Hosea Chapter Thirteen


Read Hosea 13:1-4 – God Has Taken Ephraim’s Glory


v.1When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.”


            The Apostle Peter writes:


I Peter 5:6Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:”

            God here is showing the contrast between the Ephraim (representing all Israel) of old and the Ephraim of the time of Hosea.  When Israel humbled themselves before God; when Israel followed God’s commandments; when Israel kept their covenant with God they were as the Psalmist describes:




They were as Jesus described in the beatitudes:






            When Israel honored God as their king, they enjoyed His most bountiful blessings; but when Ephraim (Israel) turned to Baal he offended God, he separated himself from God and he died spiritually.  In this verse Baal represents all idolatry.  When men turn away from God to whatever they have made as their idols and especially when they refuse to turn back again they become useless for God’s purpose, they are spiritually dead.  In God’s view they are rotten and corrupt:


v.2And now they sin more and more, and have made them molten images of their silver, and idols according to their own understanding, all of it the work of the craftsmen: they say of them, Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves.”


            Sin, unchecked, is always progressive.  We have seen that with our rebellious brethren in today’s world.  They start out small, accepting only a little bit of the liberal doctrines of the denominations, but it grows and before too long we have those who call themselves churches of Christ who have instrumental music, women serving as deacons and in other positions of authority, choirs, praise teams and solos, fellowship with those who not of God and we could go on and on but this illustrates the problem.  The prophets describe for us what Israel did.


Isaiah 46:6They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he maketh it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship.”


They take gold out of a sack, or bag; they take to a goldsmith, someone who has the talent to sculpt an image and when the image is finished they fell down and worshiped it.  It didn’t have to be made of solid gold either.


Jeremiah 10:3-4For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. 4They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.”


            Then they worshipped it.  Men still worship idols today, some in the form of images such as Buddha, but most worship the idols of self and worldly pleasure.


v.3Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.”


            Because of their infidelity toward God, because of their worship of idols and the accepting of the morals and practices of their pagan neighbors into their culture, Israel would vanish as a nation.  The Psalmist writes:




Another prophet of God proclaims the result of their sin and His wrath against the Syrians and Ephraim this way:


Isaiah 17:13The nations shall rush like the rushing of many waters: but God shall rebuke them, and they shall flee far off, and shall be chased as the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like a rolling thing before the whirlwind.”


They “SHALL BE CHASED AS THE CHAFF OF THE MOUNTAINS”, “LIKE A ROLLING THING BEFORE THE WHIRLWIND”.  This analogy makes me think of the tumbleweed; raised up but for a short time, allowed to die and then is blown across the landscape by the wind.  Throughout the history of mankind the existence of any people, any country or nation who do not anchor their culture and society in the precepts of God have come to the same end.


v.4Yet I am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt, and thou shalt know no god but me: for there is no saviour beside me.”


            Israel and mankind in general have rejected God but there is no other and there will be no other savior.  When God gave them their law, established the Mosaic Covenant with them we find that:


“And God spake all these words, saying, 2I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. 3Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” Exodus 20:1-3


This was so at Sinai, this was so at the time of Hosea’s writing and it is still the way it is today.  When they turned to other gods, when they abandoned the laws of God, God abandoned them and they had nowhere to turn.  Just as Isaiah prophesied:


Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save. 21Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.” Isaiah 45:20-21


Read Hosea 13:5-8 – God’s Anger


v.5I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought.”


            God knew them in the wilderness, he led and provided for them, they owe him for their very existence as we all do.


Deuteronomy 32:10-12He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.”


For over forty years God nourished, fed, protected and guided Israel personally, meeting their every need.


v.6According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me.”


            “ACCORDING TO THEIR PASTURE”, again, according to their every need God provided for Israel.  He gave them manna, quails for meat and water in the wilderness.  When the wandering was finished and the rebellious generation was dead he gave them the land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  He even gave them laws, commandments and warned them of what would happen if they disobeyed Him to prevent them from self-destruction, telling them:


Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; 13And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; 14Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the LORD thy God, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage;” Deuteronomy 8:12-14


But they couldn’t stand prosperity.  While they enjoyed the greatest blessings of God their “HEART” was “LIFTED UP” and they did “FORGET THE LORD” their God.


v.7-8Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: 8I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”


            God expresses his wrath in terms that are impossible to misunderstand.  He will be to Israel like a lion or a leopard devouring its prey.  He will be a ferocious as a mother bear that has lost her cubs.  Just as Hosea had already told them earlier:


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. Hosea 5:14


All of this because of their rebellion against God, their transgressions of his laws and their backsliding when he rescued them:


Jeremiah 5:6Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.”


Read Hosea 13:9-14 – The Consequences of God’s Wrath


v.9O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help.”


            God laments that Israel has indeed destroyed herself by her own wickedness.  Judah was also warned by the prophet Jeremiah:


Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy backslidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the LORD thy God, and that my fear is not in thee, saith the Lord GOD of hosts.” Jeremiah 2:19


But they turned away from the only source of help that exists, their God, the Almighty that created the heavens, earth and all that is in them.  At one time they knew that because Moses told them:


There is none like unto the God of Jeshurun, who rideth upon the heaven in thy help, and in his excellency on the sky.” Deuteronomy 33:26


v.10I 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?”


