Hosea 12:8-14

Hosea 12:8 (KJB)

And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin.


Ephraim had boasted that they became rich and in their eyes they had become wealthy by doing things opposite the law of God and they were so blinded by their own deceits that they honestly believed that they had done no wrong and nothing they did constituted sin.  The word “substance” means “wealth, power, and strength.”  The problems with them gaining substance is that they did it in an evil manner and not within the blessing of the LORD.  The Church at Laodicea was also one who boasted of being rich.  Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:  (Revelation 3:17)  The problem was that in their eyes they may have had many material things but they lacked the true spiritual nature of the church which is the only thing that can be measured as to the value of any church.  Without the truth of the gospel being preached or lived, even though an organization may have much money, they are in essence spiritually bankrupt and that was what Ephraim was.


Hosea 12:9 (KJB)

And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast.


The Feast of Tabernacles was the yearly commemoration by Israel who remembered God guiding them and watching over them in the wilderness experience.  It came right after the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) which as a day of solemn fasting and prayer.  The Feast of Tabernacles was a joyous occasion which lasted five days.  Here God is basically telling Ephraim that he is the same God who brought them out of the land of Egypt and brought them through the wilderness for forty years.  Not only did he watch over them in the wilderness, he gave them all the blessings of the land and crops and personal wealth when they went into the land.


Hosea 12:10 (KJB)

I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets.


God used many methods to bring truth to his people.  He had sent them prophets from the time of Moses to instruct them and bring them back to walking uprightly.  He also used visions which were normally interpreted by the prophets and priests to bring truths to the people of Israel.  Then he used similitudes which were imaginative comparisons such as the fleece for Gideon and other methods he used by means of the prophets.  Whenever he sent the prophets it was for their own good to bring them back into the line of obedience.


Hosea 12:11 (KJB)

Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields.


God asks the question about Gilead concerning iniquity.  He is not asking them because he does not know but he asking them for their own knowledge.  Gilead is a city of them that work iniquity, and is polluted with blood.  (Hosea 6:8)  Apparently God is getting them to admit that Gilead is a place of much evil.  Then God mentions Gilgal which was a place of great wickedness.  All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.  (Hosea 9:15)  Gilgal was chosen by Jeroboam for a place to continue their idolatry where they built high places.  The altars which were built to sacrifice on had become heaps or just piles of stone which means they were destroyed because they represented idolatry.


Hosea 12:12 (KJB)

And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep.


Now Hosea alludes to the fact that Jacob had fled to Syria and that was because of his deception when he stole the birthright from Esau.  It was in Syria where he sought out Laban to find refuge because he feared his brother would take revenge upon him.  He kept the flocks of Laban for fourteen years.  His deception was returned to him.  He thought he was working seven years for Rachel but he was surprised on his wedding night to find Leah so he had to work an additional seven years for Rachel.  God is teaching Ephraim that you cannot live a life of deception and not expect to reap what you have sown.


Hosea 12:13 (KJB)

And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved.


Here God reminds them that it was a prophet who led them out of the land of Egypt and that prophet was Moses who was probably the most outstanding prophet of the Old Testament.  Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.  (Psalm 77:20)  It was the direct hand of God which preserved them in the wilderness but he used Moses and Aaron as his earthly prophets to convey his commandments to the people and to direct them in the wilderness.


Hosea 12:14 (KJB)

Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.


Ephraim had provoked God so badly that they provoked him to anger which in the Hebrew means “rage or vex.”  They had provoked him in the area of shedding blood of many people and as a result of their murderous ways, the blood they shed will remain upon them, that is, there will be no sacrifice which will cover or remove those sins.  They must pay for their own actions and will have no atonement for them.  The dishonor which was done to God would now bring a recompense.  Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.  (Galatians 6:7)  As you can read, we see that principle carried over into the New Testament.