Hosea 7 − Commentary

1 I want to heal my people Israel!

Then people will know that Ephraim has sinned.

Then people will know about the wicked things in Samaria.

The people of Israel do false things.

Israel is full of people who rob houses.

They also rob people in the streets.

2 They do not know that I (God) will remember their wicked ways.

The sins they did are everywhere to see.

I can see these sins clearly.

3 Their evil ways make their king happy.

Their wrong ways make their leaders happy too.

4 They are all people who practise adultery.

They burn like an oven.

The baker does not watch the oven.

So the fire gets hotter.

This is while the bread is rising.

5 On holidays for the king, the leaders drink too much.

The wine makes them do things in a silly way.

The king does the same thing as the people.

They all do foolish things.

6 These people's hearts are like an oven.

They are planning things against the king.

During the night, their anger becomes hotter.

And in the morning, it becomes a very hot fire.

7 All of these people are hot like an oven.

They kill their leaders.

Kings lose their power.

Nobody comes to me for help.

A new part of the book of Hosea begins here. God wants to bless Israel in the future. He wants them to be rich. This message is for both Israel and Judah. But Hosea also continues to write about the sins of Israel. God wanted to be good to Israel. But he could not be good when people robbed from houses (verse 1). And there are many other sins. People do not think that these sins matter. God does not say that he wants judges to take more people to the courts. He wants people to really mean their sacrifices.

God is watching everything that goes on (verse 2). He sees everything. He remembers things for thousands of years (Psalm 105:8). When he looks at the people of Israel, he sees their sins. He does not see people. It is probable that this is what verse 2 means. Hosea does not say which king he is thinking of (verse 3). Perhaps it was Hoshea, the son of Elah (732-723 BC). Hoshea and his leaders did not want to know about God's rule. They took power in a wicked way.

In verses 4-7, Hosea uses a picture of a baker to say several things. The meaning is not clear. Perhaps the picture means that the baker went to sleep. This was when his oven was too hot. Then the bread burnt. Bakers made bread in large ovens. They were round. They had a large door on the top of them. The bakers made a fire inside them. They shut the door. The bread then cooked for a long time. The leaders of Israel were like this bread. They did not care when the people's sins were very 'hot'. These sins were destroying people but the leaders did not care. God did not want this. The leaders were hot because they drank too much wine (verse 5). The wine that they drank made them do silly things. They wanted to be friendly with people who did not believe in God. Perhaps the leaders were friendly with other people who did evil things. The leaders never stopped thinking about evil things (verse 6). In the night, the oven became cool. But in the morning, someone made sure that the oven became hot again. The leaders of Israel were like the oven. It is only at night that they stopped thinking of evil things. The leaders have killed other leaders (verse 7). They came to power because they have killed kings. There was only one king, Menahem, that the leaders did not kill. This was after the death of Jeroboam 2^nd^. Israel was burning in its anger. There was nothing to stop it.

Israel Does not Know that People will Destroy Her

8 God says, ' Ephraim mixes with other countries. Ephraim is like a cake that someone did not cook on both sides.

9 The people of Ephraim do not realize that mixing with foreign people makes my people weaker.

Israel is like an old man with grey hair.

But he does not notice this.

10 Israel is proud of herself.

This is something that I do not like about her.

But even although the people had many troubles,

they still did not go back to the Lord their God.

They did not search for him.

11 Ephraim is like a stupid dove,

a dove that does not understand anything.

The people looked to Egypt for help.

The people went to Assyria for help.

12 When they do this, I will throw my net over them.

I will catch them like birds as they go by.

When I hear them coming together in the air,

I will catch them.

13 It will be very bad for them,

because they have left me.

They refused to obey me. So I will destroy them.

I wanted to save them.

But they speak lies about me.

14 They do not call out to me with their hearts.

But they cry on their beds.

When they pray for grain and wine, they cut themselves.

They have turned against me.

15 I trained them and made them strong.

But they make evil plans against me.

16 They turn to false gods.

They are like a bow that does not work.

Their leaders are very proud.

They will die by the sword

because of the way that they insult me.

Then the people of Egypt will laugh at them'.

In these verses, Hosea uses more pictures to say things. He continues to use the picture of an oven (verse 8). The people are like bread. They are burnt on one side. This is the side that looks to other countries for help. The other side is not cooked. This is the side that should look to God for help. At this time, Assyria became more powerful. So, Israel needed other countries to help her. Israel went to Egypt, Syria-Damascus and Philistia. Israel hoped that these countries would help to defend her. She did not want to hope in God. In 732 BC, Hoshea, after he had killed Pekah, travelled to Egypt, Philistia and then to Aram-Damascus. He tried to get their help. He then put his hope in Assyria. Then, after a few years, he changed and went back to Egypt. This is what 'mixing' means (verse 9). The bread became flat (verse 8). It was not strong. War had made Israel become old (verse 9). She had to pay too much money to other countries. She was now poor. She would die soon.

Verse 10 is like 5:5a: 'The people of Israel are very proud'. They ask, 'Who needs God? Why should we go to him?' Israel wants to stay away from God's covenant. God thinks Israel is like a dove (verse 11). Doves are stupid birds. They do not fly away from danger. It was easy for other countries to use their power against Israel. Egypt and Assyria could not help Israel.

Hosea continues to use the dove picture in verse 12. God will catch the doves in his net. This means that he will bring his judgement. As Israel flies to other nations, God will catch them. They were wrong to look for help from other countries. Also, they changed the countries that they looked to. God needs to punish them. Then he will take them to a prison.

The people of Israel have said false things about God (verse 13). They have made promises to God through their covenants. But they have not kept the promises for a long time.

It is probable that the 'beds' (verse 14) were part of a meal. The meal was part of a sacrifice when the Israelites rested near the altar (see Isaiah 57:7; Amos 2:8). This was when the people cried and cut themselves.

Israel is like a child that a parent cannot punish (verse 15). The laws said that a child like this should die. Israel was breaking the laws. The people were making sacrifices at Bethel and sacrifices to Baal. These were the 'false gods' (verse 16) and they were making Israel weak. The bow is not strong. It will not send arrows very far. It has very little use. So, other nations will be able to attack Israel easily. Egypt will not be able to help Israel. Egypt will enjoy seeing Israel so weak.