            When Israel rejected God as their king; God appointed and anointed for them an earthly king, first Saul, then David and his son Solomon.  But Israel was not satisfied with that, now they have removed God from any part of choosing their rulers:


Hosea 8:4They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not: of their silver and their gold have they made them idols, that they may be cut off.”


Not only did they reject God as their king, the kings that God appointed for them, and set up their own kings; kings who caused them to abandon God for idols made of wood, stone and metal.  These kings were evil in every way, living the same kind of deceit and treachery that is common to the world.


II Kings 17:4And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison.”


They incurred the wrath of their more powerful neighbors and without God to protect them suffered dire consequences.


v.11I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath.”


            When God gave Israel a king He did so in anger.  They had rejected him as king, they knew that Samuel would not judge them much longer but God would have raised up another judge to replace Samuel.  They demanded a king instead:


I Samuel 8:7And the LORD said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.”


And those kings led them into apostasy, rebellion against God.  When Jeroboam was allowed to divide Solomon’s kingdom he was sent a personal warning through his wife from God by Ahijah the prophet through his wife:


II Kings 14:99But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back:”


And they will be removed by the wrath of God:


Hosea 10:7As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.”


v.12The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is laid up in store.” (ASV)


            In this verse I prefer the American Standard Translation (1901) as it is clearer in rendering the original meaning.  “HIS SIN is LAID UP IN STORE.”  What does the prophet mean, what is he telling Israel?  He’s telling them that their sin will be brought to judgment.  It was part of the covenant God made with them through Moses:


Deuteronomy 32:34-35Is not this laid up in store with me, and sealed up among my treasures? 35To me belongeth vengeance, and recompense; their foot shall slide in due time: for the day of their calamity is at hand, and the things that shall come upon them make haste.”


This is also part of God’s covenant with mankind today that has been given through Christ:


Romans 2:5-6But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds:”


v.13The 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.”


            Again we see that God had warned them through the Mosaic Covenant:


Deuteronomy 32:5-6They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation. 6Do ye thus requite the LORD, O foolish people and unwise? is not he thy father that hath bought thee? hath he not made thee, and established thee?


Because they had corrupted themselves; God’s wrath will be brought upon them like the labor pangs of a woman about to give birth.  Their punishment is inevitable.  We see the same warning given to Judah by Micah in Micah 4:10.


v.14I 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.”


            In the midst of his condemnation of their sins and the punishment that God will bring upon Israel as a result; we find this verse that speaks of redeeming them from the power of the grave.  It is fact that God as their king has the power to redeem them from sin, spiritual death, the death of separation from Him.  He also has the power to resurrect them from physical death, the death that comes from the separation of the soul from the body.  As to whether the prophet is writing about the redemption of Israel by the blood of Jesus Christ or the ultimate resurrection I’ll let the scholars debate.  The fact is that God as king of all the earth for all time and throughout eternity has the power to do either or both.




In the final years before the captivity, God sent his prophet to Judah with much the same message:


Ezekiel 37:12-13Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. 13And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,”


We today are given the same assurance:


I Corinthians 15:55-57O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? 56The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


            We through Christ have victory over physical death through the resurrection and victory over spiritual death through his blood.


v.15Though 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 is again a prophecy of the destruction of the Israelite nation.  In prophecy the east wind is almost always characterized as destructive, bringing pestilence and/or drought and famine.  I guess a parallel in today’s experience would be the Santa Ana winds of Southern California that frequently bring fire and destruction to that land.  In Egypt in the vision of Pharoah:


Genesis 41:6And, behold, seven thin ears and blasted with the east wind sprung up after them.”


In the prophecy of Ezekiel:


Ezekiel 17:10Yea, behold, being planted, shall it prosper? shall it not utterly wither, when the east wind toucheth it? it shall wither in the furrows where it grew.”


Ezekiel 19:12But she was plucked up in fury, she was cast down to the ground, and the east wind dried up her fruit: her strong rods were broken and withered; the fire consumed them.”


            In the geography of Israel the east wind blows off the desert of what is today Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia drying up and causing the vegetation in its path to wither and die.


v.16Samaria 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.”


            This chapter ends with a pronouncement of the destruction and desolation that would come upon Israel, and not necessarily by the Assyria.  Much of this was done by Israel to her own people as her wicked kings fought and destroyed each other.


Hosea 11:6And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.”


Hosea 10:14Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Beth-arbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.”


Several of these battles, wars and periods of destruction are recorded in the books of Kings and Chronicles.  When Zachariah replaced Jeroboam II as king of Israel, he only lasted six months and the Shallum disposed of him.  Shallum only ruled one month and then Menhem took care of him:


II Kings15:16Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.”


So not only was Israel destroyed by external kings and armies but she rotted within and destroyed herself in civil conflict as well.


William L. Schwegler – Sunset church of Christ, Shreveport, LA; December 7, 2008