The Book of Hosea

The Book of Hosea

The Book of Hosea
By Richard St.James
Bible 1611.Com / Old Paths Baptist Mission © 2023

Hosea, chapter ten:

Verse one: “Israel is an empty vine, he bringeth forth fruit unto himself: according to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images.”

Israel is an empty vine.

An empty vine offers nothing to God.  An empty vine offers nothing for others.  An empty vine only takes care of itself.  This is the opposite to the mission of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when he came to this earth, and lived amongst men for thirty-three and a half years:

 “For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” [Mark 10:45]

Jesus Christ was the true full vine who gave his life for others.  It is all about others.

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.” [John 15:1]

The goodly images took the people of Israel down the road to harlotryHarlotry serves oneself.  Harlotry is about ME service.

Verse two: “Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.”

We will comment on the divided heart found here in verse two when we get to verse ten.

Verse three: “For now they shall say, We have no king, because we feared not the LORD; what then should a king do to us?”

Here, we are introduced to the divided heart, as found in verse two, which leads a man to having a double mind.

The double minded man will be dealt with more completely in verse ten.  Now here is a truth:

The double minded man has no king.

A double minded man can have no king while he is on the fence.  In the end the state of instability results in an inevitable fall off the fence on one side, or the other.  In the end he will have a master: God or mammon, one, or the other.

Question: Which master will be your master?  As for me, I will rest on what the psalmist said in Psalm eighty-nine, verse eighteen:

“For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.” [Psalm 89:18]

Verse four: “They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.”

We will comment on this judgment that “springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field” found here in verse four when we get to verse ten.

Verse five: “The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven: for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof that rejoiced on it, for the glory thereof, because it is departed from it.”

We commented earlier about Bethaven [in both chapter four, verse fifteen, and in chapter five, verse eight].

The inhabitants of Samaria are grieving over Jeroboam’s calves’ loss of glory.  Jeroboam had originally placed these golden idols in both Dan, and Bethel, in a scheme to prevent the people of Israel from going up to worship at the temple in Jerusalem. [See 1 Kings 12:32.] 

Notice, the bizarre scene: The people are mourning over their idols rather than mourning over their sin against God.  Such a low, low, state Israel was in, having departed from the LORD.

Verse six: “It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to king Jareb: Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel.”

So, they are mourning over the loss of their idol calves to the Assyrian king.  They are mourning to their shameTheir false god could not save them from their enemies. 

If only they had leaned on the mighty God Who is mighty to save.  Only if they had listened to the prophet.  See Isaiah chapter sixty-three, verse one for this mighty God:

“Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” [Isaiah 63:1]

Verse seven: As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.”

So is the lot for all those who turn from God.

Cut off!  Cast out!

So, as the king, so as the nation.  Here is the prophetic announcement in the First book of Kings, chapter nine, verse seven:

“Then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them; and this house, which I have hallowed for my name, will I cast out of my sight; and Israel shall be a proverb and a byword among all people:” [1 Kings 9:7]

So, it all happened as the prophet had said.

Verse eight: “The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed: the thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.”

The high places of Baal involve idolatry.

Hundreds of years earlier a man by the name of Balaam had taught Israel’s enemies how to corrupt the people of Israel and destroy them.  [The background history for all of this is in the Fourth book of Moses called Numbers, chapter twenty-two.]

 Numbers 22:41: “And it came to pass on the morrow, that Balak took Balaam, and brought him up into the high places of Baal, that thence he might see the utmost part of the people.”  The target was the people of Israel and centuries later we see here in Hosea these high places of Aven.”

The use of a stumblingblock.

Now, he taught them [among other things] to construct alters of worship on the high places in order to promote idolatry, which in the end brought about the destruction of the people.

Remember, the altars on the high places are the places visited by the devils, and these devils work under the authority of the Devil.

In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ, in chapter two, verse fourteen is revealed to us the evil work of Balaam in setting up Israel’s destruction:

“But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication.” [Revelation 2:14]

The Devil’s plan worked.  It all got so bad that they cried out to the mountains, Cover us; and to the hills, Fall on us.

Verse nine: “O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah: there they stood: the battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them.”

From the days of Gibeah it has not been the same.

