Israel Starts Out In Disastrous Sin & Keeps It Up!
A history of sin represents rebellion against God’s righteous purposes and calls for divine war against God’s own people.
Hosea summarizes all he has tried to teach Israel in chapters 8 through 10. Israel must accept their identity before God. They are not elect people protected from all harm because they have religious ceremonies devoted to God. Memory of the exodus does not preclude a new journey to slavery and exile. Hosea is not talking just about recent history. Israel’s sins can be dated since the days of Gibeah. They started out in disastrous sin and kept it up throughout their history.
God Acts In Judgement Only Slowly
Hosea mentions an event at Gibeah, which had happened about four centuries before his time.
From the days of Gibeah you have sinned, O Israel; There they stand!
Hosea 10:9 (NASB)
The story is as follows. A Levite and his concubine had quarrelled. The girl went back home, and the Levite went to Judah to get her back. As they were travelling, late at night, they arrived at Gibeah, a town just north of Jerusalem, which at that time was inhabited by Jebusites.
In Gibeah, an elderly man gave the couple hospitality, but while they were at his home, the obscene and vile men of Gibeah wanted to homosexually abuse the visiting stranger. So despicable was the culture of the day, two girls were offered instead, and the townsmen abused the Levite’s slave-wife so violently that by the morning she was seriously injured and soon died. The Levite from Ephraim went home with the body, dismembered the corpse and sent pieces to twelve districts of the land (Judges 19:1-29).
Hosea maintains that northern Israel has not changed! Still the nation is in total moral chaos and everyone is doing what is right in his own eyes. The people of Israel, like the men of Gibeah, are still immoral, violent, uncompassionate, murderous, hideously cruel, and prone to civil war.
God is about to judge the nation, but no one can complain that it has been given no time. Far from it! They had had at least four hundred years—but it had produced no change. God gives plenty of time. The question is:
How do we use the time he gives us?
Since the days of Gibeah Israel had persisted in the same habits. ‘There they stand’ is Hosea’s way of saying that the lifestyle of Israel had not changed. War would overtake them, just as it did the evildoers in Gibeah.
Focus on the Bible Commentary – Focus on the Bible Commentary – Hosea.
Holman Old Testament Commentary