Hosea 12:3-4

3 In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with God.
4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there—

Hosea 12:3-4 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO HOSEA 12

This chapter contains complaints and charges both against Israel and Judah, and threatens them with punishment in case they repent not, which they are exhorted to: and first Ephraim is charged with idolatry, vain confidence in, and alliances with, foreign nations, Ho 12:1; and then the Lord declares he has a controversy with Judah, and will punish the inhabitants of it for their sins, Ho 12:2; which are aggravated by their being the descendants of so great a man as Jacob, who got the advantage of his elder brother, had much power with God, and received favours from him, and they also, Ho 12:3-5; and therefore are exhorted to turn to God, wait on him, and do that which is right and good, Ho 12:6. Ephraim is again in his turn charged with fraudulent dealing in trade, and with oppression, and the love of it; and yet pretended he got riches by his own labour, without wronging any, Ho 12:7,8; nevertheless, the Lord promises them public ordinances of worship, and joy in them, and the ministry of his prophets, Ho 12:9,10; though for the present they were guilty of gross idolatry, Ho 12:11; which is aggravated by the raising of Jacob their progenitor from a low estate, and the wonderful preservation of him, and the bringing of them out of Egypt, Ho 12:12,13; and the chapter is closed with observing Ephraim's bitter provocation of God, for which his reproach should return unto him, and his blood be left upon him, Ho 12:14.

Hosea 12:3-4 In-Context

1 Ephraim feeds on the wind; he pursues the east wind all day and multiplies lies and violence. He makes a treaty with Assyria and sends olive oil to Egypt.
2 The LORD has a charge to bring against Judah; he will punish Jacob according to his ways and repay him according to his deeds.
3 In the womb he grasped his brother’s heel; as a man he struggled with God.
4 He struggled with the angel and overcame him; he wept and begged for his favor. He found him at Bethel and talked with him there—
5 the LORD God Almighty, the LORD is his name!
6 But you must return to your God; maintain love and justice, and wait for your God always.

Cross References 3

  • 1. Genesis 25:26
  • 2. Genesis 32:24-29
  • 3. S Genesis 12:8; Genesis 28:12-15; S Genesis 35:15