Hosea 11 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Hosea 11)

Verse 1

[1] When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.

Was a child — In the infancy of Israel.

I loved him — Manifested my tender and paternal affection to him.

Called my son — Adopted him to be my son, and as my son, provided for him, and brought him out of servitude.

Out of Egypt — But Israel, the first adopted son was a type of Christ the first-born. And the history of Israel's coming out was a type of Christ's future coming out of Egypt.

Verse 2

[2] As they called them, so they went from them: they sacrificed unto Baalim, and burned incense to graven images.

They — Moses and Aaron, and other prophets.

Called — Persuaded, intreated, and urged by exhortations, the whole house of Israel.

From them — From the prophets counsel and commands.

Baalim — In the desert they began this apostacy, and held on with obstinacy in it.

Verse 3

[3] I taught Ephraim also to go, taking them by their arms; but they knew not that I healed them.

I taught — As a mother or nurse helps the child.

Taking them — Supporting and bearing them up.

They knew not — They would not see nor acknowledge me in it.

Verse 4

[4] I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love: and I was to them as they that take off the yoke on their jaws, and I laid meat unto them.

Cords of man — With such kindness as best fits and most prevails with a man.

I was to them — As a careful husband-man in due season takes the yoke from his labouring oxen, and takes off the muzzle with which they were kept from eating, when at work.

I laid meat unto them — Brought them provision in their wants.

Verse 5

[5] He shall not return into the land of Egypt, but the Assyrian shall be his king, because they refused to return.

He — Ephraim.

Shall be king — Shall rule them with rigour and cruelty.

They refused — The reason of all is, their obstinacy in idolatry.

Verse 6

[6] And the sword shall abide on his cities, and shall consume his branches, and devour them, because of their own counsels.

His branches — The lesser towns and villages.

Their own counsels — Which they have followed in opposition to all the good counsels the prophets gave them from time to time.

Verse 7

[7] And my people are bent to backsliding from me: though they called them to the most High, none at all would exalt him.

They — The prophets.

None at all — Scarce any one would hearken and obey.

Verse 8

[8] How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? how shall I deliver thee, Israel? how shall I make thee as Admah? how shall I set thee as Zeboim? mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together.

Give thee up — To utter destruction. Admah and Zeboim were two of the four cities which were destroyed with fire from heaven.

My repentings — Not that God is ever fluctuating or unresolved; but these are expressions after the manner of men, to shew what severity Israel had deserved, and yet how divine grace would be glorified in sparing them.

Verse 9

[9] I will not execute the fierceness of mine anger, I will not return to destroy Ephraim: for I am God, and not man; the Holy One in the midst of thee: and I will not enter into the city.

Return — Conquerors that plunder the conquered city, carry away the wealth of it, and after some time return to burn it; God will not do so.

Not man — Therefore my compassions fail not.

The holy One — A holy God, and in covenant, though not with all, yet with many among you.

Enter into the city — Utterly to destroy thee, as I did Sodom.

Verse 10

[10] They shall walk after the LORD: he shall roar like a lion: when he shall roar, then the children shall tremble from the west.

They — The remnant shall hear and obey the Lord.

Like a lion — The word of the Lord, so saith the Chaldee, shall roar as a lion. Christ is called, The lion of the tribe of Judah: and when he cried with a loud voice, it was as when a lion roared. The voice of the gospel was heard far, as the roaring of a lion; and it was a mighty voice.

Tremble — The spirit by its power awakening them to a sight of sin, shall make them fear and tremble.

From the west — From the ends of the earth.

Verse 11

[11] They shall tremble as a bird out of Egypt, and as a dove out of the land of Assyria: and I will place them in their houses, saith the LORD.

They shall tremble — At their return into their own land, some shall hasten, yet with solicitude, out of Egypt, whither they fled for shelter; others like doves shall hasten out of Assyria, but with fear and trembling.

I will place them — A seasonable and comfortable promise.

Verse 12

[12] Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.

Ephraim — Most of the people of Israel.

With lies — Play the hypocrite with me still.

Judah — The two tribes.

Yet ruleth — While idolaters are slaves to the devil, the true worshippers of God, like princes, rule with God.

Faithful — Retains purity, at least truth of worship, and comparatively is faithful. Judah adheres to God's holy prophets, priests, and other saints of God.