Ephraim Is Like A Silly Dove, Without Sense!
Seeking help from anyone but God is foolish, and it leads to destruction.
Ephraim mixes himself among the peoples [courting the favor of first one country, then another]; Ephraim is a cake not turned.
Hosea 7:8 (AMP)
Ephraim is another term for the northern kingdom of Israel. More figures of speech come from the baker. This time the description focuses on the early preparation period as the baker mixes his ingredients before cooking them.
Israel is all mixed up. Like the baker’s ingredients, Israel has loss its identity, having full integrated themselves among the nations, the neighbours living with them in the holy land or around them in bordering lands.
Ephraim is called a cake. This refers to a flat piece of break baked in the oven and used as the main course in most Near Eastern meals. The cake is not turned over. The nomadic peoples of the East baked their bread on hot rocks. If the dough wasn’t turned, one side of the loaf would be burned and the other side uncooked.
This would describe a nation so hard on one side that God cannot find entrance but so soft on the other that all the nations take advantage of it. Instead of remaining separate from the nations, Israel mixed with the nations and became like them. Because of her compromising political posture, the nation was “burned” by Assyria on the one hand and left uncooked on the other.
When it comes to our relationship with the Lord, we must be thorough and not “half-baked.” His gracious work must permeate our whole being so that heart, mind, and strength are all devoted to Him.
Compromise With The World Leads To Unbalanced Conduct and Immature Character!
Foreigners consume his strength, but he does not notice. Even his hair is streaked with gray, but he does not notice. Israel’s arrogance testifies against them, yet they do not return to Yahweh their God, and for all this, they do not seek Him.
Hosea 7:9-10 (HCSB)
Continuing the theme of compromise, Hosea pictures Israel as a man getting gray and not knowing it. The nations devour Israel’s strength. Israel is so mixed up and confused that its people do not know who they are.
- They think they are party guests honoured by the host nations.
- They think they are still youngsters with nothing better to do than have a good time.
- Instead, they are old men being eaten alive, losing all their strength and vitality while partying rather than serving God as a “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exod. 19:6).
By mixing with the nations and ignoring the Lord, the nation was secretly losing her strength, like someone getting older and weaker but in her pride refusing to admit it. This is the tragedy of undetected losses that quietly lead to ultimate failures.
You remember Samson when he said; “I will rise up as I did before,” and he knew not that the Spirit of God had departed from him. Tragic when people are still going on with motions but God has left and they’re not even aware that God is gone because the motions are still there.
We’re still doing the right thing, we’re still doing the religious thing, but what’s in your heart?
They knew not that their strength were gone.
Israel saw her political strategy failing, but the leaders still refused to turn to the Lord. “The pride of Israel” refers to Israel’s national glory, which had greatly eroded since the days of David and Solomon. Selfish politicians and corrupt priests had brought the nation to ruin.
“Ephraim also is like a silly dove, without sense– They call to Egypt, They go to Assyria.
Hosea 7:11 (NKJV)
The literary image changes to birds. Israel is the silly dove. Now doves are silly. They make their nest in the most stupid places. A dove is really stupid. Watch them in their nest building, they don’t really make a neat nest at all and they’re not really careful where they make their nest. They oftentimes will make their nest even within an easy reach. And you can remove the eggs out of a dove’s nest and he’ll continue to sit on the thing. They’re just silly.
And so God likens Ephraim to a silly dove flying off to Assyria and then flying down to Egypt, looking again to the help of man rather than turning to God. Both nations proved to be false allies (5:13; 8:8-10; 12:1).
If the leaders had listened to the prophets, they would have known that Assyria would one day invade the land (9:3; 10:5-6; Isa. 7:18-8:10). God warned that Israel’s “flying here and there” would come to an end when He caught them in His net and gave them to the King of Assyria. God is in control of the nations, but His people would not obey Him.
As they go, I will spread My net over them; I will bring them down like birds of the heavens. I will chastise them according to the announcement [or prediction made] to their congregation [in the Scriptures].
Hosea 7:12 (AMP)
Another hunter joins the fray. God has his bird net ready for action. He will bring them down like any hunter would catch birds. Israel has no understanding of who they are or what is going on in the world. But God is aware of everything and has a purpose in what he is doing.
According to the covenant God had with His people, the Jews could trade with the other nations, but they were not to enter into political alliances that would compromise their obedience to the Lord.
I see a people who live apart and do not consider themselves one of the nations.
You are to be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.
Solomon used many wives to form alliances with other nations, and this was the beginning of the nation’s downfall (1 Kings 11:1).
Bible Exposition Commentary – Be Amazed
Holman Old Testament Commentary