1: When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt. 2: As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images. 3: I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them. 4: I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them. 5: He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return. 6: And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels. 7: And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him. 8: 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 Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together. 9: 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. 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. 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. 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.
1: Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt. 2: The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. 3: He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: 4: Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us; 5: Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. 6: Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually. 7: He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. 8: And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin. 9: 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. 10: I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets. 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. 12: And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep. 13: And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved. 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.
1: When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. 2: And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves. 3: Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. 4: Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me. 5: I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. 6: According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. 7: Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: 8: I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them. 9: O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help. 10: I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes? 11: I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath. 12: The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. 13: The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. 14: I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. 15: Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels. 16: Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
1: O Israel, return unto the LORD thy God; for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity. 2: Take with you words, and turn to the LORD: say unto him, Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously: so will we render the calves of our lips. 3: Asshur shall not save us; we will not ride upon horses: neither will we say any more to the work of our hands, Ye are our gods: for in thee the fatherless findeth mercy. 4: I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. 5: I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. 6: His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. 7: They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. 8: Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. 9: Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? for the ways of the LORD are right, and the just shall walk in them: but the transgressors shall fall therein.
In these closing three chapters Hosea describes the waywardness and deceptions of Israel. He declares the judgment of God against them and then he lays out the path that will lead to restoration. But first he says Ephraim feeds on the wind – the east wind. The east wind was the wind that brought desolation to crops and herds. Perhaps he is saying you feed off the calamity of others. You make an agreement with the enemy you focus on making yourself wealthy while the people perish. The Lord has a long standing argument with Israel he was always a deceiver but his own strength be endeavoured to obtain the blessing of God he struggled with the angel and won the blessing of God. (It was ultimately not his victory over the angel but the victory of God over Jacob) Hosea calls on Israel to turn to the Lord they are to keep the law of mercy and justice and to seek the Lord’s word. Israel is a trader that is full of tricks and schemes he has a weighted balance and he loves to get the upper hand on those he oppresses. He says to himself l am rich and nobody will catch me out in my sins. Yet the lord says l brought you out of Egypt and made you live in tents. I have spoken to you and though my prophets have spoken to you. The Lord will deal with their unrighteousness. When Ephraim feared the Lord God raised him up but when he sacrificed to Baal God destroyed them. And now they sin more and more. They make silver images to worship. They worship the things their craftsmen have made. They are like the early mist or the early dew - they will pass away soon. They are like the chaff brown away by the whirling wind. They are like the smoke that ascends out of the chimney. They will disappear in a moment. The Lord says I am you God there is none beside me. I will be like a wild beast that seeks to spring on you when you least expect it. The Lord pleads with them he says l will be your Saviour and your King. Israel may appear to be successful but the east wind will come and dry you up. Total destruction will come on Samaria, to men women and children. Lastly he spells out the path to restoration. Return unto the lord thy God. (This is exactly the same message as John, Christ and His apostles to Israel.) Turn to the Lord and make your confession. Say to your God that Asshur (The Assyrian god will not save us.) Nor will you say any more that the idols are your gods. The Lord says l will heal their backslidings, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him. I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive tree, and his smell as Lebanon. They that dwell under his shadow shall return; they shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vine: the scent thereof shall be as the wine of Lebanon. Ephraim shall say, What have I to do any more with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir tree. From me is thy fruit found. This is one of the most beautiful passages of scripture. Not simply for its prose but for the beauty of the spiritual restoration it describes. Hosea ends by asking, who is a wise person? The wise man is the one who understands these things, He is prudent. Then he finishes by declaring - the ways of the LORD are right, and the just will live by them: but the transgressors will fall by them.