Hosea – Article #14


Chapter 12

With all respect for the multiplicity of commentaries and translations, it appears that Hosea 12:1 is misunderstood or at minimum, not well explained. In politics and to the life-long politicians who seek to keep favor with the majority of societal or cultural trends, one “sticks his finger to the wind to test from which direction it is coming.” THIS is Hosea 12:1…

(MKJV) “Ephraim feeds on wind and follows after the east wind. He daily multiplies lies and cruelty. And they make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.”

Feed on the wind: to consider which wind is the prevailing wind direction; i.e. from what neighbor is the better treaty option. None are good choices.

Follows after the east wind: Many commentaries point out the devastation of an easterly-wind. In this case, the Northern Kingdom of Israel is seeking the benefit of having Assyria (to the east) as a treaty (covenant) friend.

Oil (as in olive oils) carried to Egypt: As we studied in Daniel’s (11th chapter) view of prophecy, the King of the North and the King of the South are represented in what Israel is doing to appease both sides; Egypt and Assyria. They put their finger to the air to test from which direction the wind (strength) is blowing.

Hosea 12:2, 3 symbolically do remind us of the issues in the birth of twins Esau and Jacob. MKJV (Modern King James Version) states that from birth to this day the descendants of Jacob and the descendants of Esau were and remain to this day at life and death odds. Hosea continues recapping Jacob’s controversies in 12:4 by reminding the reader that Jacob wrestled with an angel of the Lord in Bethel. It was there Hosea reminds his Northern Kingdom cousins that “God spoke with/to us” through Jacob the father of Israel.

Aha Moment

JIV NOTE or AHAMOMENT: There is something that demands a better understanding as to what Hosea is symbolically referencing. Rather than call upon the Lord God for guidance, Israel has called upon its neighbors for strength and protection. 12:2 brings up the name of Jacob. Back in Geneses 32 he wrestled with an angel of the Lord God. This passage states that Jacob claims to have come came face-to-face with God. No man can look upon the face of God and live [Exodus 33:20; Moses]. No space or time to explain this in detail but here is the short of it.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/35/Descartes_mind_and_body.gif/220px-Descartes_mind_and_body.gifMoses was told he could not look upon the face of God yet God put him within the cleft of mountain rocks, passed by the small opening between the rocks, and showed him his continence, his glory as he passed by. One book earlier (Genesis 32) Abraham’s grandson Jacob claims to have seen the face of God when he wrestle with the angel in Bethel. In verse 30 of Genesis 32 we read…”And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel for I have seen God face-to-face…” (KJV). The ahamoment per scripture is not to what face-to-face actually means other than Jacob was confronted and faced up to his weaknesses. The ahamoment is that he named the place PENIEL because he saw the face of God. We as humans have a brain-gland doctors identify as the Pineal Gland. It means “in the mind’s eye where thoughts originate.” So the Hebrew pen-oo-ale’  “a mind’s eye” and the Hebrew for face, pânı̂ym are similar. However, there is doubt that Jacob had a doctors’ dictionary with him. We use the words “in one’s mind or mind’s eye” all of the time. Physicians did not discover this brain gland for hundreds of years after this moment with Jacob and the Angel of the Lord in Peniel (aha!)

Text Box: Mind's eyeIsrael trusted in making deals and payoffs to the surrounding superpowers. It was foolish for them to think that Assyria or Egypt was more powerful or dependable than was God. But, for this foolishness their days were then numbered. Never again until the return of Jesus will they be as a unified people.

Hosea 12:4 also states that Jacob had “prevailed” over the angel of the Lord as he did his brother Esau when he grasped Esau’s heel while being born. The only way we can prevail over God’s intent for our lives is to knowingly submit to his will. To grasp a heel requires one to “attack” from behind. Genesis 49:17 says this about the Tribe of Dan and heels… Dan will be a snake by the roadside, a viper along the path that bites the horse’s heels so that its rider tumbles backward.

Hosea 12:7-9 remind me of the man who came forward in church. He was wrestling with personal family issues seeking guidance as to what to do. The ministered suggested that he and this man pray together right then and there. After a short time the man stopped the minister in the midst of his prayer. He said, (paraphrased) “never mind praying to God. I just figured out what to do on my own.” Oh did he? His solution came during his prayer regarding his family issue. This man gave no credit to the possibility the answer was sent to him because of the pastor’s prayer; in a sense intercession. Hosea points out that Ephraim, the dominant Tribe of the ten Tribes of Israel, sometime the generic name for the Northern Kingdom, was doing the same thing. They *prospered and gave no credit to God for his blessings. Go back and re-read Article 12; chapter 10 for greater details.

