This passage is a continuation of the Lord's historical review from Chapter 12.
Ephraim was one of the biggest and most powerful tribes. Verse 1 tells us that when they spoke, others trembled. Jeroboam I was from this tribe and we saw that he was able to split a nation and turn that influence into a whole new religious system.
The rest of verse 1 seems to comment on that very thing. Ephraim flexed his muscles through Jeroboam and exalted himself above the rest of Israel, who was taught to follow the Lord from Jerusalem (Judah).
But through Baal he did wrong and died.Hosea 13:1c
Verse 2 goes on to specify additional sins, not just Baal, but idols made by their own hands. As well as those sacrificing to these idols must "kiss the calves", Jeroboam's two national idols he made to keep people from Israel from making their required journeys to Jerusalem for proper worship.
Verse 3 tells us the consequences for all of this iniquity- Israel will become like three things that drift away into nothing- morning dew, chaff in the wind, and smoke from a chimney.
In verse 4 the Lord reminds them that He is their God since He saved them from Egypt. They knew they were to have only their God and He was there only Savior. When they needed Him in the wilderness, they remembered Him; but once they had pastures and stability, they took pride in all they had been gifted and their hearts turned hard.
The Lord does not take this complete, insane rejection well. He promises to tear them to pieces like wild animals.
Now they will have to rely on the king, princes, and judges they asked for- so they could be more like their neighbors---rather than showing their neighbors their magnificent God and helping their neighbors to be more like them.
I know I sound like I am judging them, but it looks so obvious from the outside. However, having spend much prayer asking for things of this world, instead of this for His Kingdom...I completely understand how it happens. How the heart think it knows what it really wants. Eve really knew what she needed...more than her maker. And she even knew what her husband needed more than their maker. Until everything went sideways, including losing two of her boys...ironically enough because one of her sons was upset because, to his thinking, he knew better than God what a good offering was...
And so it goes...
And so it goes...
However, verse 12 tells us that this wrong thinking doesn't go on forever. This stored up sin come out like childbirth.
Verse 14 is the plot twist. A twist so unexpected in this historical tale of iniquity that the world calls it foolishness.
I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death. Oh Death, where are your thorns? Oh Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion will be hidden from my sight.Hosea 13:14
That comes eventually, but for now, Israel flourishes, not seeing the east wind rolling in and the fountain drying up. His treasure plundered.
Verse 16, in summary, holds Samaria guilty for her rebellion against the Lord. They will fall by the sword, being ripped to pieces, even pregnant women being sliced open.
Thank Goodness Chapter 14 is coming. Restoration that will only be possible from the Lord and not because of the decisions of Israel.