Hosea 13

The LORD’s Anger Against Israel

1 When Ephraim spoke, people trembled; he was exalted in Israel. But he became guilty of Baal worship and died.
2 Now they sin more and more; they make idols for themselves from their silver, cleverly fashioned images, all of them the work of craftsmen. It is said of these people, “They offer human sacrifices! They kiss[a] calf-idols!”
3 Therefore they will be like the morning mist, like the early dew that disappears, like chaff swirling from a threshing floor, like smoke escaping through a window.
4 “But I have been the LORD your God ever since you came out of Egypt. You shall acknowledge no God but me, no Savior except me.
5 I cared for you in the wilderness, in the land of burning heat.
6 When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.
7 So I will be like a lion to them, like a leopard I will lurk by the path.
8 Like a bear robbed of her cubs, I will attack them and rip them open; like a lion I will devour them— a wild animal will tear them apart.
9 “You are destroyed, Israel, because you are against me, against your helper.
10 Where is your king, that he may save you? Where are your rulers in all your towns, of whom you said, ‘Give me a king and princes’?
11 So in my anger I gave you a king, and in my wrath I took him away.
12 The guilt of Ephraim is stored up, his sins are kept on record.
13 Pains as of a woman in childbirth come to him, but he is a child without wisdom; when the time arrives, he doesn’t have the sense to come out of the womb.
14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion,
15 even though he thrives among his brothers. An east wind from the LORD will come, blowing in from the desert; his spring will fail and his well dry up. His storehouse will be plundered of all its treasures.
16 The people of Samaria must bear their guilt, because they have rebelled against their God. They will fall by the sword; their little ones will be dashed to the ground, their pregnant women ripped open.”[b]

Hosea 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The abuse of God's favour leads to punishment. (1-8) A promise of God's mercy. (9-16)

Verses 1-8 While Ephraim kept up a holy fear of God, and worshipped Him in that fear, so long he was very considerable. When Ephraim forsook God, and followed idolatry, he sunk. Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves, in token of their adoration of them, affection for them, and obedience to them; but the Lord will not give his glory to another, and therefore all that worship images shall be confounded. No solid, lasting comfort, is to be expected any where but in God. God not only took care of the Israelites in the wilderness, he put them in possession of Canaan, a good land; but worldly prosperity, when it feeds men's pride, makes them forgetful of God. Therefore the Lord would meet them in just vengeance, as the most terrible beast that inhabited their forests. Abused goodness calls for greater severity.

Verses 9-16 Israel had destroyed himself by his rebellion; but he could not save himself, his help was from the Lord only. This may well be applied to the case of spiritual redemption, from that lost state into which all have fallen by wilful sins. God often gives in displeasure what we sinfully desire. It is the happiness of the saints, that, whether God gives or takes away, all is in love. But it is the misery of the wicked, that, whether God gives or takes away, it is all in wrath, nothing is comfortable. Except sinners repent and believe the gospel, anguish will soon come upon them. The prophecy of the ruin of Israel as a nation, also showed there would be a merciful and powerful interposition of God, to save a remnant of them. Yet this was but a shadow of the ransom of the true Israel, by the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. He will destroy death and the grave. The Lord would not repent of his purpose and promise. Yet, in the mean time, Israel would be desolated for her sins. Without fruitfulness in good works, springing from the Holy Spirit, all other fruitfulness will be found as empty as the uncertain riches of the world. The wrath of God will wither its branches, its sprigs shall be dried up, it shall come to nothing. Woes, more terrible than any from the most cruel warfare, shall fall on those who rebel against God. From such miseries, and from sin, the cause of them, may the Lord deliver us.

Cross References 47

  • 1. Judges 12:1
  • 2. S Judges 8:1
  • 3. S Hosea 11:2
  • 4. Jeremiah 44:8
  • 5. S Isaiah 46:6; S Jeremiah 10:4
  • 6. Hosea 14:3
  • 7. 1 Kings 19:18
  • 8. S Isaiah 44:17-20; S Hosea 8:4
  • 9. S Hosea 6:4
  • 10. S Job 13:25; Psalms 1:4; S Isaiah 17:13
  • 11. Daniel 2:35
  • 12. Psalms 68:2
  • 13. S Jeremiah 2:6; S Hosea 12:9
  • 14. S Hosea 2:20
  • 15. S Exodus 20:3
  • 16. S Deuteronomy 28:29; Psalms 18:46; Isaiah 43:11; Isaiah 45:21-22
  • 17. S Deuteronomy 1:19
  • 18. S Ezekiel 28:5
  • 19. S Deuteronomy 32:18; S Isaiah 17:10
  • 20. Deuteronomy 32:12-15; S Proverbs 30:7-9; S Jeremiah 5:7; S Hosea 2:13; S Hosea 4:7
  • 21. S Job 10:16; S Jeremiah 4:7
  • 22. 2 Samuel 17:8
  • 23. S 1 Samuel 17:34; Psalms 17:12
  • 24. Psalms 50:22; S Lamentations 3:10; S Hosea 2:12
  • 25. Jeremiah 2:17-19
  • 26. S Deuteronomy 33:29
  • 27. 2 Kings 17:4; Hosea 7:7
  • 28. 1 Samuel 8:6; Hosea 8:4
  • 29. S Numbers 11:20
  • 30. S Joshua 24:20; S 1 Samuel 13:14; S 1 Kings 14:10; Hosea 3:4; S Hosea 10:7
  • 31. S Deuteronomy 32:34
  • 32. Isaiah 13:8; Micah 4:9-10
  • 33. 2 Kings 19:3
  • 34. Isaiah 66:9
  • 35. S Psalms 16:10; Psalms 49:15; S Ezekiel 37:12-13
  • 36. S Isaiah 25:8
  • 37. 1 Corinthians 15:55*
  • 38. S Hosea 10:1
  • 39. S Job 1:19; S Ezekiel 19:12; S Hosea 4:19
  • 40. S Jeremiah 51:36
  • 41. Jeremiah 20:5
  • 42. 2 Kings 17:5
  • 43. Hosea 10:2
  • 44. S Hosea 7:14
  • 45. Hosea 11:6
  • 46. S 2 Kings 8:12; S Hosea 10:14
  • 47. 2 Kings 15:16; Isaiah 13:16; Amos 1:13

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or "“Men who sacrifice" / "kiss"
  • [b]. In Hebrew texts this verse (13:16) is numbered 14:1.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA 13

This chapter begins with observing the different state and condition of Ephraim before and after his idolatry, Ho 13:1; his increase in it, Ho 13:2; and therefore his prosperity was very short lived, which is signified by various metaphors, Ho 13:3; and his sins are aggravated by the former goodness of God unto him his great ingratitude unto God, and forgetfulness him, Ho 13:4-6; hence he is threatened with his wrath and vengeance in a very severe manner, Ho 13:7,8; for which he had none to blame but himself; yea, such was the grace and goodness of God to him, that though he had destroyed himself, yet there were help and salvation for him in him, Ho 13:9; though not in his king he had desired, and was given, and was took away in wrath, Ho 13:10,11; but his sin being bound up and hid, and he foolish and unwise, sharp corrections would be given him, Ho 13:12,13; and yet a gracious promise is made of redemption from death and the grave by the Messiah, Ho 13:14; but, notwithstanding this, and all his present prosperity, he would be blasted in his wealth and riches; and Samaria the metropolis of his country would he desolate; and the inhabitants of it be used in the most cruel manner, because of their rebellion against God, Ho 13:15,16.

Hosea 13 Commentaries