Hosea (Ch 11-12)

The Prophecy of Hosea is primarily to the house of Ephraim (mentions 32 times in Hosea, more than in any other books of the Bible). Often, as Ephraim being the chief tribe of the ten tribes, the name is used in place of Israel (used 41 times) when referring to the northern kingdom.

Hosea 11

1 “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called My son out of Egypt. — or, “though Israel was a child”; a weak, helpless, foolish, and imprudent one, “yet I loved him”: or, “when a child”; in the infancy of his civil and church state, when in Egypt;

— and in the wilderness; the Lord loved him, not only as his creature, as he does all the works of his hands, but with a more special love than he loved others; choosing them to be a special people above all others; giving them his law, his statutes, and his judgments.

As they called them, so they went from them; they sacrificed unto the Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. — I taught Ephraim also to go…. all the tribes of Israel and Ephraim, or the ten tribes with the rest; these the Lord instructed in the way of his commandments;

— and taught them to walk therein; he his angel before them, to conduct them through the wilderness; yea, he himself went before them in the pillar of cloud by day, and in the pillar of fire by night, to which history this seems to refer;

— so the Targum, “I, by an angel sent by me, led Israel in the right way.”

— and just a recollection; the Targum, whose origin in the Aramaic language, could be traced to the work of Ezra, and hence has prominence in giving us further understanding of biblical concepts which, sometimes, are lost in the Masoretic Text.

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love; and I was to them as they that take off the yoke from their jaws, and Ilaid meat before them. — I drew them with cords of a man, as with bands which support the first weak steps of a child, with bands of love, not with chains to hold them captive against their will; 

— and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, as when a man slips back the yoke on the neck of a draft animal in order to give it the liberty to eat freely, and I laid meat unto them, gently offering them food for their souls.

“He shall not return into the land of Egypt; but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. — the Septuagint: “and Ephraim dwelt in Egypt”; he did so indeed with the other tribes formerly; but here it is said he shall not go thither again to be a captive there, but shall go into bondage more severe than that in Egypt, even into captivity in Assyria.

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches and devour them, because of their own counsels. — because of their own counsels; which they took and pursued, contrary to the counsel of God, notwithstanding all the admonitions, exhortations and threatenings of God by his prophets;

— or else because of their counsels with the Egyptians, and their covenants with them, for help against the Assyrian, whose yoke they were for casting off, and refused to pay tribute to; which provoked him to draw his sword upon them, which made the havoc it did in their cities, and the inhabitants of them.

And My people are bent on backsliding from Me; though they called them to the Most High, none at all would exalt Him. — the Targum says, “my people divide (or hesitate) to return to my law;”

Rashi paraphrases it, “when the prophets teach them to return to Me, they are in doubt whether to return or not to return; it is with difficulty that they return to Me.”

— none at all would exalt him; the most high God, and give him the praise and glory; but they kept looking to earthly things, particularly to their idols; but were deaf to all counsel and reproof.

“How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? How shall I deliver thee, Israel? How shall I make thee as Admah? How shall I set thee as Zeboiim? Mine heart is turned within Me; My repentings are kindled together.

I will not execute the fierceness of Mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim; for I am God, and not man, the Holy One in the midst of thee; and I will not enter into the city. — I will not return to destroy Ephraim; or “again”, or “any more, destroy” him; not twice; he might be destroyed when carried captive into Assyria; but the remnant that shall spring from him in the latter day shall not be destroyed, but saved.

— the Targum says, “my word shall not return to destroy the house of Israel.”

10 “They shall walk after the Lord; He shall roar like a lion. When He shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west. — the phrase, “from the west”, or “from the sea”, meaning the Mediterranean sea, which lay west of Judea, and is often used for the west, may signify the western or European part of the world, where the house of Israel for the most part are, and from whence they will be regathered;

— the Targum says,”for he shall roar, and the captives shall be gathered from the west.’

11 They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria; and I will place them in their houses,” saith the Lord. — they shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt…. they shall come from thence with fear and trembling; which may allude to the trembling of birds at the roaring of a lion, or to the trembling motion of their wings in flying to their own land, under divine influence and direction.

12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit; but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints. — chronic liars like Mike Pompeo freely admitted those lies about the CIA: We lied, We cheated, We stole.

Hosea 12

1 Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind; he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. — he daily increaseth lies and desolation; while they multiplied idols, which are lies fallacious and deceitful, and idolatrous rites and acts of worship, they continually persecute, spoil, and plunder those who do not give into their false worship:

— the Targum says, “lies and spoil they multiply;” idolaters are generally persecutors;

— and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians: and gave tribute and presents to their kings, as Menahem did to Pul, and Hoshea to Shalmaneser, to strengthen their kingdom; see 2 Kings 15:19;

— and oil is carried into Egypt: while they sent presents to the Assyrians, to obtain their favour; at another time to the Egyptians; to So king of Egypt; see Isaiah 57:9

— the Targum says, “and they carried gifts to Egypt.”

The Lord hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him. — and will punish Jacob according to his ways; all the posterity of Jacob, whether Ephraim or Judah; those, “will be visited according to his ways”; if right, or if wrong, a divine visiting used both ways.

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God. — says the Targum,”prophet, say unto them, was it not said of Jacob, before he was born, that he would be greater than his brother?”

Yea, he had power over the angel and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication unto Him; he found Him in Bethel, and there He spoke with us, — yea, he had power over the angel, who is identified with God, and perhaps the revelation of the Son of God, and made supplication, by stating that he would not let go without having received a blessing.

even the Lord God of hosts; the Lord is his memorial. — the Lord is his memorial: or his name, Yehovah; this “angel” is most probably the Son of God.

Therefore turn thou to thy God; keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. — keep mercy and judgment; or, “observe” them to do them; to show mercy to persons in misery, to the poor and indigent, which is what the Lord desires and delights in.

Canaan is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand; he loveth to oppress.

And Ephraim said, “Yet I am become rich, I have found myself substance; in all my labors they shall find no iniquity in me that were sin.” — here again Ephraim, or the people of Israel, vainly ascribe all their wealth and riches to their own labour, diligence, and industry, and take no notice of God and his providence, or of his blessing upon them; and pretend to be very upright and honest in their dealings.

“And I that am the Lord thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. — and I that am the Lord, thy God, from the land of Egypt, where He first revealed the greatness toward Israel; will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles as in the days of the solemn feast; which brought to the attention of the Israelites the blessings with which the Lord so richly supplied them in the Land of Promise.

10 I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes (parallelism, analogy) by the ministry of the prophets.” — used by the prophet Hosea, taking a wife and children of whoredoms, and Ezekiel being bound 390 days for the iniquity of Israel and 40 days for Judah (Ezekiel 4).

11 Is there iniquity in Gilead? Surely they are vanity. They sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields. — the Targum says,”they have multiplied their altars, like heaps upon the borders of the fields.”

12 And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. — and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep;

— and so the last clause is supplied by the Targum: this was after his flight into Syria, and before he fled from Laban, whom he served seven years for Rachel; and seven years more for the same.

13 And by a prophet the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. — a prophet; Moses is here referred to, and perhaps, a hint that the Lord would yet again save Israel from worse than Egyptian bondage by the words and warnings of a prophet.

14 Ephraim provoked Him to anger most bitterly; therefore shall He leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him. — it was God that Ephraim or the ten tribes provoked to stir up his wrath against them; but this rift in the clouds is closing again, and another severe rebuke will sure follows.

~ by Joel Huan on October 11, 2021.

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