1. Why was Israel an empty vine?
Because their fruit was unto themselves and their idols: “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images” (Hosea 10:1).
- Going backwards to Isaiah 5:1-24 and in this context to Hosea 10:11-14, this is not a new revelation.
- As Jesus taught, good fruit doesn’t come forth from God’s people apart from God’s will (John 15:1-10). Jesus also taught that one is identified by the fruit that person(s) produces (Matthew 7:15-20).
- What happens to that which is expected to bring forth fruit, but fails to bring forth what is expected (Ezekiel 15:1-5 and Luke 13:1-9)?
- They have made many altars unto their false gods (Jeremiah 2:28, Jeremiah 11:13, and Hosea 8:11).
2. What was said about the heart of the people of Israel?
Divided: “Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images” (Hosea 10:2).
- The divided heart (I Kings 18:21, Zephaniah 1:4-5, and Matthew 6:19-33).
- As saints, we know the importance of singleness of heart (Acts 2:46).
- Since they wanted God and idols, God was going to break down their idols (Micah 5:13).
- Remember, God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14).
- This is why we have to count the cost before becoming disciples (Luke 14:25-33).
3. As they were without a king, when they made a covenant, were their words true?
They swore falsely: “(3) For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us? (4) They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field” (Hosea 10:3-4).
- The context shows the king was cut off (Hosea 10:7; 10:15).
- They would go many days without a king (Hosea 3:4).
- The ten tribes of Israel were going to be under the Assyrian king (II Kings 17:18-23 and Hosea 13:11).
- They did recognize their failure was in not fearing God (II Kings 17:34).
- They falsely made a covenant (Romans 1:31).
- As a result, judgment within was like poisonous weeds (Isaiah 59:13-15).
- The point is, they were liars that couldn’t be trusted (Jeremiah 9:3-6 and Micah 7:3-5).
4. What was going to happen regarding the calves of Bethaven?
They were going to be taken unto Assyria as a present and cause the people of Samaria to fear: “(5) The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it. (6) It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel” (Hosea 10:5-6).
- We are talking about idolatry here (I Kings 12:28, II Kings 10:29, II Kings 17:16, Hosea 8:5-6, and Hosea 13:1-2).
- They’ll mourn because their idols could not deliver them (Jeremiah 2:28 and Jeremiah 11:12).
5. Who was going to be cut off as the foam upon the water?
The king of Samaria: “As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water” (Hosea 10:7).
- Samaria is where the king of Israel’s palace was (I Kings 21:1 and II Kings 17:1).
- Foam upon the water is imagery.
6. Whether it was the destruction of high places or a lost battle in Gibeah, what was the Lord’s desire in such things?
To chastise Israel: “(8) The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us. (9) O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them. (10) It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows” (Hosea 10:8-10).
- Again (vs. 5-6), we read that idols are to be destroyed herein that the high places are going to be destroyed (Leviticus 26:30 and Ezekiel 6:3).
- They’d try to hide (Isaiah 2:19).
- The days of Gibeah (Judges 19-20).
- Sin had been among them for a long time (Deuteronomy 9:6-7, Deuteronomy 9:24, and Psalms 78:1-72).
- Was it really God’s “desire” to chastise them? Yes, (Ezekiel 5:13). To bring about an end to His anger (Ezekiel 16:42). He had enough (Jeremiah 15:6).
- The ASV says this in verse 10: “When it is my desire, I will chastise them; and the peoples shall be gathered against them, when they are bound to their two transgressions.” I am not sure which two, of the many, transgressions this refers to.
7. What did Ephraim, Judah, and the rest of Israel gain as a result of their works?
Iniquity, tumult, being spoiled, etc.: “(11) And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods. (12) Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. (13) Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. (14) Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children” (Hosea 10:11-14).
- They were taught the right ways (Deuteronomy 4:5, II Chronicles 17:9, and II Chronicles 24:18-21).
- BUT, then the imagery describes God bringing the rider and the yoke upon them (Hosea 11:4).
- If they sowed in righteousness, mercy would be what was reaped (Proverbs 11:18 and James 3:18).
- It was time to seek the Lord for them (Isaiah 55:1-13).
- However, they plowed wickedness (Nehemiah 9:35).
- As a result, they reaped iniquity (Job 4:8).
- As the Scriptures discuss throughout, you reap what you sow (Job 34:11, Proverbs 1:31, Proverbs 12:14, Proverbs 14:14, Proverbs 22:8, Proverbs 24:12, Isaiah 3:10-11, Jeremiah 2:19, Jeremiah 4:16-18, Jeremiah 32:19, Ezekiel 22:31, Hosea 7:2, Hosea 8:7, John 5:28-29, II Corinthians 5:10, and Galatians 6:7-9).
- A tumult [noise] (Jeremiah 25:31).
- The mother dashed (Jeremiah 13:14).
8. Why was the king of Israel cut off?
Because of great wickedness: “So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off” (Hosea 10:15).
- cf. Amos 7:9-17
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.