...the blood guilt that is presently manifest upon the lands of many western democracies due to the mass murder of pre-born human beings is palpable, and it remains that only the blood of those who shed it can cover it (Num. 35:33), except where those who have committed these crimes truly confess, and repent of them and accept the blood of Yeshua as ransom for their heinous acts.
A Supplementary Note:
Throughout my commentary I refer to the attributes of mercy and justice as they relate to the Names of God YHVH and Elohim. Some have asked where this understanding comes from. The following is a brief explanation.
In Jewish tradition it is written:
"The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to those, You want to know my name? I am called according to my actions. When I judge the creatures I am Elohim, and when I have mercy with My world, I am named YHWH" (Exodus Rabbah 3:6).
In Scripture Elohim is the Name given for God as the Creator & Judge of the universe (Gen 1:1-2:4a) and implies strength, power, rule, and justice, whereas YHVH, expresses the idea of God's closeness to humans. For example, YHVH "breathed into his (Adam's) nostrils the breath of life" (Genesis 2:7). Closeness to humanity only continues in the sin affected world and beyond through YHVH's mercy.
Therefore, we say “YHVH Elohim, our Merciful Judge”.
As is the case with all of Hebrew Scripture, there are no chapter breaks in the scroll of the 12 Prophets in which Hosea is located. It’s important to see the text of this chapter as a continuation of the previous chapter:
“Ephraim turns back from Me with lies and with deceit the house of Israel; and Judah continues to rule with God, and with the holy ones is faithful.
1  Efrayim (doubly fruitful) roeh feeds ruach a wind, breath, spirit verodeif and follows kadiym the east wind, breath, spirit; kol all hayom the day kazav deception vashod and destruction yarbeh increase. uveriyt and a covenant im-Ashur (a step) with Assyria yichrotu they have cut, veshemen and oil lemitzrayim to Egypt (double distress) yuval is carried.
“Efrayim feeds a wind, breath, spirit and follows the east wind, breath, spirit;”
The Hebrew text doesn’t say “feeds on a wind” but “feeds a wind”. This is supported by the Aramaic Targum:
“the house of Israel are like to one that sows the wind, and reaps the whirlwind all the day;” -Targum Yonatan
Ephraim, the northern kingship and its dominion “feeds a wind, breath, spirit” among the tribes of the north that is the fruit of following “the east wind, breath, spirit” of the Assyrians.
Both striving after and releasing wind are Biblical metaphors for futility (Ecclesiastes 1:14; Job 15:2). The particular wind being sown by Ephraim is one of idolatry (the calf idols etc.) Rashi notes that “roeh” (feed) is an expression of “reia” (friend) and that this infers a friendship with false gods.
“joins the wind Heb. רֹעֵה. An expression of רֵעַ, a friend. He joins words of the wind, viz. idolatry.” -Rashi
The “east wind” is used as a metaphor for false knowledge (Job 15:2), imminent onslaught (Isaiah 27:21), a scattering force (Jeremiah 18:17), it is a wind of discipline wielded by YHVH for the purpose of returning His people to Himself.
Alternatively or jointly, the two types of wind alluded to may represent Egypt (2 Kings 17:4; Isaiah 30:6-7) and Assyria (Hosea 5:13, 7:11, 8:9; 2 Kings 17:3), the two powers with whom the northern kings sought to solidify their political position in the volatile region (The northern kings in question being Menahem, Pul, and Hoshea, who sought help from Shalmaneser of Assyria in order to assist them against their enemies, and to strengthen their kingdom [2 Kings 15:19]).
The ever changing nature of wind is also a factor here. With the exception of the Wind of God’s Spirit, winds are constantly shifting and changing and are therefore not a firm foundation on which to establish the direction of the nation.
“all the day deception and destruction increase.”
“He is forever adding Illusion to calamity.” -Sefaria English Version
The phrase “all the day” infers perpetual consequence. “Deception and destruction” increase as the fruit of Ephraim’s pursuit of foreign powers and false gods.
“Ephraim is a shepherd of wind and vanity in matters of faith, and all day long he lies and demons abound in the words spoken between a man and his friend,” -Malbim
“and a covenant with Assyria they have cut, and oil to Egypt is carried.”
