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Go to Bible: Hosea 9
“Do not rejoice, Israel, with jubilation like the nations!” Israel was worshipping pagan gods, and attributed to them the blessings that actually came from Yahweh (Hos. 2:5, 8), and so they rejoiced “like the nations” at the grain harvest, honoring pagan gods.
“You love the wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor.” A prostitute could be paid with grain, and God is saying that Israel committed prostitution (used for adultery here) against Him and served pagan gods expecting to be paid by a bountiful harvest.(top)
|Hos 9:2||- (top)|
“They will not live in Yahweh’s land.” Although God gave the Promised Land for Israel to live in, he did not give them the land, God owned the land. Furthermore, He warned them that if they abandoned Him and His laws, that the blessing of the land would be removed and the land would not sustain its inhabitants (Lev. 18:28; 20:22), which we see in Hosea 9:2. In other places, God said that if Israel abandoned Him they would be scattered among foreign people (cp. Lev. 26:33; Deut. 4:27; 28:64).
“Ephraim will return to Egypt.” In this context, “Egypt” refers to exile and bondage, not the literal country of Egypt. The last sentence expresses how they will “return to Egypt”—they will be taken as captives to Assyria, which occurred in 722 BC (2 Kings 17:6, 18, 24).(top)
“They will not pour out wine offerings.” They will not pour out wine offerings to Yahweh because they will be exiled away from Judah and will be in foreign lands.
“will be to them like the bread of mourners.” The sacrifices of idolatrous Israel done in exile will be unclean. The bread (food) of mourners was unclean (Deut. 26:14).(top)
|Hos 9:5||- (top)|
“even if they have fled from destruction, Egypt will gather them up.” The Israelites who escape death from the attacks by foreign powers are not safe; they will be gathered up and exiled, and die in exile. Nettles and thorns will take over the places where they had lived.(top)
“have come…have come.” These are prophetic perfects (cp. Andrew Dearman, NICOT, The Book of Hosea). The days of visitation and reckoning will come. [For more on the prophetic perfect idiom, see commentary on Eph. 2:6].
“The prophet is a fool, and the man who is moved by the spirit is insane.” The prophet and man of the spirit in this verse are the false prophets who were leading Israel astray. Thus they were “fools” and “insane” because they led people away from Yahweh and directed them in pagan worship which would bring God’s judgment upon them.(top)
“The prophet is a watchman.” This verse is extremely difficult in Hebrew, and beyond that, there are variant texts. The difficulty is reflected in the different English translations. The translation in the REV is one possibility, that the prophet is to be a watchman for Yahweh, and yet in Hosea’s time there was hostility towards true prophets and traps laid for them.
“on behalf of my God.” This could also be “along with my God.”(top)
“as in the days of Gibeah.” Although the text does not say exactly what days, and although there is some scholarly debate about it, conservative Bible scholars believe that the most fitting time described by “the days of Gibeah” was apparently very soon after Joshua’s generation died out when the men of Gibeah wanted to assault a Levite traveling through their town but instead ended up raping a woman to death. Then, as bad if not worse, the rest of the tribe of Benjamin defended the men of Gibeah and went to war with Israel rather than bring the men of Gibeah to justice. The account is in Judges 19-21, and it explains what happened in Gibeah and what happened to the tribe of Benjamin. Gibeah is again mentioned in Hosea 10:9.(top)
“I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness.” Finding grapes in the desert is a pleasant and unexpected surprise. God is saying that early on in Israel’s history, He expected to have a wonderful relationship with them. This is confirmed by the next phrase, that God found the founders of Israel (the “fathers”) as first-ripe figs, which were highly prized.
“but they came to Baal-peor.” The infamous incident involving Baal-peor is recorded in Numbers 25:1-11, and mentioned in Deuteronomy 4:3.
“Shame.” God calls Baal “Shame” here.(top)
“their Glory will fly away like a bird.” The word “glory” likely refers to two things here. First and foremost, Israel’s “Glory” was Yahweh (cp. 1 Sam. 4:21-22). Of all the peoples of earth, Yahweh had chosen Israel as His people, and He had protected and sustained them in spite of their unfaithfulness, for many centuries. But now God’s patience was coming to an end, and with it Israel’s occupation of the Promised Land. Israel was about to be attacked and deported to various places in Assyria. Without their Glory, their God, Israel would have none of the blessings that the presence of God brings, such as conception, healthy pregnancies, and healthy children.
Also in the verse is “glory” with the sense of it being Ephraim’s wealth and prosperity, but that does not seem to be the primary meaning in this context. The Hebrew text, which only has capital letters, just reads “GLORY,” and the reader will see all the possible meanings. English has “G” and “g,” and so the translator must make a choice between the two, and “Glory” seems to be the primary meaning in the context.
As we know from history, Judah fared no better than Israel. The sin and hardheartedness of Judah drove God away from Judah just like the sin and hardheartedness of Israel drove God away from Israel. Israel was conquered and taken away from the Promised Land by Assyria, and have not yet returned, and Judah was conquered and carried away from the Promised Land by the Babylonians, but when the Persians conquered Babylon they did return to their land (see Ezra and Nehemiah). Just as the Glory left Israel, it left Judah (see commentary on Ezekiel 9:3).(top)
|Hos 9:12||- (top)|
“Ephraim will bring out his children to the slaughterer.” When the Assyrians conquered city after city in Israel, many people who left the cities were killed, although many were taken into captivity.(top)
“Give them, Yahweh.” Although this has the possible overtones of a prophet who has been persecuted and is frustrated and is awaiting God’s promised judgment, what he says is not different than what was foretold to happen to the people when they turned to idols and abandoned Yahweh.(top)
|Hos 9:15||- (top)|
|Hos 9:16||- (top)|
|Hos 9:17||- (top)|