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Bible Commentaries

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

Hosea 9

 

 

Verse 1

It is amazing that so many commentators see nothing in this remarkable prophecy except the love of God, hailing Hosea as, "The messenger of God's love," and affirming that incredibly severe denunciations such as those given in this chapter do not really represent any permanent change in the status of the secular kingdom of Israel as "God's chosen people," and declaring further that:

"In the future God will be her helper. The day will come when idols will be abandoned and devotion to God will have full sway. Restored to her own land, Israel will once more enjoy material prosperity and divine blessings."[1]

Take a look at what this prophecy says in this chapter:

Let Israel's joy cease...Hosea 9:1.

Your (Israel's) food supply shall fail...Hosea 9:2.

Your vulgar licentiousness has disgusted me...Hosea 9:1.

You are a nation of harlots...Hosea 9:1.

You shall eat mourner's bread...Hosea 9:4.

You shall be defiled...Hosea 9:4.

You shall be removed from the land...Hosea 9:3.

You shall go back into slavery...Hosea 9:3.

You shall eat bread of affliction in Assyria...Hosea 9:3.

You will weep and not rejoice on festal days...Hosea 9:6.

Your land will be wasted...Hosea 9:6.

Your people will die of hunger...Hosea 9:6.

Egypt (slavery) will gather you...Hosea 9:6.

Memphis (the great cemetery) shall bury you...Hosea 9:6.

Nettles and thorns shall take your tents...Hosea 9:6.

Your treasures shall be destroyed...Hosea 9:6.

Your judgment of doom is at hand...Hosea 9:7.

Your prophets and seers are insane fools...Hosea 9:8.

Ephraim has climbed into the place of God...Hosea 9:8.

He is a trap for all the people...Hosea 9:8.

God is now going to punish you...Hosea 9:8,9.

You have become God's enemy...Hosea 9:9.

You are still continuing the wickedness you started at Gibeah...Hosea 9:9.

Your wickedness started even earlier at Baal-peor...Hosea 9:10.

Your glory has disappeared like a cloud...Hosea 9:11.

I cannot bear the sight of you...Hosea 9:12.

Your posterity shall perish...Hosea 9:12.

Your sons are to be murdered...Hosea 9:13.

Abortions and childlessness are to be your lot...Hosea 9:14.

All of your iniquity was evident at Gilgal...Hosea 9:15.

And it has never for a moment ceased...Hosea 9:15.

Therefore, I hate you...Hosea 9:15.

And I shall not love you anymore...Hosea 9:15.

Your nation is rotten, root and branch...Hosea 9:16.

I, your God, do cast you away...Hosea 9:16.

You shall wander forever among the nations...Hosea 9:16-17.SIZE>

Of very great significance is the appearance of three historical examples in this chapter, showing that Israel had, from the very first, refused to accept the terms of their covenant with God. (1) At Baal-peor, they enthusiastically rejected the stern morality of the Decalogue and made a rebellious covenant with Baal (with all of the licentiousness that went with the worship of the bull-gods) in the very shadow of Sinai itself. (2) Both at Gibeah and at Gilgal, they had rejected the Theocracy through their insistence upon having a king like other nations, both places being sharply identified with Saul, their first king. As a matter of fact, this chapter shows that all of Israel's subsequent sin and rebellion was summarized in these two primary rejections of God's will. Their monarchy was one of their principal troubles, the root cause and expression of their evil ways. As Ward wrote:

"The kingdom had been a violation of the covenant with Jehovah, and so it was rejected as his instrument in the world. Therefore, it would come to an end in the scattered fragments of a disintegrated people."[2]

Some students of the Word of God have been troubled by the severity of God against Israel for doing the very same things that all other nations were doing throughout the whole world of that period. It was Israel's violated covenant with God that made the difference. If Israel had continued in that covenant, God's purpose of redeeming all men would have been gloriously aided; but by their wanton disobedience they actually jeopardized God's procurement of salvation (not just for Israel) for all mankind. This fundamental truth demanded their punishment and rejection.

In our paraphrase of this chapter in the list of denunciations given above, the actual words of it are not in any single version, but practically all of it is given in Harper's translation.[3]

Some of the text in this part of Hosea is obscure and uncertain, and the most frequent comments observed declare: "this verse is very difficult ... the meaning is not certain here ... this is not a full sentence ... part of the text is missing ... we have emended it as follows" ... etc. etc. Despite this, however, the certain meaning of the whole chapter is as plain as the sun in broad open daylight.

