Verse 1 – Do not rejoice, O Israel, with joy like other peoples, for you have played the harlot against your God. You have loved for reward of every threshing floor.
The threshing floors were placed on the hilltops, where harvesters beat the wheat and separated it from the chaff. Often men would stay overnight to protect the wheat from thieves. Prostitutes would visit them there. Because theses threshing floors were on the hilltops, they began to use these places to sacrifice to false gods.
Verse 2 – The threshing floor and the wine-press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail her.
Verse 3 – They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land, but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and shall eat unclean things in Assyria.
God withheld their harvest and they had to live under the rule of a king that didn’t follow God’s laws. They wouldn’t be able to have their regular sacrifices to God and would eat things that had been sacrificed to foreign gods – unclean.
Verse 4 – They shall not offer wine offerings to the LOrd, nor shall their sacrifices be pleasing to Him. It shall be like bread of mourners to them; all who eat it shall be defiled. For their bread shall be for their life; it shall not come into the house of the LOrd.
Verse 5 – What will you do in the appointed day, and in the day of the feasts of the Lord?
Verse 6 – For indeed they are gone because of destruction. Egypt shall gather them up; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall posses their valuables of silver, thorns shall be in their tents.
Memphis is where they buried people. The people would try to make an alliance with Assyria and Egypt, both would fail.
Verse 7 – The days of punishment have come; the days of recompense have come. Israel knows! The prophet is a fool, the spiritual man is insane, because of the greatness of your iniquity and great enmity.
By the time Israel begins to experience the consequences of their sins, they think Hosea is a fool. They were no longer listening to what God had to say. We do the same thing, only listening selectively to what directly concerns us. We sometimes ignore a radical change that needs to take place in our lives. When we are listening, changes begin to take place little by little, that’s how we grow and mature in the Lord.
Verse 8 – The watchman of Ephraim is with my God; but the prophet is a fowler’s snare in all his ways, and enmity in the house of his God.
The prophet was a snare to Israel’s ways, because they were wrong in all their ways.
Verse 9 – They are deeply corrupted, as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; He will punish their sins.
In Judges 19:14-30 and 20:8-48, Gibeah was a place that a couple came to stay overnight. They had nowhere to stay so an old man took them into his house. Before long the men of the city knocked on the door and told the old man to send the man out so that they could have sex with him. Instead the traveler gave them his concubine. They raped and abused her all night and then left her dead on the doorstep. So Gibeah was destroyed for its evil (just as Sodom and Gomorrah was). Hosea said that the whole nation was now as evil as that city. That city didn’t escape punishment and neither would this nation.
Verse 10 – “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, and separated themselves to that shame; they became an abomination like the thing they loved.
Baal Peor was the god of Peor, and a mountain in Moab. At first, Israel had brought God as much pleasure as grapes found in the wilderness, but they had changed by the incident of pagan sexuality at Baal Peor where the people tried to ensure fertility by worshiping Baal.
Verse 11 – As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird – no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception!
Verse 12 – Though they bring up her children yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them!
Ephraim’s glory was the Lord, whose departure would end their fertility and cause them woe.
Verse 13 – Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place, so Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer.”
God had placed both Ephraim and Tyre in surroundings in which they should have flourished, but both had turned to the pagan practice of child sacrifice.
Verse 14 – Give them, O Lord – what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
Verse 15 – “All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them. Because of the evil of their deeds I will drive them from My house; I will love them no more. All their princes are rebellious.
It was at Gilgal where both the political and religious failures of he nation began. Saul, Israel’s first king was crowned here, but by the time of Hosea, they had begun to worship Baal.
Verse 16 – Ephraim is stricken their root is dried up; they shall bear no fruit. Yes, were they to bear children, I would kill the beloved fruit of their womb.”
Verse 17 – My God will cast them away, because they did not obey Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
How sad for us to think these same evil practices that we do as a nation will not bring God’s judgment .