Hosea 5:11-15

Hosea 5:11 (KJB)

Ephraim is oppressed and broken in judgment, because he willingly walked after the commandment.


Ephraim which was representative of the ten northern tribes had become oppressed and broken in judgment which may refer to two things.  The first is that by their own evil lifestyle which the leaders adopted have oppressed the people with laws and rituals of their own making.  It can also refer to the Assyrians coming in and removing them in judgment of their homeland.  The commandment which they followed was not the commandments of God but those of their own making which were patterned after the false gods.


Hosea 5:12 (KJB)

Therefore will I be unto Ephraim as a moth, and to the house of Judah as rottenness.


The moth represents judgment as a moth in a closet of clothes tends to eat holes in them, the moth here will be the judgment of God which will tend to their destruction by the Assyrians.  The moths would be considered a much swifter judgment than rottenness because that would take time to affect whatever it was attached to.  Rottenness may also be understood as decay.   Depending upon the host, decay may happen at different speeds.  This can be brought out by the fact that Judah lasted 135 years longer than the ten northern tribes before they were taken into captivity by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.


Hosea 5:13 (KJB)

When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah saw his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.


The sickness in view may be the decay which Ephraim experienced by rejecting God and worshipping the false gods.  The wound of Judah may have been the wounds received by the enemies who would attack them and pillage them in lesser ferocity than when they were finally captured in 586 B.C.  These lesser things were wake up calls to both Ephraim and Judah but they did not heed those warnings.  Instead of Ephraim returning to the LORD, they had decided to try and make friends with Assyria which was their enemy and eventually proved it by invading their land and removing them.  As for King Jareb, the name “Jareb” means “contentious, avenger, or revenger.”  It could be the proper name of the King of Assyria or just a term denoting the present king whose name was not Jareb.  As much as Ephraim and Judah thought that Assyria could help them, the Assyrians being idolaters themselves could only cause them to go deeper into idolatry and could never help them out.  If they would have turned to the true God, then they could have been helped out of their idolatry and back on the right path.


Hosea 5:14 (KJB)

For I will be unto Ephraim as a lion, and as a young lion to the house of Judah: I, even I, will tear and go away; I will take away, and none shall rescue him.


Assyria was not the helper of Israel instead they were the instruments of God’s judgment.  Isaiah 10:5 (KJV) O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation.  The LORD was going to bring swift judgment upon Ephraim as a lion brings swift judgment to its prey.  Then God uses the young lion to the house of Judah because they had some godly kings which held back the judgment of God on them for another 135 years.  The young lion would not be able to catch prey or tear up another animal as a grown up lion could do.  At this point, Babylon was not yet strong enough to conquer Assyria and Judah.  God is making known that since Ephraim had turned their backs on God, he is making sure they know that it is He who is bringing the judgment and no one else.  Therefore no one will be able to rescue them no matter how big their helper would be.  They would be torn apart as an adult lion tears apart his prey.


Hosea 5:15 (KJB)

I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early.


The Lord now states that he is going to return to his place which means he is going to withdraw himself from Ephraim until such a time that they will acknowledge their sins against God and return unto him by seeking him.  Eventually they will seek the LORD because when they go into captivity with the Assyrians reality will set in very quickly and they will once again seek the LORD early in their captivity rather than an extended time into it.