Hosea 10

1 Israel is a luxuriant vine that produces his fruit. According to the abundance of his fruit he has multiplied his altars. As their land has prospered, they have adorned their sacred stones. 2 Their heart is divided. Now they will be found guilty. He will demolish their altars. He will destroy their sacred stones. 3 Surely now they will say, “We have no king; for we don’t fear the LORD; and the king, what can he do for us?” 4 They make promises, swearing falsely in making covenants. Therefore judgement springs up like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field. 5 The inhabitants of Samaria will be in terror for the calves of Beth Aven; for its people will mourn over it, along with its priests who rejoiced over it, for its glory, because it has departed from it. 6 It also will be carried to Assyria for a present to a great king. Ephraim will receive shame, and Israel will be ashamed of his own counsel. 7 Samaria and her king float away, like a twig on the water. 8 The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, will be destroyed. The thorn and the thistle will come up on their altars. They will tell the mountains, “Cover us!” and the hills, “Fall on us!” 9 “Israel, you have sinned from the days of Gibeah. There they remained. The battle against the children of iniquity doesn’t overtake them in Gibeah. 10 When it is my desire, I will chastise them; and the nations will be gathered against them, when they are bound to their two transgressions. 11 Ephraim is a trained heifer that loves to thresh; so I will put a yoke on her beautiful neck. I will set a rider on Ephraim. Judah will plow. Jacob will break his clods. 12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap according to kindness. Break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and rains righteousness on you. 13 You have plowed wickedness. You have reaped iniquity. You have eaten the fruit of lies, for you trusted in your way, in the multitude of your mighty men. 14 Therefore a battle roar will arise amongst your people, and all your fortresses will be destroyed, as Shalman destroyed Beth Arbel in the day of battle. The mother was dashed in pieces with her children. 15 So Bethel will do to you because of your great wickedness. At daybreak the king of Israel will be destroyed.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-8

A vine is only valuable for its fruit; but Israel now brought no fruit to perfection. Their hearts were divided. God is the Sovereign of the heart; he will have all, or none. Were the stream of the heart wholly after God, it would run strongly, and bear down all before it. Their pretences to covenant with God were false. Even the proceeding of justice was as poisonous hemlock. Alas, how empty a vine is the visible church even at this day! But all earthly prosperity is but a collection of bubbles, soon destroyed like foam upon the water. Sinners will in vain seek shelter from that Judge, whom they now despise as a Saviour.

Verses 9-15

Because God does not desire the death and ruin of sinners, therefore in mercy he desires their chastisement. The children of iniquity still remained in Israel. The enemies would be gathered against them. It is just with God to make those know what hardships mean, who indulge themselves in ease and pleasure. Let them cleanse their hearts from all corrupt affections and lusts, and be a broken and contrite spirit. Let them abound in works of piety towards God, and of justice and charity towards one another: herein let them sow to the Spirit. Seeking the Lord is to be every day’s work, but there are special occasions when to seek him. Christ shall come as the Lord our righteousness, and grant us of it abundantly. If we sow in righteousness, we shall reap according to mercy; a reward not of debt, but of grace. Even the gains of sin yield the sinner no satisfaction. As our comforts, so our confidences in the service of sin will certainly fail us. Come and seek the Lord, and thy hope in him shall not deceive thee. See what cruel work war makes. Whatever mischief is done, it is sin that does it. What miseries men’s sins bring on them, even in this world!

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