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Bible Commentaries

Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the Bible

Hosea 11

 

 

Introduction

Israel Was Bent On Backsliding
-- Hosea Eleven --

Hosea continued to discuss Israel"s rebelliousness and their unwillingness to repent. God had many complaints against them but His desire was for each individual to transform their thinking and their lives. As a nation God loved and chose Israel. He called His "Son" Israel out of Egypt. The more God blessed and called the people the more they turned from following Him to worship idols. The sacrificed to Baal and became involved in more and more idol worship.

God took Israel by the hand and blessed them. However, they did not know that it was Jehovah that had so honored them. God had put restraints upon Israel for their protection and preservation. They threw off those restraints like oxen fighting the yoke. The rebellion of Israel led them to captivity in Assyria. Enemy soldiers would consume the Israelites because of their rebellion. The people were bent to backsliding. In spite of the preaching of God"s prophets they refused to return to Him.

It deeply grieved Jehovah that the time of destruction had come for Israel. God strongly wanted to bless this nation but they would not allow Him to do so. This section gives us a brief look at the amazing heart of God. Even though they were very wicked He did not want to let them go! The Lord asked four questions that reveal how hard it was for him to give Israel over to punishment. "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim?" (Hosea 11:8) Admah, and Zeboim were cites that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah. (Deuteronomy 29:23) Even though God did destroy Israel He did so with restraint. He did not completely wipe them out. As individuals they still had the opportunity to get right with Him. God is not man. He is able to control His emotions.

God was about to devour Israel. They would return to Him trembling. Israel would pay for being such a deceitful nation. Ephraim had consistently lied and tried to deceive God. The kingdom of Judah had also been unruly in its relationship with God. God had been faithful to Israel in spite of the fact that they had turned to Baal and other idol gods. Now they will face the consequences of their choices.


Verses 1-3

God loved and protected Israel -- Hosea 11:1-3 : God said, "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and I called my son out of Egypt." When Israel was a young nation it was a matter of history that God called them out of Egypt. These words were also used a prophetic words about Jesus. (Hosea 2:15, Matthew 2:15) God had cared for His people when they were weak and when they became strong they forgot about Him. God called His people through His faithful prophets. Sadly, the more He called the more they offered incense and sacrifices to the idols like Baal.

God took Israel by the arm and taught them to walk. Sadly, they did not profit from His efforts. They did not understand all the benefits that they had enjoyed by the benevolent hand of God. They could have been blessed with even more blessing if only they had accepted the mercy of the Almighty.


Verses 4-6

Drawn with cords of love -- Hosea 11:4-6 : God was kind and merciful to His people. He led them with kindness and with love. He "drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love." God did not lead them with a strong rope like you would a beast. God lifted many hardships from Israel. He provided them with nourishing food. Yet they rebelled against Him. They deserved the kind of punishment they had experienced in Egypt because they would not return to God. However, God will not use Egypt this again. He will allow Assyria to invade the land and take its people away into exile.

The Assyrians would invade Israel. There would be wars in their cities. Their plans for defense would all fail. The invasion of the Assyrians was effect because God allowed it to happen as punishment for His rebellious people.


Verses 7-9

Israel was bent to backsliding -- Hosea 11:7-9 : God"s people were bent on or inclined towards backsliding. They were determined to reject the Almighty for gods that they thought were stronger the He. Actually, their idol gods could do nothing. The people were so interested in Baal and other idol gods that they paid little attention to the prophets. These men were the messengers of God. God lamented over the fact that His people had been so unfaithful that He must now bring punishment upon them. God"s feelings were so strong for his people that He did not want to bring complete destruction upon them as He had upon Admah and Zeboim. These are two cities that were destroyed along with Sodom and Gomorrah in that great destruction.

God"s attitude had changed toward Israel because of their unfaithfulness and now they would suffer punishment. Israel would not be treated as they deserved. If that was the case they would have been destroyed. God would chastise His people and give them an opportunity to repent. God is Holy. He is not man nor is He like man. He would chasten His people but He would not stay angry at them.


Verses 10-12

Israel shall tremble before God -- Hosea 11:10-12 : When the people were sufficiently chastised some of them would return to the Lord. The sinful nation would tremble because the LORD, will roar like a lion. After the chastisement some would be humbles, brought to repentance and would return to the Lord. The majority of the Northern Kingdom was taken into Assyrian captivity never to return to the home land. Some of the people were scattered in other countries. They back to God, fluttering like birds from Egypt or like doves from Assyria. God promised that those that were brought back would be restored to their homes. "I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD." Isaiah wrote, "For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob." (Isaiah 14:1) This was fulfilled in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah.

The contrast was obvious. God had been a loyal and holy God for Israel. Israel had been a very deceitful people to Him. They had surrounded God with their lies. The lies and deceit refers to the false prophecies of the unfaithful teachers in the country. At the present time Judah was still in good standing with Jehovah not having gone as far into idolatry as Israel had gone. There is a reference here to Genesis 32:24. Jacob "wrestled with the angel" and his name was changed to Israel. Israel means "one that rules with God." Israel had lost that glory only Judah still worshipped correctly. Only Judah deserved the name, "children of Israel."

 


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hosea 11:4". "Charles Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/box/hosea-11.html. 2014.

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