Lessons from
The Book of HOSEA
James J. Barker

Lesson 14

Text: HOSEA 13:1-16


  1. There is a sad statement found here in Hosea 13:9 -- "O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself."
  2. The same thing could be said about Great Britain and the USA and other nations as well.
  3. One commentator wrote, "All sin is destructive. It is essentially death. It ruins the soul. 'The soul that sinneth, it shall die.' It often destroys reputation and character. It also destroys liberty, peace, and happiness. It is contrary to the constitution and health of the soul; hence the misery which is ever felt. It wounds the conscience, impairs the judgment, and brings disease and manifold deaths...Voluntary sin is voluntary destruction. 'Thou hast destroyed thyself.' The sinner commits moral suicide and has no one to blame but himself" (Homiletic Commentary).



  1. Many years ago, a preacher named Jeremy Spencer described sin this way:

                   First sin startles a man,

                   Then sin becomes pleasing,

                   Then he finds sin delightful,

                   Then frequent,

                   Then habitual,

                   Then confirmed,

                   Then the man is impenitent,

                   Then he is obstinate,

                   Then he is resolved never to repent,

                   Then he is damned.

  2. Both the Bible and human experience tell us Jeremy Taylor was right.
  3. The backsliding vividly described by the prophet Hosea happens all the time. In 13:2, he says: "And now they sin more and more…"
  4. Israel sinned more and more through idolatry (13:1,2), by forgetting God (13:6), and by rebelling against God (13:16).
  5. When Ephraim served God, God exalted Ephraim (Israel); but when Israel began worshipping Baal, "he died" (13:1). He destroyed himself. It was national suicide.
  6. Today the USA, Canada, and the countries of Europe are committing suicide. The birth rate is low and so they bring in foreigners -- often Muslim -- to do the work.
  7. In his commentary on the Book of Hosea, S. Franklin Logsdon calls Hosea 13, "The Epitaph of Self-Destruction."
  8. Ephraim died and was put out of the land, and even the land itself died. And so today Samaria is a dreary and desolate place (cf. 13:16).
  9. Allow me to apply this to churches: Many churches have died. Years ago the Gospel was preached and souls were saved but not today.
  10. Our Lord said to the church in Sardis, "I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead" (Rev. 3:1).
  11. A basic principle of the Bible is that sin brings death – "the soul that sinneth, it shall die" (Ezek. 18:4). This can be traced all the way from Genesis to Revelation.
  12. "Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death" (James 1:15).
  13. Sin brings death – physical death as well as spiritual death; and national death, as well as individual death (Hosea 13:9).
  14. Today Israel is dead. A few years ago I read about a group of rabbis flying around Israel seven times in a helicopter chanting and praying, hoping this will protect their country from Iraq. They would be better off getting out of the helicopter and getting on their knees and getting right with God.
  15. Hosea laments, "And now they sin more and more…" (13:2). Sinners think they can get away with their sin and they sin more and more, not realizing that sin has ensnared them.
  16. They were so blinded by the sin of idolatry that they even went so far as to "kiss the calves" (13:2b). Common sense should have told them that if a craftsman made it, it cannot be God (cf. 8:6).
  17. But sinners lose their common sense after sin has blinded them. The folly of idolatry is hard to comprehend. Kissing an idol seems ridiculous to those of us who are saved but the unregenerate consider it an act of worship.
  18. First Kings 19:18 says, "Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him."
  19. In St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, a bronze statue of St. Peter’s toe has been smoothed off by so many people kissing it. My wife and I saw it when we visited Rome.
  20. Muslims kiss their sacred stone of Mecca.
  21. Their dissolution was described in four similes:
  • They were like the morning cloud that vanishes before the rising sun (13:3).
  • They were like the early dew that passeth away (13:3; 6:4). The passing away of the morning cloud and early dew symbolizes the instability, and fickleness and lack of depth on the part of the people.
  • They were like the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the (threshing) floor (13:3).
  • They were like smoke out of the chimney (13:3; cf. Ps. 68:2). S. Franklin Logsdon said, "What could be more worthless than chaff and smoke?...Stirred-up chaff by a gust of wind and circulating smoke are irritating to the eyes and lungs. Thus, these licentious indulgences on the part of His people became a stench in the nostrils of the Most High God."
  1. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He started off by saying, "I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt…" (Ex. 20:2). All throughout the Old Testament, God kept reminding them of this deliverance (13:4; cf. 12:9).
  2. The LORD (Jehovah) was the only true God and Saviour (13:4b). The LORD says in Isaiah 45:21, "There is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me."
  3. A lot of people refuse to accept this. They say all gods are the same, but Acts 4:12 says, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."



