Hosea 10

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.
2 Their heart is deceitful, and now they must bear their guilt. The LORD will demolish their altars and destroy their sacred stones.
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?”
4 They make many promises, take false oaths and make agreements; therefore lawsuits spring up like poisonous weeds in a plowed field.
5 The people who live in Samaria fear for the calf-idol of Beth Aven.[a]Its people will mourn over it, and so will its idolatrous priests, those who had rejoiced over its splendor, because it is taken from them into exile.
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.
7 Samaria’s king will be destroyed, swept away like a twig on the surface of the waters.
8 The high places of wickedness[b] 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!”
9 “Since the days of Gibeah, you have sinned, Israel, and there you have remained.[c]Will not war again overtake the evildoers in Gibeah?
10 When I please, I will punish them; nations will be gathered against them to put them in bonds for their double sin.
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 plow, and Jacob must break up the ground.
12 Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.
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,
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.
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.

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!

Cross References 43

  • 1. S Ezekiel 15:2
  • 2. S 1 Kings 14:23
  • 3. Hosea 13:15
  • 4. Hosea 3:4; S Hosea 4:7; S Hosea 8:11; Hosea 12:11
  • 5. 1 Kings 18:21
  • 6. Hosea 13:16
  • 7. ver 8
  • 8. Micah 5:13
  • 9. S Hosea 4:2
  • 10. S Ezekiel 17:19; Amos 5:7
  • 11. Amos 6:12
  • 12. S Exodus 32:4; S Isaiah 44:17-20
  • 13. ver 8; S Hosea 5:8
  • 14. S 2 Kings 23:5; Zephaniah 1:4
  • 15. S Judges 18:17-18; S Hosea 8:5; S Hosea 9:1,3,11
  • 16. S 2 Kings 16:7; Hosea 11:5
  • 17. S Judges 3:15
  • 18. S Hosea 5:13
  • 19. Isaiah 30:3; S Hosea 4:7
  • 20. Jeremiah 48:13
  • 21. ver 15; Hosea 13:11
  • 22. S Ezekiel 6:6
  • 23. S ver 5; 1 Kings 12:28-30; S Hosea 4:13
  • 24. S Hosea 9:6
  • 25. ver 2; S Isaiah 32:13
  • 26. S Job 30:6; Amos 3:14-15
  • 27. Amos 7:9; Luke 23:30*; Revelation 6:16
  • 28. S Hosea 5:8
  • 29. S Joshua 7:11
  • 30. S Ezekiel 5:13; S Hosea 4:9
  • 31. S Jeremiah 15:12; S Jeremiah 31:18
  • 32. S Ecclesiastes 11:1
  • 33. S Proverbs 11:18; James 3:18
  • 34. Jeremiah 4:3
  • 35. S Isaiah 19:22; Hosea 12:6
  • 36. S Isaiah 45:8
  • 37. S Job 4:8; S Hosea 7:3; Hosea 11:12; Galatians 6:7-8
  • 38. S Proverbs 11:18; S Hosea 8:7
  • 39. Psalms 33:16
  • 40. S Isaiah 17:3; Micah 5:11
  • 41. S 2 Kings 17:3
  • 42. S Isaiah 13:16; Hosea 13:16
  • 43. S ver 7

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. "Beth Aven" means "house of wickedness" (a derogatory name for Bethel, which means "house of God" ).
  • [b]. Hebrew "aven," a reference to Beth Aven (a derogatory name for Bethel); see verse 5.
  • [c]. Or "there a stand was taken"

Chapter Summary


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

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