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Hosea 12:1 [study!]

American Standard Version (ASV 1901) [2]
— Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he continually multiplieth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt.
King James Version (KJV 1769)
— Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.
New American Standard Bible (NASB ©1995)
— Ephraim feeds on wind, And pursues the east wind continually; He multiplies lies and violence. Moreover, he makes a covenant with Assyria, And oil is carried to Egypt.
Webster's Revision of the KJB (WEB 1833)
— Ephraim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily multiplieth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil is carried into Egypt.
Darby's Translation (DBY 1890)
— Ephraim feedeth on wind, and pursueth after the east wind: all day long he multiplieth lies and desolation; and they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried into Egypt.
Rotherham's Emphasized Bible (EBR 1902)
— Ephraim, feedeth on wind, and pursueth the east wind, all the day, falsehood and force, doth he magnify,—and, a covenant with Assyria, would they solemnize, and, oil into Egypt, must be borne along.
Young's Literal Translation (YLT 1898)
— Ephraim is enjoying wind, And is pursuing an east wind, All the day lying and spoiling he multiplieth, And a covenant with Asshur they make, And oil to Egypt is carried.
Douay-Rheims Challoner Revision (DR 1750)
— Ephraim feedeth on the wind, and followeth the burning heat: all the day long he multiplied lies and desolation: and he hath made a covenant with the Assyrians, and carried oil into Egypt.
Original King James Bible (AV 1611) [2]
— Ephraim feedeth on winde, and followeth after the East winde: hee daily increaseth lies and desolation, and they doe make a couenant with the Assyrians, and oyle is caried into Egypt.
Brenton Greek Septuagint (LXX, Restored Names)
— But Ephraim is an evil spirit, he has chased the east wind all the day: he has multiplied empty and vain things, and made a covenant with the Assyrians, and oil has gone in the way of traffic into Mizraim{gr.Egypt}.
Full Hebrew Names / Holy Name KJV (2008) [2] [3]
— Efrayim feedeth on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Ashshurim, and oil is carried into Mitzrayim.

Strong's Numbers & Hebrew NamesHebrew Old TestamentColor-Code/Key Word Studies
Efrayim אֶפרַיִם 669
{0669} Prime
Dual of a masculine form of H0672; double fruit; Ephrajim, a son of Joseph; also the tribe descended from him, and its territory.
feedeth 7462
{7462} Prime
A primitive root; to tend a flock, that is, pasture it; intransitively to graze (literally or figuratively); generally to rule; by extension to associate with (as a friend).
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
on wind, 7307
{7307} Prime
From H7306; wind; by resemblance breath, that is, a sensible (or even violent) exhalation; figuratively life, anger, unsubstantiality; by extension a region of the sky; by resemblance spirit, but only of a rational being (including its expression and functions).
and followeth y7291
[7291] Standard
A primitive root; to run after (usually with hostile intent; figuratively (of time) gone by).
<8802> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Participle Active (See H8814)
Count - 5386
after x7291
(7291) Complement
A primitive root; to run after (usually with hostile intent; figuratively (of time) gone by).
the east wind: 6921
{6921} Prime
From H6923; the fore or front part; hence (by orientation) the East (often adverbially eastward, for brevity the East wind).
he daily 3117
{3117} Prime
From an unused root meaning to be hot; a day (as the warm hours), whether literally (from sunrise to sunset, or from one sunset to the next), or figuratively (a space of time defined by an associated term), (often used adverbially).
(3605) Complement
From H3634; properly the whole; hence all, any or every (in the singular only, but often in a plural sense).
increaseth 7235
{7235} Prime
A primitive root; to increase (in whatever respect).
<8686> Grammar
Stem - Hiphil (See H8818)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 4046
lies 3577
{3577} Prime
From H3576; falsehood; literally (untruth) or figuratively (idol).
and desolation; 7701
{7701} Prime
From H7736; violence, ravage.
and they do make 3772
{3772} Prime
A primitive root; to cut (off, down or asunder); by implication to destroy or consume; specifically to covenant (that is, make an alliance or bargain, originally by cutting flesh and passing between the pieces).
<8799> Grammar
Stem - Qal (See H8851)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 19885
a covenant 1285
{1285} Prime
From H1262 (in the sense of cutting (like H1254)); a compact (because made by passing between pieces of flesh).
with x5973
(5973) Complement
From H6004; adverb or preposition, with (that is, in conjunction with), in varied applications; specifically equally with; often with prepositional prefix (and then usually unrepresented in English).
the Arm אַשּׁוּרִים, 804
{0804} Prime
Apparently from H0833 (in the sense of successful); Ashshur, the second son of Shem; also his descendants and the country occupied by them (that is, Assyria), its region and its empire.
and oil 8081
{8081} Prime
From H8080; grease, especially liquid (as from the olive, often perfumed); figuratively richness.
is carried 2986
{2986} Prime
A primitive root; properly to flow; causatively to bring (especially with pomp).
<8714> Grammar
Stem - Hophal (See H8825)
Mood - Imperfect (See H8811)
Count - 178
into Mixrayim מִצרַיִם. 4714
{4714} Prime
Dual of H4693; Mitsrajim, that is, Upper and Lower Egypt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary

Hosea 12:1

_ _ Hosea 12:1-14. Reproof of Ephraim and Judah: Their father Jacob ought to be a pattern to them.

