1 Rejoice not, O Israel! Exult not like the peoples; for you have played the harlot, forsaking your God. You have loved a harlot’s hire upon all threshing floors. 2 Threshing floor and winevat shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail them. 3 They shall not remain in the land of the LORD; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean food in Assyria.
Israel’s sin is that she was a spiritual whore. They were not faithful to their promise.
Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the ordinances; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, “All the words which the LORD has spoken we will do.” Ex. 24:3
They thought that because God loved them so much, He wouldn’t care if they also did some other things, like worshiped other gods, and He wouldn’t care if they only did some of the things the Lord had spoken. They had presented the pagan idols with the grain and wine offerings. Thanking the pagan deities for the crops rather than the One that truly gave these gifts.
Pentecost/Shavuot holds a very special place in The Cycle of Levitical Festivals. Rabbinic tradition says that God gave the Torah to Israel on the very first Pentecost, celebrated in the wilderness [Ex 19-24]. Pentecost is also the day that God gave the Holy Spirit to the chosen in the upper room. In Jewish betrothal tradition there is the Mohar or bridal present [Gen 34:12; I Sam 18:25]. At the betrothal a man must give at least a small portion of the agreed upon amount to the bride. When she takes it into her hand she is betrothed. From then on she is treated as if she were actually married. This arrangement cannot be broken except by divorce. At Pentecost when God gave His gifts, first of His Word and later of the Holy Spirit to His own, He was giving the Mohar to His bride. We accepted this Mohar i.e. marriage contract, that was the Torah and later the Holy Spirit. But neither the ten tribes nor the church have kept faith with the One True God. Just as Israel before us we have run after all manner of pagan gods from the surrounding nations.
For their sin the Northern Tribes are going to exile in Assyria, one of the most brutal empires in the history of the world. Right up there with Hitler and Stalin. Or if they fled they would be buried in Egypt, a nation known mostly for its tombs. The ancient Egyptians lived to make tombs, it was what they were and are known for. Their entire culture was formed around these great monuments to death.
4 They shall not pour libations of wine to the LORD; and they shall not please him with their sacrifices. Their bread shall be like mourners’ bread; all who eat of it shall be defiled; for their bread shall be for their hunger only; it shall not come to the house of the LORD. 5 What will you do on the day of appointed festival, and on the day of the feast of the LORD? 6 For behold, they are going to Assyria; Egypt shall gather them, Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents.
Their bread did not come from the great feasts of the LORD, nothing of Sabbath, New Moons, Passovers, Pentecost, Feast of Trumpets, or Tabernacles will be in their lives because of their insistence on this adulteress worship of pagan gods. Their bread would be the bread served a funerals, not that of God’s festivals. For slaves do not feast.
God condemned them, if they want to worship these foreign gods then let them go to the foreign countries where they are worship. He is going to put them out of His land. Send them to Assyria and Egypt. If one becomes a slave to false gods, one will eventually end up a slave to another people.
7 The days of punishment have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it. The prophet is a fool, the man of the spirit is mad, because of your great iniquity and great hatred. 8 The prophet is the watchman of Ephraim, the people of my God, yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. 9 They have deeply corrupted themselves as in the days of Gibe-ah: he will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins.
Judgment is coming no matter what the false prophets say. Though out the books of Kings and Chronicles there were many prophets telling the people that all would be well. Only a handful of true prophets stood out, condemning the kings and the people. Ahab the king of Israel even laments that this is the case. He did not what to hear from the true man of God. Like many today Ahab thought that evil was good, and good was evil.
And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the LORD, Micaiah the son of Imlah; but I hate him, for he never prophesies good concerning me, but evil.” 1 Kings 22:8
These false prophets are not praying and watching out for the people, they were preying on them like a fowler they had set traps, teaching the people to hate God rather than call upon Him.
. . . and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends upon them a strong delusion, to make them believe what is false, so that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2Th. 2:10-12
Then God calls on one of the most notorious tales from the history of the tribes. A little mentioned story of tragedy and violence from when they first came into the land. He compared their action to that of the corruption that was Gibeah [Judg 19-21]. There is no greater folly in all the history of God’s people than Gibeah.
10 Like grapes in the wilderness, I found Israel. Like the first fruit on the fig tree, in its first season, I saw your fathers. But they came to Baal-peor, and consecrated themselves to Baal, and became detestable like the thing they loved. 11 Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird — no birth, no pregnancy, no conception! 12 Even if they bring up children, I will bereave them till none is left. Woe to them when I depart from them! 13 Ephraim’s sons, as I have seen, are destined for a prey; Ephraim must lead forth his sons to slaughter. 14 Give them, O LORD — what wilt thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
God explains that He saw them as fresh fruit in a dry wilderness. Refreshing and delightful as any fruit in a dry and barren land. But they had become bitter, sour, and detestable to Him, because of their love for Baal and not God.
FYI: Baal-Peor means lord of the hole.
They had consecrated themselves to Baal, they did this at Baal-Peor [Num 25; Judg 2:11-13]. This happen in the wilderness, while Moses was still with them. They turned away from the God that had brought them out of Egypt, and instead bound themselves to Baal, a rain god of the Moabite, and the Canaanite/Phoenicians. Hosea wrote this is about 700 years after Baal-Peor, yet there they were, children of their fathers still whoring after this false god.
15 Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels.
God recalls Gilgal, the first place the tribes stopped after leaving the wilderness and preparing to entered that land of Canaan. Gilgal means to “go around or roll”. They stopped here to circumcise all that were born in the wilderness.
So Joshua made flint knives, and circumcised the people of Israel at Gibeath-haaraloth. Josh. 5:3
At the time God says that the paganism of Egypt had been rolled away.
And the LORD said to Joshua, “This day I have rolled away the reproach of Egypt from you.” And so the name of that place is called Gilgal to this day. Josh. 5:9
But Hosea tells us that at this point that God began to hate them. Like a jilted lover He knows that their hearts were not circumcised. He called all their rulers, rebels. They were wicked and for this He drove them out of that land. Not long after Hosea wrote this the Assyrian Empire came down from the north and removed all the population that had not escaped down to Egypt to their eastern border, now Iran.
16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit. Even though they bring forth, I will slay their beloved children. 17 My God will cast them off, because they have not hearkened to him; they shall be wanderers among the nations.
Most of the land that had been the northern tribes of Israel is present day northern Israel, Lebanon, and the southern parts of Syria. The Bekaa valley makes up a great deal of this land. It is a fertile productive valley. But there are no known descendants of the Ten Northern Tribes of Israel. For they are lost.
There was to be no more Northern Tribes of Israel. They were doomed to wander among the nations. Where they still are.
When this judgment finally came to Israel, the false prophets were shown for who and what they were. God declares that these so called men of the spirit are insane. They have taught the people to commit iniquity and hate their God. So often we sinners are only sorry we got caught, not that we broke God’s law. We blame God, and declare that it is God’s fault. Why should He make rules and laws against what we want to have or do?
These same crimes, crimes of apostasy and idolatry are now everywhere among God’s Gentile people. We have adopted the same idols and holidays. We just changed the names to hide from ourselves and our children, what we have done. Our men of the spirit are just as insane. If the ten tribes of Israel were cut them off for this, why not us?
For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Rom. 11:21
See Also: The Pagan Origins of Christmas