The root of the problem has been identified earlier [in Hosea chapter five, verse eight].

The problem is with knowledge or knowing.

When they knew God.

Israel once knew God, but they were now far from God.  They no longer knew God.  Why?  The answer: Gibeah.

In times past, we once knew God but we didn’t do the right thing with that knowledge.  We were not thankful to him, nor did we render up praise to him.  Thus, it became sin for us

In the Epistle to the Romans, chapter one, we have this downward progression described by the Spirit of God that will happen to any people of any nation:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” [Romans 1:21]

Thus, God gave us up: [Look at verse twenty-six and twenty-seven.]

They changed the natural use into that which is against nature.

“For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:

And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.” [Romans 1:26-27]

Watch the hemlock effect growing between the two furrows.

Verse ten: It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.”

The Invasion of the Hemlock

1.       The Essence of Man

2.       The Divided Heart

3.       The Double-minded man

4.       Unstable as Water

5.       The Field is a Man

6.       The Hemlock is in the Field

7.       The Single-hearted Man


1.       The Essence of Man

We will begin here.

Light is what we need today here in the 21st century. “The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.” [Psalms 119:130]

The BIBLE gives LIGHT!

Now the Bible I am referring to … is available to anyone … everywhere … in America to read, to believe, to hearken and to obey.

This BOOK I am talking about … is the Authorized Version of the Bible of 1611 (or any of its editions) and is commonly known as the King James Bible.

 Now, this BOOK is a perfect book: “The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.” [Psalm 12:6-7]

In this BIBLE is found a person … having personality … called MAN.

MAN is a being … a human being!

Now mind you, this human being [as originally created in the image of God] is comprised of three parts: soul, body, and spirit - three in one:

“And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” [1 Thessalonians 5:23]


The Three Parts of Man

Now this three-part being came under a subversive attack very early in history.  It happened very soon after God’s creation week.

Now, read of this with me in the book of beginnings:

“Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” [Genesis 3:1]

When Adam [or man] believed, and obeyed Satan, rather than obeying God, he died:

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” [Romans 5:12].

When Adam fell from his perfect [sinless] state, he became subject to death.

Man fell! Man was now a fallen being.

 Thus, [for the last six thousand years of human history] man has been under the dominion of the “power of darkness” [Colossians 1:15].

What is more, the Devil, and his cohorts, [which includes all the unrighteous, the philosophers, the educators, and the agents of change] all have conspired to further debauch the human being [as he is defined in the Bible].

This prepares the ground for the invasion of the hemlock.  Watch out!!!

Now for the agenda!  The agenda for these agents of change is this: The human being must have every last vestige of his former IMAGE erased, nullified, and removed.

The GOAL, therefore, is to REDEFINE the human being in the mold of a Darwinian image.

This Darwinian image was to replace man’s original image with that of an image concocted from fallen man’s own “vain imaginations” [Romans 1].

2.       The Divided Heart

Hosea 10: 2: “Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty: he shall break down their altars, he shall spoil their images.”

The thing that is divided is no longer whole.  The thing divided can no longer focus on the target

Bottom-line: The divided heart will fail. 

Note: A person with a divided heart will fall, in the very same manner as a kingdom, or as a house, according to no less than Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Mark, chapter three, verses twenty-four and twenty-five:

“And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.”

And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.”

3.       The Double-minded man

The invasion of the hemlock is moving in for the kill!  It is called death!

Now notice: The divided heart produces a double-minded man.  He is divided against himself.  The word of God says, He will not stand!  He will fall!

Next, the Spirit of God through the Apostle James defines a person who is double minded as being unstable in all his ways:

James 1:8: A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.” 

His mind has two states.  One mind has Mammon [as his master] in charge of him

What is mammon?  Now, mammon is constituted by the riches and the things of this world.  His other mind has God as his master in charge of him. 

Thus, this person tries for a time to fence-straddle between these two masters.  You cannot stay on the fence very long.  And why not?  Because Jesus Christ himself said so, when he was here in the flesh the first time nearly two thousand years ago

Now, here is what he said: “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” [Luke 16:13]

 Remember Demas.  Demas tried to do it.  Demas tried to straddle the fence and he could not do it very long.  He finally got off the fence on the side to have this world be his master

He got a mouthful of mammon, and he choked to death.  

