About Jesus Steve Sweetman
(chl. 9:1 – 17)
In verse 1 God tells the
northern kingdom not to rejoice. If
He had to tell them this, that would suggest to me that they were
rejoicing. They were
rejoicing, but not rejoicing in their God.
They were rejoicing in their own self made luxuries of life.
They were rejoicing in themselves, just like the western world is
rejoicing today. There's a
lot of happiness in the west, but the happiness is shallow and based on
a sinful lifestyle, which will soon come crumbling to the ground.
God then tells these
people why they are not to rejoice.
It is because "they have been unfaithful to their God".
They had forsaken Him long ago and now their rejoicing would end
Also in verse 1 you see
the term, "wages of a prostitute at every threshing floor".
Part of the payment for a prostitute was often left-over grain
from the threshing floor. Again,
as I have said, when it comes to prostitution concerning the northern
Concerning the phrase
"you love wages of prostitution", when you think of the
spiritual adultery the northern kingdom was involved in, this means that
the pagans they gave themselves to was a means of income for them, and
when money is involved, it's hard to leave the one paying your salary.
It's all about compromise for the sake of financial gain. That
sure sounds familiar in our world today.
Verse 2 states that the
"threshing floors and the wine presses will not feed the
and wines were part of the staples, part of the main food, that Israelis
ate, but that would disappear. This
would be part of God's judgment. The financial benefit incurred by their
association with pagans would end, because the pagans would do them in
and make slaves out of them.
Verse 3 states that
"they", those in the northern kingdom, "will not remain
in the Lord's land". We've
seen this before in the Old Testament.
We often think that the land promised to Israel
would be exclusively theirs, that is, it would belong to them, but
that's not exactly right. The
land is said to be the Lord's all the way through the Old Testament.
was only a tenant in the land, and only if and when
they kept the covenant of God, meaning, the Law of Moses, that
they said they would keep. So,
had broken the covenant and as a result, the land was now going to be
taken from them. God owns
that particular land in the middle east.
He did back in Hosea's day, and He still owns the land today.
Then verse 3 states that
Ephraim, or, the northern kingdom, will return to
God says that Ephraim
will eat unclean food in Assyria. The simple fact is that
Ephraim was eating unclean food in his own country, and because of that,
he'd do the same in a nation in which he would be enslaved.
If he would not serve the Lord as he was meant to do in his own
land, God would take his religion away from him.
It's similar to what Paul teaches in Romans 1 and 2.
God will give you over to that which you are serving.
That is, He will give you over to your sin and in the process you
will lose what you once had in the Lord.
If Ephraim didn't want to serve the Lord, then that's what he
could do, but not in the land that belongs to the Lord. It's
like parents with a very rebellious teenager.
If the teenager keeps refusing to obey the rules of the house and
fit in with the rest of the family, sometimes the parents have to kick
the teenager out of the house. That's
what God was doing to the northern kingdom of Israel.
Verse 4 is simply saying
that the ceremonies that are associated with the Law of Moses, even if
they are done in a foreign land, will not be acceptable to the Lord.
Besides, many of these ceremonies were to be done at the temple
or designated places. So if
they were to be performed in
has been in the same situation for close to the last two thousand years.
has gotten around this, at least in a humanistic sense, by turning her
religion into a religion of works, which also is not acceptable to their
Note in verse 4 the words
"the bread of mourners". Mourners
here is probably in reference to mourning at a funeral.
The ceremonies that were meant to be joyous and meaningful, if
done at all in Assyria, would resemble a funeral more than a celebration.
God asks a question in
verse 5. He asks, "what will they do on the days of your appointed
feasts ..."? Judaism,
through the Law of Moses, was very structured.
They were expected to keep specific days for specific reasons and
in specific places. How
could they do that when they weren't in the right place?
Well, they couldn't.
Verse 6 states that even
if some Jews escape destruction in Assyria, "Egypt
will gather them and Memphis
will bury them". We
Verse 6 ends with the
idea that briers will over run their silver and thorns their tents.
This is speaking specifically of their possession in Israel
and the land itself. We have
seen this before as well. If
the Jews were not going to live in the promised land as God wanted them
too, no one else would successfully live their either.
The land would become desolate, which it has been for centuries.
Only since the Lord has allowed
Verse 7 is sad.
The day of judgment and reckoning is at hand for the northern
kingdom of Israel
because of their many sins. Judgment
and reckoning go hand in hand. Reckoning
means that Israel
would now have to give account of all the sins they have committed and
they then would be judged and punished accordingly.
A couple of sins are
specified here in verse 8. One
sin is their hostility, and that would be to their fellow human beings
as well as God. We've seen
earlier, and also in the book of Amos that the northern kingdom lost any
real sense of justice. Their
courts had become corrupt and they were very hostile, especially towards
Another specific sin was
their treatment of men of God. They
considered the prophets of God to be fools and the men of God to be
maniacs. I would suggest that the western world is beginning to do the
same today. Men of God were
once held in high esteem, but not any more. Men
of God are often ridiculed in the media. They are often the but of jokes
by stand up comedians. And, when it comes to prophets, even Christians
put them down.
Verse 9 says, "they
have sunk deep into corruption as in the days of Gibeah".
To understand what "the days of Gibeah" means you must
read Judges 19 through 21. This
is the story. A Levite was traveling through the tribe of Benjamin with
his concubine. He needed a
place to stay and no one would offer him a place for the night except an
old man. When a certain
group of young men heard this, they stood outside the house where the
Levite was spending the night and demanded the old man give them the
Levite to commit homosexual acts with all night.
