1 Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, like the peoples; for thou hast played the harlot, departing from thy God; thou hast loved hire upon every grain-floor.
The festival of Sukkoth was celebrated in the fall. It was a festival of great rejoicing. But here it is “cancelled” because it commemorated deliverance- and there would be no more deliverance.
2 The threshing-floor and the winepress shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail her. 3 They shall not dwell in Jehovah's land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria. 4 They shall not pour out wine-offerings to Jehovah, neither shall they be pleasing unto him: their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners; all that eat thereof shall be polluted; for their bread shall be for their appetite; it shall not come into the house of Jehovah.
The land will be made as useless and barren as the people’s soul’s. Even their food will be what they are -- unclean.
5 What will ye do in the day of solemn assembly, and in the day of the feast of Jehovah? 6 For, lo, they are gone away from destruction; yet Egypt shall gather them up, Memphis shall bury them; their pleasant things of silver, nettles shall possess them; thorns shall be in their tents.
What will they do on the feast day? Absolutely NOTHING!!!! Hosea here shows that the refugees who flee to Egypt when the Assyrians attack will only find there a cemetery. Memphis had a huge and famous cemetery.
7 The days of visitation are come, the days of recompense are come; Israel shall know it: the prophet is a fool, the man that hath the spirit is mad, for the abundance of thine iniquity, and because the enmity is great. 8 Ephraim was a watchman with my God: as for the prophet, a fowler's snare is in all his ways, and enmity in the house of his God. 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah: he will remember their iniquity, he will visit their sins.
The subject changes from message to messenger. Hosea reminds the people that the one they call a fool has been called by God to deliver the message he has given. He is a sentinel warning of attack, not an enemy! Such hatred aown. See Jer 11:18-19, 18:18-23, 20:7-12, and Matt. 23:37. The “day of Gibeah” must refer to the horrible rape of the Levite’s concubine recorded in Judges 19-21 and the war that ensued from that horrid act.
10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first-ripe in the fig-tree at its first season: but they came to Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves unto the shameful thing, and became abominable like that which they loved.
Note the contrast between God’s love and Israel’s continuous betrayal. Grapes do not frequently grow wild in the desert. But disobedience was as common as the people, see Num 25:1-5.
11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird: there shall be no birth, and none with child, and no conception. 12 Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, so that not a man shall be left: yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!
Ephraim squanders her redemption. She has lost her future and abandoned her only hope.
13 Ephraim, like as I have seen Tyre, is planted in a pleasant place: but Ephraim shall bring out his children to the slayer.
Ephraim has to lead her children to slaughter- to the gas chamber, as it were.
14 Give them, O Jehovah--what wilt thou give? give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
What an incredible prayer! Hosea prays for them to be completely fruitless. It is the opposite of the promise of seed given to Abraham!
15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal; for there I hated them: because of the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of my house; I will love them no more; all their princes are revolters.
Gilgal is the place where Saul made his illicit sacrifice and as a result lost the kingdom. See 1 Sam 11:14-15, 13;8-15.
16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit: yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay the beloved fruit of their womb.
The grapevine that once grew miraculously in the desert now is a stricken plant with shriveled roots. It is dead.
17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations.
The one who once found them in the wilderness will now reject them.
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