In this chapter, Hosea is talking about the judgement Israel is receiving for their sins. They committed adultery with other nations and have sinned against their Lord and Husband.
The food and wine that once sustained them will fail and not fill them.
God is forcing them to leave the land He gave to them. Now they have to return to Egypt to be slaves to the Egyptians and Assyrians.
Jeremiah 2:7: ‘I brought you into a bountiful country, To eat its fruit and its goodness. But when you entered, you defiled My land And made My heritage an abomination.’ NKJV
The unclean food they will have to eat will make them dirty inside and out.
Ezekiel 4:13: ‘Then the Lord said, “So shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, where I will drive them.”’ NKJV
They no longer offer wine to the LORD and their sacrifices no longer please Him. Their sacrifices will ‘be like bread of mourners’ and will defile them.
Their bread is their life so even offering their lives to God will not please Him because they are defiled and they aren’t allowed in the LORD’s house.
Jeremiah 6:20: ‘For what purpose to Me Comes frankincense from Sheba,And sweet cane from a far country? Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, Nor your sacrifices sweet to Me.”’ NKJV
Hosea asks them what they will do during the appointed feasts and feast days of the LORD. It seems like they don’t observe the feasts and holidays that God set forth for them to celebrate, either.
The people of Israel and Ephraim are gone, taken by Egypt, for ‘destruction’. Their homes and possessions are overtaken by weeds and undergrowth.
The day of reckoning is upon Israel. And they know it. The greatness of their sin and the enmity of the Israelites has driven the prophet(s) of God insane.
Enmity means a feeling or condition of hostility; hatred; ill will; animosity; antagonism. So the hostile nature the Israelites have picked up against God has made His prophets crazy. I can’t imagine why…*insert eye roll here*. They were told again and again to change, brought out of Egypt by miraculous means, and still turned against the One Who saved them. If that doesn’t drive a prophet crazy, I don’t know what will!
Micah 7:4: ‘The best of them is like a brier; The most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge; The day of your watchman and your punishment comes; Now shall be their perplexity.’ NKJV
Luke 21:22: ‘For these are the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.’ NKJV
The one who guarded Ephraim is now with God. The false prophets they have now ensnare them, bringing more enmity between God and the Israelites.
Ezekiel 33:7: ‘“So you, son of man: I have made you a watchman for the house of Israel; therefore you shall hear a word from My mouth and warn them for Me.’ NKJV
They are corrupted and evil like ‘in the days of Gibeah’ (vs 9). God will remember their sins and punish them for it!
Judges 19:22: ‘As they were enjoying themselves, suddenly certain men of the city, perverted men, surrounded the house and beat on the door. They spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came to your house, that we may know him carnally!”’ NKJV
The days of Gibeah. Wow. I read more than just the verse referenced here and was shocked and disgusted by the way these people acted. If the Israelites during the time of Hosea acted like this too, then no wonder the prophets went crazy and God punished them so badly!
God found Israel and their fathers in the wilderness like fresh first fruits: unblemished and untarnished by the world. ‘But they went to Baal Peor’ (vs 10) and became like the abominations He loathed.
Numbers 25:3: ‘So Israel was joined to Baal of Peor, and the anger of the Lord was aroused against Israel.’ NKJV
Ephraim’s glory is gone forever, flown away like a bird. None of the women are getting pregnant or having babies.
They bring up the children they have but are ‘bereaved’ and deprived to the last one. God declares ‘woe to them’ when He leaves them (vs 12).
Deuteronomy 31:17: ‘Then My anger shall be aroused against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide My face from them, and they shall be devoured. And many evils and troubles shall befall them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’’ NKJV
Even though Ephraim was ‘planted in a pleasant place’ (vs 13) and are God’s people, they sacrifice their children. The ritual killing of children is abhorrent in God’s sight and He never asked His people to do something so heinous. But they are and to idols, false gods that don’t exist.
So Hosea asks the Lord what He will give His people that have gone astray. Miscarriage and dry breasts are part of their punishment. They have no children to nurse and therefore no reason to nurse.
Because of their wickedness, evil deeds, and rebellion in Gilgal, God has hated them and will drive them from His house. He no longer loves His people because they’ve turned away. Even their princes are rebels against God.
Isaiah 1:23: ‘Your princes are rebellious, And companions of thieves; Everyone loves bribes, And follows after rewards. They do not defend the fatherless, Nor does the cause of the widow come before them.’ NKJV
God has stricken Ephraim with infertility and miscarriages.
How very sad. And what a curse for a time like that. Even now, infertility and miscarriages are sad. In a time when children were known as a blessing from God and infertility a curse, this must have been very difficult. Children were the ones that helped care for the family and herds. They were an inheritance and kept the lands in the family.
So God casts His people away for their disobedience and causes them to be ‘wanderers among the nations’ (vs 17).
2 Kings 17:20: ‘And the Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel, afflicted them, and delivered them into the hand of plunderers, until He had cast them from His sight.’ NKJV
What are your thoughts on Hosea chapter 9? Share them in the comments below!