Bible Commentaries
Hosea 11

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-12



Verses 1-12:

Verse 1 expresses an historical fact and prophetic event; First, God did call or bring forth Israel, as His first-born or Heir-Son out of Egypt, when she was yet young, as a chosen people, as set forth Exodus 4:22; Exodus 14:13-14; Exodus 14:22; Exodus 14:29-30. God redeemed them from Egypt. Second, this is a prophecy fulfilled in our Lord’s calling Joseph to take the child Jesus into Egypt, then later calling him to carry him forth from Egypt, as certified Matthew 2:13-15, to redeem men, in definitive fulfillment of every old testament prophecy, as certified by our Lord Himself, after His resurrection, Luke 24:5-17; Luke 24:44-45.

Verse 2 recounts how that Israel, often called of God, through Abraham, Moses, Aaron, Joshua, and the prophets, repeatedly turned away from him, in contempt, with ingratitude, Jeremiah 2:27. They sacrificed to Baal, the idol god, in numerous places, Numbers 22:41; Judges 2:11; Judges 2:13; 1 Kings 16:31; 1 Kings 18:18; 2 Kings 21:3-4; Jeremiah 23:13; Jeremiah 23:27.

Verse 3 confirms that He had loved Ephraim from a child, set him upon his feet, taught him to walk, supported him gently, as a nurse supports a small child, and carried him when he was tired, Deuteronomy 1:31; Deuteronomy 8:2; Deuteronomy 8:5; Nehemiah 9:21; Isaiah 63:9; Numbers 11:12. Yet they ignored God’s goodness and kindness, did not recognize His design to restore them. They went selfishly on their lustful ways with ingratitude, Exodus 15:26. Of such ingratitude some poet wrote:

"Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind, As man’s ingratitude."

While another added:.

"How sharper than a serpent’s tooth It is to have a thankless child."

While God laments:

"I have nourished and brought up children, And they have rebelled against me."

Verse 4 describes God’s drawing and leading Ephraim and Israel with cords or bands of love. And he had lifted burdens from them like one would lift a yoke from an ox or saddle from a horse to give it rest, and feed it, Leviticus 26:13. He had given them abundant water to drink, meat and manna to eat, and clothed and shod them through the desert, with tender care, Psalms 78:9-30; Psalms 78:36-38; Psalms 78:41-43; Psalms 78:72.

Verse 5 declares that he, Ephraim, shall not return to Egypt, to secure help against Assyria, as Israel had lately done, for he shall be held as a slave-captive, without power in Assyria. He will return them to Egypt, (bondage) in a figurative sense only, as described Hosea 9:3. But the Assyrian shall be king over Israel because they had refused to return to God, 2 Kings 17:13; Amos 4:6; 2 Chronicles 7:14. They shall therefore receive just retribution as slave laborers to the Gentiles of heathen and idolatrous Assyria.

Verse 6 describes their certain captive subjection that was to continue for a long period of time. They were to suffer much cruel and violent treatment, with the sword abiding over them, 2 Samuel 12:10. The sword was to consume Ephraim’s branches or keep every city and village they occupied under the sword, Exodus 25:13; Job 17:16; Jeremiah 23:19; Jeremiah 30:23; Lamentations 4:6; 2 Samuel 3:29. All this was to come because of their counsels or rulers that they had followed, worshipping idols, Psalms 47:9.

Verse 7 describes the obstinacy of God’s people He yet calls "my people," who were bent toward backsliding, like one fastened to a stake, leaning upon it. Though prophets, like Hosea, Amos, Joel, etc., called them to turn from their idolatry, they turned not to honor God. They turned their face from God, broke their allegiance to Him, dethroned Him from their hearts and lives. This they did repeatedly, even continually. "None at all would exalt Him." They were obstinate as an oxen, more stubborn than a mule, and dumber than a sheep led to the slaughter, Isaiah 1:3-8.

Verse 8 describes the conflict of mercy and judgment that God balances in doing right toward His own who do very wrong. He laments how He shall give up Ephraim and Israel. He shall destroy them as He did Admah and Zeboim, two of the cities He destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah, Genesis 14:8; Genesis 19:24-25; Amos 4:11; Deuteronomy 29:23. He then describes His heart or affections as turned, churned, or clashing within Him, as He thought of the judgment they deserved, 1 Samuel 25:36; Jeremiah 8:18. His repentings refer to the strong compassions within Him as a glow of love and heat, Numbers 23:19. The term (Hebrew) is the same used of Joseph, translated as His "bowels" (were hot), did yearn, at the presence of His brethren, Genesis 43:30; Luke 24:32; 1 Kings 3:26.

Verse 9 promises that God will not return to execute, exterminate, or wipe out Ephraim, as conquerors frequently did. He will abate wrath and show mercy again, for He is God, and not depraved man. He does not change His plans or purposes like fickle men, Numbers 23:19; 1 Samuel 15:29; Mark 3:6. He is (exists as) the "Holy One" in their midst, even in their captivity and judgment, unchanging in His nature and purpose, Exodus 19:5-6 He will not destroy them as He did Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, and -Zeboim, Genesis 14:8; Genesis 19:25.

Verse 10 prophecies of a time when Ephraim shall again walk after the Lord, following her chastisement. God will roar His judgment like a lion against Israel’s foes when Israel turns again to Him in repentance, Isaiah 31:4; Jeremiah 25:26-30; Joel 3:16. When God roars. His children will then tremble and flock like birds in eagerness from the west to the east, to their homeland, Zechariah 8:7; Isaiah 11:11-16.

Verse 11 describes the return of Israel from Assyria and Egypt to Palestine, as a trembling dove that has returned home, after a long and frightful flight, Hosea 7:11; Isaiah 60:8. God pledges in keeping His covenant of Grace, to restore them in their houses or upon their residences, in their own Promised Land, from which they shall serve Him faithfully, departing no more, Ezekiel 28:26.

Verse 12 charges Ephraim and Israel, at this particular time of Hosea’s prophecy, as encompassing God with lies and the house of Israel (organized program of worship) with deceit. Deceitfully they claimed to worship God, yet making sacrifices, offering prayers, and engaging in heathen sex orgies before the idols of Baal, Ashtaroth, and Astarte, worshipping in vain, willfully breaking the very laws of the most High God they were sworn to uphold and defend, Exodus 20:1-5; Psalms 115:1-9; Joshua 24:19; Proverbs 30:3.

Judah was, however, yet reigning with a legal succession of kings and priests, and maintaining worship in Jerusalem. And she was said to be "faithful with the saints" in harmony with the Levites and priests and prophets, those publicly identified with and committed to carry on the true worship of the (house-order) that Moses built, Hebrews 3:1-6.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hosea 11". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.