Hosea 11:1-6

Hosea 11:1 (KJB)

When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.


When Jacob entered Egypt with his family and servants, Israel was not yet a nation.  They had become solidified as a nation when they were in bondage in Egypt.  So they were in the embryonic stage of becoming a nation and God here calls them a child which meant the nation was still very young and God loved them because out of them would come the Messiah and eventually under Moses he called them out of Egypt calling Israel his son.


This verse was also a prophecy of the Lord Jesus Christ when Joseph and Mary fled to Egypt to escape murder by Herod.  Once Herod was dead then they came back to Israel after an angel told Joseph it was safe to return.  Joseph then went into Galilee because he heard that Herod’s son Archelaus was ruling in Judah and he was not taking any chances.  Matthew 2:14-15 (KJV) When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:  {15} And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son. 


Hosea 11:2 (KJB)

As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.


From the time of the exodus, they were called by the prophets such as Moses and Aaron and priests like Samuel.  They were called unto obedience to the LORD instead of obeying the voice of the prophets which God sent, they instead descended into idolatry turning to the false gods of the neighboring countries.  The worship of Baal had begun their descent into full apostasy demanding that God judge them.


Hosea 11:3 (KJB)

I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.


Teaching them to go in the Hebrew refers to a parent who holds the hands of their infant children when they are learning to walk.  The parent by holding the toddler was supporting his first steps.  Deuteronomy 1:31 (KJV) And in the wilderness, where thou hast seen how that the LORD thy God bare thee, as a man doth bear his son, in all the way that ye went, until ye came into this place.  God was watching over them as they went through the wilderness and protected them from Pharaoh’s army who pursued them and guided them into the Promised Land.  God healed them as he took them out of Egypt so they would not have to be under bondage anymore, instead they turned their backs on God and went deeply into idolatry.  Exodus 32:3-4 (KJV) And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron.  {4} And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. 


Hosea 11:4 (KJB)

I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.


Within this verse is an agricultural simile but the first part of the verse God states that he drew them with the cords of a man like a father would draw his child away from danger with love in his heart.  This is what the LORD had shown to Israel as he dealt with them as a loving father deals with his children.  Taking the yoke off their jaws is an agricultural metaphor when the owner of the oxen would remove the yoke from their necks so the oxen would be able to eat more easily being able to reach the food without stretching the neck.  It would have been the removal of the entire harness. The yokes in the east were made of very heavy wood and pressed so much on the animals that they could not bend their necks.  The simile here is the God took the heavy burdens off of Israel for a time of rest and feeding upon the word of God.  The meat he gave them was the meat of the word as he guided them through different circumstances plus it also has a reference to the fact that God provided all their personal needs such as food and housing.


Hosea 11:5 (KJB)

He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.


Just as in times past when Israel was in bondage in Egypt, they would now be going under the same type of bondage they endured in Egypt except this time the king of Assyria will be over them instead of Pharaoh.  Some had made an attempt to escape the Assyrians by going to Egypt but they too would be brought under the yoke of Assyria.  Their judgment was divinely decreed and would happen simply because they would not return unto the LORD and be obedient to him.  As bleak as their future looked, they still refused to give up idol worship.


Hosea 11:6 (KJB)

And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.


The confidence the people of Ephraim placed on their mighty men which were in fortresses in the cities would soon be crushed because the city of Samaria will be besieged by the Assyrians for a period of three years.  The branches would be the smaller towns which would not escape the edge of the Assyrian sword.  The counsel they took was of their own doing which was steeped in idolatry.  1 Kings 12:28 (KJV) Whereupon the king took counsel, and made two calves of gold, and said unto them, It is too much for you to go up to Jerusalem: behold thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.  Their counsel was based in satanic idolatry.