“and they carried gifts to Egypt;” -Targum Yonatan
The kings of the north have “cut” a covenant in blood with the Assyrians in order to get a “step up” (Ashur). This symbolizes their embracing both the spirituality and the political strength of the Assyrian Empire. They have also carried “oil” (abundance, fat of the land) to Egypt, symbolising their attempts to use the abundance attributed to false gods as a means of purchasing political security. At that time these foreign powers were at war with one another for control of the east. Therefore, the kings of the north were playing both sides off against one another and would reap the dire consequences.
Ultimately, regardless of the political intrigue, Ephraim was seeking provision, protection and security from powers other than YHVH. In each instance they were practicing idolatry, in both its religious and secular forms.
2  Veriyv And a dispute laYHVH has the Lord (Mercy) im-Y’hudah with Judah (praise), velifkod and will appoint punishment al-Yaakov upon Jacob (follower) kema’alalayv for his deeds yashiv lo will return to him.
The southern kingdom is also put on notice. HaShem is bringing an indictment (ref. 4:1) against Judah and will establish punishment for all Israel, both Ephraim and Judah (ref. 10:11). Thus “upon Jacob”. The deeds of all the tribes will come back on them. They have sown a wind and will reap a whirlwind.
3  Babeten In the womb akav by the heel et-achiyv he grasped his brother, uveono and in his vigorous strength sarah he contended et-Elohiym with God/the Judge.
“prophet, say unto them, was it not said of Jacob, before he was born, that he would be greater than his brother?” -Targum Yonatan
The birth and life of Jacob, from whom all the tribes of Israel are descended (a chosen, ethno-religious people), is used as a mashal (teaching parable) by the prophet. It is as if HaShem were saying, “remember when you grasped after the right of the first born? (Gen. 25:25) And when as an adult you wrestled with My messenger (a man “iysh” Gen. 32:22-32), and I blessed you so that you overcame in Me “Yisrael” (yisra-overcome, El-God).
It is utter nonsense to say that Jacob is being referenced here as a deceiver by nature, something predicated on a misrepresentation of Jacob’s name propagated by far too many Christian theologians. One popular Christian commentary says “In their deceitfulness, Israel and Judah were living up to the name of their forefather…” If only they had been, for the name Jacob means “to grasp after, to follow”, it does not mean “deceiver”, a lie all too often promoted by the ignorant. Note that Radak rightly interprets the meaning of Jacob’s name:
“In the womb he (Jacob) followed his brother as it is said ‘and his hand held the heel of Esau’ and it was a great miracle that the foetus while in the womb having no strength or ability in even one of its limbs to achieve this, and the placenta would surely have ruptured and caught him in the heel of the other foetus, (and yet he wast able to do so) it is a great wonder…” -Radak on Hosea 12:3 
Further, Rashi rightly identifies God’s hand in promoting the position of Jacob over Esau, not through deceit but as a result of Divine intervention.
“In the womb, he seized his brother’s heel All this I did for him, he held him by the heel, as a sign that he would be a master over him.” -Rashi
We note that as a man Jacob, here symbolic of all Israel, wrestled with God as Judge. That is the point here, God has come to apostate Israel as Judge in order to reconcile her to Himself through discipline and t’shuvah (repentance, returning). In short, when Israel (Jacob) stops fighting against God and instead takes hold of Him and asks Him to bless and transform her, she, like her namesake and progenitor Jacob, will come into the fullness of her name “one who overcomes in God” (Israel).
4  Vayasar and he wrestled el-malach with a messenger (angel) vayuchal and attained; bachah he wept vayitchanen-lo and begged His favour. Beiyt-Eil At Bethel (house of God) yimtzaenu He found him, vesham and there yedabeir He spoke imanu with us,
“and he wrestled with a messenger and attained;”
Continuing the story of Jacob the finer details of his wrestling with God’s Messenger are affirmed. Jacob wrestled with a Messenger (Angel) [Hosea 12:4 (5)] who is also a Man (iysh) [Gen. 32:24]. The common misconception among English readers is that “angel” inherently denotes a noncorporeal supernatural or spiritual being with wings. While this is sometimes the case, it is not always the case. In some instances the Hebrew “malakh” refers to a human messenger, (the name of the prophet Malachi is from the root malakh and means “My messenger”) in others a supernatural messenger and in the present case, it refers to Imanu El (God with us), both man and supernatural being, at once both corporeal and noncorporeal. Therefore, we don’t ask “Did Jacob wrestle a man or an angel?” Rather we accept that he wrestled an individual Who is both a Man (the last Adam) and a Messenger (HaMalakh HaShem), God with us, Yeshua the resurrected and transcendent King Messiah.
