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FRAMEWORKS: Hosea

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FRAMEWORKS: Hosea 10: The Fruits of Invasion

 

[Preliminary Comment: The warnings continue. Israel had started well and prospered [v.1] but in their pride they turned to idols which the Lord will now destroy [v.2]. When it happens Israel will for a moment appear leaderless and helpless [v.3]. They had also been unrighteous in their dealings with one another [v.4] but now as the invader will sweep through the land as far as their southern boundary, they will fear the loss of their idol there [v.5] which will be taken by the invader back to Assyria [v.6], their king being killed in the process [v.7] as the army pours through the land clearing all their precious idols on the hill sides [v.8]. Ever since the days of the Judges [v.9] that southern area had been unrighteous and now they will be punished [v.10]. An agricultural metaphor is employed: from the start God had wanted them, when they took the Promised Land, to plough it or break up all the idolatry that was there with the Canaanites [v.11] but as they had allowed the land to revert to idolatry, they needed to ‘plough' the land afresh [v.12]. That is what they should be doing but instead they are happy to continue sowing unrighteousness [v.13] thinking they are safe with their own strength, but they are not for the sounds of the invader are coming soon [v.14], as far south as Bethel on the boundary with Judah and Benjamin [v.15], their whole land being taken in the process. A chapter of severe and specific warnings.]

 

 

v.1 Israel [‘he' – the man, the family, the nation] flourished, spread and prospered

  

v.1  Israel was a spreading vine;
    he brought forth fruit for himself.
As his fruit increased,
    he built more altars;
as his land prospered,
    he adorned his sacred stones.
    

v.2 But pride meant they turned from God and adopted idols which God will destroy

   

v.2  Their heart is deceitful,
    and now they must bear their guilt.
The Lord will demolish their altars
    and destroy their sacred stones.

     

v.3 They will see they are leaderless because of turning from God

  

v.3  Then they will say, ‘We have no king
    because we did not revere the Lord.
But even if we had a king,
    what could he do for us?'
   

v.4 They are a covetous, dishonest people who trade but break agreements

   

v.4  They make many promises,
    take false oaths
    and make agreements;
therefore lawsuits spring up
    like poisonous weeds in a ploughed field.
   

v.5 The southern calf [1 Kings 12:29] near Bethel is about to be taken into exile

   

v.5  The people who live in Samaria fear
    for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.
Its people will mourn over it,
    and so will its idolatrous priests,
those who had rejoiced over its splendour,
    because it is taken from them into exile.
   

v.6 It will be taken back to Assyria by the invaders

 

v.6  It will be carried to Assyria
    as tribute for the great king.
Ephraim will be disgraced;
    Israel will be ashamed of its foreign alliances.
   

v.7 In the process the king in Samaria will be killed by the invaders

  

v.7  Samaria's king will be destroyed,
    swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
    

v.8 The invaders will move through the land, sweeping away all the altars

   

v.8  The high places of wickedness will be destroyed –
    it is the sin of Israel.
Thorns and thistles will grow up
    and cover their altars.
Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Cover us!'
    and to the hills, ‘Fall on us!'

    

v.9 Since the affair of Judges 19-21, Gibeah had a bad reputation; now invaders will come

   

v.9  ‘Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel,
    and there you have remained.
Will not war again overtake
    the evildoers in Gibeah?
    

v.10 Destruction will come on them

  

v.10  When I please, I will punish them;
    nations will be gathered against them
    to put them in bonds for their double sin.
   

v.11 On entry, Israel had been called to clear [plough] the land – AND still now

   

v.11  Ephraim is a trained heifer
    that loves to thresh;
so I will put a yoke
    on her fair neck.
I will drive Ephraim,
    Judah must plough,
    and Jacob must break up the ground.
    

v.12 This ‘ploughing' must be done by seeking God to then sow righteousness

  

v.12  Sow righteousness for yourselves,
    reap the fruit of unfailing love,
and break up your unploughed ground;
    for it is time to seek the Lord,
until he comes
    and showers his righteousness on you.
    

v.13 Instead they had planted wickedness and deception in their own strength

  

v.13  But you have planted wickedness,
    you have reaped evil,
    you have eaten the fruit of deception.
Because you have depended on your own strength
    and on your many warriors,
     

v.14 So now the invader will come to purge the land [implied]

   

v.14  the roar of battle will rise against your people,
    so that all your fortresses will be devastated –
as Shalman devastated Beth Arbel on the day of battle,
    when mothers were dashed to the ground with their children.
    

v.15 They will come as far as the southern boundary because of Israel's wickedness

  

v.15  So will it happen to you, Bethel,
    because your wickedness is great.
When that day dawns,
    the king of Israel will be completely destroyed.

   

     

Continue to Chapter 11