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by Randy White Ministries Thursday, Feb 23, 2023

Hosea, Rightly Divided & Verse-by-Verse

Session 14 | Hosea 12:1-14

Hosea 12:1-6 | Incrimination and History

Verse 1 –

In Hosea 8:7 it was said that they have sown the wind, and and they shall reap the whirlwind. But now, the whirlwind has come and Ephraim feeders on wind. In short, Ephraim is incorrigible.

Rather than turn to the Lord, the Northern Kingdom would rather make a covenant with the Assyrians. The reference to oilcarried into Egypt is one of taking a gift to Egypt in order to receive her favors. Compare 2 Kings 17:4.

Verse 2 –

The word controversy means “A dispute or quarrel between parties.”(see footnote). This time the argument is with Judah, the Southern Kingdom. However, the punishment is to Jacob, indicating that both Ephraim and Judah are included in Jacob, thus the controversy is with the entire nation.

Note that this is a “no grace” situation with a judgment by works, for according to his doings will he recompense him.

Verses 3-5 –

Giving now an historical account, the Lord refers back to Jacob in the womb (see Gen. 25:26).

In verse 3 there is a triple reference. First, Jacob took his brother by the heel in the womb (see Gen. 25:26). The Hebrew word עָקַב[yacov] is the root word for the name Jacob. The second reference in verse 3 is not to this “in-the-womb” experience, but rather to the Genesis 32:28 event where Jacob wrestled with God (and his name was changed). The words by his strength are likely a reference to Jacob, in his manhood. It is interesting that both of his names (Jacob/Israel) are connected to his wrestling with others.

In verse 3 Jacob had power with God, and in verse 4 that is clarified as over the angel, yet one should not assume angel to be an angelic being, for it is fully defined in verse 5, Even the LORD God of hosts. This would be the same Person as the captain of the LORD’s hosts in Joshua 5:15, indeed, the pre-incarnate Messiah.

While the wrestling match was Peniel, God found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us. Bethel is the place of Jacob’s ladder. Bethel was now a pagan capital of the Northern Kingdom.

In these verses, the Lord puts three events from Jacob’s life.

Verse 6 –

The Lord gives yet another call for repentance and good works. A right divider should recognize that our taks is not to keep mercy and judgment, and wait onGod continually. While mercy, judgment and waiting on God are noble, they are presented here (and in all places of Scripture) as works. In our dispensation, we are complete in Christ and rejoice in this position.

Hosea 12:7-14 | More Incrimination, and Hope!

Verses 7-8 –

The Lord returns to speak of Ephraim, saying He is a merchant yet one with the balances of deceit and one who loveth to oppress. Rather than feeling remorse over this, Ephraim said, Yet I am become rich and refuses to recognize his sinful ways.

Verses 9-10

The LORD reminds Ephraim of the long-standing relationship between the nation and the LORD thy God (v. 9), and how He had been by their side from the land of Egypt (v. 9). Yet God gave a promise of hope, saying that He will someday cause Israel to dwell in tabernacles, as in the days of the solemn feast (v. 9). This promise is one of the millennial kingdom and is echoed by the prophets (v. 10).

Verse 11 –

The question, Is there iniquity in Gilead? appears to be a rhetorical question, with the assumed answer of absolutely. And the reason is that they are vanity, etc.

Verses 12-13 –

The reference here is difficult to fully understand. It appears that the Lord is saying, Remember Jacob, who fled into the country of Syria, making reference to Genesis 28:5 and Jacob’s seven-year work for his wife. Yet this turned out fine, for in the end by a prophet the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt. What we have between the two verses is a conjoining of the beginning and the end of the story of Jacob. He got married, had 12 kids, ended up in Egypt, and was blessed there by the Lord, then much later the LORD brought Israel out of Egypt. Compare Deuteronomy 26:5, where similar language is used.

It may be that the Lord is asking Israel if she is assuming the Lord will rescue them again, and this assumption is more presumption and abuse of the relationship.

Verse 14 –

The Lord seems to imply that no such rescue as in vv. 12-13 is going to come this time. Rather, the Lord will leave his blood upon him, and his reproach shall his Lord return unto him.


controversy, n.”. OED Online. December 2022. Oxford University Press. https://www.oed.com/view/Entry/40595?rskey=wwAkXs&result=1&isAdvanced=false (accessed February 22, 2023).

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