Hosea 9:1

"Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, like the peoples; for thou hast played the harlot, departing from thy God; thou has loved hire upon ever grain-floor."

This verse is not a mere prohibition of Israel's rejoicing at a good harvest, the key to understanding what is meant is in, "like the peoples"; and what is in view here is nothing innocent at all. The immoral orgies of the bull-god celebrations, after the manner of the old Canaanite paganism, are clearly in view, that being the import of, "thou hast played the harlot." Hindley, and others, have suggested that Hosea might have delivered this prophecy, "at one of the great harvest festivals";[4] but such a mere guess has nothing to sustain it and leads to a misunderstanding of Hosea 9:8. "The heathen nations indulged in orgies at their harvest festivals."[5] The allusion in this place is probably to "the orgies of the heathen festivals."[6] As Meyers said, "The threshing-floor had become in reality a den of iniquity, and Israel preferred the harlot's hire there to genuine thanksgiving to the Lord."[7]

"Upon every grain-floor ..." This is the same as a threshing-floor; and as Polkinghorne expressed it: "This remark about harlotry on the threshing-floor has a double meaning. Not only is there sacred prostitution, but there is the worship of false gods also."[8]


Verse 2

"The threshing-floor and the wine-press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail her."

This means that Israel's harvests shall fail; their food supply shall be cut off, and their prosperity shall end in captivity. Hailey and others down-play the sexual immorality of the Baal festivals, referring principally to the spiritual quality of their prostitution.

"They were accepting the harvest as a harlot's hire for their spiritual prostitution before the baalim of the Canaanites. But that which Israel had sought as a compensation (from the baalim) would fail. (That is, the harvests would fail)."[9]

However, no understanding of what Israel did is possible without taking into account the question of why they loved Baal; and that is clear enough in the very first outbreak of Baalism at Baal-peor, which is discussed at length under Hosea 9:10, below.


Verse 3

"They shall not dwell in Jehovah's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria."

"Jehovah's land ..." is a mistranslation, despite its being strictly true. All land is the Lord's, and Israel would still be "in the Lord's land" even when deported to Assyria. Furthermore, Palestine was not any more "God's land" than any other piece of real estate on earth. The meaning is that Israel shall not dwell any more "in the house of the Lord"; and "thus Hosea referred to it in Hosea 8:1; 9:15 ... it means the salvation history will be cancelled,"[10] for Israel.

"Ephraim shall return to Egypt. And they shall eat unclean food in Assyria"

From this arrangement it is clear that Hebrew parallelism is employed here, and thus the second clause means the same thing as the first; and from that, it is quite evident that "Egypt" is used in a figurative sense to mean a place of slavery. Nearly all commentators recognize this; but now and then one goes overboard with the allegation that Hosea could not make up his mind where the captivity would be, or designates the last clause as a gloss and proclaims that this is not a valid prophecy at all, since Hosea was sure it would be in Egypt! Such blunders are caused by the over-zealousness of some critics to support some previously adopted interpretation or theory. To be sure, this passage like the whole prophecy is valid; and even the use of Egypt in a metaphorical sense is most circumstantially accurate and scriptural. We have repeatedly become aware in Hosea of this sacred writer's absolute familiarity with much of the Old Testament that preceded him, included the Pentateuch; and he almost certainly had in mind Moses' words in Deuteronomy. In that passage:

"Though threatening a return to Egypt, it speaks (verse 36) of their being brought to a nation which neither they nor their fathers had known, showing that it is not the literal Egypt, but an Egypt-like bondage that is threatened."[11]

Mauchline believed that this verse prophesied that Israel would go to both Egypt and Assyria,[12] thus passing over the obvious parallelism employed and taking the passage literally. No one can deny that even that understanding of the prophecy was exactly fulfilled! As Clarke noted many years ago, with the onset of the Assyrian invasion:

Many of them fled to Egypt to avoid destruction, but they went there only to die.[13] (Mays believed that such a fleeing to Egypt would have occurred about 733 B.C .... J.B.C.) After 733 some Israelites had already been carried into exile in Assyria, and (Hosea) expected others to flee as refugees to Egypt.[14]

