PARASHA CONNECTION IN GENESIS 29
(12:13) Ya`akov fled to the land of Aram. There Isra'el slaved to win a wife; for a wife he tended sheep. (Hos 12:12 CJB)
CONTEXT FOR HOSEA'S PROPHECY
HaShem recalls His goodness as he rescues Israel from Egypt through Moshe's hand.
(12:14) By a prophet Adonai brought Isra'el up from Egypt, and by a prophet he was protected. (Hos 12:13 CJB)
The word "Israel" carries many imageries that Hosea plays on.
Throughout the biblical text, it may mean:
- Jacob as a person whose name was changed to Israel.
- The nation of Israel as the descendants of Jacob through his sons (and grandsons Ephrayim and Manasseh).
- The Northern Kingdom after the secession of the the country in the time of Jeroboam the 1st.
At the time of Hosea, the meaning was of the northern kingdom, which was also called "Ephrayim" after the name of the most populous and southernest state of the northern kingdom.
At that time, in order to keep the loyalty and financial offerings of the ten northern tribes, Jeroboam created a tweaked form of Judaism. Instead of giving their tithes and offerings in the southern kingdom of Jerusalem as HaShem had commanded, Jeroboam created two new altars in the north. He also changed the dates of the fall festivals from the seventh month to the eight month (1 Kings 12:25-33).
The northern kingdom also allied itself with Syria in a war against Jerusalem, the southern kingdom.
All this was done in direct disobedience and defiance of HaShem's order. Hosea exposes this hypocrisy. (I use the word "hypocrisy" because though it appeared to be an attempt at obedience, it actually defied HaShem's commandments as it tried to adapt them to the politics of the day.)
HASHEM'S WORDS TOWARDS EPHRAYIM/NORTHERN KINGDOM THROUGH HOSEA
(12:15) Efrayim has given bitter provocation, so the penalty for his bloodshed will be thrown down on him, and his Lord will repay him for his insult. (Hos 12:14 CJB)
In previous times, the tribe of Ephrayim was very powerful
"When Efrayim spoke, there was trembling; he was a power in Isra'el. But when he incurred guilt through Ba`al, he died. (Hos 13:1 CJB)
But their disobedience caused by a politic of division and hate towards their brothers of the southern kingdom caused them to fall into idolatry/the works of their own hands:
So now they keep adding sin to sin, casting images from their silver; idols they invent for themselves, all of them the work of craftsmen. 'Sacrifice to them,' they say. Men give kisses to calves! (Hos 13:2 CJB)
Hosea prophecies of HaShem's punishment on the lands of the northern kingdom.
Therefore they will be like a morning cloud, like the dew that disappears early, like chaff blown by wind from the threshing-floor, or like smoke that goes out the window. (Hos 13:3 CJB)
HaShem's tells Ephrayim to remember their first love; to remember all HaShem has done for them as he carried them in His arms when he brought them out of Egypt.
Still, I am Adonai your God, from the land of Egypt; and you don't know any God but me or, other than me, any Savior. I knew you in the desert, in a land of terrible drought. When they were fed, they were satisfied; when satisfied, they became proud. Therefore they forgot me. (Hos 13:4-6 CJB)
PUNISHMENT THROUGHOUT THE CENTURIES
HaShem announces His punishment, a punishment that will be recorded in the prophecies of Daniel as well as in history books.
So now I have become like a lion to them; like a leopard I will lurk by the road; (Hos 13:7 CJB)
I will meet them like a bear whose cubs have been taken away. I will tear their hearts from their bodies. I will devour them there like a lion, like a wild animal ripping them up. (Hos 13:8 CJB)
This part of Hosea's prophecy is explained to us in the prophecies of Daniel 2, 7, and 8, which describes the four empires that will invade Israel.
- LION: Babylon
- BEAR: Medo-Persia
- LEOPARD: Greece
- LION LIKE A WILD ANIMAL: Rome
(Click HERE for a video link to the Daniel 2 prophecy)
The following texts tell us more about the punishment Israel/the Northern Kingdom incurs for its defiant disobedience.
It is your destruction, Isra'el, although your help is in me. So now, where is your king, to save you in all your cities? Where are your judges, of whom you said, 'Give me a king and leaders'? I gave you a king in my anger; and in my fury I took him away. "Efrayim's guilt has been wrapped up, his sin is stored away. The pain of being born will come to him; but he is an unwise son. The time has come; and he shouldn't delay, there at the mouth of the womb. (Hos 13:9-13 CJB)
HaShem considers mercy through a ransoming, redeeming option. A ransoming, redemptive option speaks of Messiah!
Should I ransom them from the power of Sh'ol?
Should I redeem them from death?
Where are your plagues, death;
where is your destruction, Sh'ol?
My eyes are closed to compassion.
(Hos 13:14 CJB)
Israel has to bear its guilt. As Paul reminds us in Romans 6:23, sin carries a price! How can HaShem be said to be a just God if the price for justice is not met?
For though he flourishes among the reeds, an east wind will come, a wind from Adonai, blowing up from the desert. Then his water source will dry up, then his spring will fail -- it will plunder his treasury, removing every precious thing."
Shomron will bear her guilt, for she has rebelled against her God. They will fall by the sword, their little ones will be dashed to pieces and their pregnant women ripped open. (Hos 13: 15-16 CJB)
REDEMPTION CAN BE APPLIED BUT NOT WITHOUT REPENTANCE
HaShem pleads with His people:
(14:2) Return, Isra'el, to Adonai your God, for your guilt has made you stumble. (Hos 14:1 CJB)
Sincere repenting words would suffice to move HaShem's heart:
(14:3) Take words with you, and return to Adonai; say to him, "Forgive all guilt, and accept what is good; we will pay instead of bulls [the offerings of] our lips. (Hos 14:2 CJB)
Israel has to see that even all the gods of Assyria with whom it previously allied could not save her. Israel has to repent from the "works of its hands", of its own political maneuvering on which it leaned for protection.
(14:4) Ashur will not save us, we will not ride on horses, and we will no longer call what we made with our hands our gods. For it is only in you that the fatherless can find mercy." (Hos 14:3 CJB)
PROPHECY OF REDEMPTION
HaShem promises a redemption of His own doing:
(14:5) "I will heal their disloyalty, I will love them freely; for my anger has turned from him. I will be like dew to Isra'el; he will blossom like a lily and strike roots like the L'vanon. His branches will spread out, his beauty be like an olive tree and his fragrance like the L'vanon. Again they will live in his shade and raise grain; they will blossom like a vine, and its aroma will be like the wine of the L'vanon. Efrayim [will say], 'What have I to do any more with idols?' And I, I answer and affirm him; I am like a fresh, green cypress tree; your fruitfulness comes from me." (Hos 14:4-8 CJB)
Let the wise understand these things,
and let the discerning know them.
For the ways of Adonai are straight,
And the righteous walk in them,
but in them sinners stumble.
(Hosea 14:9 CJB)