Hosea 9

1 Don’t rejoice, Israel, to jubilation like the nations; for you were unfaithful to your God. You love the wages of a prostitute at every grain threshing floor. 2 The threshing floor and the wine press won’t feed them, and the new wine will fail her. 3 They won’t dwell in the LORD’s land; but Ephraim will return to Egypt, and they will eat unclean food in Assyria. 4 They won’t pour out wine offerings to the LORD, neither will they be pleasing to him. Their sacrifices will be to them like the bread of mourners; all who eat of it will be polluted; for their bread will be for their appetite. It will not come into the LORD’s house. 5 What will you do in the day of solemn assembly, and in the day of the feast of the LORD? 6 For, behold, they have gone away from destruction. Egypt will gather them up. Memphis will bury them. Nettles will possess their pleasant things of silver. Thorns will be in their tents. 7 The days of visitation have come. The days of reckoning have come. Israel will consider the prophet to be a fool, and the man who is inspired to be insane, because of the abundance of your sins, and because your hostility is great. 8 A prophet watches over Ephraim with my God. A fowler’s snare is on all of his paths, and hostility in the house of his God. 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity. He will punish them for their sins. 10 I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness. I saw your fathers as the first ripe in the fig tree at its first season; but they came to Baal Peor, and consecrated themselves to the shameful thing, and became abominable like that which they loved. 11 As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird. There will be no birth, no one with child, and no conception. 12 Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them, so that not a man shall be left. Indeed, woe also to them when I depart from them! 13 I have seen Ephraim, like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place; but Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer. 14 Give them—LORD what will you give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. 15 “All their wickedness is in Gilgal; for there I hated them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house! I will love them no more. All their princes are rebels. 16 Ephraim is struck. Their root has dried up. They will bear no fruit. Even though they give birth, yet I will kill the beloved ones of their womb.” 17 My God will cast them away, because they did not listen to him; and they will be wanderers amongst the nations.

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

Verses 1-6

Israel gave rewards to their idols, in the offerings presented to them. It is common for those who are niggardly in religion, to be prodigal upon their lusts. Those are reckoned as idolaters, who love a reward in the corn-floor better than a reward in the favour of God and in eternal life. They are full of the joy of harvest, and have no disposition to mourn for sin. When we make the world, and the things of it, our idol and our portion, it is just with God to show us our folly, and correct us. None may expect to dwell in the Lord’s land, who will not be subject to the Lord’s laws, or be influenced by his love. When we enjoy the means of grace, we ought to consider what we shall do, if they should be taken from us. While the pleasures of communion with God are out of the reach of change, the pleasant places purchased with silver, or in which men deposit silver, are liable to be laid in ruins. No famine is so dreadful as that of the soul.

Verses 7-10

Time had been when the spiritual watchmen of Israel were with the Lord, but now they were like the snare of a fowler to entangle persons to their ruin. The people were become as corrupt as those of Gibeah, Judg. 19; and their crimes should be visited in like manner. At first God had found Israel pleasing to Him, as grapes to the traveller in the wilderness. He saw them with pleasure as the first ripe figs. This shows the delight God took in them; yet they followed after idolatry.

Verses 11-17

God departs from a people, or from a person, when he withdraws his goodness and mercy from them; and when the Lord is departed, what can the creature do? Even though, for the present, good things seem to remain, yet the blessing is gone if God is gone. Even the children should perish with the parents. The Divine wrath dries up the root, and withers the fruit of all comforts; and the scattered Jews daily warn us to beware, lest we neglect or abuse the gospel. Yet every smiting is not a drying up of the root. It may be that God intends only to smite so that the sap may be turned to the root, that there may be more of root graces, more humility, patience, faith, and self-denial. It is very just that God should bring judgments on those who slight his offered mercy.

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