We do not believe, however, that the principal concern of commentators is that of determining what Hosea "probably thought." Hosea was not delivering to mankind what he thought, but what God said, and this should always be kept in mind. The true explanation of this dual reference to Egypt and Assyria lies in the figurative use of Egypt in Deuteronomy; and as God is the true author of both passages, it should be concluded that since the figurative use of Egypt in Deuteronomy 28 is absolutely clear, the most reasonable conclusion is that the figurative use applies here also. As Myers summed it up:

"Of course, the clause is explained by the parallelism, `they shall eat unclean food in Assyria,' for no actual exile in Egypt is contemplated ... in Assyria, it will not be possible to carry out the customary rituals of the Lord" (Hosea 9:4).[15]


Verse 4

"They shall not pour out wine-offerings to Jehovah, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted; for their bread shall be for their appetite; it shall not come into the house of Jehovah."

Religious observances of any kind will be impossible for Israel in Assyria to which they shall go in exile and slavery. The religious concerns of despised and hated slaves will find no consideration whatever of the heartless captors. See Myers' comment under Hosea 9:3, above.

"Bread of mourners ..." This is an ominous expression. The bread of mourners was the bread eaten during funeral celebrations, during which times all who entered the house of the dead were considered to be unclean. All Israel is thus designated a "house of the dead," and a scene of mourning.

"Their bread shall be for their appetite ..." Slave-masters will feed their slaves exactly as they did their animals, merely for the purpose of keeping them alive and in working condition. No consideration at all would be given to what the Israelites would have considered clean or unclean food. Given the Jewish attitude regarding what was kosher, their situation in Assyrian exile would be one of great sorrow.


Verse 5

"What will ye do in the day of solemn assembly, and in the day of the feast of Jehovah?"

This continues the emphasis upon the fact that all religious communion with God would cease during their exile. Having grossly abused their past religious privileges, Israel was soon to lose them all. The double tragedy in this was, that with the practice of religion cut off, the very knowledge of God, in any sense, would be eroded; and without that, their identity as a people would disappear. That, of course, is exactly what happened to the northern kingdom.


Verse 6

"For lo, they are gone away from destruction: yet Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them; their pleasant things of silver, nettles shall possess them; thorns shall be in their tents."

"Lo, they flee away from destruction ..." This enigmatical passage seems to have a double application. If they shall attempt to flee into Egypt to escape the Assyrians, they shall meet death there just the same; and, then there is the implication for the whole nation of the northern kingdom going into Assyria: Egypt (a figure for slavery) shall gather them up; Memphis (a figure for the graveyard) shall bury them. Memphis was the scene of the largest cemetery in Egypt.

"Their pleasant things ... their tents ..." These are references to their dwellings and to their treasures. "The growth of thorns and thistles presupposes the utter desolation of the abodes of men."[16] This was what happened: the country was so desolated and depopulated that the wild beasts took over the whole land, leading to an effort on the part of the Assyrian king to reclaim it. See 2 Kings 17:24-26.

Regarding the hint of some of the Israelites going into Egypt which is surely suggested in this verse, in all probability that occurred in the northern kingdom with the approach of the Assyrians, as it most certainly did in the later punishment of the southern kingdom, an event recorded in 2 Kings 25:26. Judah's fate is also visible here.


Verse 7

"The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it; the prophet is a fool, the man that hath the spirit is mad, for the abundance of thine iniquity, and because the enmity is great."

In a word, the judgment is to fall upon Israel for their sins; and the reason for this is spelled out line by line in 2 Kings 17:7-18. That sacred account of what they had done to incur the awful judgment about to fall includes the following;

They worshipped the female sex-goddess, Asherim, under every green tree in Israel.

They forsook all the commandments of God.

They sacrificed their sons and daughters in the fire to the pagan god Molech.

They worshipped all the pagan gods of the Canaanites.

They secretly indulged in the vile rites of the heathen.

They made images, set up pillars, and worshipped the host of heaven.

They practiced divination, rhabdomancy, and all kinds of black magic and witchcraft.

They refused to believe their God.

They rejected his statutes.

Etc., etc., etc.

