This chapter deals with the corruption of Israel and appears to be the final thought of Hosea 6:1.
It appears that every time God healed Israel, 2 Kings 10:25, the more sinful they became. Ephraim and Samaria both were practising deceit, they became burglars and bandits.
They didn’t realise that God remembered every evil thing they were doing. God saw it all and their sin had become so bad, that God turned away from them.
Mays, in his commentary, says the following.
‘They do not remember the history of Yahweh’s revelation. Now their deeds surround them like the wall of a prison. When they worship, he is ready to heal and restore but when he looks upon them he must see the reality before him — the evil, the iniquity, and the sin.’
Despite being the nation’s leaders, it appears the king and the princes, were totally involved with the people’s sinfulness.
As far as God is concerned they are all adulterers, Jeremiah 5:7, burning like an oven, Romans 1:27.
McKeating, in his commentary, says the following.
‘When left alone, the fire may look black and dead, but fierce heat is below the surface. It can be stirred into life at a moment’s notice.’
Their sin was so widespread that it was like the heated oven of a baker that is continually hot except for the time when he is kneading the dough.
The ‘festival day’ was possibly the king’s birthday or some other important occasion and it was time they all got themselves inflamed, that is, drunk with wine.
They get the king drunk with wine, while he joined hands with the mockers. They were plotting against him and planned to murder him, 2 Kings 15.
The fires of their evilness never went out and it was while they were in this sinful condition, that now thought about calling out to God for help.
Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.
‘This is the third usage of the oven metaphor, as follows.
1. They are like the banked fire ready to flare up at the slightest chance, Hosea 7:4.
2. They were an oven fire, waiting while preparations are being completed, using the occasion to plan new evil, Hosea 7:6.
3. They ‘are hot as an oven’, their evil passions are a vicious, burning lust.
Here we read of Ephraim mixing themselves with foreign nations.
Given, in his commentary, says the following.
‘The best comment on this verse is Psalm 106:35-36 / Psalm 106:39. They mingled among the heathen and learned their works. And they served their idols which were a snare unto them. Thus, they were defiled with their own works, and went a-whoring with their own inventions.’
Ephraim is like a half-baked cake, cooked on one side but soggy on the other. They had become a worthless cake, which needs to be thrown into the rubbish bin.
Hailey, in his commentary, says the following.
‘Ephraim burned on one side, raw on the other, fit for nothing. They were cooked by heathenism, but uncooked, raw, in their relations to God.’
They had become like the foreign nations around them, 2 Kings 12:7 / 2 Kings 15:19, they got involved in idolatry without realizing it and so, God refused to help them.
Gray hair signifies age, they were coming to the end of life but didn’t notice. Israel became arrogant in their idolatry, they had forgotten all about God and His ways, Hosea 4:6, and tried to keep up with the nations around them.
They didn’t return to God or even search for Him. They depended upon themselves, the nations around them when they should have been dependent upon God. God had indeed become a distant memory.
Ephraim became like a dove, easily deceived and senseless. They aimlessly flew back and forth to Egypt, 2 Kings 17:4, and Assyria for help, 2 Kings 15:19. Ephraim had no idea that they would end up being caught in a trap by the Assyrians, 2 Kings 17:4.
Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.
‘The mention of both Egypt and Assyria suggests that there were probably pro-Egypt and pro-Assyria parties in Samaria and as conditions changed, first one and then the other had the ear of the gullible and indecisive king. This panicky dependence on foreign powers was also condemned by other prophets of the time, Isaiah 30:1-7.’
God threw the net and pulled His people down like birds in the sky, Ezekiel 12:13. God was going to use the Assyrians to punish His people, Leviticus 26:14-44 / Deuteronomy 28:15-68.
Israel had totally forgotten about how God redeemed them out of Egypt and protected them along the way and instead of turning to God, they turned to these foreign nations for protection.
Smith, in his commentary, says the following.
‘The construction of the phrase is impressive. And I, I would have redeemed them, but they, they spoke lies against me. The contrast between the Lord’s intention and Israel’s action is deliberately pointed.’
They cried out to their idol gods instead of crying out to God for help, Leviticus 26:1. They slash themselves, as the prophets of Baal practice, 1 Kings 18:25-30, and they turned to their idols for grain and wine, that is, for their sustenance, instead of turning to God to take care of their daily needs. It appears that they will turn to everything and everyone except God.
Instead of turning to God for strength and protection, they relied on a faulty bow, Psalms 78:57. Anyone who goes to war with a faulty bow will tell you they won’t last long because their bow is as good as useless, it is unreliable.
Harper, in his commentary, says the following.
‘The comparison is not to a bow which has lost its elasticity, Psalm 120:2f / Psalm 78:37, nor one that cannot be used because it is relaxed, nor one whose string breaks without shooting the arrow, nor one which strikes and wounds the bowman, but rather to a bow which is expected to shoot in one direction but actually shoots in another, thus failing to accomplish its end.’
The leaders will reap the reward of every idle word that ever came from their mouths and as a result, they will be ridiculed in Egypt. In other words, the Egyptians would make fun of them when Israel fell into the hands of the Assyrians.