Read for this Second Timothy, chapter four, verse ten:

“For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.” [2 Timothy 4:10]  

The stable man with a singular heart, a whole heart, in his right mind will have the LORD as his Master.

4.       Unstable as Water

Now we saw that a double-minded man is unstable

Observation: You might say, he is off his rocker.  This man cannot be counted on.  He will fail you!

He is like Reuben, the eldest of the twelve patriarchs of the tribes of Israel: UNSTABLE AS WATER! 

Genesis 49:4 “Unstable as water, thou shalt not excel; because thou wentest up to thy father's bed; then defiledst thou it: he went up to my couch.”

5.       The Field is a Type of Man

Now, picture in your mind an expansive green field

Observe: This field has a purpose, and this purpose is to produce a beneficial bountiful crop of grain

Now, a man is like this field.  And if a man is like a field, we have need to wonder: What will be the fruit of this field?  What will be this man’s fruit at the harvest [at the end of his life]?  Notice something else.  The Bible speaks of a man’s fruit as being the fruit of his mouth.

Proverbs 12:14: “A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth: and the recompence of a man's hands shall be rendered unto him.”

6.       The Hemlock is in the Field

Hosea 10:4: “They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.”

 The invasion of the hemlock is here.

The double minded man spreads his poison.  The double minded man will swear falsely.  He poisons the field.   That is what the hemlock will do.  The double minded man will not tell the truth if it will not save his hide.  Truth will not be found in a room with double minded people.  Watch the hemlocks effect in growing between the two furrows.

Hosea 10:10: It is in my desire that I should chastise them; and the people shall be gathered against them, when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.”

Watch for the Hemlock!

The harlotry of a nation leads to the sowing of the hemlock between the two furrows.  When a nation, or a person, or a people go wrong, the LORD of the heaven and the earth will chastise that nation, or that person, or that people [judgment comes]. 

Now note: The hemlock’s poison is deadly, and its location is between the two furrows.   This poison spreads, and it kills the fruit of a person [or a people] including all the land, and all that comes into contact with it!

7.       The Single-hearted Man

So, it is with us [the Christians] today.  We quench the Spirit of God within us, even though we are commanded not to quench him: “Quench not the Spirit.” [1 Thessalonians 5:19]

We grieve the Spirit of God within us, even though we are commanded not to grieve him:

“And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” [Ephesians 4:30]

We do this to our own hazard.  We will end up defiled and suffering the loss of our testimony.  Rather let it be as it says in the Epistle to the Romans, chapter eight, in verse four:

“That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

Lesson: The double-minded man is the fruit of the hemlock.

We will finish here in the book of the Acts of the Apostles, chapter two, verse forty-six:

“And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,”

Focus on the singleness of heart!

Get rid of the hemlock in your field and you will be single-hearted for Jesus Christ.

Watch for the Hemlock.

Verse eleven: “And Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn; but I passed over upon her fair neck: I will make Ephraim to ride; Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.”

They reaped for what they sowed.  We reap for what we sow: As it is recorded in the book of Job, chapter four, verse eight:

“Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.” [Job 4:8]

Verse twelve: “Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”

The remedy, the solution, is the healing found in the LORD’s wings.

Malachi 4:2: “But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”

Turn back to God and God will turn to you.

Verse thirteen: “Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity; ye have eaten the fruit of lies: because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men.”

But instead of turning back to God, Israel put their trust in the man-made solutions.  Their pride held them as captives are confined in prison.

Psalm 73:6: “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.”

Earlier in this commentary [in Hosea 2:9, 4:7, 5:7] we covered this problem of pride.

Verse fourteen: “Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be spoiled, as Shalman spoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children.”

The horrible tumult came.  It is all recorded in history.  People that refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat history.  If they refuse to repent, then it will be curtains for them.

Verse fifteen: “So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness: in a morning shall the king of Israel utterly be cut off.”

This prophecy was fulfilled in the year of B.C. 721.   The Kingdom of Israel ceased.

Next, it came for Judah.  It was curtains for them in B.C. 610.  It was curtains for them again in A.D. 70. 

When will men ever learn?

When will we ever learn?

 Next - Hosea Chapter Eleven


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