*Israel was at the pinnacle of their prosperity at this time.

This is very similar to Frank Sinatra once singing the song, I DID IT MY WAY. Let’s be honest. MY WAY could be to give honor and glory to God. However, that is or was not the intent of Ephraim’s heart. Hosea 12:8 summarizes it well.

(YLT) And Ephraim saith: `Surely I have become rich, I have found wealth for myself. All my labors–they find not against me iniquity that is sin.’  This does not need translating but here it is…I have become rich but I did it my way without the help of anyone or any god. This is blatant rejection of any help from God. Ephraim is correct in suggesting that he got no help from the gods of stone, wood, brick, all manmade but ignores the fact the God of Israel had blessed them in spite of these ten tribes rejecting or treating HIM insincerely.

God points out in verse 12:11 this religiousness of the northern tribes of Israel is nothingness to him…”your altars are as heaps in the open fields”; nothing more and nothing less. Nothing plus nothing is easy math. In the modern church the culture of religiousness is similar. Try going a week without a bulletin if one is used. Worse yet, keep the bulletin but change its formatting.  The congregant words that day and weeks to follow will not be of worship, praise and fellowship!

Whether it be in reference to the Tribe of Ephraim or the peoples of the entirety of the ten northern tribes, the last verse in Hosea 12 is pointed…(ESV) “Ephraim has given bitter provocation; so his Lord will leave his bloodguilt on him and will repay him for his disgraceful deeds.”

Rev Dr Jstark
May 2020

Hosea Article #9


Chapter 7 –
Israel sees the problem but not the sin

Intro note: There is much history in and around the people to whom Hosea is prophesying. The Northern Kingdom had just made war with the Southern Kingdom. We will address these influencers during our review of this chapter in Hosea. Hosea is in the northern kingdom and Amos is also a prophet to the northern kingdom.

This first king of the divided kingdom of Israel to the north was from the Tribe of Ephraim. It should also be noted that at times the Tribe of Ephraim may have had its own supreme ruler (king) separate from the remaining nine Tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. In Hosea 5:5 both Israel (10 northern tribes) and Ephraim are mentioned in the same sentence. There is no practical reason to conclude this does not infer two entities within the same kingdom. The city of Samaria is within the tribal territory of Ephraim. At time the Bible calls these ten tribes Israel, Ephraim or Kingdom of Samaria. All three are one and the same peoples.

6th letter of Hebrew alphabet

For the serious Bible student and one who grasps for understanding of the Hebrew language implication in words, in Hosea 5:5 there is a vav (6th letter in the Hebrew alphabet/Aleph-bet) before the name Israel and the name Ephraim. Many other conclusions can be drawn or dramatized about this prefix (vav) in Hosea 5:5. The letter vav has a hooked form; often used to refer to the “hooks” used in the Temple to hold up the separation curtain. Here is the connection:

Numbers 25 records the history of Phineas (grandson of Aaron), death in the camp of the wandering Israelites, a Midianite woman, and an unnamed man of Israel. The Israelites, were still under the leadership of Moses, had fornicated with Midianite women while camped in Shittum; land of Midianites. One Israelite man was caught in the act when Phineas took matters into his own hands to stop the incest and punishment upon the twelve tribes in the Wilderness. Specifically the unnamed man of Israel as written in Numbers 25 and the Midianite woman were in his tent. Phineas grabbed a “HOOKED SPEAR” and impaled them together. Two individuals, of their own accord, VAV’d together; i.e. hooked.

This may mean in Hosea 5:5 that Israel and Ephraim at times were hooked (vav) together but two functional entities…both sinning by bowing to idols; joined together by agreement.

PS; It is tempting to go into greater educational and knowledge about the Hebrew letter VAV but this is not the point of this article.

Hosea 7:1…”the iniquity of Ephraim and the wickedness of Samaria…” Per the comments above and as to the distinction between Israel and Ephraim here in verse 1, the name Ephraim sometimes infers all of the northern Kingdom of Israel. Why? Samaria is mentioned in the same verse (7:1) as a separate entity. The capital of the northern kingdom is located in Samaria. That is the territory assigned to the Tribe of Ephraim by Joshua.

