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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 13

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-8

HOSEA - CHAPTER 13

GOD’S FINAL LAMENT AGAINST ISRAEL AND EPHRAIM

Verses 1-8:

Verse 1 describes how that when Ephraim spoke "trembling," or in reverence before God, he exalted himself, with distinction, as a royal tribe in Israel, had high respect of all Israel, and of heathen nations around her, Job 29:21. But in contrast, when he "offended in Baal," and Moloch in union worship before the heathen calf-gods of Baal worship, he offended God and was brought to death, emptiness or unfruitfulness to Jehovah God, Joshua 4:14; Daniel 5:19; Hosea 11:2; 2 Kings 17:16; 2 Kings 17:18. Here prosperity and destruction are contrasted.

Verse 2 renews the grave charges of idolatry and its consequence against whoring Ephraim, as she adds sin to sin, of their own choosing, Colossians 2:23. First, under Jeroboam they began worship of the calves; Second, under Ahab they worshipped Baal the bull; Third, they followed this by multiplying the idols, circulating them among the less wealthy in their private lives, 2 Kings 17:9-10. They say to or of them that worship these idols, "Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves," or show adoration to them, an heathen adoration of an heathen idol, that can not see, hear, speak, walk, or work, Psalms 2:12; Psalms 106:20; Psalms 115:5-9. Men are to "kiss the Son," not heathen calf-idols, Psalms 2:12.

Verse 3 concludes that in their future judgment they shall be like:

1) Morning clouds, soon gone without rain.

2) Early dew that is soon gone, of little good.

3) As chaff driven away by the wind, of no value are their riches. 4) Smoke out of the chimney---a fading mirage, empty of good.

Verse 4 contains God’s claim of His caring Lordship over them, even from the days of Egypt. Though He is divorcing Israel, He claims her as His property still, and that she is still to know, recognize, or worship no god but Him, as set forth in His primary law at Sinai, Exodus 20:1-5. He then asserts and concludes that there exists no saviour or liberator except Him, Hosea 12:10; Joshua 24:14-15; Isaiah 43:11; Jonah 2:9; John 8:24; John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Isaiah 45:21.

Verse 5 states that God did know, recognize, or show favor to Ephraim and Israel in the wilderness to give them drink, food, clothes, and the needs of life, when they could not provide for themselves, in the wilderness, Deuteronomy 8:15. This He did from His storehouse of grace, mercy, love, and compassion to care for His own, whose Ephraim was, though in rebellion and anarchy against Him, Psalms 144:3; Amos 3:2.

Verse 6 describes them as cattle who were filled in a pasture of plenty, then stampeded against their Lord who gave them the pasture and caused the grass to grow. They had forgotten God and turned away from their best friend and lover, with selfish pride, to await their own destruction, the very thing against which their own law had warned them, Deuteronomy 6:11-12; Deuteronomy 8:11; Deuteronomy 22:15.

Verse 7 recounts God’s threat to be toward them as a lion and as a leopard by the way, that stalks and slays, and devours sheep and cattle that have no keeper, whose keeper has left them to stampede and stray to their own destruction, while He Himself would keep watch over them from the shadows as they suffered, 1 Samuel 15:22-23. See also Lamentations 3:10; as a lion or leopard lurks for its prey, so the Lord lay in wait watching over His own, Jeremiah 13:23.

Verse 8 continues God’s threat in their judgment, to assure them that their coming captivity judgment sufferings are caused by two things: 1) First, their unrepented sins, and 2) Second, His Divine intervention to use their heathen enemies to humble them, because of their idolatry and vain pride in a state of impenitence. God describes His judgment like that of a wild bear, bereaved, or robbed of her whelps, 2 Samuel 17:8; Proverbs 17:12. She is savage and vicious, satisfied with nothing less then ripping the heart from her detractors, her enemies, 1 Samuel 17:34. Where they sinned they shall be punished. Those beasts are similar in their vicious prey upon Ephraim to those that Daniel saw and described, Daniel ch. 7.

Verses 9-16

Ultimate, Final Blessings Yet to Come to Israel

Verses 9-16:

Verse 9 contains a direct address of appeal to Israel. God advised Israel that in opposing Him and His word she had destroyed herself, Proverbs 6:32; Proverbs 8:36. One who opposes God opposes himself, is his own worst enemy; yet, in God, hope and help are available, to the worst of sinners and backsliders, Deuteronomy 33:26; 1 John 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 1:15.

Verse 10 contains an offer of God to be their king, even yet. For there was no other judge, prince, or king who was able or willing to liberate them, to set them free from Assyria’s idolatry or bondage. God gave them a king, and He punished them through a king of Syria, 1 Samuel 8:5; 1 Samuel 8:7; 1 Samuel 8:19-20; 1 Samuel 10:19; Amos 2:3.

Verse 11 reminds Israel that He gave her a king in His anger, and took their king away in His wrath. It was not His primary purpose that Israel should have a civil king, like their heathen nations had, yet He gave them one to satisfy their cries and as an eventual chastening occasion, and took kings from them because of their sinful ruler, 1 Samuel 15:22-23; 1 Samuel 16:1; 1 Kings 15:25-27.

Verse 12 describes Ephraim’s sins as bound up in a bag with her, hidden away in secret, for a little while, till the fixed time of her swift judgment comes, Deuteronomy 32:34; Job 14:17; Job 21:19; 1 Samuel 25:29.

Verse 13 describes sufferings sure to befall them, like pains of childbirth that seize a woman, because Ephraim has been and is an unwise and lawless son. For he would not linger much longer in the birth canal of Israel until the violent agony and sorrows should suddenly come upon him, Jeremiah 30:6; Proverbs 22:3. He is unwise in not foreseeing and seeking an escape from danger and judgment, by repenting, 2 Kings 19:3; Isaiah 37:3.

Verse 14 contains a pledge from their God who is directly addressing Israel, v. 1. In this message He pledges to:

1) Ransom them from the powers of the grave, Job 19:25; Matthew 9:23-25; 1 Corinthians 15:52.

2) Redeem them from death, Isaiah 59:20; Romans 8:11; Romans 8:23; 1 Corinthians 15:55; 1 Peter 1:18-19.

3) Be a plague to destroy death for them, Hebrews 2:14-15.

4) To destroy their grave, Habakkuk 2:5; Romans 4:17; Romans 4:19.

5) That repentance should be hidden from His eyes in doing this, because of His covenant with His God and their fathers, Abraham, and Isaac. Neither Israel nor believers in Jesus should ever despair, 1 Corinthians 15:56-57; Genesis 48:4; Genesis 48:20; Genesis 49:22.

Verse 15 describes the dry east winds that are yet to come upon Ephraim, blasting from him all productivity and fruitfulness, Genesis 41:52; Genesis 48:19. In field and families they were to suffer as judgment for idolatrous disobedience: All before this tempest of judgment shall be destroyed, Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 18:17; Ezekiel 19:12. The conqueror will plunder and destroy all the costly vessels in the houses of Ephraim and about their idol altars.

Verses 16 adds that Samaria too shall become desolate because they of her habitation have rebelled against the true God, and they shall fall by the sword. The small children shall be hewn and dashed to pieces upon stones, and the unborn are to be killed by the ripping up of their mother’s womb, as victims of cruelty of heathen warriors, of conquering bands, 2 Kings 8:12; 2 Kings 15:16; Amos 1:13. No memorial shall be left of the temporary pomp and prosperity of Ephraim’s whoredoms. When the world forsakes God, the world shall suffer with much sorrows and regrets.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hosea 13". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/hosea-13.html. 1985.
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