“he wept and begged His favour.”
This refers to Jacob. It cannot refer to the Messenger/Angel as is suggested by the Jewish commentators Rashi, Yarchi and Kimkhi, along with numerous Christian theologians. In the account of Genesis 32 the only one who makes petition (begging) is Jacob, and the only one capable of bestowing favour is the Messenger (man) with Whom Jacob wrestles. Therefore, according to the Biblical text it is Jacob who “wept and begged His (the Man’s) favour”.
“25 So Jacob remained all by himself. Then a man wrestled with him until the break of dawn. [a] 26 When He saw that He had not overcome him, He struck the socket of his hip, so He dislocated the socket of Jacob’s hip when He wrestled with him. 27 Then He said, “Let Me go, for the dawn has broken.”
But he said, “I won’t let You go unless You bless me.”
28 Then He said to him, “What is your name?”
“Jacob,” he said.
29 Then He said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but rather Israel, for you have struggled with God and with men, and you have overcome.”
30 Then Jacob asked and said, “Please tell me Your name.”
But He said, “What’s this—you are asking My name?” Then He blessed him there.
31 So Jacob named the place Peniel, “for I’ve seen God face to face, and my life has been spared.”
32 Now the sun rose upon him just as he crossed by Peniel—limping because of his hip.” -Genesis 32:25-32 TLV
“At Bethel (house of God) He found him, and there He spoke with us,”
God is the nearest subject as the Messenger Who wrestled with Jacob. Therefore, we understand from this verse that God, as Messenger, not only wrestled with Jacob but is also the One who found Jacob at Bethel (Gen. 28:10-22), and that at that time, God spoke not only to the individual Jacob but also to all his progeny through him. This is why the text says “He (YHVH, as Messenger) spoke to us”.
Of this same Messenger/Angel, not a created being but that person of the all existing God Imanu El, Jacob says:
“The Messenger/Angel which redeemed me from all evil, bless the boys; and let my name be named on them, and the name of my fathers Abraham and Isaac; and let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth.” -Genesis 48:16
Note “which redeemed me from ALL evil”. Jacob understood that the Messenger/Angel of YHVH had not simply delivered him from Esau but had redeemed him from the wages of sin.
In summation, YHVH entered time and space to offer Jacob and his descendants blessing and deliverance from evil, speaking to all the generations of Jacob through His deliverer the King Messiah Yeshua (resurrected and transcendent [not pre-incarnate!]), the Malakh (messenger), Iysh (man), Imanu El (God with us).
5  VaYHVH And the Lord (Mercy), Eloheiy God hatzevaot the One Who goes warring, YHVH (Mercy) The Lord zichro is His remembrance (memorial, Name).
The nearest subject is the Messenger/Angel of the LORD Who spoke to all Israel through Jacob with whom He wrestled. Therefore, the Name/Memorial of the Messenger Who wrestled with Jacob is Eloheiy HaTzevaot God the One Who goes warring [God of the Hosts of the heavens]. We note that the usual designation YHVH Tzevaot is rendered differently here as Eloheiy HaTzevaot. This is because the Messenger Who is the Person of God manifest within time and space, is subject to the fullness of God Who is outside all things, thus the Messenger is called Eloheiy (Ruler, Judge, God) Who is the Person of YHVH with us.
However, the Messenger is also definitively YHVH, as the text says “YHVH is His Remembrance/Name.” This of course refers to the Messenger Yeshua the King Messiah, Imanu El God with us. It is interesting that elsewhere it appears that other than Hosea only the prophet Amos, a contemporary of Hosea uses the formula “Eloheiy Tzevaot” (Amos 3:13; 6:14; 9:5), and thus denotes that the speaker Who has imparted his words of prophecy is the Messenger/Angel of YHVH (Yeshua). This makes cohesive sense in light of the fact that almost every prophet is introduced to us as one to whom HaDavar YHVH the Word of the LORD has come (ref. John 1:1).
6  Veatah And you, beiloheycha in your God tashuv return to, chesed kindness, faithfulness, practical love umishpat and justice, shemor guard, keep, observe, vekaveh and wait, looking with hopeful expectation el-Eloheycha for your God tamiyd continually.