  1. God always had to remind Israel of His faithfulness because they were always forgetting (13:5; cf. Deut. 8).
  2. Like many Americans today, the Israelites became prosperous and proud and forgot all about God (13:6; cf. 2:13; 4:6; 8:14).
  3. Back in Chapter 5:14 God warned Ephraim that He would be like a dangerous lion to them until they repented. Again God issues the same warning (13:7, 8).
  4. "A bear that is bereaved of her whelps" (13:8) is well-known for being ferocious.
  5. Referring to King David and his soldiers, Hushai said to Absalom, "Thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field" (cf. II Sam. 17:8).
  6. It is interesting to note that the lion and leopard (13:7), the bear and wild beast (13:8) correspond to the four beasts of Daniel 7, representing Babylon, Media-Persia, Greece, and Rome.



  1. Israel had destroyed themselves through their rebelliousness, but they would not look to God for help (13:9).
  2. Instead they looked to Egypt and Assyria (cf. 12:1).
  3. It was God’s original intention to be their King (13:10; cf. I Sam. 8:5-7). God gave them a king when they cried out for one (13:10, 11), but Saul, their first king was rejected by the LORD.
  4. Samuel said to Saul, "Thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, and the LORD hath rejected thee from being king over Israel" (I Samuel 15:26).
  5. "God only intended that they should have one king, and that King is yet to be enthroned" (Logsdon).
  6. Hosea 13:11 describes God’s judgment upon the monarchy, especially Saul, their first king, and Jeroboam, the first king of the Northern Kingdom (cf. I Sam. 15:22, 23; 16:1).
  7. In fact, God’s hand of judgment was upon all the kings of the northern kingdom because not one of them was saved. They were all wicked.
  8. Verse 12 describes how God’s wrath was building up in proportion to their sin. Barnes' Notes says, "'His sin' is 'hid' i. e., as people lay up hidden treasure...Unrepented sin is an ever-growing store of the wrath of God, hid out of sight in the depths of the divine judgments, but of which nothing will be lost, nothing missing."
  9. This reminds us of what the apostle Paul says in Romans 2:5 -- "But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God."
  10. Israel under the judgment of God is likened to a mother with sudden birth pangs (Hosea 13:13).
  11. This figure is seen often in Scripture. Isaiah 13:8 says, "And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth."
  12. Jeremiah uses the expression repeatedly. He says in 6:24, "Anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail."
  13. Micah 4:9 says, "For pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail."
  14. First Thessalonians 5:3 says, "For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
  15. What God is saying here in Hosea 13:13 is that if His chastisements do not bring about the desired repentance, they will result in death.
  16. Israel is compared to "an unwise son" who stays too long in his mother’s womb and is born dead (13:13b).
  17. Though Israel was unfaithful, God is faithful – He "will ransom them from the power of the grave" and "will redeem them from death" (13:14).
  18. The apostle Paul cites Hosea 13:14 in I Corinthians 15:55 -- "O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?" Christ has redeemed us from death and from the grave – therefore, the sting of death has been removed for those that have trusted Christ.
  19. Thank God, Hosea 13:14 says, "I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death."
  20. After this quick ray of sunlight, which briefly penetrated the storm clouds of God’s impending judgment, Hosea resumes his warning to the backslidden nation. Though the name Ephraim means "Fruitful," they will not be fruitful after the Assyrians blow in like "the wind of the LORD" (13:15).
  21. The Assyrian emperor Shalmaneser (referred to as "Shalman" in Hosea 10:14) laid siege to Samaria in 723 BC and the city fell the following year (cf. II Kings 18:9).
  22. Israel’s punishment was severe because her sin of rebellion was deep and terrible (13:16). Also, her punishment has not ended but will become more severe during the coming tribulation.



  1. The apostle Paul cites Hosea 13:14 in I Corinthians 15. Paul says that "the sting of death is sin" (I Cor. 15:56). But thank God, the Lord Jesus Christ died for our sins and so the sting is gone.
  2. Years ago, M.R. DeHaan had a beehive and one of the bees stung his oldest son. The little fellow threw himself to the ground and started crying. Then the bee went after his other son. He panicked and stated crying too, but Dr. DeHaan told him to stop crying. "That bee is harmless," he said. "It cannot hurt you. It has lost its sting. A bee stings only once and leaves its stinger in the victim. Your older brother took the sting away by being stung."
  3. Then Dr. DeHaan went on to explain to his son how the Lord Jesus Christ took away the sting of death by dying for our sins on the cross.

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