Hosea 7



This chapter may be divided into three sections.


·        In the first section, including vs. 1-7, the prophet reproves with

      much but deserved severity the depraved morals of king and

      princes.  It deals with the internal corruption of the northern        



·        In the second section, consisting of vs. 8-11, he rebukes their

      sinfulness, silliness, pride, and stupid obstinacy, notwithstanding

                        the many manifest tokens of decay. It also exposes their sinful

                        and harmful foreign policy.


·        The third section, continuing from  vs. 12-16, threatens the

      infliction of punishment incurred by their gross wickedness

      and base ingratitude to God.


v. 1 – “For they commit falsehood and the thief cometh in, and the troop of

            robbers spoileth (margin, strippeth) without. Here follows an enumeration

            of the crimes of which they were guilty. There was falsehood, or fraud, or

            deception generally, and that, not only in words, but in works; next comes

            dishonesty, both in public and in private. The thief privately entered the

            houses, and committed burglary; robbers - gangs of highwaymen publicly         

            infested the roads, spoiling the passers-by, or rather roamed or spread them-

            selves abroad for plunder, since it is the causative conjugation of pashat that

            has the signification of stripping or spoiling others. The thief within, the

            robber robs without.


v. 2 -   “And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their

            wickedness ……their own doings……are before my face”


“Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of

thy countenance” – Psalm 90:8


v. 3 – “They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with

            their lies” -  The moral corruption and depravity of Israel were

            extreme and universal. They reached from the rabble to royalty, from

            the common people to the princes of the court.


vs. 4-7 -  vs. 4, 6, and 7 are linked together by the figure of an “oven,” common

to them; while 4 and 6 have also in common the figure of a “baker.” Further, we

are helped to the literal meaning of the metaphorical language of vs. 4 and 6 by

vs. 5 and 7 respectively – “They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the

baker - Whether the sin indicated was idolatry, which is often represented as

spiritual adultery, or adultery in the literal sense, which was its frequent

accompaniment; or in a larger sense faithlessness to solemn obligations such as

treason, treachery, or perfidy in general; it was their habitual practice, as intimated

by Piel participle in its iterative or intensive sense. The persons charged with this

sin were kullam, all of them sovereign and subjects, princes and people

alike. The traitors of the time referred to, or rather their heart heated with

lawless lust and pernicious passion, is pictured by the prophet as an oven;

and the oven is heated by tile baker, or more literally, burning from the

baker. Who or what is represented by the baker? This may be a

personification of the spirit of treason like the spirit of whoredoms

(Hosea 5:4), or evil agency that impelled these men to their nefarious

deeds; or we may understand by the “baker” those persons who were the

prime movers in such matters, and who instigated others to become their

tools and execute their plans. In either case the burning, once commenced,

continued of itself; the primary instigators had no difficulty in securing

agents ready and willing as themselves for such bad and bloody work, and

who, once set ageing, needed no further impulse, but of their own motion

delighted to carry it through. “who ceaseth from raising after he hath

kneaded the dough, until it be leavened” - An interval of time elapses

between the inception and execution of the work. The baker ceaseth from

raising, more literally, from stirring or stoking; after kindling the fire in the

oven he lets it burn on and leaves off stirring it until the kneaded dough is

fully fermented. This respite is allowed that the leaven of wickedness may

do its work, and completely pervade the minds into which it has been

introduced, and until matters are thoroughly matured for action. Meantime

the fire burns steadily and sufficiently, until the oven requires to be more

highly heated for the well-prepared and perfectly leavened dough. The use

of the participle dy[ime is well explained by the principle stated by Ewald as

follows: “Just as the idea of the verb ‘to be’ is placed in immediate

construction with the word which more exactly forms the predicate, so also

may those verbs which describe a somewhat more specific kind of being,

e.g. verbs which signify ‘commencing’ to be, i.e. becoming… verbs of

hastening, i.e. quickly becoming… and those of ceasing to be, Hosea 7:4.…

The following verb, if such a word be required for the more specific

predicate, most readily chooses the participial form.., verbs denoting

continuance would be constructed in the same way.” The particle d[",

equivalent to usque ad, implies the completeness of the leavening.


v. 5 – “the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine” - The literal

rendering is, have made sick the heat of him; i.e. made him sick with heat

from wine. The construction resembles Micah 6:13, “I will make sick

thy smiting;” i.e. I will make thee sick through smiting thee. The heat from

wine repeats in some sort the preceding figure of a heated oven. The object

of these wretches was twofold — to inflame their passion, and nerve their

hands for the bloody work on which they were set; and to leave the king

powerless, a helpless victim in their hands.he stretched out his hand

with scorners” - Whatever the real origin of this phrase may be, the meaning

is plain — he joined in fellowship with those wicked princes, and took part

on terms of equality with them in their brutish debauch and profane

carousal. He stretched out his hand and hailed them as boon-companions.