In chapter 7 we find that Hosea had now lived through times of four assassinated kings of the northern tribes (Israel), an invasion of Judah by the northern tribes, 200,000 from Judah being taken captive, stripped (customary for captured peoples), then being released due to the pleas of a few influential leaders in the northern kingdom. He witnessed Israel seeking the help of Egypt, Syria (Damascus) and Assyria that quickly resulted in the downfall and scattering of the population of Israel. God wanted them to seek HIM, not reliance upon mankind.

Tiglath-Pileser of Assyria, from whom military help had been requested by Israel, had already campaigned against Damascus, Syria. The writing on the proverbial wall should have been obvious to both Israel and Judah. They didn’t see it as they already shared in Baal worship. The Syrians (Damascus) agreed militarily to help invade Judah. Assyria was already at the doors of Damascus. What consequently happened is Judah and Syria became tributary to Assyria. Within 10 years Israel is a conquered and dispersed people.

Hosea 7:2 has New Testament implications. God through Hosea states that the people and leadership (particularly) had it in their heart that God forgets sin even if not forgiven by confessing it to HIM. Israel’s dirty laundry list was growing by leaps, no, heaps. One big sin was the fact they went to Syria for help instead of God. What may be the New Testament implications? For one, the so-called modern day Christian and church leadership are identifying right as being wrong, and wrong as being right. The reader can fill in these right and wrong blanks. This is identified as political, but not God correctness; seeking mankind agreements instead of seeking God.

Unconfessed sins will be judged at the Bema Seat Judgement. Many evangelicals want to slip past this but it does not pass inspection of the commandment to confess our sins…daily.

Half baked

Has the term “half-baked” ever crossed minds? This passage is from where birth was given to that statement via the bible. From Hosea 7:4–7 is about Israel acting like it is half-baked bread; cooked too long and burned on one side while remaining unbaked on the other side. Customarily back during this time of Hosea, bakers would turn the loaf while cooking to assure it to be thoroughly cooked. Baking was dome at ground level. Hosea is pointing out that Israel’s worship of God was more show than actuality. They would over do their supposed allegiance to the God of Abraham via sacrifices and customary religious ceremonies but the only reality was their attendance, not their commitment. They were half-baked followers of ONLY God almighty.

Hos 7:10 “And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.” [KJV] Simply put, Israel demonstrated a form of religiousness but did not seek the guidance of their one and only true God. The word “all” (kole) in the Hebrew means…nothing excluded. This definition is the same as the word pas in Greek…nothing excluded. We read in the King James “the pride of Israel.” The translated Hebrew word for pride is gaw-ohn’. It means arrogance, pomp or majesty. Not to be read or misinterpreted as pride in their God Jehovah, but pride (gaw-ohn’) in themselves.

Verse 11 makes or supports an earlier comment in this article. We read that “Ephraim” (Israel) called out for their help to come from Egypt and Assyria. They did not seek God’s help. In short this was to God like his people saying “in your face, God.” Verse 14 backs this up. It reads in the ESV: “They did not cry out to me.” Instead they cried out to Egypt, Damascus, then fatally to Assyria.

Looking back to amplify verse 9, Hosea points out that the strength of their youthful days under God has depleted…strangers (other gods) devour their strength and GRAY HAIRS begin to show. Like so many in denial of their relationship with God imaging it to be genuine but a false relationship. Israel’s relationship to God had aged, grown gray, became a religion. Today we color our hair only to present a deception of not showing one’s age. This is similar to what Israel had done…deceptive as followers of God.

In concluding chapter 7 we get another parallel to modern day so-called Christians; those who believe in a god but do not believe and trust IN God. Hosea compares it to a bent bow; i.e. a less than straight arrow. The arrow is put to the bow, shot, but no one can tell where it will go. What one does know is that it destined to go off course right out of the bow.

Change but we go back t same old self rather than seek God change.

They change directions but do not come back to me (ERV). Someone confesses to get it off his or her chest then walks away determined to change but does not seek God, only change. (C.f. Jeremiah 7:19-26; Hebrews 6:4-6)

Rev. Dr. Jstark – 2020