These words are spoken to all Israel (Jacob).
Based on the recollection of the Messenger of YHVH, Who has been with Israel from the beginning, it is Jacob (All Israel) who is now challenged to return in God to the practice of God’s character. Note that “In God” precedes the “return to kindness, faithfulness, practical love and justice…” all these being the practice of attributes of the Creator.
In God and having returned to right action, Jacob is then instructed to guard what he has been given and to look with hopeful expectation for the deliverance of his God, and not to cease looking, hoping, expecting. For if Jacob (Israel) will confess his sin HaShem is faithful and just to forgive Jacob (Israel) his sin and cleanse him from all unrighteousness.
Another contemporary of Hosea writes:
“For thus says the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest you will be saved; in quietness and in confidence will be your strength: and you would not.” -Isaiah 30:15
7  Kena’an A merchant (Canaanite), beyado in his hands mozneiy are scales mirmah of deceit, la’ashok aheiv he loves to oppress.
This verse opens with a wordplay (kena’an = merchant, khena’an = Canaan/Canaanite) that makes a correlation between Israel (named in the following verse as Ephraim, the northern kings and their dominion) and the Canaanite people of the land whom they had been tasked to remove because of their vile and idolatrous practices. Thus, in one sense, God is accusing Israel of being as vile as the Canaanites whom they had been tasked to remove from the land. And in another sense they are wicked merchants who use illusion to scam others out of their money, people who delight in oppressing others to the point of loving it (not unlike the practices of many producers, retailers, and advertisers today). The indictment is just, because Israel has literally adopted the false gods and the vile practices of the inhabitants of the land rather than imparting the light of God’s Torah (Instruction) to those same peoples.
“Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them away from [a]you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to take possession of this land.’ Rather, it is because of the [b]wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5 It is not because of your righteousness or the uprightness of your heart that you are going in to take possession of their land, [c]but it is because of the [d]wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out from before you, and in order to confirm the [e]oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” -Deuteronomy 9:4-5 NASB
9 “When you enter the land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to [f]imitate the detestable things of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, a soothsayer, one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, 11 or one who casts a spell, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who consults the dead. 12 For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord; and because of these detestable things the Lord your God is going to drive them out before you. 13 You are to be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 For these nations, which you are going to dispossess, listen to soothsayers and diviners, but as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do so.” -Deuteronomy 18:9-14 NASB
8  Vayomer Efrayim And Ephraim said, “Ach Surely ashartiy I have become wealthy, matzatiy I have attained on liy vigour for myself; kol-yegiyay in all my toil lo yimtzeu-liy they will find no avon iniquity in me, asher-cheit which is sin.”
So great is the evil lifestyle of the northern kingdom that upon the foundation of self-provision and self-worship they have built with the straw of self-delusion. Though they were filthy with perverse iniquity they claim that there is no evidence of wicked practices nor fruit of sin in them. Self-sufficiency is manifest idolatry, and leads to self-destruction (cf. Hosea 10:13; Dt. 32:15-18).
Ephraim speaks the heart of the deceitful merchant, “There’s nothing wrong with my practices”. The secular world makes the same claim today, and sadly, so does a large portion of the wider body of believers. We dilute God’s word and claim righteousness while practicing wickedness.
“Such is the way of an adulterous woman; that she eats, and wipes her mouth, and says, I have done no wickedness.” -Proverbs 30:20
“Surely I have become rich Now why should I worship the Holy One, blessed be He?” -Rashi
“And Ephraim said: Surely I have become rich; I have found a deed for myself.” Jeroboam son of Nebat, who was of the tribe of Ephraim, boasts and declares: Surely I have become rich, I have found a deed for myself, one deed, that all Israel are my slaves, for my father acquired them, as it is written: And his brothers too went and fell before him, and said: Behold we are your slaves. And whatever a slave acquires belongs to his master. Hence, all their property is mine. Therefore, I have no sin if I take all that is theirs, for they are my slaves. What is written after this? And I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt. The greatness that came to your father in Egypt was from Me. Said the Holy One, blessed be He. ‘Behold we are your slaves,’ you have not forgotten, but ‘I am the Lord your God,’ which was stated in the Decalogue, you have forgotten, for you have erected two calves, one in Bethel and one in Dan. And according to the simple meaning of the verse, you say, “I have found power for myself through oppression and deceitful scales.” And I am the Lord your God from the land of Egypt. There I distinguished between a droplet [of seed] of a firstborn and a droplet which was not of a firstborn. I also know and exact retribution from deceitful scales made without understanding and from one who hides his weights in salt in order to deceive.” -Rashi
9  Veanochiy And I am YHVH (Mercy) the Lord Eloheycha your God mei’eretz from the land mitzrayim of Egypt (double distress); od again oshiyvecha I will make you dwell vo’ohaliym in tents kiymeiy like the days of moeid an appointed time (festival).
