Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Hosea 10: 5-10

5 The inhabitants of Samaria will fear
For the calf of Beth-aven.
Indeed, its people will mourn for it,
And its idolatrous priests will cry out over it,
Over its glory, since it has departed from it.
6 The thing itself will be carried to Assyria
As tribute to King Jareb;
Ephraim will be seized with shame
And Israel will be ashamed of its own counsel.
7 Samaria will be cut off with her king
Like a stick on the surface of the water.
8 Also the high places of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed;
Thorn and thistle will grow on their altars;
Then they will say to the mountains,
“Cover us!” And to the hills, “Fall on us!”
9 From the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel;
There they stand!
Will not the battle against the sons of iniquity overtake them in Gibeah?
10 When it is My desire, I will chastise them;
And the peoples will be gathered against them
When they are bound for their double guilt.

As we read this mid-section of Chapter 10 of Hosea, we come across some familiar ideas--ideas we first came across back in Chapter 4. The establishment of calf worship by Israel's king, Jeroboam, comes under fiery attack by God, as we continue to read about His retribution upon His people.

Let's review some place names. Samaria (vs 1) is the capital of Ephraim, which is the largest tribe of Israel that has been used in Hosea in reference to all of Israel. The people of Samaria will be "cut off" from God, and left to float away recklessly without Him "like a stick on the surface of the water." (vs. 7) When branches separate from the vine, we understand from the New Testament that all purposeful life goes with that separation. God illustrates His wrath in separating Himself from the Israelites, allowing them to be snipped and carried off into Assyrian captivity.

Beth-aven and Aven are references to the homes of idol worship. The Amplified Bible helps our understanding by breaking down the words within: "Aven--[once Beth(el), house of God, now (Beth-)aven, house of idolatry]." Even as the people and priests cry out for their idols (vs 5), the Lord will consume their places of worship with "thorn and thistle" (vs. 8)

Verse 6 tells us that the calf, and, thus, idol worship in general, will be found in Assyria--"a tribute to King Jareb." This is another name that we discovered earlier in Hosea:
"When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound,
Then Ephraim went to Assyria and sent to King Jareb.
But he is unable to heal you, or to cure you of your wound."

--Hosea 5:13

King Jareb is not the name of a real Assyrian king, but that a powerful foreign king who did not worship the God of Heaven would come and take God's people away is fact. Information from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia suggests that King Jareb "is probably an epithet or nickname applied to the Assyrian king...'a king that should contend'...'the king that should plead.'" Earthly powerful? To a point. But, remember, this was God's engineering, because no king of Assyria could heal Israel's sickness.

Verse 6 also gives us a glimpse into Israel's reaction to God's retribution. The people will be "seized with shame" and "ashamed of its own counsel." Verse 8 continues with the realization of the horrible mess they have gotten themselves into, as the people cry out as in the last days. To put some perspective on these words, look at Jesus quoting Hosea as He is walking with His cross:

"And following Him was a large crowd of the people, and of women who were mourning and lamenting Him. But Jesus turning to them said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, stop weeping for Me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will begin TO SAY TO THE MOUNTAINS, ‘FALL ON US,’ AND TO THE HILLS, ‘COVER US.’ For if they do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?'”
--Luke 23: 27-31

Jesus, in facing the wrath of God for the sins of the world, reframes these words by referencing three time periods at once. This is a message to those who would soon be without Him on Earth; those who will face the last days of Earth in the time of the Tribulation; and, those who walked in the days of Israel's captivity to Assyria. Don't look at me, He said, look at yourselves, look at what you're doing, what you have done. "Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing." (Luke 23:34)

"Yet they did not obey or incline their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward."
--Jeremiah 7:24

"From the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel." I mentioned the story of Gibeah in Chapter 9 of Hosea, and you can find it in detail in Judges 19 and 20. In short, almost the entire tribe of Benjamin is wiped out in a war, caused by most heinous circumstances. But sin will be overtaken at Gibeah. (vs 10) God's chastisement of His people will be done, "when they are bound for their double guilt."

What is "double guilt"? The Amplified Bible says, "when I shall bind and yoke them for their two transgressions [revolt from the Lord their God and the worship of idols]." Throughout our reading of Hosea, God has pointed to this "double" sin over which Israel had shown no recognition of much less remorse over. Their multiple times sinning without regard for God's Word has led to the awarding of a double punishment. The King James Version translates the end of verse 10 this way: "...When they shall bind themselves in their two furrows." I like how this fits with verse 4 from last week: "Judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field." Israel has bound itself to poisonous weeds, which will all be pruned and cast away, that the Vine remain pure.

Interestingly, also, is that Gibeah means "hill," which is not unlike a furrow.

Turning the tables on the 'cow'.... 'Til next Wednesday!


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Next week: Hosea 10: 11-15

Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).