Hosea 9:10-14 “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the firstfruits on the fig tree in its first season. But they went to Baal Peor, and separated themselves to that shame; they became an abomination like the thing they loved. As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird; no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception! Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them to the last man. Yes, woe to them when I depart from them! Just as I saw Ephraim like Tyre, planted in a pleasant place, so Ephraim will bring out his children to the murderer.” Give them, O Lord; what will You give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts!”
a. Like grapes in the wilderness . . . as the firstfruits on the fig tree: God fondly remembers the days when Israel was faithful and fruitful unto Him. Grapes in the wilderness and the firstfruits on the fig tree are unexpected blessings. There was a time when Israel was something special to God, as if one found luscious grapes in the wilderness.
i. “While they were faithful, they were as acceptable to me as ripe grapes would be to a thirsty traveler in the desert.” (Clarke)
b. But they went to Baal Peor: Israel’s sin and idolatry in the days of Hosea is like their sin at Baal Peor in Numbers 25, associated with sexual immorality and idolatry.
c. They became an abomination like the thing they loved: Israel loved their disgraceful idols, and they have become like them. We will become like the god we love and serve, whether it is the Lord or like an abomination.
d. No birth, no pregnancy, and no conception: In contrast to their past fruitfulness, now Israel will experience barrenness and bereavement (I will be bereave them to the last man), given to them by the God they rejected.
e. Give them, O Lord – What will You give? The idea is that Hosea began an angry prayer against the people (“Give them, O Lord”), then he stopped because he checked his heart and didn’t know what to pray (“What will you give?”). In the end, he asked for a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. Really, Hosea prayed for mercy. Knowing the coming judgment, he prayed “Lord, give them few children so those children will not have to face the horrors of Your coming judgment.”
i. Sometimes those who see themselves – perhaps accurately – as more spiritual and closer to God than others in a church or group get angry and frustrated with those who don’t seem to have hearts burning for the Lord. Their frustration is understandable but the pause in Hosea’s prayer should give them pause. It is a good thing to long for revival and spiritual passion among God’s people, but if that makes us proud, angry, or bitter against others then Satan has won a great victory.
“My Prayer, Lord give me the wisdom to pray and ask the right prayer not according to my will but to your will only Lord.”
© 2001 David Guzik – No distribution beyond personal use without permission