_ _ This prophecy was delivered about the time of Israel’s seeking the aid of the Egyptian king So, in violation of their covenant with Assyria (see Hosea 12:1). He exhorts them to follow their father Jacob’s persevering prayerfulness, which brought God’s favor upon him. As God is unchangeable, He will show the same favor to Jacob’s posterity as He did to Jacob, if, like him, they seek God.

_ _ feedeth on wind — (Proverbs 15:14; Isaiah 44:20). Followeth after vain objects, such as alliances with idolaters and their idols (compare Hosea 8:7).

_ _ east wind — the simoon, blowing from the desert east of Palestine, which not only does not benefit, but does injury. Israel follows not only things vain, but things pernicious (compare Job 15:2).

_ _ increaseth lies — accumulates lie upon lie, that is, impostures wherewith they deceive themselves, forsaking the truth of God.

_ _ desolationviolent oppressions practiced by Israel [Maurer]. Acts which would prove the cause of Israel’s own desolation [Calvin].

_ _ covenant with ... Assyrians — (Hosea 5:13; Hosea 7:11).

_ _ oil ... into Egypt — as a present from Israel to secure Egypt’s alliance (Isaiah 30:6; Isaiah 57:9; compare 2 Kings 17:4). Palestine was famed for oil (Ezekiel 27:17).

Matthew Henry's Commentary

Hosea 12:1-6

_ _ In these verses,

_ _ I. Ephraim is convicted of folly, in staying himself upon Egypt and Assyria, when he was in straits (Hosea 12:1): Ephraim feeds on wind, that is, feeds himself with vain hopes of assistance from man, when he is at variance with God; and, when he meets with disappointments, he still pursues the same game, and greedily pants and follows after the east wind, which he cannot catch holy of, nor, if he could, would it be nourishing, nay, would be noxious. We say of the wind in the east, It is good neither for man nor beast. It was said (Hosea 8:7), He sows the wind; and as he sows so he reaps (He reaps the whirlwind); and as he reaps so he feeds — He feeds on the wind, the east wind. Note, Those that make creatures their confidence make fools of themselves, and take a great deal of pains to put a cheat upon their own souls and to prepare vexation for themselves: He daily increaseth lies, that is, multiplies his correspondences and leagues with his neighbours, which will all prove deceitful to him; nay, they will prove desolation to him. Those very nations that he makes his refuge will prove his ruin. Those that stay themselves upon lies will be still coveting to increase them, that they may build their hopes firmly upon them; as if many lies twisted together would make one truth, or many broken reeds and rotten supports one sound one, which is a great delusion and will prove to them a great desolation; for those that observe lying vanities the more they increase them the more disappointments they prepare for themselves and the further they run from their own mercies. The men of Ephraim did so when they thought to secure the Assyrians in their interests by a solemn league, signed, sealed, and sworn to: They make a covenant with the Assyrians, but they will find there is no hold of them; that potent prince will be a slave to his word no longer than he pleases. They thought to secure the Egyptians for their confederates by a rich present of the commodities of their country, not only to purchase their favour, but to show that their friendship was worth having: Oil is carried into Egypt. But the Egyptians, when they had got the bribe, dropped the cause, and Ephraim was never the better for them. Oleum perdidit et operamThe oil and the labour are both lost. This was feeding on wind; this was increasing lies and desolation.

_ _ II. Judah is contended with too, and Jacob, which includes both Ephraim and Judah (Hosea 12:2): The Lord has also a controversy with Judah; for though he had a while ago ruled with God, and been faithful with the saints, yet now he begins to degenerate. Or though, in keeping close to the house of David and the house of Aaron, and in them to the covenants of royalty and priesthood, they were so far in the right, in the former they ruled with God and in the latter were faithful to the saints, yet upon other accounts God had a controversy with them, and would punish them. Note, Man's being in the right in some things, in the main things, will not exempt them from correction, and therefore should not exempt them from reproof, for those things wherein they are in the wrong. There were those of the seven churches of Asia whom Christ approved and commended, and yet he adds, Nevertheless I have something against thee. So here; though the seed of Jacob are a people near to God, yet God will punish them according to the evil ways they are found in and the evil doings they are found guilty of; for God sees sin even in his own people, and will reckon with them for it.

