Study Notes

Hosea 11:1-14:9


God has been speaking through the prophet Hosea about the judgment which is going to come upon the people of Israel. As bad as it has been, God has continued to remind them that if they repent, He will have mercy on them and forgive.

11:1 Out Of Egypt I Called My Son

The Lord reminds them that early in the days of Israel, He'd called them out of Egypt. This verse probably sounds familiar to you, and well it should. Matthew quoted it as a prophetic fulfillment in his gospel.

You recall that the Magi arrived in Jerusalem and asked Herod,

Matt. 2:2 "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews?..."

Herod, in supreme jealousy, commanded that all the male children two years and younger who were in Bethlehem and the surrounding areas should be killed. Fortunately,

Matt. 2:13-15 ... an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, "Arise and take the Child and His mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to destroy Him." And he arose and took the Child and His mother by night, and departed for Egypt; and was there until the death of Herod, that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet might be fulfilled, saying, "OUT OF EGYPT DID I CALL MY SON."

Matthew saw the prophetic parallel of how Israel and Christ - in their infancies - went into Egypt, and then in their youth were called out by God.

11:2-4 They Did Not Know That I Healed Them

Unlike Christ, Israel did not walk in sinlessness after departing from Egypt. They turned to idolatry. Just as God had called them out of Egypt, He used the prophets to call them out from their sin. But the more the prophets called them to the Lord, the further away they went.

They forgot that it was God who nurtured the nation of Israel. It was the Lord who cared for them in their infancy, preserving them against all odds. He compares it to being forsaken by the child whom you taught to walk, whom you healed when he was sick. Or an animal which you cared for, fed, and relieved of its burden turning on you.

Like a rebellious child or an ungrateful animal, Israel refused to know that God had cared for her. They instead turned to their idols, giving the false gods credit for their blessings.

11:5-7 To Assyria

Although Israel was led out of Egypt, she is not going back there. Instead, God will send them into Assyria for their judgment.

11:8-9 I Will Not

As angry as God is over their sin, He still agonizes over His love for them. He doesn't want to judge. After all, Peter tells us that He is...

2Pet. 3:9 ...not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

He doesn't enjoy bringing judgment upon the people He loves. He asks, "How can I make you like Ad-MAW? How can I treat you like Tseb-o-EEM?" These are two of the cities which God destroyed in the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Deut. 29:23 ‘All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grows in it, like the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, Ad-MAW and Tseb-o-EEM, which the LORD overthrew in His anger and in His wrath.'

He doesn't want to - His heart and compassion agonize in Him. Yet, he must administer justice. And so, He will not destroy them utterly. They will be judged, but not eliminated completely.

11:10-12 Trembling And Settling

They will one day be gathered together again. He will show kindness to them, but a stern kindness. They will tremble at His roar. But for the time being, they are still in rebellion, lies, deceit, and unruly behavior.

12:1 Ephraim's Wind

You recall that God has compared the benefit of their idolatry to wind - it is emptiness.

Hosea 4:18-19 Their liquor gone, they play the harlot continually; Their rulers dearly love shame. The wind wraps them in its wings, and they will be ashamed because of their sacrifices.

Hosea 8:6-7 ...A craftsman made it, so it is not God; Surely the calf of Samaria will be broken to pieces. For they sow the wind, and they reap the whirlwind...


Hosea 12:1 Ephraim feeds on wind, and pursues the east wind continually...

Feeding on wind does not satisfy the hunger. The east wind is the tempestuous wind of storms. You could never hope to pursue it, yet Israel going after their idols is likened to someone pursuing the east wind.

They thought they would find victory in their false gods and worldly alliances with the likes of Assyria and Egypt.

12:2-6 Jacob's Sin

Remember that the Jews were the descendants of Jacob. Jacob, whom God renamed Israel, had twelve sons, who were the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel.

But as you look at Jacob as a man, he was untrustworthy. From the first day of his life, he was a conniver, a con man, a trickster.

When Isaac's wife Rebekah was giving birth,

Gen. 25:25-26 Now the first came forth red, all over like a hairy garment; and they named him Esau. And afterward his brother came forth with his hand holding on to Esau's heel, so his name was called Jacob; and Isaac was sixty years old when she gave birth to them.

They called him "Jacob," which means "heel snatcher," or "supplanter." Jacob lived his life with this kind of personality and behavior. He finally came to a point where he thought he was going to die.

Gen. 32:24-30 Then Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him until daybreak. And when he saw that he had not prevailed against him, he touched the socket of his thigh; so the socket of Jacob's thigh was dislocated while he wrestled with him. Then he said, "Let me go, for the dawn is breaking." But he said, "I will not let you go unless you bless me." So he said to him, "What is your name?" And he said, "Jacob." And he said, "Your name shall no longer be Jacob, but Israel; for you have striven with God and with men and have prevailed." Then Jacob asked him and said, "Please tell me your name." But he said, "Why is it that you ask my name?" And he blessed him there. So Jacob named the place Pen-oo-ALE, for {he said,} "I have seen God face to face, yet my life has been preserved."

God renamed him "Israel," which means "governed by God."

The Lord is pointing out, "the nation is like Jacob in his early days. And judgment is coming upon you. However, if you weep and seek My favor like Jacob did, you will once again be Israel, governed by God. You will see the blessing with which I blessed Jacob."

