Hosea 10

The folly of Israel’s idolatry

1 Israel is a growing vine that yields its fruit. The more his fruit increased, the more altars he built; the richer his land became, the more he set up sacred standing stones.
2 Their heart is false; now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will break down their altars and destroy their standing stones.
3 For now they will say: "We have no king, because we don't love the LORD. What then could a king do for us?"
4 They have spoken empty words, swearing falsely when making covenants; so judgment springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.
5 The inhabitants of Samaria shake because of the calf of Beth-aven. Its people will mourn over it, just as its idolatrous priests who rejoiced over its glory that is now gone.

Shame and punishment

6 To Assyria it will be carried as a gift for the great king. Ephraim will be put to shame; Israel will be ashamed of his own idol.
7 Samaria will be cut off; her king is like a chip of wood on the surface of the water.
8 The sin of Israel, the shrines of Aven will be torn down. Thorn and thistle will sprout up on their altars. They will say to the mountains, "Cover us," to the hills, "Fall on us."
9 Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel; there they have continued. Will not war overtake them in Gibeah?
10 I will come and punish them; nations will be gathered against them when they are punished for their double crime.
11 Ephraim was a trained cow that loved to pull a plow; I spared her fair neck; but I will make Ephraim break through the ground; Judah will plow; Jacob will turn the soil for himself.
12 Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap faithful love; break up your unplanted ground, for it is time to seek the LORD, that he may come and rain righteousness upon you.
13 You have plowed wickedness, you have reaped depravity, you have eaten the fruit of lies, because you have trusted in your way and in your many warriors.
14 Therefore, the noise of war will rise against your people; all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth-arbel on the day of battle, when mothers were dashed into pieces with their children.
15 It will indeed happen to you, Bethel, because of your great wickedness. At dawn, the king of Israel will be cut off completely.

Hosea 10 Commentary

Chapter 10

The idolatry of Israel. (1-8) They are exhorted to repentance. (9-15)

Verses 1-8 A vine is only valuable for its fruit; but Israel now brought no fruit to perfection. Their hearts were divided. God is the Sovereign of the heart; he will have all, or none. Were the stream of the heart wholly after God, it would run strongly, and bear down all before it. Their pretences to covenant with God were false. Even the proceeding of justice was as poisonous hemlock. Alas, how empty a vine is the visible church even at this day! But all earthly prosperity is but a collection of bubbles, soon destroyed like foam upon the water. Sinners will in vain seek shelter from that Judge, whom they now despise as a Saviour.

Verses 9-15 Because God does not desire the death and ruin of sinners, therefore in mercy he desires their chastisement. The children of iniquity still remained in Israel. The enemies would be gathered against them. It is just with God to make those know what hardships mean, who indulge themselves in ease and pleasure. Let them cleanse their hearts from all corrupt affections and lusts, and be a broken and contrite spirit. Let them abound in works of piety towards God, and of justice and charity towards one another: herein let them sow to the Spirit. Seeking the Lord is to be every day's work, but there are special occasions when to seek him. Christ shall come as the Lord our righteousness, and grant us of it abundantly. If we sow in righteousness, we shall reap according to mercy; a reward not of debt, but of grace. Even the gains of sin yield the sinner no satisfaction. As our comforts, so our confidences in the service of sin will certainly fail us. Come and seek the Lord, and thy hope in him shall not deceive thee. See what cruel work war makes. Whatever mischief is done, it is sin that does it. What miseries men's sins bring on them, even in this world!

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA 10

This chapter is of the same argument with the former, and others before that; setting forth the sins of the ten tribes, and threatening them with the judgments of God for them; and exhorting them to repentance, and works of righteousness. They are charged with unfruitfulness and ingratitude; increasing in idolatry, as they increased in temporal good things, Ho 10:1; with a divided heart, and with irreverence of God, and their king; and with false swearing, covenant breaking, and injustice, Ho 10:2-4; and are threatened with a removal of their king, and with the destruction of their idols, and places of idolatry, which should cause fear in the common people, and mourning among the priests, Ho 10:1,5-8. It is observed, that their sin had been of long continuance, though the Lord had been kind and good unto them, in chastising them in love, giving them good laws, sending his prophets to exhort them to repentance and reformation, but all in vain, Ho 10:9-13; wherefore they are threatened with the spoiling of their fortresses, the destruction of the people, and the cutting off of their king, Ho 10:14,15.

Hosea 10 Commentaries