The problem of Ephraim (Hos 4:17-4:19)

“Ephraim is joined

To idols.

Let him alone!

When their drinking

Is ended,

They indulge

In sexual orgies.

They love lewdness

More than their glory.

A wind has wrapped them

In its wings.

They shall be ashamed,

Because of their altars.”

The people of the Ephraim territory in the northern kingdom of Israel were stuck to their idols. Hosea wanted them to leave these idols alone. When they were not drinking heavily, they were involved with sexual orgies. They loved their lewd lifestyle more than the glory of righteousness. A wind had gotten ahold of them. They would be ashamed because of their many idol altars.

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The naked Jerusalem (Ezek 23:29-23:30)

“They shall deal

With you

In hatred.

They shall take away

All the fruit

Of your labor.

They shall leave you

Naked.

They shall leave you

Bare.

The nakedness

Of your prostitution activities

Shall be exposed.

Your lewdness

Has brought this

Upon you.

Your prostitution activities

Have brought this

Upon you.

Because you played

The whore

With the nations,

You polluted yourself

With their idols.”

Yahweh said that Jerusalem would be exposed. Everyone would see their nakedness. Her former angry and hateful lovers were going to take away all the fruits of her labor. She would be left naked and bare, as her sexual prostitution actions would be seen by all. Her lewd behavior would be out in the open. She had played the whore with all these different nations. She had polluted herself with all their idols.

The house of Israel idol worshippers (Ezek 20:39-20:39)

“As for you!

O house of Israel!

Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Go serve your idols!

Every one of you!

Now and hereafter!

If you will not listen

To me.

But you shall not

Profane

My holy name

With your gifts,

With your idols.”

Yahweh was clear in his admonition to the house of Israel. If they wanted to serve their idols, they were free to go ahead and do so. However, if they did that, they were not listening to Yahweh. They were profaning his holy name. Yahweh was not going to receive their gifts or their idols because they were a profanation to Yahweh.

Death at the idol worship sites (Ezek 6:13-6:14)

“You shall know

That I am Yahweh.

Their slain

Shall lie

Among their idols,

Around their altars.

On every high hill,

On all the mountain tops,

Under every green tree,

Under every leafy oak,

Wherever they offered

Pleasing odor

To all their idols,

I will stretch out

My hand

Against them.

I will make

The land desolate.

I will make

The land waste

Throughout all their settlements,

From the wilderness

To Riblah.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

These false worshippers would know that Yahweh was in charge. All these worshippers would die and lie with their idols, around their altars, on every high hill, on all the mountain tops, under every green tree, and under every leafy oak. This is the first mention of the green trees and leafy oaks, instead of the vague high places. Wherever they offered the pleasing odor to their idols, Yahweh was going to stretch out his hand against them. He was going to make their land desolate and a waste, no matter where they lived, from the wilderness in the south to Riblah in the north on the Syrian border. They would all come to know that Yahweh was in charge. He was Yahweh.

Some will remain (Ezek 6:8-6:10)

“But I will spare some.

Some of you

Shall escape

The sword.

Among the nations,

They will be scattered

Through the countries.

Those of you

Who escaped

Shall remember me

Among the nations

Where they are carried captive.

They will remember

How I was crushed

By their wanton hearts

That turned away

From me.

They will remember

That their wanton eyes

Turned after their idols.

Then they will be loathsome

In their own sight

For the evils

That they have committed,

For all their abominations.

They shall know

That I am Yahweh.

I did not threaten

In vain

To bring this disaster

Upon them.”

Yahweh was going to spare some of these Israelites from his sword of death. They would escape scattered among the various nations and countries. Those that escaped would remember Yahweh in their captivity countries. They would remember how Yahweh had crushed their reckless hearts and eyes that turned away from Yahweh to their idols. They would become despicable in their own eyes. They would realize that they had committed evils and abominations. They would then know that Yahweh had not threatened in vain about this disaster that came upon them.

The ineptitude of the false idols (Isa 48:5-48:6)

“I declared them to you

From long ago.

Before they came to pass.

I announced them to you.

Thus you would not say.

‘My idol did them.

My carved image commanded them.

My cast image commanded them.’

You have heard!

Now see all this!

Will you not declare it?”

Once again, Second Isaiah has Yahweh defend himself against false idols. This must have been quite a problem. Yahweh had made this known a long time before it happened. Thus they could not say that it was their idols, the carved and cast images that had commanded and done this. Yahweh was clear. They had heard and saw all this, but they just did not understand what was happening. Now they have to declare it so.

Oracle about Egypt (Isa 19:1-19:4)

“An oracle concerning Egypt.

See!

Yahweh is riding on a swift cloud.

He comes to Egypt.

The idols of Egypt

Will tremble at his presence.

The heart of the Egyptians

Will melt within them.

‘I will stir up

Egyptians against Egyptians.

They will fight

One against the other,

Neighbor against neighbor,

City against city,

Kingdom against kingdom.

The spirit of the Egyptians,

Within them,

Will be emptied out.

I will confound their plans.

They will consult

The idols,

The spirits of the dead,

The ghosts,

The mediums,

The wizards,

And the familiar spirits.

I will destroy the Egyptians

Into the hand of a hard master.

A fierce king will rule over them.’

So says the Sovereign,

Yahweh of hosts.”

Isaiah presents an oracle of Yahweh about Egypt. He said that Yahweh was riding high on a cloud as he came to Egypt as the false idols of Egypt trembled. The hearts of the Egyptians began to melt. Then Yahweh said that he was going to stir up fighting among the Egyptians themselves against each other, brother against brother, neighbor against neighbor, city against city, and kingdom against kingdom. They would all lose their spirit. They would be confused. Then they would consult their idols, their dead spirits, their ghosts, their mediums, their wizards, and all kinds of their strange spirits. Yahweh said that he was going to destroy the Egyptians as he was going to hand them over to a fierce king. Clearly Yahweh has spoken.