1. As this chapter begins, had Ephraim leaned towards a return to the Lord?
No, they have grown worse and have gone to Assyria and Egypt instead of the Lord: “Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt” (Hosea 12:1).
- The phrase “Ephraim feedeth on the wind” (Hosea 8:7).
- The phrasing of the east wind doesn’t represent good either (Genesis 41:27, Exodus 10:13, Psalms 48:7, Jeremiah 18:17, Ezekiel 17:10, Ezekiel 19:12, Ezekiel 27:26, and Hosea 13:15).
- We marked their deception in the previous chapter (Hosea 11:12).
- The increase of desolations is about how they looked to the wrong places for their healing to no avail (Hosea 5:13).
- They should have known it was vain to look to man for help (Psalms 60:11, Psalms 108:12, and Isaiah 30:7).
- In the future from these events, Jeremiah wrote: “As for us, our eyes as yet failed for our vain help: in our watching we have watched for a nation that could not save us” (Lamentations 4:17).
2. What did the Lord plan to punish Judah and Israel according to?
According to their ways/doings: “The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him” (Hosea 12:2).
- The language we saw in chapter four (Hosea 4:1) appears again here. The Lord having a controversy with a people is not good for them (Isaiah 34:1-8, Jeremiah 25:31, and Micah 6:1-16).
- In the previous chapter, Judah was good (Hosea 11:12). This indicates a time period between the chapters.
- As is often taught in the Scriptures, the Lord’s judgment against them is according to their ways and doings (Jeremiah 17:10, Hosea 4:9, and Zechariah 1:6).
- This is ultimately the method of judgment even at the end of the world (Matthew 25:31-46, John 5:28-29, Romans 2:1-10, and II Corinthians 5:10).
- Though, we know there was a remnant (II Kings 19:30-31, Joel 2:32, and Romans 11:1-5) and a plan for their future (Matthew 1:21).
3. Who is God referring to in Hosea 12:3-4?
Jacob [Israel]: “(3) He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: (4) Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us” (Hosea 12:3-4).
- He took his brother by the heel in the womb (Genesis 25:21-28).
- The angel account (Genesis 32:22-30). *We know he did not see God the Father (Exodus 33:20, John 1:18, and I John 4:12).
4. Since the Lord is the memorial for Israel, what should that have prompted them to do?
They should have turned to God, mercy, etc.: “(5) Even the LORD God of hosts; the LORD is his memorial. (6) Therefore turn thou to thy God: keep mercy and judgment, and wait on thy God continually” (Hosea 12:5-6).
- The Lord is their memorial (Exodus 3:15, Psalms 102:12, and Psalms 135:13).
- In remembrance of the Lord, they needed to turn back to Him (Zechariah 1:3).
- This is language of repentance (Ezekiel 14:6, Ezekiel 18:30, and Acts 26:18-20).
- They needed to, in their repentance, be merciful and judge properly (Proverbs 21:3, Micah 6:8, and Zechariah 8:16) of which they had been refusing to do (Zechariah 7:8-14).
5. Was Ephraim interested in their spiritual or carnal well-being?
They were deceptively interested in their carnal wealth: “(7) He is a merchant, the balances of deceit are in his hand: he loveth to oppress. (8) And Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich, I have found me out substance: in all my labours they shall find none iniquity in me that were sin” (Hosea 12:7-8).
- “He” does not refer to God for God is not deceptive (Deuteronomy 32:4, Proverbs 16:11, and Titus 1:2).
- God’s people had become deceptive and such even as merchants (Amos 8:1-6).
- False balances were wrong (Leviticus 19:35-36 and Proverbs 11:1).
- People can falsely convince themselves that they are okay because they are prospering financially (Psalms 49:6-20, Psalms 52:1-7, Luke 12:13-21, and Revelation 3:14-22).
- People find ways to justify their transgressions and pretend they have done nothing wrong (Proverbs 16:2, Proverbs 30:12, and Proverbs 30:20).
6. What works did the Lord remind them that He had done in their past?
That he spoke to them through the prophets and delivered them in the past from Egypt: “(9) And I that am the LORD thy God from the land of Egypt will yet make thee to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast. (10) I have also spoken by the prophets, and I have multiplied visions, and used similitudes, by the ministry of the prophets” (Hosea 12:9-10).
- God reminded them of their past escape from Egypt being by Him (Exodus 20:2).
- Then He tells them they’re going back to tents signifying that they won’t be in their homes for long (Isaiah 6:8-12 and Isaiah 24:10).
- God, to now avail, warned them through the prophets (II Kings 17:13, II Chronicles 24:18-21, II Chronicles 36:14-16, Nehemiah 9:30, and Jeremiah 25:1-4).
7. What question did the Lord ask and answer concerning Gilead?
“ Is there iniquity in Gilead? surely they are vanity: they sacrifice bullocks in Gilgal; yea, their altars are as heaps in the furrows of the fields” (Hosea 12:11).
- Gilead was sinful (Hosea 6:8).
- They had piled up their idolatrous practices (II Kings 17:9-12).
- Even Judah, in the future from this time, will multiply their idols (Jeremiah 11:13).
- Idolatry is clearly sinful (Deuteronomy 5:7-9, Deuteronomy 11:16-17, Acts 15:20, I Corinthians 6:9-10, I Corinthians 10:14, Ephesians 5:5, and I John 5:21).
8. What is the Lord referring to when He spoke of Jacob serving for a wife?
God said this: “And Jacob fled into the country of Syria, and Israel served for a wife, and for a wife he kept sheep” (Hosea 12:12).
- He is speaking of Genesis 27:41-29:30 wherein Jacob served Laban for Leah and Rachel to be his wives.
9. How had the Lord brought Israel out of Egypt?
By a prophet: “And by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt, and by a prophet was he preserved” (Hosea 12:13).
- Moses and Aaron fit the terminology of prophets (Exodus 7:1, Deuteronomy 34:10, and Acts 7:37).
- They were used to bring up Egypt out of Israel (Exodus 6:13, Exodus 6:26-27, Numbers 33:1, and I Samuel 12:8).
10. What did Ephraim provoke the Lord to?
Anger most bitterly: “Ephraim provoked him to anger most bitterly: therefore shall he leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him” (Hosea 12:14).
- Deuteronomy 4:25, Deuteronomy 9:18, Judges 2:10-12, I Kings 14:7-9, II Kings 17:9-12, II Chronicles 28:25, Psalms 78:58, Isaiah 1:1-4, and Jeremiah 25:7
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.