v. 7 – “They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all

their kings are fallen” - Here we have the application, and so the explanation

of the figurative language of the preceding verse, which, as we have seen, is

the second stage of the action. The heat of the oven denotes the intense violence

of their passion, as also their fierce and fiery power of destruction. Inferior

rulers and magistrates fell victims to it; while regicides (the killing of a king)

in incredible number were the result of it. Three regicides were perpetrated in

thirteen years; and four in less than forty, the victims being Zechariah, Shallum,

Pekahiah, and Pekah. Also Nadab, Elah, Zimri, Zibni, and Jehoram perished

by their successors – “there is none among them that calleth unto me” - Amid

such horrid scenes of blood and violence, of disorder and anarchy, there was none

of them to realize the calamities of the times or recognize the cause. Consequently

there was no one to discover the remedy, and apply to the true and only source

of relief.


The people who had been corrupted by their rulers now turned

against their corrupters; disloyalty to God brought in its train disloyalty to

man; kings and subordinate rulers perished in quick succession. And

notwithstanding the times of anarchy, insecurity for life and property, and

general upheaval of social order — amid all those scenes of terrible

confusion, there was none among them to realize the fact that “for the

transgression of a land many are the princes thereof.” (Proverbs 28:2)

Consequently there was none among them to call upon God in supplication

for relief and preservation.


"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."



v. 8 – “Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a

cake not turned” - The people of the northern kingdom had fallen away from

Jehovah, and mixed themselves with the heathen nationalities. They resembled

a cake which, through neglect of turning, was burnt on the one side and raw on

the other. The best commentary on the first clause of this verse is found in Psalm

106:35, 36, and 39; they were mingled among the heathen, and learned their

works.  And they served their idols: which were a snare unto them.... Thus

were they defiled with their own works, and went a-whoring with their own

inventions.” The second clause is well explained by Bishop Horsley as follows:

“One thing on one side, another on the other; burnt to a coal at bottom, raw dough

at the top (an apt image of a character that is all inconsistencies). Such were

the ten tribes of the prophet’s day; worshippers of Jehovah in profession,

but adopting all the idolatries of the neighboring nations, in addition to

their own semi-idolatry of the calves.” Similarly, the Geneva Bible has,

“Baked on one side and raw on the ether, he is neither through hot nor

through cold, but partly a Jew and partly a Gentile.” (Compare Christ’s

words to the Church at Laodecia – Revelation 3:14-22) - Jehovah had

chosen Israel out of the nations of the earth, and given them a special constitution.

The object of this segregation was that Israel should be a peculiar people

and a holy nation. Thus distinguished, they were to dwell alone; but,

ungrateful for this high distinction, and unmindful of their high destiny,

they mingled with the nations, learned their heathenish ways, and

worshipped their hateful idols. Thus they forfeited their theocratic preeminence.


Like the peoples subsequently brought from Assyria, and planted in the

lands of the dispossessed Israelites, they worshipped the Lord, but served

their own gods (II Kings 17:33)— they were neither true worshippers of

Jehovah nor out-and-out followers of Baal. In religion they were mongrels —

 inconsistent and worthless hybrids; they were, in fact, what Calvin in

rather homely phrase says of them, “neither flesh nor fish.”



v. 9 – “Strangers have devoured his strength and he knoweth it not”


The strangers are the foreign nations with which Israel had entered

into treaties or formed alliances, in contravention of the constitution

which God had given them.


grey hairs are  here and there upon him”


From foreign foes and internal feuds, the body politic was manifesting

unmistakeable symptoms of decay and decrepitude and approaching

dissolution, just as grey hairs on the human body give indication

of the advance of old age, with its decay of strength and nearness

to the tomb.


yet he knoweth it not” – Of the approaching decadence, though they

could not pretend ignorance of the fact, they remained in ignorance of the

cause, its consequence, and the cure.  They overlooked the lamentable cause

of all, which was their sin, national and individual, in departing from the

Lord; and at the same time the dangerous consequences that were neither

remote nor capable of being staved off; as also the only possible cure to be

found in direct and immediate return and application to that God from

whom they had so revolted.


