Hosea 7:11-16

Hosea 7:11 (KJB)

Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.


Ephraim is likened to a silly dove which when spotted in flight seems to be very erratic and without direction.  They are compared to the silly dove without heart, that is, a heart for God and a heart of understanding.  The word “silly” in the Hebrew is in the Qal stem which carries with it the meaning of “to be simple or gullible” which they were because instead of seeking the LORD, they were consistently swallowing all the false teachings and the ways of the pagan nations.  Secondly the word carries with it the meaning of “being deceived or enticed.”  They were not only enticed by all the sin but were enticed or allured by the magnificence of Assyria and Egypt with their great temples and cities and wealth.  Instead of seeking the LORD, they sought these pagan countries.


Hosea 7:12 (KJB)

When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.


The net in this verse is referring to the net which was used to catch birds in the flight.  It is not known how this net differed from other nets.  Ezekiel 12:13 (KJV) My net also will I spread upon him, and he shall be taken in my snare: and I will bring him to Babylon to the land of the Chaldeans; yet shall he not see it, though he shall die there.  The way the word is used in Ezekiel 12:13 it shows that a net was used also to snare animals which walked on the earth.  Fowlers would watch birds and then when the moment was right, they would throw the net over the birds and capture them.  Psalm 91:3 (KJV) Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.  One of the promises God made was that he would protect the obedient from the net of the fowler but Israel had become so sinful that God had made himself the fowler who would bring the arrogance and pride of Israel down to earth as if it were a bird caught in the fowler’s net.  Obadiah 4 (KJV) Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD.  As God promised that he would bring Edom down because of their pride, he would now do the same thing to Israel in their pride.  They had heard the prophets proclaim the coming judgment of God throughout the entire land of Israel so all the people knew that if they walked opposite the ways of the LORD, they would experience that coming judgment.  They had been warned and no one could claim ignorance.


Hosea 7:13 (KJB)

Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.


A woe means that a judgment is coming and it will not be rescinded because it is too late since they have been warned many times about their sinful behavior.  They fled from the LORD which means they departed or wandered from him and the keeping of the law.  God decrees destruction on them because they have completely transgressed against him.  Then God reminds them about the many times he has redeemed them, especially in the times of the judges and then the biggest redemption was when they were brought out of the land of Egypt with God’s mighty hand working the miracles until they were freed.  They had completely put God out of their minds and now to appease the pagan nations they had made lies about God, which was in reality speaking against him.  Psalm 10:4 (KJV) The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.  Psalm 10:4 describes perfectly the condition that Israel was in at that moment because of their intentional removal of God from their thoughts.


Hosea 7:14 (KJB)

And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.


They did not cry unto the LORD even when they were taken in the net prepared by God himself.  They should have repented sincerely which means it would not just be words to get out of the judgment, but a real repentance and sorrow for the fact that they walked away from the LORD.  Howling upon their beds was a reference to the sensual rituals of Baal where they would howl in hopes of a good grain harvest.  All of them had clamored for the grain and the wine and all the while instead of seeking the LORD for the harvest, instead they continued to rebel against him and continued to go deeper and deeper into that rebellion.


Hosea 7:15 (KJB)

Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.


God had tried every possible way to reach them and get them to repent.  He bound their arms, that is, he judged them and brought calamity on them so they would repent.  He also strengthened their arms, that is, he gave them the strength to have a good harvest and to prosper in their public and private lives, and allowed the nation to prosper and gave them status among the surrounding nations.  Even with all the blessings the LORD gave them, they still fabricated mischief which was wickedness against the LORD.


Hosea 7:16 (KJB)

They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.


There were times in their history when it looked like they were going to return to the LORD but instead when they had been delivered out of some situation they would almost immediately start their sinning cycle again, but even the patience of God wears out and it is now time to judge them.  The deceitful bow is a bow which is not strung correctly and could not launch an arrow six inches.  It may look like it is strung correctly but it is not.  That is what Israel looked like.  They looked like they would return but they did not.  Their princes will be destined to fall by the sword because of the rage of their tongues.  The word “rage” carries with it the meaning of “frothing or foaming at the mouth.”  That is how much they hated God as their hatred was vented toward God and against his prophets.  Their tongues will cause them to be mocked or scorned as they seek to ally themselves with Egypt.  Isaiah 30:3 (KJV) Therefore shall the strength of Pharaoh be your shame, and the trust in the shadow of Egypt your confusion.  Egypt was once the mightiest nation on earth and after the Exodus they continued to go downward in strength and world influence.  They became but a shadow of what they once were and would mock the Israelites for asking for their help.