"The prophet is a fool, the man that hath the spirit is mad ..." Note that in this parallelism, the second clause does not speak of the Holy Spirit. The prophet and seer in view here are therefore false. As Hailey said, "The deceitfulness of the false prophet and the iniquity of the people go hand in hand."[17] We believe that the finding of scholars to the effect that these words represent some kind of audience response to the denunciations of the prophet is incorrect. The words here are not the denunciation of the true prophet by the Ephraimites, but the denunciation of them by the true prophet Hosea. This is made perfectly clear in Hosea 9:8, following; and the reason that so many of the commentators cannot understand what verse 8 means is that they have missed the meaning here.

Keil, and a number of the older writers properly understood the reference in this verse as a citation against false prophets: "Israel will learn that its prophets who only predicted prosperity and good were infatuated fools."[18] There are extensive references in the Old Testament to these false prophets who only prophesied lies. See Jeremiah 5:13; Ezekiel 13:10; 1 Kings 22:22; and Micah 2:11. Despite the popular understanding of this place as the people's denunciation of Hosea, there is no evidence at all to support such a notion; and furthermore the acceptance of it makes the understanding of the very next verse impossible. As Harper said of Hosea 9:8, "This verse is almost hopelessly confused."[19] We would like to suggest instead that it is the commentators who are confused.


Verse 8

"Ephraim was a watchman with my God; as for the prophet, a fowler's snare is in all his ways, and enmity in the house of his God."

"Ephraim was a watchman with my God ..." This clause sends the scholars scurrying to their emendations; but no emendations are needed. What is plainly said here is that Ephraim had climbed up presumptuously and seated himself with God and in the place of God as the monitor and watchman of Israel's fortunes. He has taken God's place! How incredible that a reprobate like Ephraim is here bracketed with God himself, an exclamatory witness of the unbelievable arrogance and unbelief of Ephraim.

"As for the prophet, a fowler's snare is in all his ways ..." Hosea tells us here exactly who is the prophet of Hosea 9:7, he is the false prophet, the one who is a fowler's snare to the people, who are gulled into believing his senseless lies.

McKeating, a recent, highly respected scholar, strongly affirmed the validity of the renditions given above (American Standard Version), and commented on the second half of it thus:

"The rest of the verse continues to describe how the prophets, who ought to be acting as the people's watchmen against disaster, have actually become agents of disaster themselves."[20]

Butler also accurately understood the implications of this verse thus:

"The meaning is that Israel searches out divine revelations on her own, along with the God of Hosts. In other words, Israel does not depend on Hosea to be declaring to her the revelation of God, but she trusts in her own so-called prophets, who were not inspired of God."[21]


Verse 9

"They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins."

"As in the days of Gibeah ..." Following most of the modern commentators on this place, Hailey thought the reference here to Gibeah recalled, "the conduct of their fathers as recorded in Judges 19-20, when one of the tribes was all but exterminated because of its wickedness."[22] However, as Ward has pointed out, there were two important events in Israel's history associated with Gibeah: (1) the intertribal war over Benjamin's rape of the Levite's concubine (Judges 19-20), and (2) the establishment of King Saul's capital in Gibeah (1 Samuel 10:26; 14:2; 22:6, etc.),[23] We believe this second event of far greater significance than the first, because, it was in the very establishment of the monarchy that Israel initiated and sealed their rebellion against God. All of the subsequent evil of Israel's history "was already present in principle and prototype, in the kingship of Saul."[24] The monarchy itself was evil; and the eventual ruin and destruction of Israel were only the culmination of the chain of events initiated with the accession of Saul to the throne.

Gibeah is of course the first of three very significant historical situations in the prior history of Israel. The next occurs in Hosea 9:10.


Verse 10

"I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig-tree at its first season: but they came to Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves unto the shameful thing, and became abominable like that which they loved."

"Like the grapes in the wilderness ... as the first-ripe in the fig tree ..." This is a reference to the early favor which was found from God in the lives of the early patriarchs of Israel. Men of the stature of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were among the noblest ever to grace the ranks of mankind.

