Bible Commentaries
Hosea 7

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-16



Verses 1-16:

Verse 1,first indicates a point at which God would have healed Israel, at the restoration of 20,000 Jewish captives, as this gave hope of their reformation, 2 Chronicles 28:8-15. Moral and political healing is meant. Then the sins of Ephraim the royal tribe, broke forth, as Samaria was her royal city. Then evidence of falsehood, theft, and robbery were discovered to be in the very fiber and tissue of their lives toward God and men.

Verse 2 indicates that they were so blinded to their own sins, overlooking them, that they forgot that God could not and would not let them go unpunished, Numbers 32:23; Deuteronomy 32:34; Psalms 90:8. Like chains and fetters they were entangled and entrapped by their own sins, conforming to wicked laws and seductive, immoral, idolatrous rituals of kings and princes, Job 20:11; Psalms 9:16; Proverbs 5:22; Isaiah 26:16.

Verse 3 testifies that the Israelites were flattered by the approval and applause of their rulers, as they responded to the wicked laws and seductive rites and ceremonies of heathen-bent idolatries and whoredoms, Acts 12:13; Romans 1:32.

Verse 4 accuses all of being "adulterers", like a long heated furnace. The kings, princes, and people were as one, in rebellion against God. Lust lived off of lust, and called for more, to satisfy a continuing carnal pursuit of inflamed moral and spiritual adultery and debauchery. The course of such religious sin is described as those "that cannot cease from sin," 2 Peter 2:14.

Verse 5 describes the debauchery and conduct of inebriated kings of the northern kingdom of Israel, on days of coronation and feast days, as they were incited by their princes, toasting each other again and again with "bottles of wine," not just glasses, drinking in excess, as they scorned, ridiculed, or made fun of holy things and holy people, speaking in derision of God, as recounted Daniel 5:3-4; Proverbs 20:1; Proverbs 31:4. Even John the Baptist was beheaded at a similar drunken feast, Matthew 14:6-12; Mark 6:14-29.

Verse 6 indicates that priest and laymen in Israel made their hearts ready or open to sin. They literally sinned because they wanted to sin, waiting and looking for the occasion to sin. Like an oven, where the fire is shut in and kept burning all night, while the baker sleeps, but in the morning the flames are kindled for baking. Even so they brood, plan evil in their hearts, while their conscience is lulled to sleep, waiting for an occasion to commit wickedness, when opportunity affords. After Jeroboam II of the northern kingdom of Israel, they had murdered one king after another, in rapid succession.

Verse 7 indicates that premeditated murder had become a pattern of their behavior so that judges and kings were destroyed like grass in an hot oven, 2I Kings ch. 15. The phrase "all their kings are fallen" seems to allude to the murder of Zachariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah, at a time of civil war and turmoil among themselves. In fact six kings fell in succession among them, yet none sought help from God, Isaiah 64:7. They all pursued their idolatrous ways, 2 Kings 15:10; 2 Kings 15:14; 2 Kings 15:25, about 722 B.C.

Verse 8 charges that Ephraim had mixed himself among the people, the heathen, by idolatrous league or contract to engage in whoring idolatry. Because of this unholy league with heathen gods and idols Ephraim is compared with a "cake unturned," burnt on one side, with dough on the other, only fit to be thrown to the dogs, inedible. The Easterns cooked their bread on the ground, covering it with coals, turning it every ten minutes, to bake it without burning, 1 Kings 19:6.

Verse 9 stresses that strangers, heathens, the Syrians from the East, had devoured (taken away) Ephraim’s strength, and Ephraim was ignorant of what had happened, as her kings had compromised, sold out to Assyria and Egypt for personal greed and gain, 2 Kings 13:7; 2 Kings 15:19-20; 2 Kings 17:3-6. Ephraim with gray hairs, (symbol of maturity, knowledge and wisdom) still held or exercised no wisdom in her behavior before God and the world, as she made covenants with heathens, embraced their gods, and gave her children in marriage to them against the Divine commands to Israel, Exodus 20:1-5; Levitus ch.18; Deuteronomy 7:3; Joshua 23:12; 1 Kings 11:1-13; Ezra 9:10; Nehemiah 13:23. The gray hair in this instance symbolized senility, rather than wisdom. She was ripe for destruction. Wisdom is not -always found with old age, Job 32:7; Proverbs 23:33-35.

Verse 10 reasserts the idea of Hosea 5:5, that the pride and obstinacy of Israel continued in her, in spite of the calamities that had and were befalling her, Isaiah 9:13-14.

Verse 11 tells of Ephraim’s behavior, like a "silly dove without heart," without heart or understanding, easily taken with a net and a little feed, Matthew 10:16; Ezekiel 12:13; Hosea 11:11. She had sought help from the heathen, in both Egypt and Assyria, only to be betrayed or entrapped by both. God had warned her to seek or enter no alliance with either, Exodus 23:31-32; Deuteronomy 7:11; Deuteronomy 7:2.

Verse 12 warns Ephraim and Israel that God will snare them like a dove when they go into Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon, to enter into covenants and alliances in a breach of His law; They shall be frustrated, brought low, caused to shudder, to tremble when God spreads the net of His judgment over them, like the netting of a dove, a warning that had been given to the congregation of Israel many times, Ezekiel 12:13. These threatenings of the law had often been read to them in their assemblies, yet they did not heed, Leviticus 26:14-33; Deuteronomy 28; Deuteronomy 15; 2 Kings 17:13-18.

Verse 13 pronounces woe upon the people of Ephraim and the northern kingdom of Israel, because of the base or low ingratitude shown to God, in spite of His redeeming them from Egypt, and from enemy nations repeatedly since. They had fled or flown away from God, like birds from their nests, though He would have healed them, Proverbs 27:8; Isaiah 16:2; Micah 6:4. Though they "spoke lies" against Him, He still loved them. Psalms 78:36: Jeremiah 3:10. Pretending to be worshippers of God, they lied about it, worshipped idols, Exodus 20:1-5; Psalms 115:5-9.

Verse 14 describes their howling in woe upon their beds, but not in repentance to God, not from their hearts. They only felt selfishly sorry for themselves, because of due trouble that God had sent upon them. In anguish, deep affliction, and despair they cried, but not to God, as they had been directed to do, 2 Chronicles 7:14. They rebeled against and withdrew from God, continuing to worship before their adopted heathen idols, casting off every semblance of allegiance to God. In vain they prayed for corn and wine before idols, Job 35:9-10; Psalms 78:36-37.

Verses 15, 16, describe their grave ingratitude and the chastisement yet to come to them because of it. To "bind and strengthen" Israel’s arms in righteous warfare had once been God’s delight, before she apostatized, Psalms 18:34-35; Psalms 144:1. He had also given them victory over their enemies, when they had walked in His ways, 2 Kings 14:25-27.

They are described in v. 16 as returning from beds of howling at home, but not to God, the most High, but to the false gods, the idols; In this they are like a bow with a crooked arrow, that misses the mark, Psalms 78:57. This they did in worshipping lifeless idols described as being deaf, dumb, blind, and without life or feeling, concluding that those who made them were like or similar to them, so was each who trusted in or prayed to them, Psalms 115:1-9. It is still that way today.

Ephraim was to return to Egypt, who was to gather them up, take them in, and bury them, as a result of their blasphemy against God, Hosea 9:3; Hosea 9:6; 2 Kings 19:4.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Hosea 7". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. 1985.