God’s healing of the nation of Israel made Israel commit more evil. God says, “When I have healed Israel, the (hidden) iniquity of Ephraim was uncovered.” Stealing was done inside the city of Samaria, and troops of robbers were plundering outside the city (Hosea 7:1). This corresponds to the time of the prophet Jonah. When God planned to chastise Israel for their sins, the prophet Jonah did not like God’s plan to use the repented Assyria for chastising unrepentant Israel (Jonah 4:1-3). When God healed the nation of Israel by saving them from all kinds of trouble, they misunderstood it as His approval of their evils (Hosea 7:2).
Hosea 7:3-7 describes their evil doings. The people of Israel made their king (Jeroboam II) and his officials glad with their evils. All of them were idol worshipers. Since God healed the nation of Israel, the evil-doers became more corrupt and were filled with evil as dough becomes large after mixing it with fermented yeast (7:4).
There was a feast called for by Jeroboam I, and after the golden calves were made, the king celebrated the feast on the 15th day of the 8th month (I Kings 12:28-32). The sacrifices were supposed to be “peace offerings” to the Lord (Exodus 32:6) just as Aaron celebrated a feast unto the Lord by worshiping a golden calf. As he and the people of Israel did back then, so did the people of the northern Israel, they ate and drank and made merry (Exodus 32:5-7; Hosea 7:5).
The king stretches out his hand to evildoers and together they become inflamed with wine and burn like an oven (Hosea 7:5-6). The evildoers would destroy kings and judges like an oven burns all things with fire. But none of the kings and judges would call on God for help (7:7). Northern Israel would lose its national power, and foreign nations would eat up Israel. Nevertheless they would not return to their God (7:8-10).
Israel, as a silly dove, would go to Egypt and Assyria to get help from them (7:11). God kept them from going to foreign nations for help (7:12). He desired to redeem them, but they fled from Him. So they would perish! (7:13).
They cried on their beds for a lack of grain and drink, but would not to repent (7:14). God desired to strengthen Israel, but they became like a slack bow. What else could God do for them?
Yoshitaka Kobayashi, Ph.D.