12:7-9 Rich Opppressor

From ancient times, balance scales were used to measure weight. And ever since their beginning, dishonest people were working on ways to tip the scales in their favor. Even in our own time, the butcher who puts his thumb on the scale is an example of dishonesty.

God describes Ephraim as a merchant with false balances; a rich man who loves to oppress the poor. Yet, he is shrewd. He has not left a paper trail or evidence to convict him of his wrongdoings.

But what they didn't remember was the spiritual truth which says,

Num. 32:23 "...behold, you have sinned against the LORD, and be sure your sin will find you out."

Jesus elaborated on this when He said,

Luke 12:2-3 "But there is nothing covered up that will not be revealed, and hidden that will not be known. Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."

There is no sin which is hidden from the Lord. And their dirty dealings were open and obvious to Him. He promises that although they were secure in their fine houses, they would once again live in tents, just as they did in the wilderness wandering, and like they did during the Feast of Tabernacles.

12:10-13:2 Visions And Parables

God spoke through the prophets to the people, warning them many times, giving them His Word. As the writer of Hebrews begins his epistle,

Hebr. 1:1 ...He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways

As you recall, He first wanted to speak to the people directly. When He gathered them at Mount Sinai,

Exod. 20:18-19 ...all the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people sawl the people perceived the thunder and the lightning flashes and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking; and when the people saw {it,} they trembled and stood at a distance. Then they said to Moses, "Speak to us yourself and we will listen; but let not God speak to us, lest we die."

So the Lord spoke exclusively through the prophets to the people. And He used the prophets powerfully.

He illustrates this point by reminding them again of their ancestor Jacob.

As you recall, in Genesis 27, Jacob had deceived his father by disguising himself as his brother Esau. By putting animal hair on his hands and neck, he was able to convince his blind father Isaac to give him the blessing of the firstborn. When Esau discovered that he had been robbed of the blessing, he was furious. He made plans to kill Jacob.

His mother warned Jacob to run away to his Uncle Laban's house. When he arrived, he fell in love with Rachel, promising Laban,

Gen. 29:18 Now Jacob loved Rachel, so he said, "I will serve you seven years for your younger daughter Rachel."

Because of Laban's deception, Jacob ended up serving another seven years as well.

Here, God is proclaiming His faithfulness. "Your ancestor was a fugitive and a servant, but I preserved him. I used the prophet Moses to lead Jacob's ancestors out of Egypt. And I used Moses to keep them during the wilderness wandering. But you are turning to worthless altars to offer sacrifices."

13:3-4 Not To Know Any God Except Me

God had warned them over and over again in the Law.

Deut. 6:13-15 "You shall fear {only} the LORD your God; and you shall worship Him, and swear by His name. You shall not follow other gods, any of the gods of the peoples who surround you, for the LORD your God in the midst of you is a jealous God; otherwise the anger of the LORD your God will be kindled against you, and He will wipe you off the face of the earth."

"Worship false gods, be wiped out," the Lord had warned. But they had not listened. So like clouds or dew that evaporates, like smoke that is blown away, they would soon be gone.

13:5-9 They Forgot Me

God had cared for them, but they stopped caring about Him. The more they were blessed with, the less reliant on Him they became. And so, He is bringing judgment, comparing Himself to three ruthless predators of their land: the lion, the leopard, and the bear.

13:10-11 The King

Back in 1Samuel, we saw that the people demanded a king. They were no longer happy being led by the Lord through His prophets. They said,

1Sam. 8:5 "...Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations."

They felt that they would have better protection with a man on the throne, but that man would not be able to save them from a God who was judging their sin.

13:12-13 Pains Of Childbirth

The Lord often illustrates truths with the analogy of labor and childbirth. The suddenness of labor pains, the danger that both woman and child faced in the birthing process, and the intense pain and emotion that accompany these things make for powerful illustrations.

Although the pain of judgment was upon them, the Jews had postponed their repentance. Today a baby in such a predicament is born by Ceasaerian section, but in times past would certainly die. Like that baby, the Jews were in danger of dying.

13:14-16 Where Are Your Thorns?

Scholars are divided as to the language here. The Lord is either saying, "Shall I ransom them," or "I shall ransom them." Either way, we know that the following statement is used by the apostle Paul to proclaim,

1Cor. 15:51-57 Behold, I tell you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, "DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory. "O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Although sin brought about death, God has power over death. It has no sting or victory for the one in whom God delights. That is why having a saving relationship with Jesus Christ is so important. As He said,

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies"

But at this time in history, God's people wanted no relationship with Him. Thus, they were guilty and would be judged accordingly.

14:1-3 Return, O Israel

In spite of their stubbornness, God continues to call them to repentance and relationship.

Hosea calls them to see that Assyria cannot save them, and strength will not deliver them. They must know that the idols that they mold and carve are no gods at all.

14:4-7 The Day Of Blessing

God speaks prophetically to the day that they repent. He will heal them, love them, and no longer be angry with them. He will bless them abundantly.

14:8-9 Understand These Things

Tonight, you may find yourself in a state similar to that of the Israelites. Evil practices have begun to take root in your life. You hear the Word of God being spoken, addressing your problems, and warning you of the consequences of sin. But you haven't yet made the step of coming to repentance. You want just a few more days of sin, just a little more enjoyment of what you know is wrong. But the Lord is calling you tonight.

You know that God's way is the right way. You know that you are being called to walk in righteousness. Will you walk in it? Or will you stumble and fall? The choice is yours.

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