(17 verses, 2:30 to read)
What I am about to READ
After years of rejecting God’s love and care, Israel would soon be led by God into captivity.
MARK and LEARN
Many have speculated that Hosea presented this section as a sermon at a harvest festival. Notice how the imagery reflects the harvest celebration.
1: The Israelites had prostituted themselves to Baal. They followed the religion of the Canaanites, believing their crops came in exchange for worship rendered to Baal.
3-4: Egypt is being used as a picture of captivity, which will be fulfilled in the Assyrian exile. The food in the Israelites’ exile will be ceremonially unclean because it will be produced on foreign soil and impossible to consecrate as God had prescribed. (See Leviticus 23:9–14 and Deuteronomy 26:1–11.)
7-9: The Israelites treated Hosea like a madman. When people stop listening to the Word of God when it is faithfully preached to them, they reject God, not just the preacher.
9: Probably a reference to the war with sin-hardened Benjamin. See Judges 19–21 for the sad story of Gibeah.
10–17: Notice again in Hosea the common convention in Hebrew poetry of switching speakers without prior warning. Twice this section switches from words spoken by God to words spoken by the prophet.
11: “Ephraim’s glory”—The size of its populace, being the largest of the tribes.
God does not change. He is holy and hates sin. His judgments bear this out. Remember that this harsh judgment did not come on Israel because God wouldn’t forgive. The Israelites rejected his plan of deliverance in unbelief, as evidenced by their persistent idolatry. This is true in Old Testament and well and the New Testament. Unbelief damns. God’s judgement and punishment comes to slay unbelief and then point the Israelites (and us today) to Christ alone for forgiveness, life, and salvation.
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Pastor Kevin Zellers, Jr.