The book of Hosea contrasts God’s faithfulness to Israel’s faithlessness. In the first three chapters, Hosea introduces the reader to Israel’s infidelity to their Suzerain (Ruler) God who entered into a covenant with Him, and spelled out the path they could take that would lead to great blessing. God’s covenant with Israel can be viewed as a marital contract. By using Hosea’s own marriage to his unfaithful wife, Gomer, God demonstrated that Israel is an unfaithful covenant partner. Israel had broken her vows to her Covenant Husband.
Throughout the rest of Hosea, Israel’s condition is described as disobedient, rebellious, and idolatrous. As God had warned, Israel’s adoption of pagan principles of self-indulgence led to exploitation, deception, and violence (Hosea 4:2). The people of Israel stood in need of repentance and genuine righteousness. Hosea called them to repentance, but Israel declined.
Israel spent years sowing to its own destruction, making and breaking alliances with the world’s superpowers at the time, Egypt and Assyria, dealing treacherously. Hosea describes Israel as acting like a “silly dove” flitting from one nation to the other, rather than turning to God for protection (Hosea 7:11). Thus Assyria will come and put Israel into exile, which God will use as a way of punishing Israel for its infidelity to its covenant with God (Hosea 11:5).
Through it all, however, the book offers hope to Israel. For although the Suzerain God invoked the discipline provisions of their covenant contract with Him, resulting in them being wounded grievously, in the end times He will heal them, revive them, and restore their blessings (Hosea 2:20, 14:7). May all who read this book find comfort and hope in the steadfast love and faithfulness of God!
Hosea 10 extends the detailed description of judgment begun in chapter 9. The nation Israel has practiced idolatry and apostasy. The leaders have provided a bad example, and it has spread among her people. They have multiplied pagan altars and sacred pillars, with the result that a pagan culture of exploitation and violence has replaced the love-your-neighbor culture required by Israel’s covenant with their Suzerain (ruler) God.
Israel has been guilty of rebellion and gross immorality since the days of Gibeah (Judges 19) and has trusted in her military/political establishment and her alliances with Egypt and Assyria rather than trusting in God. As a result, the LORD will use Assyria (in whom Israel has trusted) as His tool to enforce the covenant provision for disobedience, removing Israel’s poor witness to her neighbors.
Yet, even amid Israel’s impending judgment, the LORD calls her to repent and re-embrace Him to avoid disaster. Israel’s rebellion against the LORD leads Him to announce her total political/military destruction. The two-part division of the chapter is as follows: