days of Elijah, Job 31:27 / 1 Kings 19:18. The Spirit instructs the kings of the earth to kiss the Son, that is, to do homage to Him, Psalms 2:12.’

The morning mist, James 4:13ff, the early dew, the chaff, Matthew 3:12, and smoke are all used figuratively of Israel’s existence. They are soon to pass away because of their idolatry.

‘But I have been the LORD your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Saviour except me. I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat. When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me. So I will be like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk by the path. Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open; like a lion I will devour them—a wild animal will tear them apart.’ Hosea 13:4-8

God now reminds them of the time when God gave birth to them, back in Egypt, the time He delivered them from Egyptian slavery. He took care of their every need whilst they were in the wilderness, He provided good grazing grounds for their flocks.

Butler, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Their trouble was pride. They did exactly what Moses warned them not to do, Deuteronomy 8:11-20. When they become 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 wilfully to ignore the facts of history, 2 Peter 3:3-7. Pseudoscientists, proud of their intellectualism, proud of their erudition, or their religious heritage, 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.’

They had forgotten God, Deuteronomy 6:10 / Deuteronomy 8:11, and God is now going to become like a lion, leopard and bear to them. He is going to totally rip them apart and devour them. After their time in captivity, they would have certainly learned the lesson that there is only One God, Exodus 20:3 / Isaiah 43:11.

‘You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper. Where is your king, that he may save you? Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’? So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away.’ Hosea 13:9-11

God tells Israel that they were their own worst enemy. Because they rebelled against God, they were actually rebelling against the only One who could help them.

Butler, in his commentary, says the following.

‘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, Matthew 21:42-44.’

Israel longed for a king, 1 Samuel 8:5, the problem was most of the kings led them into idolatry, they led God’s people away from Him and His ways. Because the kings led the people away from God, when the remnant returned from captivity, there would be no physical king again. God Himself, would once again be their King.

Mays, in his commentary, says the following.

‘In Hosea 8:4, Hosea said that Yahweh had no part in Israel’s kingmaking. Here the assessment is even more negative. Yahweh had no responsibility for Israel’s kings, and all that his people can receive from God through them is his anger.’

‘The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record. Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb. “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion. Even though he thrives among his brothers. An east wind from the LORD will come, blowing in from the desert; his spring will fail and his well dry up. His storehouse will be plundered of all its treasures. The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.” Hosea 13:12-16

Ephraim’s guilt was stored up and kept on record, 2 Corinthians 5:10, that is, the sin was stored and kept for punishment, Revelation 18:5. Hosea tells us that Israel, despite their sin would give birth to a new nation, Isaiah 13:8 / Micah 4:9-10.

Harper, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The figure represents the woman, come to term, but unable to perform the act. But with the privilege of a Hebrew poet, Hosea suddenly shifts from the mother to the child that is to be born. He is an unwise son. The child is represented as failing to do the part assigned to him by nature and in this failure he shows himself unwise and foolish. The result will be that, instead of an occasion for rejoicing, a new birth, there will rather be an occasion for grief, for the parturition will be fatal to both mother and son. Not only is there no new being in the world; that one which did exist is taken away. Israel, in order to continue life, must be born again, without such new birth, old Israel must perish.’

Smith, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The Lord will no longer have compassion, there is an end to the patience of God. Consequently, the answer to the two rhetorical questions in verse 14a is no. The Lord will not redeem them from the power of Sheol.’

The east wind, that is, Assyria would come from the east and totally destroy Israel. The spring and well are also metaphors in relation to the Assyrian invasion.

Jamieson, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The Assyrian invader, Shalmaneser began the siege of Samaria in 723 B.C. Its close was in 721 B.C., the first year of Sargon, who seems to have usurped the throne of Assyria while Shalmaneser was at the siege of Samaria. Hence, while 2 Kings 17:6 states, ‘the king of Assyria took Samaria,’ 2 Kings 18:10 says, ‘at the end of three years they took it!’

There is no escape for Samaria, they need to bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. During the Assyrian invasion, the Assyrians will kill many by the sword, little ones will be dashed to the ground and pregnant women’s wombs will be ripped open.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘These stark and terrible details are all that is needed to describe the horrible Assyrian invasion that carried Northern Israel away forever. They ruthlessly butchered the vast majority of the population, burned, looted, and demolished their cities, destroyed their fortresses, and carried away into slavery more than 27,000 of the Israelites whose youth, strength, and ability would make them profitable as slaves. Children too young to work were destroyed. The nobility in the greater part, all of the aged, infirm, or disabled were killed.’

Go To Hosea 14