Hosea 9

Introduction

‘Do not rejoice, Israel; do not be jubilant like the other nations. For you have been unfaithful to your God; you love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor. Threshing floors and winepresses will not feed the people; the new wine will fail them. They will not remain in the LORD’s land; Ephraim will return to Egypt and eat unclean food in Assyria. They will not pour out wine offerings to the LORD, nor will their sacrifices please him. Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners; all who eat them will be unclean. This food will be for themselves; it will not come into the temple of the LORD. What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals, on the feast days of the LORD? Even if they escape from destruction, Egypt will gather them, and Memphis will bury them. Their treasures of silver will be taken over by briers, and thorns will overrun their tents.’ Hosea 9:1-6

Punishment For Israel

As the nation was now ready for captivity, there will be no rejoicing for Israel because everything will be taken from them. They have become unfaithful to God and they loved the wages of a prostitute on every threshing floor.

Harvest time was the time when they reaped the fruits of the harvest and was supposed to be a time of thanksgiving to God for supplying the harvest. However, they won’t be enjoying any harvest, there will be no celebrating because they will have to carry the burden of captivity.

Polkinghorne, in his commentary, says the following.

‘This remark about harlotry on the threshing floor has a double meaning. Not only is there sacred prostitution, but there is the worship of false gods also.’

Israel must go into exile, they will not remain in the land. They will return to slavery, the kind of slavery they experienced in Egypt, but this time, with the Assyrians, Hosea 8:13.

Assyria is named and Israel will become slaves, they will eat unclean food and will have no sacrifices to offer. They will eat anything just to survive, and they will be taken away from all those places they once offered sacrifices.

While they are in exile, they won’t be able to observe any of the appointed feasts which God asked them to in His laws. Egypt will gather them and Memphis will bury them, Egypt is figurative of slavery, and Memphis is figurative of a graveyard.

In other words, they will be taken into bondage and everything they have, including their treasured wealth, will be taken from them, 2 Kings 17:24-26 / 2 Kings 25:26.

‘The days of punishment are coming, the days of reckoning are at hand. Let Israel know this. Because your sins are so many and your hostility so great, the prophet is considered a fool, the inspired person a maniac. The prophet, along with my God, is the watchman over Ephraim, yet snares await him on all his paths, and hostility in the house of his God. They have sunk deep into corruption, as in the days of Gibeah. God will remember their wickedness and punish them for their sins.’ Hosea 9:7-9

This is the end of prophesy, the end of the Word of God for them. These are the days of God’s judgment that had come because of their idolatry, 2 Kings 17:7-18.

The prophet who is considered a fool is a false prophet, Jeremiah 5:13 / Jeremiah 13:10 / 1 Kings 22:22 / Micah 2:11. He was the one who proclaimed peace when there wasn’t any, Ezekiel 13:10. The inspired person is a maniac, this is the person who thought they were Israel’s spiritual leader.

They were a maniac in terms of proclaiming that everything was going to be fine, when in fact it wasn’t. The prophets and the priests proclaimed peace only because they wanted to hold onto their positions, 1 Kings 22:22.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following, concerning Ephraim and the watchman.

‘What is plainly said here is that Ephraim had climbed up presumptuously and seated himself with God and in the place of God as the monitor and watchman of Israel’s fortunes. He has taken God’s place! How incredible that a reprobate like Ephraim is here bracketed with God himself, an exclamatory witness of the unbelievable arrogance and unbelief of Ephraim.’

Butler, in his commentary, says the following, concerning the snares.

‘The meaning is that Israel searches out divine revelations on her own, along with the God of Hosts. In other words, Israel does not depend on Hosea to be declaring to her the revelation of God, but she trusts in her own so-called prophets, who were not inspired of God.’

Gibeah became symbolic of moral disgrace when everyone did what they thought was right in their own eyes, Judges 19 / Judges 21:25 / 1 Samuel 10:26 / 1 Samuel 14:2 / 1 Samuel 22:6.

‘When I found Israel, it was like finding grapes in the desert; when I saw your ancestors, it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree. But when they came to Baal Peor, they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol and became as vile as the thing they loved. Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—no birth, no pregnancy, no conception. Even if they rear children, I will bereave them of every one. Woe to them when I turn away from them! I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place. But Ephraim will bring out their children to the slayer.” Hosea 9:10-13

Here, Israel is pictured under the figure of a vine or fig tree. God found Israel as a traveller would find grapes and a fig tree in the desert. Their fruits have gone rotten and they will be punished for their association with Baal, Numbers 25:1-9.

The name Ephraim means ‘fruitfulness’ and the pride of an Israelite woman was to bear children. However, the time had come when Israel would no longer be fruitful. The people will be cast out, they will become wanderers and their offspring will be destroyed.

Ephraim’s glory was their relationship with God, but they lost that glory when they turned to idolatry. When God turned away from them, Israel had no one to protect them from the Assyrians or the Babylonians. It was God who to took them to the pleasant place, that is, Palestine, and it was Tyre, which was also given to Israel by God.

In other words, they were supposed to take God and His Word, into the world, to bring the world into a relationship with God, however, they failed and ended up embracing the idolatrous practices of the nations around them.

‘Give them, LORD—what will you give them? Give them wombs that miscarry and breasts that are dry. “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal, I hated them there. Because of their sinful deeds, I will drive them out of my house. I will no longer love them; all their leaders are rebellious. Ephraim is blighted, their root is withered, they yield no fruit. Even if they bear children, I will slay their cherished offspring.” My God will reject them because they have not obeyed him; they will be wanderers among the nations.’ Hosea 9:14-17

Hosea more or less says it would have been better for Israel not to have any children whilst in captivity Job 3:3 / Jeremiah 20:14 / Luke 23:29 / 1 Corinthians 7:26.

When Israel crossed into the Promised Land, the first place they came to was Gilgal and it was there they offered services to God, Joshua 4:20 / Micah 6:5. By the time Hosea is writing Gilgal had become a place for idol worship, Hosea 4:15 / Hosea 12:11. God says He ‘hated them’ for their idolatrous behaviour at Gilgal, Numbers 25:3.

God was now driving them out of His house because of their sinfulness, Hosea 8:1 / Hosea 9:3, in other words, God is cancelling their salvation. He says He will no longer love them and the leadership had become corrupt.

They were in such a sinful state they weren’t able to produce any kind of fruit for God, the only fruit they produced was that of idolatry

God is going to reject them because they rejected Him, Hosea 4:6. The picture painted in this chapter is a picture of total destruction, they will have no children and no one to inherit from them.

Go To Hosea 10

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