This is one of those chapters without a natural break with the previous one. Chapter 10 is essentially a continuation of chapter 9. The topic is the same; i.e. God’s by now had absolute distain for his chosen people. They gave little serious recognition to their creator, sustainer, provider, and protection. God’s judgment is finalized in chapter 10. Is there a difference between giving up on someone and/or leaving him or her to his or her own devises? If there is, this is what God was now doing with Israel.
Hosea 10: 1, 2 give great definition to the distain mentioned above. They have great economic success but express and give that success to their personal religions including self-accomplishments with thanklessness to God Jehovah. There is nothing in scripture against luxuries. But…”seek you first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” [Matthew 6:33].
JIV INSIGHT: Hosea is talking to his relatives, the Hebrew people called Israelis. Matthew 6:33 was written specifically to the Hebrew people. How do we know that? Matthew was written IN HEBREW. Who else would the focus of Matthew be if written in their specific language?
PS: Just to keep our study thinking straight, the Book of Mark was the first New Testament book, not Matthew.
According to Bible.org:
Matthew wrote to a Jewish audience to prove to them that Jesus is indeed their Messiah. That’s why Matthew includes many of the teachings of Christ and makes numerous references to Old Testament prophecies.
Mark wrote to a Greek or Gentile audience to prove that Jesus is the Son of God. Therefore, he makes his case by focusing on the events of Christ’s life. His gospel moves very quickly from one event to another, demonstrating Christ’s lordship over all creation.
Luke wrote to give an accurate historical account of Jesus’ life. He spent a great deal of time traveling with and recording the activities and life of the Apostle Paul.
John wrote after reflecting on his encounter with Christ for many years. With that insight, near the end of his life John sat down and wrote the most theological of all the Gospels.
The increase in alters mentioned in verse one is not alters to God but the golden calves. They added more calves which eventually in Hosea’s lifetime, the Assyrians carried off as bounty.
Hosea 10:2 demands clarification. It says the “their heart was divided.” To translate the Hebrew it can easily mean that Ephraim/Israel was “smooth, flattering, but insincere.” How many so-called Christians are insincere by proof of their daily spiritual lives? They are smooth in their talk and perhaps even their knowledge. They are flattering to others within their church circles. But……is there an occupied Prayer Closet in his or her life? This good-guy image was my father-in-law for decades. It all changed 6 weeks before he died. One could not walk into his bedroom to visit him without him asking about their sincerity with God and Jesus.
In 10:3 where it says “we have no king” it is a result of their captivity. No longer will the Northern Kingdom of Israel in contrast to 200 years later in Judah, will someone sit on their throne. This will not happen again until the Millennial Reign of the Messiah Jesus Christ is on the throne of David (Tribe of Judah).
Few times has this following connection been made in Bible studies or from a pulpit. Only a few decades earlier in this very same Northern Kingdom of Israel was King Ahab and Queen Jezebel were humiliated by Elijah on the Mount of Carmel. Over 400 priests of Baal were involved. They called upon Baal to prove he existed by burning their sacrifice to it (him). Elijah then called upon God to burn his sacrifice and the fire from heaven not only consumed the bullock sacrifice but alter itself. Israel then returned to Jehovah God but the Book of Hosea is all about their short-term sincerity. They had returned in their abundance, prosperity and to the very same Baal that could not even utter a word on Mt Carmel (I Kings 18).
Hos 10:7 “Samaria is cut off; her king is as a bough on the face of the water.” Just as the branch on a tree alongside an abundant water supply, a branch that has dipped into the surface of the water, it is cut off. Such is Israel at this time. They had dipped into a lake of plenty but gave no credit to God for their prosperity. They were cut off.
Hosea 10:11 is an interesting passage. It refers to Ephraim (Israel) and Judah which is the southern kingdom at this time in Hosea. It basically refers to God wanting his people to break up the hardened soil of their heart; all of Israel. But it adds, “Ephraim will ride over the top of the soil but Judah will plow it” making it ready for seed. The territory of Judah was restored, in part, in 1948; not the lands of Ephraim. It is now prosperous and occupied. Ephraim is not.
Another way to look at this passage is that Israelis of the north will no longer have ground to plow but for the time being, Judah would remain intact.
In Hosea 10:13 one can easily say…we reap what we sow. Israel sowed iniquity and this is their harvest. We see this again in the new Testament passage of Galatians 6:7…we reap what we sow. God is not mocked. It was true then and is still true today. Where is the fear of the Lord God? Our lack of Bible knowledge outside the “stories” and ignorance blinds us. The bible is history, not a book of stories. To say it is full of stories gives a false impression of its truthfulness. It is full of actual his-stories.
We conclude this article by reminding us of the old and self-centered song sung by Frank Sinatra (perhaps Elvis Presley too) I Did It My Way. This is what the final two verses in Hosea 10 are saying. Are we guilty of this very self-delusional concept? We are so hung up on mixing our worship services with the non-believers, traditional routines, culture, and political correctness we no longer are capable of doing it God’s way. Yes this is blunt. It is unequally yoked
(2 Corinthians 6:14…be not equally yoked with unbelievers). [C.f. verse 14 -18]
Rev Dr Jstark