Hosea 4:11-19 The Idolatry Of Israel Exposed—Covenantal Rebellion.
Israel was guilty of harlotry, drunkenness, and idolatry (vv. 11-12 Cf. Prov. 20:1; Is. 5:11-12; 28:7; 44:19-20; Jer. 2:27). They had enslaved hearts-to their very core they were rotten, sold into the slavery of sin. Their idols were made with humans hands. They could not see, smell, touch, hear, or speak, but instead, the people sought information through diviners, because “their staff” was a diviners rod. In sacrificing to idols they committed their children to harlotry and adultery (v. 13 Cf. Is. 1:29; 57:5-7; Jer. 2:20; Ezek. 6:13; 20:28; Amos 7:17). It is interesting that with all the emphasis being on people having their own spiritualities today, a desire for a personal existential experience, it comes from a rejection of the most intimate knowledge which God has planted in the heart of every human being who ever lived. He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also he has set eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end” (Eccl. 3:11).
There would be no specific judgment on the daughters who committed harlotry, or the brides who committed adultery, because the men were equally guilty. Who were there who were innocent enough to bear witness and cast stones, when they were guilty of the same offence (v. 14 Cf. Dt. 17:7; 19:18-19; Jn. 8:7)? Instead, for this lack of understanding the law of the LORD, they all would be trampled together. Judah was warned here not to follow the path of her evil sister (v. 15a). Gilgal was the place where the next generation after the exodus, under Joshua and Caleb, rolled back the sinful wilderness wandering of their parents, and in faith sought out the land that was promised (v. 15b Cf. Josh. 5:9). Sadly, Gilgal would also eventually be overcome with the same wickedness (Cf. 9:15; 12:11), and Bethel (or Beth), which meant house of the LORD, degenerated to become a house of wickedness (v. 15c Cf. 10:8; I Kgs. 12:29).
For the above reasons, the people were warned not to swear an oath by the LORD, which would only be the bearing of false witness, and a curse upon themselves (v. 15d Cf. Jer. 5:2; 44:26). Israel was too stubborn to repent, therefore the LORD would take away their protection (v. 16 Cf. Jer. 31:18), and eventually Judah her sister, would follow in her steps (Cf. Jer. 3:6-8; 8:5), even stopping their ears both to the law and the former prophets (Cf. Jer. 7:24; Zech. 7:11-12). Ephraim, the largest of the ten northern tribes, the prophet was to leave alone to die in their rebellion (vv. 17-18), blind leaders of the blind, whose rulers loved dishonour and a bride (Cf. Mic. 3:11; Mt. 15:14). The LORD would employ the creation itself to blow them away in their shame, because of their sinful sacrifices (v. 19 Cf. Jer. 51:1).