Hosea 12:1-7


Hosea 12:1 (KJB)

Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.


To feed on the wind and follow the east wind is basically stating that Ephraim is seeking a futile path.  For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.  (Hosea 8:7)  By seeking to make alliances with the pagan nations which surrounded them was nothing more than futility.  The east wind which is known as the Sirocco is a wind which comes from Arabia is scorching and destructive and that is what Ephraim was facing for their disobedience to the Lord.   Ephraim is lying to itself believing that they can stay the judgment of God on them by making alliances with other nations like Egypt which eventually brought the Assyrians against Israel resulting in her final destruction.  This event of the conspiracy of Hoshea is found in 2 Kings 17:1-6.  The oils which were given to Egypt were expensive oils which was partial payment for an alliance.


Hosea 12:2 (KJB)

The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.


The LORD is now bringing an indictment against Judah and although the sins of Judah had not matched those of Israel, there is no exemption from the consequences of sin.  Judah would eventually feel the judgment of God as they would be dealt with by the Babylonians 135 years after Israel goes into captivity with Assyria.  The sins of Ephraim were completed and their judgment was imminent.


Hosea 12:3 (KJB)

He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:


God mentions Jacob in verse two and the birth of Jacob and Esau when Jacob grabbed the heel of Esau coming out of the womb of Rebekah.  And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau's heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.  (Genesis 25:26)  Jacob and Esau would father two different nations.  Through Jacob would come the Lord Jesus Christ and Esau would give birth to the Arab nations. The name “Jacob” not only means “Supplanter” but it also means “following after.”  This is what happened in the womb, Esau came out first and Jacob followed after.  Esau was the first born of Isaac.  Jacob was destined to father the nation of Israel and through him came the Messiah and this is why Jacob had power with God because God gave him the power of faith.  After all, he wrestled with God and fathered the twelve patriarchs of the nation of Israel.  Jacob did not have power in himself speaking of human power which would be frailty but it was the indwelling of the Holy Spirit because Jacob was a believer and had the power of God implanted in him as does every true believer.  {20} Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,  {21} Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.  (Ephesians 3:20-21)  Esau was an unbeliever and did not have the inward strength given to Jacob.


Hosea 12:4 (KJB)

Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Beth-el, and there he spake with us;


{24} And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.  {25} And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him.  (Genesis 32:24-25)  The angel was the Angel of the LORD where Jacob wrestled with him till the break of day and finally the angel touched his thigh and it was out of joint.  Jacob had prevailed over the angel since it did not look like the angel was going to defeat him.  The weeping which Jacob did was probably the weeping of prayer and supplication through tears.  Jacob then journeyed to Beth-el where God once again spoke to him.  Now he is going under the name of Israel which means “Prince with God.”


Hosea 12:5 (KJB)

Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial.


It was the LORD himself who spoke to Jacob in Beth-el.  The name LORD God of hosts tells us that God is the commander of the great army of angels in heaven.  The LORD being the memorial of Jacob will be the formation of the nation of Israel and it is the LORD who will be remembered as the one who brought it forth and guided them through all their journeys and they will remember what the LORD has done for them since the time of the exodus.


Hosea 12:6 (KJB)

Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually.


Since God is their memorial and the commander of the host of the LORD, Ephraim is now being admonished to turn back to the LORD just as their ancestors did especially in the times of the Judges.  They should turn back to the LORD and keep his law which contains both mercy and judgment and forsake all the false religions which got them into trouble.  Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.  (Psalm 27:14)  To wait on the LORD for his timing is not a waste of time but is an investment which only works out for the good of the believer.  Waiting on God is not just a singular event but is part of the ongoing Christian walk.


Hosea 12:7 (KJB)

He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress.


The word behind merchant in the Hebrew is “canaan.”  If you recall that Canaan the Grandson of Noah was cursed by Noah.  And he said, Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.  (Genesis 9:25)  In other words, Ephraim has become a curse which adds to the indictment against them.  A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.  (Proverbs 11:1)  The way they have done business and dealings with others were deceitful which is an abomination unto the LORD.  Ephraim loved gain but he made his gain by oppressing others in evil schemes and outright cheating people.  Though the way they ordered their lives was against the law of the LORD, nevertheless they loved to have it that way because it increased their wealth.