Hosea 9:9 (HCSB)
9 They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their guilt; He will punish their sins.
This pericope becomes very specific about the coming punishment for Israel: exile. The exile would be to both Egypt and Assyria. Egypt and Assyria? Perhaps what is prophesied is one of two things: a) part of Israel would attempt to flee from the exile to Egypt, thus being “exiled” there, or b) Egypt is symbolic of Israel’s previous slavery, and the exile is referring just Assyria. Either way, the message of the punishment of exile from the land given by God is clear.
What is described here in this passage is a complete form of expulsion of Israel:
- “They will not stay in the land of the Lord.” (Hosea 9:3) – Obviously the exile removes Israel from the promised land, God’s land will not be resided in by a people rejecting Him.
- “they will eat unclean food” (Hosea 9:3) – Israel will be forced to consume that which is not pleasing to God, food that is either not dedicated to Him or breaks the laws He has put in place.
- “their sacrifices will not please Him” (Hosea 9:4) – Apparently Israel will still offer sacrifices, but they will not be accepted by God, they will be unpleasing.
- “their bread will be for their appetites alone” (Hosea 9:4) – Their food is totally disassociated with God, it is solely to sustain them physically. This is quite contrary to the mana provided by God while they were brought out of Egypt. It is a very carnal view of God’s provision.
- “even if they flee from devastation, Egypt will gather them” (Hosea 9:6) – God is no longer protecting them, nor saving them from their oppression. Again, a contrary situation to God saving Israel from slavery in Egypt.
- “The prophet is a fool” (Hosea 9:7) – Obviously the prophets of God are not literal fools. But the entire verse tells us that due to the “magnitude” of Israel’s sin, even the prophets, the men speaking the messages of God, seem like fools, as though they are insane. Rather than being a sound voice to lead Israel, they are drowned out by the roar of sin and depravity.
- “Hostility is in the house of God!” (Hosea 9:8) – House of God… hostility… they should not be compatible. Possibly another reference to the ignoring of God’s prophets, and the hostility of Israel towards His word spoken through them.
- “He will punish their sins.” (Hosea 9:9) – This pericope does not speak of forgiveness, of redemption, of salvation. It speaks of punishment. When man decides to stand upon his own merits and power, God judges righteously and justly.
Lord, thank You for being righteous and just. Thank You for providing us in Your word the example of a rebellious Israel. I pray that we would be moved by the story, that we would turn from our sin, to You. Help us not to reject You, be it through gracious provision, or be it through just punishment. Amen.