The old man refused to give the Levite, but he did give the gang
of teenage boys the Levite's concubine.
The young men sexually abused her all night and ended up killing
her. When the Levite saw
this, he went home, cut his concubine up in twelve pieces and sent each
piece to each of the twelve tribes of
The next phrase in verse
9 states that God will remember the wickedness of the northern kingdom
and will punish them for it. We
must not confuse this with the fact that God forgives sins and sends
them as far as the east is from the west and remembers our sins no more.
Those sins that He will never remember are only those sins that
are covered by the blood of Jesus. If you have not accepted the
sacrificial blood of Jesus to cover your sins, God will still remember
them, and because He is just, you will be punished for those sins.
How thankful we should be for the blood of Jesus.
Verse 10 expresses God's
God's feelings soon
changed when, as it says here, Israel
gave themselves to Baal. Baal
was the fertility god in the Canaanite religion. You
should remember, way back in Abraham's day God promised
God said that the
northern kingdom became like what they worshipped. This is a principle
of Scripture. One becomes
like the one they worship. Psalm
135:15 states this as well. The
simple fact is that one becomes like the one to whom they give
themselves. You often see
this in marriage. The
husband often takes on some of the characteristics of his wife, and vise
versa, assuming they stay in the marriage long enough.
In the western world, we have given ourselves to materialism,
which is cold, harsh, and unforgiving.
In many respects, this is what we have become.
Verse 11 is interesting
in how it is linked to verse 10, which most people would not see.
Baal was the god of fertility. In verse 11 God says that Ephraim,
that's the northern kingdom of Israel, will fly away. How that
should be interpreted is seen in the next phrase that says, "no
birth, no pregnancy, no conception". The
god they gave themselves to is directly connected to Ephraim's
punishment. They would not
be fertile. They would fly
away, meaning, because there would be no children born to their women,
Ephraim would disappear and become non-existent, which they did.
The irony here is that they gave themselves to the god of
fertility but their women became sterile.
Verse 12 simply means
that even if any children seem to slip through this punishment and are
born, God would kill them off somehow.
We see how upset God is. This
is not the modern concept of who God is.
The second phrase in
verse 12 states, "woe to them when I turn away from them".
God can, He will, and He has, turned away from His people,
whether it's Israel
or the church, because of their sin.
He turned His back on Jesus because of sin, not Jesus' sin, but
our sin. If He will turn His back on Jesus, He can turn His back on
Verse 13 simply means
that the northern
Again in verse 13 we see
God's judgment on Israel
concerns their future existence. Their children would be slain, and
history proves this to be true. God's
judgment was to completely wipe out the northern kingdom of Israel, which He did.
In verse 14 Hosea starts
to pray for the northern kingdom, but he stops.
We don't know what request he was going to ask God for.
In my thinking, he was probably going to ask God for help, for
more time so Israel
could come around to God's way of thinking.
We don't know for sure what Hosea was going to say. Whatever it was, he didn't say it.
He changed his mind.
Hosea says to God,
"give them, O Lord …" He
stops his prayer in mid sentence and then says, "what will you give
them"? His plea is
turned into a question, that I believe he knew the answer to, and that
is why he interrupted his request in mid sentence. Then
he says, "give them wombs of misery and breasts that are dry".
Hosea would have said this because this is what God just told him
He would do. The wombs of
misery and dry breasts point to the flying away of the northern kingdom
as seen in the last few verses. What
Hosea would like to see God do, he knew God wouldn't do.
It was too late. The
tipping point of sin had already been reached, and it was too late to
repent. So, Hosea changed
his request for help from God to the judgment he knew God was going to
put on the northern kingdom. Again,
the type of judgment mentioned here is in direct relation to their sin.
They worshipped Baal, a god of fertility.
Therefore Israeli women would not be fertile.
Verse 15 speaks of the
wickedness of Gilgal. Gilgal
was an important city in the northern kingdom in many respects, but
after a while, it had become important for the wrong reason.
Gilgal, in Biblical terms, had become the place of human
government apart from God and a place of pagan worship.
The western world today is like Gilgal.
We have forsaken any influence of the God of the Bible in our
western nations, something we once had.
In verse 15 we see that
God actually says that He "hated them", and, He "will no
longer love them". This
is amazing. Those God fell
in love with and actually married, as seen earlier in Hosea, He hates
because of Israel's unfaithfulness. This has to show you how angry God was at the
Verse 16 says that
"Ephraim's root is withered".
This too shows us the degree of depravity that the northern
kingdom came to be. If a
plant is cut down, many plants will grow again from its roots, but, if a
plant's root dies, then that plant cannot grow again.
You might as well pull the dead plant out of the ground by the
roots and throw it in the garbage. This
is exactly what God did to the northern kingdom.
She wasn't worth saving. She
was completely dead, even to the roots, and even after worshipping their
adopted god Baal, the one who was supposed to give Israel
life since he was the god of fertility.
God then says what He
said earlier in this chapter. Even
if these Israelis did have children, He would eventually kill them off.
The northern kingdom had no chance of being revived at any future
date, and this is exactly what happened.
Verse 17 says that
because of their sin these Israelis will be rejected by God and they
will wander throughout the nations.
The northern kingdom of Israelis did wander among the known
nations of the world until they were totally assimilated into these
nations, thus losing all sense of their own national identity.
The southern kingdom also was sent into exile where she wandered
through the nations of the world, until she began to return to her home
land in the late 1800's.