1. Ephraim went from being feared, to a fall, and sinned more and more. What was Ephraim therefore going to be made like?
“(1) When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. (2) And 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. (3) Therefore 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” (Hosea 13:1-3).
- The ASV says: “When Ephraim spake, there was trembling…” This was a tribe with a reputation past and even future of great people with great power (Joshua 17:17, I Chronicles 12:30, II Chronicles 28:7, and Zechariah 10:7).
- He exalted himself (Proverbs 18:12, Isaiah 2:11-12, Obadiah 1:1-4, and Matthew 23:12).
- This tribe was guilty of worshipping the false deity Baal (II Kings 17:9-16).
- This brought about their spiritual death (Luke 15:24; 15:32 and I Timothy 5:6).
- Sin more and more (Isaiah 30:1).
- They made their idols after their own understanding (Psalms 135:14-18 and Romans 1:18-32).
- Verse 3 shows they are just going to quickly blow away (Psalms 1:4-5).
- In an earlier chapter, we had read that their good was as a morning cloud (Hosea 6:4), so some of this phrasing is familiar, but the point here is different.
2. In what way did God state that He was unlike any other god?
He was the only Savior: “Yet 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” (Hosea 13:4).
- He brought them from Egypt (Exodus 13:3 and Psalms 81:9-10).
- There is no god but Him (Deuteronomy 32:39, Isaiah 44:6-8, Isaiah 45:5, I Corinthians 8:1-6, and Ephesians 4:4-6).
- He alone was/could be their savior (Isaiah 43:11-13).
3. What led to them forgetting the Lord?
They ate and were filled which led to their exalted heart: “(5) I did know thee in the wilderness, in the land of great drought. (6) According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me” (Hosea 13:5-6).
- God was with them in difficult times (Jeremiah 2:1-6).
- Prosperity ruined them (Deuteronomy 6:10-12, Deuteronomy 8:15-17, Deuteronomy 32:15, Nehemiah 9:25-26, Proverbs 30:8-9, and Revelation 3:14-22).
4. What animals did God use to describe how He was going to come out against them?
“(7) Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: (8) I 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” (Hosea 13:7-8).
- Jeremiah 25:37-38, Lamentations 3:1-10, and Amos 5:18-27
5. Who was responsible for Israel’s destruction?
Themselves: “O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help” (Hosea 13:9).
- Proverbs 1:22-31, Proverbs 6:32, Proverbs 14:14, Isaiah 3:10-11, Isaiah 50:1, Jeremiah 2:19, and Hosea 14:1
6. What points were made about the history of Israel’s kings?
“(10) I 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? (11) I gave thee a king in mine anger, and took him away in my wrath” (Hosea 13:10-11).
- God should have been and desired to be their only king (Psalms 47:6-7, Psalms 89:18, and Isaiah 43:15).
- Yet, they in the past erringly sought to have an earthly king to be like the nations round about them (I Samuel 8:1-18).
7. Was God at the point of judgment against Ephraim and Samaria or was He still holding back judgment with hope that they would repent?
He was done and was issuing judgment with them at this point: “(12) The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. (13) The 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. (14) I 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. (15) Though 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. (16) Samaria 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” (Hosea 13:12-16).
- The language of iniquity bound up and sin hid is the idea of unconfessed transgressions, things kept inward (Psalms 32:5). This could even be in relation to pretending one has done nothing wrong when they indeed have (Jeremiah 2:23).
- Sin was/is not hid from God in such a way that He did not know what they were doing (I Samuel 16:7, Proverbs 15:3, Proverbs 15:11, Isaiah 29:15-16, Jeremiah 17:10, Jeremiah 23:24, Ezekiel 8:12, and Hebrews 4:13).
- The childbirth illustration (Jeremiah 13:21).
- An unwise son (Proverbs 10:1, Proverbs 17:25, and Proverbs 10:8).
- When it was the right time, they were like a child not coming forth in the birth canal. They simply did not come back to God before it was too late (i.e. Luke 19:41-44).
- The language of verses 14-16 can be easily confusing. The idea is, God was not going to send them to Sheol. He was not going to see their repentance either. They were going to plant, but nothing come up. They were going to have dried up springs. They were going to be spoiled. Samaria would bear her guilt. Death by the sword, infants dashed in pieces, and pregnant women ripped up. They were going to suffer invasion. They were going to live long enough to go through watching pain, suffering, affliction. As a whole, they were not entirely going to be wiped out. This is a consistent conclusion with what was coming upon them in their future (II Kings 8:7-15, II Kings 10:32-33, II Kings 13:7, II Kings 17:1-19:11, Isaiah 7:8-9, Isaiah 59:1-18, Lamentations 5:1-13, Ezekiel 17:10, and Amos 6:1-8).
- Think about how things can get so bad that some wished they could just die (Jeremiah 8:3 and Revelation 9:6).
© 2020 This study was prepared for a Bible class with the Sunrise Acres church of Christ in El Paso, TX by Brian A. Yeager.