Hosea 12 The Prophets Bore Witness To The Covenantal Infidelity.
Ephraim, as has been noted, was the largest of the ten northern tribes, and by the continued reference to them, leads one to surmise that they also led the nation in wickedness. In pursuing the east wind we are told that they pursued influences from the east, i.e., paganism, which was fleeting, and as useless as the idols associated with it. In making a covenant with the Assyrians they were breaking the one they had with the LORD, and as a consequence the curses followed (v. 1 Cf. 8:7-9; II Kgs. 17:4; Job 15:1-6). This is the charge which the LORD brought against them and Judah also (v. 2 Cf. Mic. 6:2).
Jacob grasped his brother Esau’s heel coming out of the womb, and it was said that the older would serve the younger. He would also later wrestle with the Angel, a pre-incarnate appearing of the Messiah to come. He would also later have a vision of the heavenly throne room and angels descending and ascending a ladder to where he was, and for this reason that place was called Bethel-the house of God (vv. 3-4 Cf. Gen. 25:26; 28:12-19; 32:24-28; 35:9-15). The LORD God of hosts spoke to the patriarch at Bethel in the vision of the heavenly court as he sought the LORD’s favour.
Now was also a time when they ought to appeal to that “memorable name,” one that spoke to the covenant and the awesome power of their God ruling the whole earth (v. 5 Cf. Ex. 3:15). If they sought the LORD, waiting on their God continually, as Jacob did when He wrestled with the Angel, with true repentance seeking His help, they would then find “mercy and justice” (v. 6 Cf. 14:1; Mic. 6:8). Instead, like the cunning Canaanite, Ephraim and Israel were using unjust scales, so that one of the sins they had to repent of was cheating others in their commerce (vv. 7-8 Cf. 13:6; Ps. 62:10; Prov. 11:1; Amos 8:5; Mic. 6:11; Rev. 3:17).
For their sins they would again become wanderers in the wilderness, and be taken captive to serve another king (v. 9). It was not as though they were without a witness, for besides the law and the wisdom literature, they had the prophets, including Hosea himself (v. 10 Cf. II Kgs. 17:13; Jer. 7:25). It is also important to note that these prophets are referred to as witness bearers, for they were indeed witnesses to this covenant lawsuit which the LORD had against His people. In judgment their idols, which were but monuments to their own vanity, and their altars, would be destroyed (v. 11 Cf. 6:8; 9:5).
What Jacob had worked so hard for would quickly disappear (v. 12 Cf. Gen. 28:5; 29:20, 28; Dt. 26:5). Through the prophet Moses they were brought out of Egypt, “and by a prophet he was preserved” (v. 13 Cf. Ex. 12:50-51; 13:3; Ps. 77:20; Is. 63:11-12; Mic. 6:4, 16). So it was not only through a prophet that they were delivered, but it was also through a prophet that they were preserved. It was because they rejected the LORD, and the word of His prophets, that judgment was coming (v. 14 Cf. Ezek. 18:10-13). However, Moses also spoke of another prophet to come whom all must hear, even the Messiah (Dt. 18:15 Cf. Acts 3:22).