1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14

Hosea 7 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Hosea 7 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 When I would have healed Israel, then the iniquity of Ephraim was discovered, and the wickedness of Samaria: for they commit falsehood; and the thief cometh in, and the troop of robbers spoileth without.

2 And they consider not in their hearts that I remember all their wickedness: now their own doings have beset them about; they are before my face.

3 They make the king glad with their wickedness, and the princes with their lies.

4 They are all adulterers, as an oven heated by the baker, who ceaseth from raising after he hath kneaded the dough, until it be leavened.

5 In the day of our king the princes have made him sick with bottles of wine; he stretched out his hand with scorners.

6 For they have made ready their heart like an oven, whiles they lie in wait: their baker sleepeth all the night; in the morning it burneth as a flaming fire.

7 They are all hot as an oven, and have devoured their judges; all their kings are fallen: there is none among them that calleth unto me.

8 Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people; Ephraim is a cake not turned.

(7:8-9) It's not clear in the KJV, but "people" and "strangers" are translated as "aliens" and "foreigners" in other versions. This would mean part of the reason for Ephraim's bloody fate is association with other races.
The author of the SAB charge is probably that the Bible teaches here that different bloods, different races, shouldn't mix. He refers to other translations that use the word alien. I couldn't find them (list contains about 20 translations).
But let's examine this novel claim. First of all, it is utterly unclear what other races are meant here, if we read this verse as the author of the SAB does. Nothing specific is mentioned. Is it everyone that's not of Ephraim, so mixing with the other tribes, such as Judah or Benjamin, is forbidden? Or is it forbidden to mix with other races that had Abraham as their father such as the Ishmaelites? It appears that a Moabite could marry an Israelite without a peep (Ruth 4:10), had things changed?
The word translated with ‘people’ is used in many different contexts (it occurs about 2,000 times). The meaning is nation or kinsman. Certainly not alien. The word translated as strangers in the next verse does indeed mean not one's own. I suppose the author of the SAB reads “Strangers have devoured his strength” as: by marrying people of different blood, one's own blood got diluted or something like that. That's a very modern reading, as racism as we understand it was unknown in antiquity. One needs a theory of favoured races to be a modern day racist. But John Gill has a far more sensible explanation:

Strangers have devoured their wealth and riches, fortresses and strong holds: these strangers were either the Syrians, who, in the times of Jehoahaz, destroyed Ephraim or the Israelites, and so weakened them, as to make them like the dust by threshing, 2 Kg. 13:7; or the Assyrians, first under Pul king of Assyria, who came out against Menahem king of Israel, and exacted a tribute of a thousand talents of silver, and so drained them of their treasure, which was their strength, 2 Kg. 15:19; and then under Tiglathpileser, another king of Assyria, who came and took away from them many of their fortified places, and carried the inhabitants captive, 2 Kg. 15:29;

9 Strangers have devoured his strength, and he knoweth it not: yea, gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth not.

10 And the pride of Israel testifieth to his face: and they do not return to the LORD their God, nor seek him for all this.

11 Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart: they call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.

12 When they shall go, I will spread my net upon them; I will bring them down as the fowls of the heaven; I will chastise them, as their congregation hath heard.

13 Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them! because they have transgressed against me: though I have redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against me.

"Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction unto them!"
Fleeing from God means that they had committed all the sins mentioned in this chapter and the previous such as murders (Hos. 6:8), robberies (Hos. 6:9), lying (verse 1) and adultery (verse 4). What should be done to those who murder and steal? Should they be destroyed, or should they be allowed to continue?

14 And they have not cried unto me with their heart, when they howled upon their beds: they assemble themselves for corn and wine, and they rebel against me.

15 Though I have bound and strengthened their arms, yet do they imagine mischief against me.

16 They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

For ignoring God "their princes shall fall by the sword."
Ignoring God is committing robberies and murders, see verse 13.