Hosea 11:7-12

Hosea 11:7 (KJB)

And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.


The word “bent” in the Hebrew carries with it the meaning of “hung or impaled.”  These people are so heavily into backsliding away from the LORD it is like they have been hung by a rope or impaled on a stake to the point they cannot go in any direction because they are stayed upon their idolatry.  The only place the idolatry will lead then will be to death as both of those instruments bring death to a person.  The prophets that God sent had called them back to the Most High, to return and repent of their ways but instead of heeding the warnings, they replaced the counsel of the LORD with their own counsel and led them into judgment.


Hosea 11:8 (KJB)

How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.


Here we read the compassion of God even though Ephraim is in total rebellion against him, it seems he pines over them knowing that their sinful idolatry will lead them into further self-destruction.  God does not want to give them up to the false idols but he asks how he can deliver them since he has made every effort from prosperity to judgment to bring them back to spiritual sanity and to serve him once again.  Admah and Zeboim were two of the cities which were destroyed with Sodom and Gomorrah but those four cities were totally obliterated with the fire and brimstone.  God did not make a final end to Israel instead he sent them into captivity allowing them to live under oppression so Israel would cry out unto him.  God’s heart and his repentings are kindled together which means that both of these attributes of compassion were in force when God had to make the decision to send them into captivity.  He does not like to see his people constantly under judgment but he also cannot allow them to remain under idolatry in a backslidden condition which must be corrected.


Hosea 11:9 (KJB)

I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.


Here we see God exercising tremendous control over destructive emotions.  With his immense power he could destroy Ephraim in a second but he chooses to show compassion to them even when they are under his judgment.  He will not let them go unpunished but he will punish them according to justice and mercy together.  Man can have the tendency to unleash his full fury on someone or a nation may unleash full fury on another nation and utterly destroy them but here God is stating that he will not do such a thing because he is God and not man and has the ability to judge properly for the purpose of restoration and not destruction.  When he speaks about not entering the city, he showing his restraint in judgment that he will not destroy Samaria but will use the Assyrians as his instrument of judgment as they carry the people away from the city.


Hosea 11:10 (KJB)

They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.


Here we see a prophecy of the day when many in Israel who are the elect of God will follow the Messiah when he comes to the earth and afterwards those who will follow him on the words of the Christians who will preach about him to the ends of the world.  The roaring shall be the Lion of the tribe of Judah who is the Lord Jesus Christ.  Joel 3:16 (KJV) The LORD also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the LORD will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel.  The children trembling from the west is not referring to the Jews returning to their land or Ephraim returning to their land because everything west of Samaria and Judah is the Mediterranean Sea.  This is speaking of the time when the gospel will go out from Jerusalem as it begins to go worldwide on Pentecost.  Ephraim never returned to their land and Judah returned to the land after the Babylonian captivity but then lost the land permanently after the Messiah came and they continued to reject him.  About a million Jews were killed in the Roman siege of Judah and many were taken to Rome to be sold as slaves.


Hosea 11:11 (KJB)

They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.


Many of the Israelites who fled to Egypt will tremble when they hear about what is happening and will attempt to make it back to Judah since they were not yet under judgment for about another 135-200 years.  The dove is noted for its swiftness of flight and just like doves there will be some who will head to Judah when the Assyrians will be conquered by the Babylonians.  Then those who come to Judah may not find housing but God will provide a place for them to live.  On the prophetic side the houses are referring to the future of the believer when they will be placed in mansions.  John 14:2 (KJV) In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  Those who are the true believers who came out of national Israel will be among those who will share in eternal salvation.


Hosea 11:12 (KJB)

Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.


The sin of rebellion and idolatry had pervaded the entire northern kingdom.  They were workers of deceit and filled the whole land with their lies.  This is why they had to go into captivity because they needed to pay for their sins of rebellion against God.  The verse compares both Judah and Ephraim.  Judah yet ruleth means that Judah had not yet degenerated into the same low religious strata that Ephraim had.  Eventually they would go into a state of spiritual deterioration and would have to be removed from their land but they would be returned because the Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem of Judah so the town needed to be in existence.  With Judah still living in obedience to God, those who are the saved in Judah would be able to exist there because they would not be out of place like they would be if they lived in an idolatrous country like Ephraim.  Judah was still in obedience to the LORD which means the Elect within Judah were able to remain faithful.