Hosea 12

1 Ephraim feeds on wind, and chases the east wind. He continually multiplies lies and desolation. They make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt. 2 The LORD also has a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his deeds he will repay him. 3 In the womb he took his brother by the heel; and in his manhood he contended with God. 4 Indeed, he struggled with the angel, and prevailed; he wept, and made supplication to him. He found him at Bethel, and there he spoke with us, 5 even the LORD, the God of Armies; the LORD is his name of renown! 6 Therefore turn to your God. Keep kindness and justice, and wait continually for your God. 7 A merchant has dishonest scales in his hand. He loves to defraud. 8 Ephraim said, “Surely I have become rich, I have found myself wealth. In all my wealth they won’t find in me any iniquity that is sin.” 9 “But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt. I will yet again make you dwell in tents, as in the days of the solemn feast. 10 I have also spoken to the prophets, and I have multiplied visions; and by the ministry of the prophets I have used parables. 11 If Gilead is wicked, surely they are worthless. In Gilgal they sacrifice bulls. Indeed, their altars are like heaps in the furrows of the field. 12 Jacob fled into the country of Aram, and Israel served to get a wife, and for a wife he tended flocks and herds. 13 By a prophet the LORD brought Israel up out of Egypt, and by a prophet he was preserved. 14 Ephraim has bitterly provoked anger. Therefore his blood will be left on him, and his Lord will repay his contempt.

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

Verses 1-6

Ephraim feeds himself with vain hopes of help from man, when he is at enmity with God. The Jews vainly thought to secure the Egyptians by a present of the produce of their country. Judah is contended with also. God sees the sin of his own people, and will reckon with them for it. They are put in mind of what Jacob did, and what God did for him. When his faith upon the Divine promise prevailed above his fears, then by his strength he had power with God. He is Jehovah, the same that was, and is, and is to come. What was a revelation of God to one, is his memorial to many, to all generations. Then let those who have gone from God, be turned to him. Turn thou to the Lord, by repentance and faith, as thy God. Let those that are converted to him, walk with him in all holy conversation and godliness. Let us wrestle with Him for promised blessings, determined not to give over till we prevail; and let us seek Him in his ordinances.

Verses 7-14

Ephraim became a merchant: the word also signifies a Canaanite. They carried on trade upon Canaanitish principles, covetously and with fraud and deceit. Thus they became rich, and falsely supposed that Providence favoured them. But shameful sins shall have shameful punishments. Let them remember, not only what a mighty prince Jacob was with God, but what a servant he was to Laban. The benefits we have had from the word of God, make our sin and folly the worse, if we put any slight upon that word. We had better follow the hardest labour in poverty, than grow rich by sin. We may form a judgment of our own conduct, by comparing it with that of ancient believers in the like circumstances. Whoever despises the message of God, will perish. May we all hear his word with humble, obedient faith.

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