Israel did not know because he did not wish to know, as if by  ignoring

it he could hide it from himself and others.


v. 10 – “the pride of Israel testifieth to his face:  and they do not

            return to the Lord their God, nor seek Him for all this”


This emphasizes the obstinate blindness and perverseness of

Ephraim, when, amid all the calamities and miseries of the kingdom both

within and without, they turned not to Jehovah to solicit help and

deliverance, but concluded treaties or made alliances with foreign nations

in hope of being lifted up out of their NATIONAL IMPOTENCE!



v. 11 – “Ephraim also is like a silly dove” - The prophet compares Ephraim to

            a dove which gets caught in a net owing to its simplicity, because it has

            no sense to perceive that, when it goes to gather grains of corn, a net is

            spread there to catch it. (Normally, a bird is very wary - compare Proverbs

            1:17 – “Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird” and

            Proverbs 7:23 - “as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not it is

            for his life”  this in the context of sexual immorality – These verses

            are an accurate portrayal of Ephraim because Hosea 4:11 and 17 says

            “Whoredom” takes “away the heart” and “Ephraim is joined to idols:

            let him alone” and in this verse Ephraim is likened unto “a silly dove”.




v. 12 – “When they shall go, I will spread my net over them” - So Ephraim,

when they went and asked help from Assyria or from Egypt, (did not perceive)

that they went to their hurt, when they sought help from the foreign nations

and not from God


“I will chastise them, as their congregation hath  heard    - The literal rendering

makes the meaning more obvious; it is: “I will chastise them according to the

tidings [or,’ announcement ‘] to their congregation.” In the Law and by the

prophets it was repeatedly declared that judgments would fall upon the disobedient

and rebellions. As specimens of such announcements, we may refer to

Leviticus 26:14-39; Deuteronomy 28:15-68; and Deuteronomy 32:15-35


v. 13 – “Woe unto them!  for they have fled from me” – just the opposite

             of what the scriptures from beginning to end advise – that we

             should “flee to the Lord” instead of running from Him.


yet they have spoken lies against me” - The lies in question included, no

doubt, a denial of His essential Deity or sole Divinity; of His power or willingness

either to protect or punish.


v. 14 – “when they howled upon their beds” - They gave vent to their feelings

of distress by howlings upon their beds; but those howlings were the expression of

unbelief and despair, not by any means evidences of faith. “They do not cry

to me,” says Aben Ezra, “as the sick man cries to the physician.”


they assemble themselves for corn and wine” -  their chief design and highest

aim being a good supply of corn and wine, that is, the supply of mere bodily wants,

only to rebel against God!


v. 15 – “Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they

              imagine mischief against me” - Here we have another instance of

             God’s goodness and Israel’s ingratitude.


v. 16 – “They return, but not to the Most High: they are like a deceitful bow”


Their God-defying attitude, as described in v. 15, is represented in v. 16

allegorically as a deceitful bow, which fails to send the arrow to the mark.

They disappointed the high hopes raised, and missed their own high destiny,

and thus they resembled a bow, of which the string, losing its elasticity, could

not propel the arrow to the object aimed at.  Appearing to return to the worship

of Jehovah, they turned aside to an idol. Thus in Psalm 78:57, they “turned back

and dealt unfaithfully like their fathers: they were turned aside like a deceitful



(Is it any wonder that of Ephraim it is said in Psalm 78:9 - “The children of

Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle  -

compare the attitude of many “flower children” during the Viet-nam War

whose rallying cry was “MAKE LOVE – NOT WAR” – CY – 2009)



                                         ADDITIONAL NOTES


Sin is represented in Scripture as a disease — an all-pervading disease; it is as

universal as the human race, for all have sinned; it is an all-embracing disease,

for it extends to the faculties and feelings of the soul, and employs as its

instruments all the members of the body. It infects whole peoples as well as

individual persons. The description which Isaiah gives of its widespread ravages

applies to the body politic as well as to the body human: “The whole head

is sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the foot even unto the

head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying

sores.” (Isaiah 1:5-6)  It is thus a loathsome disease, a dangerous disease, a

deadly disease; and, unless arrested in time, it is a fearfully fatal disease. The

Apostle James gives us the genesis and development of this disease: “When

lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished,

bringeth forth death;” – (James 1:14-15) and the symbol of this spiritual

malady is leprosy - one of the most frightful scourges of humanity.


The disease is so desperate that ONLY GOD CAN CURE IT!




