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God’s Reproof of Their Sins, vv. 1-10
Hosea 7:1 NKJV – “When I would have healed Israel, Then the iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered, And the wickedness of Samaria. For they have committed fraud; A thief comes in; A band of robbers takes spoil outside.
God desired to heal Israel, but when He “pulled back the cover” He saw nothing but chaos and iniquity. Samaria was the capital city, so when the ruling class is wicked, it trickles down. It seems that lawlessness was everywhere.
Hosea 7:2 NKJV – They do not consider in their hearts That I remember all their wickedness; Now their own deeds have surrounded them; They are before My face.
They do not consider … They had completely forgotten about God and gave no consideration the fact God sees all and knows all. When people do not consider great tragedy follows (Deut. 32:29, Isa. 1:3, 44:19). They could not enjoy the blessings David described in Psa. 25:6-7, nor those of the New Covenant described by Jeremiah in Jer. 31:34.
their own deeds have surrounded them… Why was it that their sins were ever before the face of God? They were surrounded by sin! There was no where that they could turn where there was not sin.
Hosea 7:3 NKJV – They make a king glad with their wickedness, And princes with their lies.
Again, the ruling class is glad when they see wickedness in the people. Evidently they profit by it and it helps them consolidate their power.
Hosea 7:4 NKJV – “They are all adulterers. Like an oven heated by a baker–He ceases stirring the fire after kneading the dough, Until it is leavened.
Everyone is so entrenched in evil that they dream up evil and wait for just the right time to carry out their evil deeds (cf. Gen. 6:5, Prov 4:16, Micah 2:1, 2 Peter 2:14).
Hosea 7:5 NKJV – In the day of our king Princes have made him sick, inflamed with wine; He stretched out his hand with scoffers.
In the day of our king … The princes love to have parties with king (some special holiday), so much so that they make themselves sick with wine.
The king himself loves this situation because he is partner with them in their evil. Nevertheless, through all of this, the “scoffers” are plotting the king’s overthrow.
Hosea 7:6-7 NKJV – They prepare their heart like an oven, While they lie in wait; Their baker sleeps all night; In the morning it burns like a flaming fire. They are all hot, like an oven, And have devoured their judges; All their kings have fallen. None among them calls upon Me.
prepare their heart like an oven… cf. v.4. They “cook” their schemes all night until their schemes boil over into acts of mutiny and assassination.
None among them calls upon Me… Kings and rulers wonder how to deal with such situations. It never occurs to them that they should turn to God for counsel and protection.
Hosea 7:8 NKJV – “Ephraim has mixed himself among the peoples; Ephraim is a cake unturned.
mixed himself… This, most likely, is a reference to worldliness (cf. Rom. 12:2, Col. 3:2, Titus 2:12, Jas. 4:4, 1 Jno. 2:15-17).
a cake unturned… This is a metaphor for hypocrisy (8:2-4, 1 Ki 18:21, Matt. 6:24, Rev. 3:15-16.).
Hosea 7:9-10 NKJV – Aliens have devoured his strength, But he does not know it; Yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, Yet he does not know it. And the pride of Israel testifies to his face, But they do not return to the LORD their God, Nor seek Him for all this.
Aliens have devoured his strength…Israel has given all of their fortune to foreign nations trying to buy protection. In the end, these alliances will be to no avail.
he does not know it… The most tragic thing of all is that they are not aware of why they are heading to ruin.
the pride of Israel testifies to his face… cf. 5:5. In spite of the fact things are crumbling around them, Israel still shows haughtiness and refuses recognize the cause of their demise and the remedy.
God’s Wrath Against Their Hypocrisy, vv. 11-16
Hosea 7:11-12 NKJV – 11 “Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense–They call to Egypt, They go to Assyria. 12 Wherever they go, I will spread My net on them; I will bring them down like birds of the air; I will chastise them According to what their congregation has heard.
Ephraim also is like a silly dove… This is describing their constant going back and forth between foreign powers seeking and alliance for protection (5:13, Isa. 30:1-6, 31:1-3, Jer. 2:18, 36). This will be there undoing. They will spend all of their treasure making these alliances and their supposed allies will abandon them in the end.
I will bring them down like birds of the air… No foreign alliance will be able to protect them from God’s wrath. God will use the foreign powers as His instrument of divine judgment (II Kings 17:3-4, Deut. 29:22-28).
Hosea 7:13-14 NKJV – 13 “Woe to them, for they have fled from Me! Destruction to them, Because they have transgressed against Me! Though I redeemed them, Yet they have spoken lies against Me. 14 They did not cry out to Me with their heart When they wailed upon their beds. “They assemble together for grain and new wine, They rebel against Me;
they have fled from Me… Of course one may not flee from God’s presence (Psa. 139:7-9, Jonah 1:3, 10). This is a figure of speech showing that their hearts had left God (cf. Job 21:14-15, 22:17) because they did not want to serve Him.
they have spoken lies against Me… This describes their hypocrisy. They were pretending to love and worship God when they were, in reality, worshiping idols (Jer. 42:20-22). One may also lie against God by making false statements about God or saying those things contrary to His Word. Many today make assertions concerning God which are totally false. For example. one may say that God will not judge his sin because, after all, “God made me this way”, this and other such foolishness is commonplace today (cf. Mal. 3:13-15).
They did not cry out to Me with their heart… This also speaks to their hypocrisy. They are not sincere in crying out to God. Indeed they are in affliction, howling upon their beds, but there is no sincere movement toward repentance. It is not godly sorrow but the sorrow of the world that is leading them to death (2 Cor. 7:10).
They assemble together for grain and new wine, They rebel against Me…These are assemblies of an idolatrous nature where they are seeking a harvest blessing from a lifeless pagan deity. In so doing they are rebelling against God.
Hosea 7:15 NKJV – Though I disciplined and strengthened their arms, Yet they devise evil against Me;
God had restored strength to their arms similar to how a doctor might set a broken bone wrap a sprain. This He did through chastening. Though it be painful for a time, just as it is painful when a doctor sets a bone, in then end, it is for our good (cf. Job 5:17, Psa. 94:12, Prov. 3:11, Heb. 12:5). Though God was gracious and merciful to them, yet they would not turn to Him but continued their evil plans and practices.
Hosea 7:16 NKJV – They return, but not to the Most High; They are like a treacherous bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword For the cursings of their tongue. This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.
They return, but not to the Most High… Israel saw that there was a problem in that they were suffering yet they did not acknowledge that the root of the problem was their sins against God.
They are like a treacherous bow… They are like a bow that appears to shoot accurately but does not. The bow sends the arrow away from its mark (Psa. 78:57).
This shall be their derision in the land of Egypt… They sought help protection from Egypt, yet when they are taken by the Assyrians, the Egyptians will laugh them to scorn and deride them (2 Kings 17:4).