Hosea (Ch 3-4)

Chapter 3 starts with a parable expressing the love of God to Israel, but their ingratitude to him; have much reflection again upon the house of Ephraim, often flashing forward when they repent or back as as the state of Ephraim now, and concludes with a prophecy of their conversion to God in the latter days.

Hosea 3

1 Then said the Lord unto me, “Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods and love flagons of wine.” — then said the Lord unto me…. or, as the Targum says, “the Lord said unto me again”; for the Hebrew expression shows that this is a new vision, prophecy or parable.

So I bought her for myself for fifteen pieces of silver, and for a homer of barley and a half homer of barley. — fifteen pieces of silver; an indication she’s made herself very cheap, for a slave would normally be sold for twice the number of silvers.

And I said unto her, “Thou shalt abide for me many days. Thou shalt not play the harlot, and thou shalt not be for another man. So will I also be for thee.”

For the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince, and without a sacrifice, and without an image, and without an ephod, and without teraphim. — for the children of Israel shall abide many days without a king, and without a prince…. without any king or prince as the ten tribes were from their captivity by Shalmaneser; but moe importantly as seen from God’s point of view, no man of character of the likes of David, Hezekiah or Josiah.

Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God and David their king, and shall fear the Lord and His goodness in the latter days. — after almost three thousand years, “in the latter days,” the house of Israel will end their abandonment and captivity with the appearance of “My servant David” in the “valley full of dry bones” scenario (Ezekiel 37) where they will dwell securely.

Hosea 4

1 Hear the word of the Lord, ye children of Israel; for the Lord hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth nor mercy nor knowledge of God in the land. — “there is no truth;” which is extremely true; a majority (99.99%) of professing “Christians” didn’t know the simplest of what constitutes the Oracles of God; and here.

“By swearing and lying, and killing and stealing and committing adultery, they break out, and blood toucheth blood. — by swearing, and lying…. false swearing, as the Targum interprets it; for it not only takes in all cursing and imprecations, profane oaths, and taking the name of God in vain. And eager to be engaged in crimes of the worst kind, and blood toucheth blood, one act of bloodshed following another.

Therefore shall the land mourn, and every one that dwelleth therein shall languish with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven; yea, the fishes of the sea also shall be taken away.

Yet let no man strive with, nor reprove another; for this people are as they that strive with the priest. — yet let no man strive nor reprove another, that is, conditions being so bad as they are, all attempts to change the corruption would be vain.

Therefore shalt thou fall in the day, and the prophet also shall fall with thee in the night; and I will destroy thy mother. — and I will destroy thy mother; the northern Israelites; so that their nation and name should perish together. Is it not so with the ten tribes? who can tell at this day where to find them or whence to expect them?

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me. Seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children. — again, the Oracles of God are inferred here. To God, these lacks of knowledge are serious stuff! Hence numerous repeats and reminders; repeats and reminders.

“As they were increased, so they sinned against Me; therefore will I change their glory into shame. — therefore will I change their glory into shame, so that their greatness and prosperity would become a mockery in the eyes of the nations.

They eat up the sin of My people, and they set their heart on their iniquity. — they eat up the sin of my people…. that is, pastors and ministers today, as they eat up their sacrifices, in tithes and offerings, which the people brought for their sins: but they have no concern to instruct the people in the right way; all that they regarded are good eating and drinking, and living voluptuously; and careless about instructing the people in the nature of sacrifices, and of their duty.

And it shall be: like people, like priest; and I will punish them for their ways, and reward them their doings.

Two parallel verses reveal more details in Ezekiel:

2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, ‘Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds: Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?

3 Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe yourselves with the wool, ye kill the ones that are fed; but ye feed not the flock. Ezekiel 34:2-3 — but ye feed not the flock; did not govern the people well by doing justice and judgment among men, as became civil magistrates; did not deliver out words of faith and sound teachings, to feed the minds of men with, which is the duty of those that preside in the church of God.

10 For they shall eat and not have enough; they shall commit whoredom and shall not increase, because they have left off taking heed of the Lord.

11 “Whoredom and wine and new wine take away the heart. — once a man turns to prostitutes and intoxicating drink for pleasure, he loses his judgment. Harlots and wine take away a man’s mind.

12 My people ask counsel from their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them; for the spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err, and they have gone a whoring from their God.

13 They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good; therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

14 I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredom, nor your spouses when they commit adultery; for the men themselves consort with whores, and they sacrifice with harlots: Therefore the people that doth not understand shall fall. — I will not punish your daughters when they commit whoredoms, nor your spouses when they commit adultery…. the words are rendered interrogatively, “shall I not punish your daughters?” Verily I will; and not them only, but their parents and husbands too, who deserve more severe corrections.

15 “Though thou, Israel, play the harlot, yet let not Judah offend; and come not ye unto Gilgal, neither go ye up to Bethaven, nor swear, ‘The Lord liveth.’ — though the Ephraimites or people of the other ten tribes committed adultery, both corporeal and spiritual, in their idolatrous worship, let Judah be warned of the same crimes.

16 For Israel slideth back as a backsliding heifer; now the Lord will feed them as a lamb in a large place.

17 “Ephraim is joined to idols; leave him alone. — Ephraim is joined to idols…. that is, the ten tribes of Israel, frequently so called after their separation from the rest, because Jeroboam, by whom the revolt was made, was the top dog, and Samaria, the metropolis of their kingdom, was in it: and

so the Targum renders it, “the house of Israel are joined to idols;” to the calves at Dan and Bethel; to Baal, and other idols, they worshipped.

18 Their drink is sour; they have committed whoredom continually; her rulers with shame do love, ‘Give ye.’ — their drink is sour…. in their stomachs, having drank so much that they cannot digest it; hence nauseous eructations, with a filthy stench, are belched out; so it is a charge of drunkenness which Ephraim or the ten tribes were addicted to, and are accused of.

19 The wind hath bound her up in her wings, and they shall be ashamed because of their sacrifices. — the wind hath bound her up in her wings…. that is, the wind in its wings hath bound up Ephraim, or the ten tribes; meaning, that the wind of God’s wrath and vengeance, or the enemy, the Assyrian, should come like a whirlwind, and carry them swiftly, suddenly, and irresistibly, out of their own land, into a foreign country, into captivity.

— because of their sacrifices; the Targum says, “because of the altars of their idols.”

~ by Joel Huan on October 6, 2021.

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