The attitudes of men down through history has foolishly resisted this cure –

When Christ would have gathered the people of Palestine, or the

inhabitants of its principal city, with all the tenderness and all the

carefulness that the parent bird exercises in gathering its brood under its

outspread wings, they would not. So is it still; sinners condemnation is self-

procured as well as justly deserved, (like alcohol – a self-inflicted disease –

CY – 2009) while the salvation of the righteous is only of the Lord!  “The

Lord God of their fathers sent to them by his messengers, rising up betimes,

and sending; because He had compassion on His people, and on His dwelling

place: but they mocked the messengers of God, and despised His words,

and misused His prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against His

people, till there was NO REMEDY”  – II Chronicles 36:14-16




When the iniquity of Ephraim was fully discovered and the wickedness of

Samaria clearly seen, it proved incurable, so enormous was their guilt, so

hardened were they in their transgressions, above all, so impenitent were

they and so unwilling to be helped and healed. Their obduracy barred the

door against the entrance of mercy, their refusal to part with their

enormities checked the outgoings of the Divine goodness towards them.


They were strangers to any right searching of heart, or any serious

reflection on the issues of their conduct and conversation. It is thus with

hundreds of our fellow-men; want of consideration has ruined thousands

Both for time and eternity; hence the earnest wish of the great lawgiver,

Oh that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would

consider their latter end!” – (Deuteronomy 32:29 - Hence, too, the

solemn command of “the Lord of hosts; “Consider your ways.” –

(Haggai 1:5)


The lack of consideration or of communing with their own heart had

special reference to the relationship in which they stood to God. They did

not reflect that God remembered all their wickedness, consequently they

did not recollect their liability to punishment for their wickedness at the

hand of God, and therefore they did not feel any remorse on account of

their wickedness when committed. Being spared after their wickedness,

and not visited with immediate vengeance because of their wickedness,

they thought themselves certain of impunity; enjoying a season of

prosperity notwithstanding the greatness of their wickedness, they were

emboldened in their wicked ways.  (compare Ecclesiastes 8:11) – “Because

sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the

heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil”




Atheism, theoretical or practical, or both, was at the root of the matter

with them. The first article of belief embraces the existence of God, and the

existence of God implies a Being of Divine attributes and infinite

perfections; the second article includes a belief in God that He is a

Recompenser of men’s actions — a Rewarder of them that diligently seek

Him, (Hebrews 11:6) and a Punisher of all workers of wickedness. They

rejected, at least practically, these rudiments of the faith, these primary

articles of belief; “as if God could not see their wickedness, though He is all

eye; and did not heed it, though His name is Jealous; or had forgotten it,

though He is an eternal mind that can never be unmindful; or would not

reckon for it, though He is the Judge of heaven and earth. This is the sinner’s

atheism; as good say there is no God, as say He is either ignorant or forgetful;

none that judgeth in the earth, as say He remembers not the things He is to give

judgment upon; it is a high affront they put upon God, it is a damning cheat

they put upon themselves, when they say, “The Lord shall not see nor



The eyes of such shall be opened one day. They shall wake up out of

their daydream, and their delusion shall vanish when their doings shall beset

them about and the sad effects thereof shall entangle them as in a net. They

shall see their sins in the punishments they bring upon them; they shall feel

them in the sorrows and sufferings that attend them; and they shall

recognize that God had them before His face all the time, having knowledge

of them when committed, taking notice of their demerit, and remembering

them for the exercise of his retributive justice. Even men’s secret sins God

sets in the light (literally “luminary,” maor) of His countenance; the fireflashing

eye of the Omniscient penetrates the deep recesses of the human

heart, and brings forth its secret workings into the sight of the sun and the

broad light of day.





The reference to it in v. 5 is interjected between the mention of adultery and

other enormities, as if it were an incentive thereto.


Days of high festival that ought to be days of thanksgiving to God, of

grateful praise and holy joy, are too often taken advantage of for purposes of

intemperance, gluttony, or dissipation. Days that should be consecrated to

religious exercises or real national rejoicing are too frequently desecrated

by irreligious sensuality and anti-religious debauch.


When God is displeased with a person or a people, one way in which He manifests

such displeasure is by desertion. He leaves them in the hands of their enemies.

On the contrary, “when a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes his enemies to

be at peace with him”. (Proverbs 16:7) When Israel, in consequence of sin, was

thus deserted, strangers devoured his strength, that is to say, his substance;

they robbed him of his wealth.


(Two things Americans should address and understand:


·        God has set precedents by withdrawing His Holy Spirit

      without whom no man can come to the Father or be saved!


·        Wealth – Materialism – gods of this modern age have been

      taken away by precedents set by God before!  (CY – 2009)




Characteristics of Spiritual Decay:


·        diminished appreciation of the Divine Word, without self

      application of it, or growth in the it or growth in the knowledge

      of it;


·        restraining prayer before God, without supplication for one’s

      self on special occasions and under particular circumstances,

      and without earnest intercession for others;


·        less love to Christ and less leaning on Him;


·         less hatred of sin and less esteem for the righteous.