Continuing the admonishment to think back to her humble beginnings (cf. Hosea 2:14-15, 13:4; Exodus 20:2), God reminds Israel that He is from before the beginning and was with her in her beginnings as Deliverer. He further reminds her of her disobedience which resulted in her dwelling in tents for forty years by way of discipline. What He is pointing back to He is also pointing forward to, a time of wandering and bondage born of her sin. Concisely put He is explaining to His wayward children that He continues to love them and seek to deliver them while disciplining them for their good, and that due to their rejection of His help and their wilful sin, suffering awaits.
“I will make you dwell in tents like the days of an appointed time (festival).”
The connection to dwelling in tents (temporary dwellings, sukkot) infers that a specific appointed time is being referenced, that being Sukkot (Festival of Booths) [Lev. 23:42-44]. The “days of an appointed time” more generally refers to the time of Israel’s desert wandering when the greatest of Israel’s prophets Moses first spoke to them and the prophets that followed walked in the same Spirit.
While prophesying discipline, this is also a promise of future restoration in the Messianic age, a reminder that just as God once manifestly dwelled with us while we lived in tents in the desert (the Cloud of the presence which dwelt in the Holy of holies in the mishkan [tent of meeting]), He will one day dwell with us eternally.
“And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall surely go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD Who goes warring, and to keep the festival of Sukkot.” -Zechariah 14:16
10  Vedibartiy And I have spoken al-haneviyiym upon the prophets, veanochiy and I chazon hirbeiytiy multiplied visions, uveyad and in the hand of haneviyiym the prophets adameh I used likenesses, comparisons, parables [alt. I appeared as likenesses].
Not only did YHVH speak through His prophets, He spoke upon them, with them, in them, around them. He spoke prolifically to His people the warnings intended to bring about repentance. He gave ample warning and is just in punishing them unto repentance (ref. Hosea 6:5; Amos 2:11, Heb. 1:1).
“In the hand of the prophets I used likenesses, comparisons, parables”
The hand denotes strength and the practice of carrying.
We note that the Hebrew “adameh” only figuratively alludes to parables. More literally it means “likeness, similitude”, which is why Rashi understands the text to say “I appeared to them in many likenesses”. This correlates to the previous verses concerning the Malakh (Angel, Messenger, Man).
God speaks common parables in the mouths of His prophets, using storys and metaphors that reflect the spiritual principles at work in everyday life. Likewise Yeshua spoke in parables using common elements to convey eternal truth (Numbers 12:6-8; Amos 1:1; 2 Sam. 12:1-4; Ps. 78:2; Isa. 5:1-7; Eze. 17:2, 24:3; Matt. 13:10-14). The message of redemption is spoken simply and clearly to all, so that all might be given the opportunity to receive God’s redemptive love.
“and to the prophets I assumed likenesses I appeared to them in many likenesses. Another explanation. I gave My words likenesses to them through allegories in order to make them comprehensible to their listeners.” -Rashi
11  Im-Gilead With Gilead (rocky region: witness heap) aven there is wickedness, ach-shav hayu they also have become worthless. BaGilgal In Gilgal (rolling wheel) shevariym zibeichu they slaughter (sacrifice) bulls, gam also, mizbechotam their altars kegaliym are like stone heaps, al talmeiy upon the furrows of shaday a field.
Gilead was invaded by the Assyrians between 734 and 732 BCE (2 Kings 15:29).
“Gilead” meaning “witness heap” testifies as a witness against its own vile sin.
The city Gilead in Gad (territory of the tribe of Gad) was the capital of the wider region of Gilead. The wider region covered area near and beyond the Jordan river, and was inhabited by Gad, Reuben, and the half tribe of Manasseh; and thus belonged to the ten tribes of the north.
