About Jesus    Steve Sweetman

Home Page

Hosea 10

Previous Section - Chapter 9

Next Section - Chapter 11

Chapter 10

Verse 1 tells us that as a nation Israel had come a long way from Abraham's day.  A couple of hundred years earlier, under King David and King Solomon, Israel was the greatest nation on earth, but little by little their national success was fading away.  Now in Hosea's day, it's pretty well all gone.  Israel, that is the north, is about ready to disappear for good.


In verses 1 and 2 we note that as Israel grew, as they possessed more lands and built more altars, they became more sinful. The altars they built to worship God with, were turned into Baal worship altars.  Therefore, as stated here, God would destroy Israel 's altars and sacred stones. 


Concerning "sacred stones", most all religions back then, including Judaism, had stones or something similar to dise.  The rolling of these stones would help determine the will of the gods, or, in Israel, the will of god.  Even in Acts 1, we see this when Peter prayed and then drew lots to see who would replace Judas as one of the Twelve.   


Verse 3 states that Israel will acknowledge that they have no king because they failed to revere the Lord their God.  They will soon have no king because the Assyrian army will come and take away their kingdom and their king.  It will be too late then.  Israel will have already gone into exile.  They will have already lost their nationhood for good.  They will have no king and they will realize why.  That's a sad thought.


The last half of verse 3 is very true.  Israel will acknowledge that after she goes into exile, that even if she had a king, it would do them no good.  The reason why it would do them no good is because they don't have a kingdom for a king to rule over.  Besides, it's too late.  God's judgment cannot be reversed.  Even if they had a king, that king would not be blessed of the Lord.


That being said, the reason why the king would not be any good is stated in verse 4.  Israeli kings had become corrupt.  The text says that "they make promises", implying that they make the promises, only to break them after making them. Now there's a picture of our leaders today.  The verse goes on to say that the king makes oaths and agreements, but again, this implies that they break the oaths and agreements.  Besides, some of these agreements were made with the pagan nations that they were not to make agreements with. 


As a result of this, verse 4 also states that lawsuits will arise like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.  Now that certainly sounds like our world today.  Things never change. 


Verse 5 tells us how much in love Israelis were with their Baal idols.  They feared for the safety of these idols once in exile.  They mourned and cried over their destruction.  How sad, that God's people would be so attached to paganism that they would cry when these pagan idols were demolished.  Israel's were so far removed from their God that He had no choice than to destroy their nation. 


Verse 6 tells us that the idol of Beth Aven, otherwise known as Bethel, would be carried away to Assyria with the Jews. Both their nation and their religion would be exiled, would be lost.  At this point, in the eyes of the rest of the world, Israel would be disgraced and shamed.  This is always the result of God's judgment, whether seen in Israel, or any other nation of the world.  I suggest that the nations of the western world are in the beginning stages of this very thing right now.  We are beginning to experience God's judgment, and in the process, we are beginning to be disgraced and shamed in the eyes of the rest of the world.


Verse 7 creates a clear mental picture of the future of the northern kingdom of Israel.  Something many children and even adults have done is to throw a stick into a river.  The stick floats down the river to a point where you see it no more.  This is what happens to the northern kingdom.  It just floats down the river of history until you see it no more, and that is exactly what happened.


Verse 8 says that the high places of wickedness will be destroyed.  These high places refer to the mountains of Israel where Israelis worshipped Ball on.  They worshipped Ball on these mountains because they learned from their pagan friends that one is actually closer to the gods when he is high on top of a mountain.


Verse 8 speaks of a time when Israeli's would actually tell these mountains on which they worshipped to fall on them and cover them over.  They'll just want to die.  That is probably how they felt when the Assyrians came and wiped them out.  This reminds me of those in the book of Revelation who cry out for the same thing. Things will get so bad in the tribulation of the last days that people will want the mountains to fall on them and kill them. 


