Hosea 10:1-5

Hosea 10:1 (KJB)

Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.


Israel has become as an empty vine, that is, a vine which is supposed to bear fruit for the benefit of those who planted it but it has produced no good fruit and is totally empty of anything good and will not bear any good fruit.  The only fruit Israel brings forth was the evil fruit that satisfied their own evil desires and did not bring forth righteous fruit unto the LORD.  The evil fruit which they brought forth only increased their own idolatry by means of increasing amounts of pagan altars where they made sacrifices unto the false gods.  The more God had blessed the land for them, the more they increased their idolatry.  They became rich so they made idols of gold and silver.  Along with these idols came increased worship of them taking them further away from the LORD.


Hosea 10:2 (KJB)

Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.


Since they now were worshipping their false gods through idols, they had a divided heart and of course as Jeremiah puts it, their hearts are deceitfully wicked.  They will not be guiltless before the LORD because he is going to destroy all their idolatry which was fulfilled during the reign of Josiah.  2 Kings 23:14-15 (KJV) And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.  {15} Moreover the altar that was at Beth-el, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove. 


Hosea 10:3 (KJB)

For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?


These words are not the words of repentance but they are from a guilty conscience because they know they have done terrible things against the LORD.  They lost their fear of him. Psalm 36:1 (KJV) The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.  They pined over the fact that even if they had a king, what good would that do since they now realize that their Assyrian capture is closer than ever and cannot be stopped.


Hosea 10:4 (KJB)

They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.


The words they spoke had no substance because when they swore to something, it meant nothing.  There was no faithfulness in keeping the covenants and there was no justice done in the giving of judgment.  Instead of the rulers being just and proper, their counsel was turned into a poison like hemlock which kills a person.  Amos 6:12 (KJV)   Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:  There was no righteousness in the land anymore from the least of the people to the greatest of them.


Hosea 10:5 (KJB)

The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Beth-aven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.


The idolatrous people of Samaria had feared that their false idols would not be able to protect them and that they would be removed and taken to Assyria where they would be melted down and put into the treasury.  This would mean their idols would cease to exist.  The name “Beth-Aven” means “House of vanity or House of idolatry.”  Beth-Aven was also the principal seat of the calf-god.  The people had made much profit by means of their calf-god.  Now that the Assyrians were coming they would lose their god and that means their principal means of income would be gone.  The priests had liked the idol because from it they would make much money to clothe, feed, and pay them good salaries but they too will mourn because it shall be taken away from them.  All the glory and veneration of the idol would now be taken away since they soon would also lose their liberty by going into captivity.  All the fun and profit they had will be a thing of the past.