The city of Gilead is thought to be Ramot-Gilead, a city of refuge inhabited by priests, both apostate and Levite. This made the sin of the city even more deplorable given that the priests and Levites had knowledge of the Torah but had clearly not properly conveyed that knowledge to the wider community.
While the wickedness alluded to can refer to murder and idolatrous sacrifices, it can also denote bloodguilt brought on the city by the misapplication of the law of refuge. It may be that murderers guilty of premeditated murder were being given refuge contrary to the law, or that those guilty of accidental killing were being given over to the avenger of blood rather than being protected by the city of refuge in accordance with Torah law*.
*The Bible names the six cities as being cities of refuge: Golan, Ramot-Gilead and Bosor, on the east of the Jordan river (Left bank) [Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8], and Kedesh, Shechem, and Hebron on the west bank of the Jordan river [Joshua 20:7].
Ref. Hosea 6:8-9 and notes.
“BaGilgal In Gilgal (rolling wheel) shevariym zibeichu they slaughter (sacrifice) bulls, gam also, mizbechotam their altars kegaliym are like stone heaps (that cover the dead), al talmeiy upon the furrows of shaday a field.”
There is a wordplay here using Gilgal and galiym (heaps, piles). The residents of Gilgal will see their altars so utterly destroyed that the stones of those altars will be scattered and will be picked up from the fields before ploughing and placed in piles.
"they have multiplied their altars, like heaps upon the borders of the fields;'' -Targum Yonatan
The Targum understands the piles of stones as being those picked from fields before ploughing and oiled at the edges.
The stone heaps may also be an allusion to stones piled over the dead. Ancient Jewish interment consisted not of burial beneath the ground but of tombs and or stones piled over the body above ground. Thus, the inference would be that the altars of these supposed gods of fertility and life would end up being broken apart and used as covering for dead bodies. Therefore, the false fertility gods of life are seen for what they are, dead gods, not gods at all.
The Gilgal mentioned here is connected to the wickedness of Gilead and is therefore likely to be the more northern location (Joshua 6:11) rather than the town bordering the territory of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 15:7; 18:17).
“Gilgal” is thought to be the same as Gibeath-haaraloth, the location where Joshua renewed the covenant of circumcision (Joshua 5:3), following which the Passover was celebrated for the first time in the promised land (5:10). It was to Gilgal that the ark of the covenant was returned each day after the children of Israel paraded it around Jericho (Joshua 6:11). It’s where the Gibeonites made their treaty with Israel (9:3).
Samuel the prophet made Gilgal one of the three places where he held circuit court (1 Samuel 7:14).It was at Gilgal that Samuel killed Agag the king of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 15:33).
Saul was both crowned and rejected as king at Gilgal (1 Samuel 11:14, 15).
Both Hosea and Amos refer to Gilgal as a centre for idolatry (Hosea 4:15; 9:15; 12:11; Amos 4:4; 5:5).
Elisha made Gilgal his headquarters for a time (2 Kings 2:1; 4:38). Gilgal also known as Beit Gilgal (Nehemiah 12:29).
Speaking of Gilgal Rashi says:
“There they worshipped idols to a great extent (on high places, absent in mss.). Since the Mishkan (Tent of meeting) was there first, the prophets of Baal would tell them that was a choice site, and it belonged to the kings of Israel.” -Rashi on Hosea 9:15
12  Vayivrach Yaakov And Jacob was driven away sedeih aram to the country of Aram (Arameans/Assyrians), vaya’avod and served Yisrael beishah for a wife, uveishah and for a wife shamar he kept, guarded, observed sheep.
Stepping back further God reminds Israel that her forebear and namesake Jacob served two lots of seven years for his wife Rachel after fleeing Esau and running to Paddan Aram, where he had become Laban’s herdsman (Gen. 28 through 31). Likewise YHVH had served as Shepherd over Israel, making her His wife. Jacob’s fleeing to Aram is also prophetic of the exile that is about to come upon the northern tribes (Assyrian exile) and subsequently also upon Judah and Benjamin (Babylonian exile), and exile of 70 years, a number representing fullness multiplied and a number connected to the nations of the earth.
13  Uvenaviy And in a prophet he’elah YHVH (Mercy) the Lord brought Yisrael up mimitzrayim from Egypt (double distress), uvenaviy and in a prophet nishmar he was kept, guarded, protected, observed.