As in the last chapter, we see the city of Gibeah mentioned in verse 9.  God points out that the event that took place in Gibeah is a reference point for their sins.  It's not that their sinning started there, because it didn't.  It's probably because of the violence that took place there.  Judges 19 through 21 tells the story of a Levite man who spent the night at a man's house with his concubine.  Men outside the house wanted the owner of the house to send the Levite out so they could sexually rape him, much like what happened at Sodom and Gomorrah in earlier centuries.  The owner of the house refused to send the Levite out but he did send the Levite's concubine outside and she was sexually abused all night and ended up being killed.  Eventually the Levite went home, took the dead woman with him, cut her up in twelve pieces and sent each piece to each tribe of Israel.  Soon after a civil war broke out in Gibeah. The words "did not war overtake the evildoers", is in reference to Gibeah in this verse.


Note the words "when I please, I will punish them" in verse 10.  When "it pleases God, He will punish".  It's not that God takes pleasure in punishing anyone.  He doesn't.  The point is simple.  Whenever God wants to punish, He will.  The timing is all up to Him.  He is sovereign.     


Verse 10 says that "nations will be gathered against them".  This might be, and I say "might be" in reference to the final war against Israel in the last days. I say this because of the use of the word "nations'.  It was only Assyria who attacked Israel back then – just one nation.  At the end of this age, all nations will attack Israel.  I say "this might be" what this verse is speaking of because I think we should be careful not to attribute everything in the prophetic writings to the end of this age.  It is the tendency for some to do this.


Verse 11 is a bit hard to understand.  This is my take on the verse at the moment.  God says that He will put a yoke on Ephraim, that's the northern kingdom, and Judah, the southern kingdom will plow.  That is to say, the northern kingdom will become the servant to the south.  In one sense of the word that is what happened.  The north went into exile and never returned from that exile.  The south also went into exile in Babylon but the south did return.  It is from these returnees that Israelis survived to this very day.  Those Israelis from the north that would survive would have had to relocate to the south, and many did.


Verse 12 states a Biblical principle.  Actually, it's a universal principle.  "What you plant you will reap".  Even though it is too late for the northern kingdom to start planting righteously which would mean they would reap a righteous reward from God, God tells the Israelis to do just that.  So, I believe this verse is directed to Israelis of the future.  God is telling them to start living righteously so He can in turn reward their righteousness, which He will eventually do at the end of this present age in which we live. 


Breaking up the "unplowed ground" is a direct reference to the hard heartedness of Israel.  The Bible often speaks about our hard hearts in terms of dry unplowed ground.  What needs to be done to our hearts is to get them softened up so they can seek the Lord as stated in this verse.  God often helps us in the softening process by allowing hard times to come our way.  These  hard times are meant to bring us to our knees so we will repent and turn to Jesus.  This is what the Great Tribulation of the last days is all about for Israel . Those days are meant to bring Israel to her knees, and this is what will happen.


Verse 13 begins with, "but you have planted wickedness…".  The word "but" tells us that what God just told Israel to do, that is, plow up the field and plant righteousness, they didn't do that.  They planted wickedness instead.  One way in which the northern kingdom did this as seen in this verse was that they depended on themselves, their own strength, not the Lord's strength.  This is pure humanism.  The western world is in the same situation today that Israel of old was in.


Verse 14 tells us that because Israel trusted in their own armies and not the Lord, "the roar of battle" would be heard.  Assyria, with a huge roar, would swoop down from the north east and wipe the northern kingdom out.


Note the reference to "Shalman" in verse 14.  Scholars are divided on jus who or what this is.  It could be in reference to an Assyrian king named Shalmanezer the fifth, a king of Assyria.


The seriousness of God's judgment is seen in verse 14.  It's just not the men, the army of Israel that is killed off.  It's the women and children of the northern kingdom that are killed.  God's judgment is extreme. 


The chapter ends with verse 15 saying that the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.  So there you have it.  The word "completely".  Judgment is complete.  God does nothing in half way measures.  He neither extends His love or His wrath in half way measures.


Next Section - Chapter 11

Previous Section - Chapter 9

Home Page