"But they came to Baal-peor ..." What Hosea is doing in these repeated references to historical events is to show that Israel's rejection of God and rebellion against his law are nothing new at all, but part and parcel of the nation's total history. In that history, nothing was ever any more shameful than the debacle at Baal-peor. Not long after Sinai and the Exodus, and while still wandering in the wilderness, the pagan nations, under the leadership of Balak, king of Moab, and acting upon the advice of Balaam, took strong counter-action against Israel as a protest and challenge of the strict moral code of the Decalogue, especially in the matter of sexual license. The daughters of Moab, who were very attractive to the Israelites, invited them to the feast of their god Baal, in which the sexual rites of the old fertility god were the dominant feature. The principal judges of Israel accepted the invitation, and presumably the social leaders of the whole nation did likewise. The ploy was 100 percent successful. In the popular sense, Israel preferred Baalism to their own covenant with Jehovah. See Numbers 25:1-9. A strong effort was made by Moses to stamp out the fire, but it never really succeeded. They put to death 24,000 people for committing adultery in that so-called "worship" service! including one thousand of the judges and leaders of the people who had encouraged it. This is a pertinent comment on what the service of Baal, as mentioned in the Old Testament, really meant. One can only be amused at the efforts of present day commentators to gloss over this gut-lust motivation in all Baal-worship. Anyone familiar with paganism knows that there was little else involved in it, except the collateral sins of drunkenness, feasting, and entertainment.

In this verse, Hosea announced that the king of Moab, whose campaign against Israel started in the times of the wilderness wanderings, had at last succeeded in destroying Israel. The beginning and the end of Israel's rebellion against God was Baal-peor.


Verse 11

"As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird; there shall be no birth, and none with child, and no conception."

The great upward-thrust of Israel had, from the first, been tied securely to their prolific birth-rate, the same being the first thing that aroused the fear and hatred of the Egyptians who countered the threat by casting the male children into the Nile. The meaning of this verse is therefore especially significant. Israel shall be no more a proliferating people shadowing their enemies with fear. The springs of their strength shall be cut off.


Verse 12

"Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, so that not a man shall be left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them."

This, of course, is a continuation of the same pronouncement of judgment and death to the nation that forms the burden of the whole chapter.


Verse 13

"Ephraim, like as I have seen Tyre, is planted in a pleasant place; but Ephraim shall bring out his children to the slayer."

God is a merciful God. Hosea is the messenger of God's unchanging love; but smooth-tongued pastors speaking endlessly of God's pardoning love, but saying nothing of the strings attached to it, should take note of this chapter. After all of God's love, and after all He had done for Israel, they kept right on lying down with the sacred prostitutes of the baalim; and finally, the stroke of judgment fell, as it will for all who forsake all the commandments of the Lord.

The comment here regarding Tyre compares the favorable situation of that pagan city to the favorable situation of Ephraim in Canaan; but neither material prosperity, nor strategic military position could avert the avenging stroke of the wrath of God when it was time for the judgment to fall. This chapter identified that time for Israel as NOW.


Verse 14

"Give them, O Jehovah ... what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb, and dry breasts."

This verse begins as if it were to be an intercession for Israel; but it is interrupted with the invocation of another curse. "There comes a time, when the only thing left is drastic surgery."[25]

Hosea 9:11-14 "are all concerned with the same prophecy of Israel's dried-up strength among the nations. In the last analysis, the future of any people is related to its birth-rate; and any failure in that is a failure at the source of strength. This was to be the destiny of Israel.


Verse 15

"All their wickedness is in Gilgal; for there I hated them: because of the wickedness of their doings, I will drive them out of my house; I will love them no more; all their princes are revolters."

"All their wickedness is in Gilgal ..." This is the third of the historical situations cited by the prophet to show that Israel's defection from God was no recent thing at all, but the final flowering of a fundamental rejection of God's teaching which had been evident in the behavior of the people from the very first. At Gibeath, they had rejected God's government and set up their own king; at Baal-peor, that had rejected the stern morality of the Decalogue and "consecrated" themselves to Baal "And Israel joined himself unto Baal-peor" (Numbers 25:3). Gilgal was another place where their inherent apostasy had long been in evidence.

