Hosea 13:9-16

Hosea 13:9 (KJB)

O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.


God now states that Israel destroyed itself.  God is only responding to their disobedience and their idolatry.  If they would not have gone down the path of false religions, then they would not be in the position they are in which is being under the judging hand of God.  God then tells that in him is their help.  He is basically telling them that he is still available for them to call upon him and turn from their evil ways and he will once again be their help and sustainer.  If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.  (2 Chronicles 7:14) 


Hosea 13:10 (KJB)

I will be thy king: where is any other that may save thee in all thy cities? and thy judges of whom thou saidst, Give me a king and princes?


God states that he will be their king because there is no other, especially an earthly king, who has the ability to watch over all their cities and protect them.  God now goes back to the time when Samuel was the judge over Israel and the people came to him and demanded a king.  Nevertheless the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel; and they said, Nay; but we will have a king over us;  (1 Samuel 8:19)  By setting up a king they would have also set up the lesser magistrates like judges and princes over certain areas.  They wanted to be like all the nations and they finally became like them being steeped in idolatry.


Hosea 13:11 (KJB)

I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.


And the LORD said to Samuel, Hearken unto their voice, and make them a king. And Samuel said unto the men of Israel, Go ye every man unto his city.  (1 Samuel 8:22)  The LORD told Samuel exactly what the king would do and how he would treat the people and the taxes which would be levied.  When they were given Saul, he disobeyed the LORD by offering a burnt offering instead of waiting for Samuel to arrive and this act caused God to move against him and remove him from his throne and appoint David as their king.  He also refused to slay Agag the king of the Amalekites.  And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.  (1 Samuel 31:5)  Saul was finally killed in battle and then David took over as king of the United Monarchy.


Hosea 13:12 (KJB)

The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid.


The sins of Ephraim are bound up and his sin is hidden.  This is speaking of the fact that even though they are sinning openly, all their sins will be opened as if they would be let out of a huge box which was bound with ropes.  Every sin they committed will be made open at the time of their judgment.  Those which were not atoned for from the earliest times they began to walk away from the LORD will be open.  Woe unto them that seek deep to hide their counsel from the LORD, and their works are in the dark, and they say, Who seeth us? and who knoweth us?  (Isaiah 29:15) 


Hosea 13:13 (KJB)

The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children.


Labor pains are violent and sudden and like manner the swift judgment of God will come upon Ephraim.  The unwise son who comes to the point of birth and does not want to come out is fearful in starting a new life.  While he was in the womb he was cared for and fed and there was no problems but now when he enters the world, he will begin to face the world and all its problems.  Ephraim was likened to this because he did not want to face the consequences of their actions and feared the next chapter in their lives knowing that chapter would be written under the judging hand of God.


Hosea 13:14 (KJB)

I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.


Here God states that not only is he the sovereign God of Israel in this life but he is also the sovereign God over death.  He has the final say on death.  The power of the grave over mankind is extremely strong since most people view physical death as the end.  To the people of God, death is the doorway into eternal life and God can redeem his people from the power of the grave.  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?  (1 Corinthians 15:55)  Those that died the first death which is physical death will never have to face the second death but only for those in Christ.  God will destroy the grave and all its effects it has had on the human race throughout history.  Just like death which hangs over every human being is like a plague of disease hanging over a body but God will destroy the grave and God will be like the plagues to the grave.  Then God speaks about repentance being hidden from his eyes which means that he will not change his mind on those who are going to heaven and those who disobeyed him and went to hell.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.  (Romans 11:29) 


Hosea 13:15 (KJB)

Though he be fruitful among his brethren, an east wind shall come, the wind of the LORD shall come up from the wilderness, and his spring shall become dry, and his fountain shall be dried up: he shall spoil the treasure of all pleasant vessels.


This verse and the next one are the culmination of the indictment which began in 11:12-12:1.  Ephraim was pictured as a fruitful nation but that fruit would be destroyed by the ferocity of the eastern wind which was known as the Sirocco which will be so powerful that it could dry up a spring.  The east wind is a symbol of the swift judgment of God which will permeate the entire land of the ten tribes.  As there was fruitfulness, there will be bare trees with no fruit.  As there were springs of water, they will be dried up and there will be nothing left but parched land.  The fountains which were springs of water would also be dried up.  There will also be a removal of all the pleasant vessels which would be the great furnishings of the homes and king’s palaces along with all the treasure from the storehouse would be taken to Assyria as spoil.


Hosea 13:16 (KJB)

Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.


With the ten tribes taken to Assyria all the land will become desolate and will be overtaken with wild animals.  Ephraim will be taken to Assyria because instead of obedience to the LORD, they rebelled against him and will be taken from the land the LORD gave them.  The invasion would be so ghastly that the children will suffer by being killed with the sword and even pregnant women will find no mercy at the hands of the Assyrians.  These things were a normal practice in ancient times when a conquering nation would vanquish a nation they attacked.  These things should be a warning to all that disobedience to the LORD is not a minor matter.