Read Hosea 9
Punishment for Israel
9 Do not rejoice, Israel;
do not be jubilant like the other nations.
For you have been unfaithful to your God;
you love the wages of a prostitute
at every threshing floor.
2 Threshing floors and winepresses will not feed the people;
the new wine will fail them.
3 They will not remain in the Lord’s land;
Ephraim will return to Egypt
and eat unclean food in Assyria.
4 They will not pour out wine offerings to the Lord,
nor will their sacrifices please him.
Such sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners;
all who eat them will be unclean.
This food will be for themselves;
it will not come into the temple of the Lord.
5 What will you do on the day of your appointed festivals,
on the feast days of the Lord?
6 Even if they escape from destruction,
Egypt will gather them,
and Memphis will bury them.
Their treasures of silver will be taken over by briers,
and thorns will overrun their tents.
7 The days of punishment are coming,
the days of reckoning are at hand.
Let Israel know this.
Because your sins are so many
and your hostility so great,
the prophet is considered a fool,
the inspired person a maniac.
8 The prophet, along with my God,
is the watchman over Ephraim,
yet snares await him on all his paths,
and hostility in the house of his God.
9 They have sunk deep into corruption,
as in the days of Gibeah.
God will remember their wickedness
and punish them for their sins.
10 “When I found Israel,
it was like finding grapes in the desert;
when I saw your ancestors,
it was like seeing the early fruit on the fig tree.
But when they came to Baal Peor,
they consecrated themselves to that shameful idol
and became as vile as the thing they loved.
11 Ephraim’s glory will fly away like a bird—
no birth, no pregnancy, no conception.
12 Even if they rear children,
I will bereave them of every one.
Woe to them
when I turn away from them!
13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre,
planted in a pleasant place.
But Ephraim will bring out
their children to the slayer.”
14 Give them, Lord—
what will you give them?
Give them wombs that miscarry
and breasts that are dry.
15 “Because of all their wickedness in Gilgal,
I hated them there.
Because of their sinful deeds,
I will drive them out of my house.
I will no longer love them;
all their leaders are rebellious.
16 Ephraim is blighted,
their root is withered,
they yield no fruit.
Even if they bear children,
I will slay their cherished offspring.”
17 My God will reject them
because they have not obeyed him;
they will be wanderers among the nations.
The opening verses of this chapter instruct the Israelites to refrain from rejoicing because they have been unfaithful to God. Disobedience is not a new trend in the time of Hosea; it has been a theme throughout Israel’s history. The Israelites are a forgetful people. Namely, they forget over and over again the covenant made between them and God. In the book of Deuteronomy, God makes a covenant with Moses, promising the people of Israel His blessing for their obedience (which we call the Mosaic Covenant).
The Israelites try to shortcut the promise and seek prosperity apart from God, and this leads to disastrous consequences. Throughout the prophetic book of Hosea, these consequences are described in detail. In this chapter, the Israelites experience diminished fruitfulness and exile from the land of Jerusalem. Their forgetfulness leads to rebellion and as a result, God’s judgment on them.
“They will not pour out wine offerings to the Lord, nor will their sacrifices please him” (v. 4). God doesn’t want our offerings. He doesn’t need our external acts of obedience – He seeks repentant hearts. David’s confession to God in Psalm 51 speaks to this:
16 “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.” (Psalm 51:16-17)
God is gracious. He allows us to come to Him broken and in need. We don’t need to have everything tidied up in order to be in relationship with Him. He just wants us. He wants hearts that are turned toward Him. He does the restoring and the redeeming as we draw near to Him.
- What do you learn about God’s character from this chapter?
- What do you learn about the Israelites? How are their actions similar to your own life?
- What promises of God do you need to remember in order to walk in obedience to His ways?
Did You Know?
Check out these notes on Hosea 9 from the SonicLight Commentary published by Dr. Thomas Constable, a retired seminary professor:
“The glory of the Ephraimites, their numerous children, would fly away like a bird, quickly and irretrievably. There would be few births, or even pregnancies, or even conceptions. There is a play on the name “Ephraim” here, which sounds somewhat like the Hebrew word meaning “twice fruitful.” The Ephraimites had looked to Baal for the blessing of human fertility, but Yahweh would withhold it in judgment. Ephraim, the doubly fruitful, would become Ephraim, the completely fruitless.”
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