The prophet is Moses (Nu. 12:6-8; Deut. 18:15, 34:10), who spoke of the future Prophet of prophets, the King Messiah (Heb.1):
“15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your countrymen; to him you shall listen. 16 This is in accordance with everything that you asked of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, saying, ‘Do not let me hear the voice of the Lord my God again, and do not let me see this great fire anymore, or I will die!’ 17 And the Lord said to me, ‘They have [g]spoken well. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them everything that I command him. 19 And it shall come about that whoever does not listen to My words which he speaks in My name, I Myself will [h]require it of him.” -Deuteronomy 18:15-19 NASB
Additionally, because “the Prophet” Moses spoke of is all existing (Yeshua, HaMalakh, The Angel/Messenger), and because Yeshua was present, in His resurrected, transcendent form as HaMalakh HaShem in the cloud that lead Israel out of Egypt and brought her to the promised land, we could understand the prophet who guarded Israel (in the later clause of this verse) to be Yeshua Himself, the King Messiah.
14  Hichiys Efrayim tamruriym Ephraim has provoked bitter anger; vedamayv and his blood alayv yitush will be left upon him, vecherpato yashiv lo Adonayv and his scorn Adonai will return to him.
“the fault of innocent blood which he shed shall return upon him:'' -Targum Yonatan
The Northern kings and their dominion had provoked God to anger by their many vile acts of idolatry, adultery, murder, and countless other heinous immoralities (Hosea 1:4, 4:2, 5:2, 6:8). The former verses consistently cite idolatry (spiritual adultery) as the primary sin of the north. Thus, HaShem is provoked in the same way a husband is provoked by a perpetually cheating wife (which is how Hosea’s scroll began).
“his blood will be left upon him and his scorn Adonai will return to him” is an allusion to blood guilt incurred through the murder of innocents.
“So you shall not defile the land in which you live; for blood defiles the land, and no atonement can be made for the land for the blood that is shed on it, except by the blood of the one who shed it.” -Numbers 35:33 NASB
The Scripture also teaches that:
“Like a fluttering sparrow or a darting swallow,
an undeserved curse cannot land.” -Proverbs 26:2
The people of the north had uttered curses through blood oaths to false gods and would receive back upon themselves that which they had been wishing upon others. Because an undeserved curse cannot land it returns to the one who spoke it. This is a dire warning to all who utter foolish curses. The right response to a realisation that we have acted in folly by way of cursing is to confess, repent and receive deliverance from God through the shed blood of Yeshua which releases us from curse. Further illuminating the teaching of Yeshua (Luke 6:28), Rav Shaul reminds us that except where God commands curse, we should bless and not curse (Romans 12:14-21).
Rashi makes an insightful drash (comparative teaching) on this verse:
“yea, bitterness (Heb. תַּמְרוּרִים,) they are to him for his blood which he shed by causing Israel to sin by clinging to idolatryand one who causes a person to sin is worse to him than one who kills him, as we learn from Ammon and Moab, who misled Israel to cling to Baal-Peor, and Scripture punished them more severely than an Egyptian and an Edomite, who drowned them in the river and went forth toward them with the sword...” -Rashi
We must be careful to understand blood guilt in a modern context. For example, medical techniques including some (not all) vaccinations and medications, utilize cultures grown in labs, originating from the cells of aborted foetuses. Therefore, even though the cultures are not technically cell tissue from the aborted foetuses they originate from, they are nonetheless indirectly connected to the murder of those preborn human beings.
Abortion (not miscarriage, nor a medical procedure that is necessary to save a mother’s life, but in all other cases) is infanticide/murder. Therefore, those who chose it, perform it, and those who use the tissue of the foetus for other purposes, bear the blood guilt associated to murder, as does the land upon which the abortion (murder) was committed.
The only exception is where the commandment for taking the life of a murderer in order to remove the blood guilt attached to the land, is contradicted by the Torah instruction to guard life. In which case the blood guilt is offset by the honouring of innocent life in the application of the medical technique or medication.
Nonetheless, the blood guilt that is presently manifest upon the lands of many western democracies due to the mass murder of preborn human beings is palpable, and it remains that only the blood of those who shed it can cover it (Num. 35:33), except where those who have committed these crimes truly confess, and repent of them and accept the blood of Yeshua as ransom for their heinous acts.
© 2021 Yaakov Brown
Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,