"Hosea considered Israel's monarchy to be one of Israel's primary offences against Jehovah; and the only noteworthy incident at Gilgal preserved in...the Old Testament is the inauguration of Saul's kingship (1 Samuel 11:14f).[26]

Since Gibeah, already mentioned, was conspicuously associated with the rise of the evil monarchy, it is possible that the introduction of Gilgal here focuses upon something beyond that. If so, it was likely because, "It was at Gilgal that Saul, their first king, was rejected in the name of the Lord by Samuel the prophet, for the king's disobedience."[27] There is also the widespread identification of that place with the extravagant immoralities and indecencies of the worship of Baal adopted by the Israelites. See Amos 4:15; 5:5; and 12:11. Keil mentioned the opinion of some that human sacrifice was even practiced there.[28] However, in line with the rejection of Israel bluntly stated almost in the same breath, it would appear that the implication of bringing in Gilgal here pertained to the rejection of Saul. Just as their first king had been rejected, now the whole nation would also be cast off. The prophecy of the final event was in the first.

"There I hated them ..." Smith and many others pointed out that "hate" is not to be understood in absolute terms, because God hates no man;[29] nevertheless, a rejection of the most violent and terminal dimensions is indicated,

"I will drive them out of my house ..." Just as Abraham drove Hagar out of his house, and just as Gomer was rejected as a wife by Hosea, in that same definite and final way, Israel is summarily removed from any further participation in the covenant with God. As far as the northern kingdom was concerned, this hardened into a permanent and unrelenting reality shortly after this prophecy was delivered. For the southern kingdom, after severe punishment, the opportunity to accept God, recognize the Christ when he appeared, and to participate in the New Covenant delivered through the preaching of the apostles, was continued historically until the times of Christ and the apostles; but after the destruction of Jerusalem, the status of all Israel, Judah and Ephraim alike, was removed forever. None of their posterity were excluded from the terms of the gospel; but there is no Biblical promise, not even the outside possibility of any hint, that old secular, temporal, fleshly Israel (whether Judah or Ephraim)can continue any longer in any sense as "chosen people of God." The status of that Israel with God is exactly that of a wife divorced for adultery in relation to her former husband after his death!

"I will love them no more ..." Hosea exhausted the power of words in order to convey the finality and completeness of God's repudiation of the historical Israel. The final fulfillment of it could not become effective until after the Messiah was delivered to the world, because all of the prophecies had pointed to the Christ who would arise from the "midst" of the people of Israel. It was that circumstance alone that resulted in the Southern Kingdom's preservation until the Messianic age had dawned. Beyond this, there does appear the continuity of secular Israel throughout history "until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled," the purpose of which resides in the type of witness furnished by their history, "Lest the Gentiles should be wise in their own conceits" (Romans 11:25).

Christians, we call upon all who see these lines to look at what God did to the old Israel and to remember why he did it. If the same gross sins and wretched indifference to the will of God that destroyed the old Israel is indulged by the New Israel, what will happen? Read the paraphrase of this chapter at the beginning of it, above, and know that the message is for us as well as for them! Yes, God's love is not unconditional!


Verse 16

"Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay the beloved fruit of their womb."

As noted above, Hosea laid it all on the line in this chapter. The case with Israel was hopeless, and divine punishment was assigned to conclude matters with Ephraim. Sad? Yes, indeed; but it was also sad for the thirty-two nations of the Canaanites who were destroyed by the power of God to prepare the way for Israel; and it was fitting that when the Israelites adopted the gross sins of the very peoples whom God had removed to give them their opportunity, God should have punished them. It would have been unjust to withhold destruction from them. The thing to remember about this chapter is that every word of it carne to pass, and every bit of it within a very short while after Hosea wrote. These were not idle warnings delivered by the prophet.


Verse 17

"My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations."

"God will cast them away ..." This he promptly did. It was never indicated that all of the posterity of Israel would be destroyed, but that their "states" would perish. This verse provides the insight that certain descendents would become wanderers among the nations:

"And where they have wandered to, who can tell? and in what nations to be found, no man knows. Wanderers they are, and perhaps even now unknown to themselves. Some have thought that they found them in one country, some in another. One very pious writer in a book called "Star of the West" thinks that he has found them among the North American Indians."[30]

The mystery of where they went still intrigues men, and the present-day Mormon church has received as doctrine that the Indians are the lost tribes of Israel. However, it is a matter of total indifference. All people, wherever they live, whatever was their former status, whoever they were, are all alike subjects of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The new covenant of God is through Christ and through Christ only. Racial status is not where the things of Christ are concerned. Since the dawn of the times of the Messiah, "there is no distinction" between Jews and anyone else (Romans 10:12).

 


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Hosea 9:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/hosea-9.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

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