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Read Hosea 10

10 Israel was a spreading vine;
    he brought forth fruit for himself.
As his fruit increased,
    he built more altars;
as his land prospered,
    he adorned his sacred stones.
Their heart is deceitful,
    and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will demolish their altars
    and destroy their sacred stones.

Then they will say, “We have no king
    because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
    what could he do for us?”
They make many promises,
    take false oaths
    and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
    like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
The people who live in Samaria fear
    for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
    and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendor,
    because it is taken from them into exile.
It will be carried to Assyria
    as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
    Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
Samaria’s king will be destroyed,
    swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
The high places of wickedness will be destroyed—
    it is the sin of Israel.
Thorns and thistles will grow up
    and cover their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, “Cover us!”
    and to the hills, “Fall on us!”

“Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel,
    and there you have remained.
Will not war again overtake
    the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them;
    nations will be gathered against them
    to put them in bonds for their double sin.
11 Ephraim is a trained heifer
    that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke
    on her fair neck.
I will drive Ephraim,
    Judah must plow,
    and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves,
    reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unplowed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
    and showers his righteousness on you.
13 But you have planted wickedness,
    you have reaped evil,
    you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
    and on your many warriors,
14 the roar of battle will rise against your people,
    so that all your fortresses will be devastated—
as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
    when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
15 So will it happen to you, Bethel,
    because your wickedness is great.
When that day dawns,
    the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.

Go Deeper

Today we read the continuation of Hosea’s metaphors for Israel. He uses two examples: the luxuriant vine and a trained calf (or a heifer in the NIV). The first example of a vine is a common image used for the nation of Israel (see Ps. 80:8-16; Jer. 2:21; Ezek. 15:1-8; 17:1-10). It is typically employed to call out the unfaithfulness of Israel when it does not bear the fruit it was designed to bear. That would be like a lime tree producing apples or rotten limes.

Yet in this passage, we see that the vine is luxuriant and prosperous. That is, the more Israel gains on a worldly scorecard, the more sin it commits. They have given their worship to both the pagan gods and Yahweh. In verse eight, Hosea uses the phrase “thorns and thistle” to convey the unproductiveness of Israel as God’s people. They had continually done anything they wanted rather than follow God’s design. This theme carries on in the metaphor of the trained calf, Ephraim. Threshing was a relatively light activity compared to the other task for cattle, which was to plow. In order for cattle to plow the field, they would require a yoke. Israel abused its freedom to thresh in the field by planting wickedness. This is why God will place a yoke upon them: plowing under the yoke will lead them in paths of righteousness.

There is a command in verse 12, and it is the key point that we should take to heart:

            “Sow righteousness for yourselves,

              reap the fruit of unfailing love,

            and break up your unplowed ground;

            for it is time to seek the Lord,

            until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”

We are to sow righteousness and seek the Lord. Likewise, Matthew 6:33 tells us to “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness.” How often have we decided to pursue our own ways and trust in our own gifting and abilities without properly recognizing that God is the one who gives them to us for His own glory? Speaking of the yoke, let us consider Matthew 11:28-30, where Jesus teaches us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. When we decide to surrender our desires and take up the yoke of Jesus, we find greater freedom there than we would trying to live life on our own. He is gentle and lowly in heart. By plowing with Him, we may reap His steadfast love. 


  1. Have you been sowing righteousness or wickedness? 
  2. Why is it significant that God disciplines Israel yet provides restoration? 
  3. How has God provided restoration in your own life?

Keep Digging

To go deeper and gain a greater understanding of agriculture in Biblical times, consider this article.

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2 thoughts on “Hosea 10”

  1. Ella Snodgrass

    It seems the finest, most luxuriant, worldly things were paving a path for Israel’s destruction. God’s anger was evident as the people became more and more self-absorbed, offered insincere promises, and gave false worship to other gods. They soon would endure war and hardship as a consequence of their sin. This does not have to be our story! At anytime we can walk away from the pull and weight of our sins straight into the forgiving arms of Jesus. Hebrews 3:15 declares “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion.” We are privileged to open up the Word and learn the character of our amazing God. Let’s never cease to be amazed at how He continually calls us out of the kingdom of darkness into His glorious light. Fully seeking Him will never disappoint, but will lead us into the fullest life we could ever want.

  2. God is so faithful and loving!! He gave them chances to change and warned them. How many times do we do the same sin over and over? He never gives up and because we have Christ we no longer have to sacrifice as such, I know I think that when my sin is something I “enjoy ” it is a sacrifice to give up. The joy that God brings on the other side is so much better than that “enjoyment ” I thought that sin was bringing. We are blind to the goodness God has for us in this world due to satan’s trickery. Ephesians 2:1-7 is about the new life in Christ. God I thank you for seeing the greatness of your plan. God thank you for strengthening and reinforcing with your mighty power the inner man, our Holy Spirit, that we may know the love of Christ and be filled with the fullness of God to walk in it now today for Your glory,In Jesus name

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