_ _ III. Both Ephraim and Judah are put in mind of their father Jacob, whose seed they were and whose name they bore (and it was their honour), of the extraordinary things which he did and which God did for him, that they might be the more ashamed of themselves for degenerating from so illustrious a progenitor and staining the lustre of so great a name, and yet that they might be engaged and encouraged to return to God, the God of their father Jacob, in hopes for his sake to find favour with him. He had called this people Jacob (Hosea 12:2), threatening to punish them; but how shall I give them up? How shall that dear name be forgotten?

_ _ 1. Three glorious things concerning Jacob the person Jacob the people are here put in mind of; but by brief hints only, for it is presumed that they knew the story: — (1.) His struggling with Esau in the womb: There he took his brother by the heel, Hosea 12:3. We have the story Genesis 25:26. It was an early act of bravery, and an effort for the best precedency, a pious ambition for that birthright in the covenant which Esau is justly branded as profane for despising. But his degenerate seed, by mingling with the nations, and making leagues with them, profaned that crown, and laid that honour in the dust, which he so gloriously put in for. Then it was that the dominion was given to him: The elder shall serve the younger. Then he was owned of God as his beloved: Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. But they had by their sin forfeited both the love of God and dominion over their neighbours. (2.) His wrestling with the angel. “Remember how your father Jacob had power with God by his own strength, the strength he had by the gift of God, who pleaded not against him by his great power, but put strength into him,Job 22:6. The angel he wrestled with is called God, and therefore is supposed to be the Son of God, the angel of the covenant. “God was both a combatant with Jacob and an assistant of him, showing, in the latter respect, greater strength than in the former, fighting as it were against him with his left hand and for him with his right, and to that putting greater force.” So, Dr. Pocock. The providence of God fought against him when he met with one danger after another, in his return homewards; but the grace of God enabled him to go on cheerfully in his way, and, when his faith acted upon the divine promise that was for him prevailed above his fears that arose from the divine providences that wee against him, then by his strength he had power with God. But it refers especially to his prayer for deliverance from Esau, and for a blessing: He had power over the angel and prevailed, for he wept and made supplication. Here was a mixture of the greatest courage and the greatest tenderness, Jacob wrestling like a champion and yet weeping like a child. Note, Prayers and tears are the weapons with which the saints have obtained the most glorious victories. Thus Jacob commenced Israela prince with God; his posterity was called Israel, but they were unworthy the name, for they had forfeited and lost their communion with God, and their interest in him, by revolting from their duty to him. (3.) His meeting with God at Bethel: God found him in Bethel, and there he spoke with us. God found him the first time in Bethel, as he went to Padanaram (Genesis 28:10), and a second time after his return, Genesis 35:9, etc. It is probable that this refers to both; for in both God spoke to Jacob, and renewed the covenant with him, and the prophet might very well say, There he spoke with us who are the seed of Jacob, for both times that God spoke with Jacob at Bethel he spoke with him concerning his seed. Genesis 28:14, Thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth; and Genesis 35:12, This land I will give unto thy seed. Thus God then covenanted with him and his seed after him. Now justly are they upbraided with this; for in that very place which their father Jacob called Bethelthe house of God, in remembrance of the communion he there had with God, did they set up one of the calves, and worship it; thus they turned that Bethel into a Beth-aven — a house of iniquity. There God spoke with them exceedingly great and precious promises, which they had despised and lost the benefit of.

_ _ 2. Two inferences are here drawn from these stories concerning Jacob, for instruction to his seed: —

_ _ (1.) Here is a use of information. From what passed between God and Jacob we may learn that Jehovah, the Lord God of hosts, is the God of Israel; he was the God of Jacob, and this is his memorial throughout all the generations of the seed of Jacob (Hosea 12:5) — the more shame for those who forgot the memorial of their church, deserted the God of their fathers, and exchanged a Lord of hosts for Baalim. Note, Those only are accounted the people of God that keep up a memorial of God, such a memorial of him as he himself has instituted, by which he makes himself known and will have us to remember him. Here are two memorials of his, by which he is distinguished from all others, and is to be acknowledged and adored by us. [1.] The former denotes his existence of himself. He is Jehovah, much the same with I AM, the same that was, and is, and is to come, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable. Jehovah is his memorial, his peculiar name. [2.] The latter denotes his dominion over all: He is the God of hosts, that has all the hosts of heaven and earth at his beck and command, and makes what use he pleases of them. Jacob saw Mahanaim — God's two hosts, about the time that he wrestled with the angel (Genesis 32:1, Genesis 32:2), and so learned to call God the God of hosts, and transmitted it to us as his memorial. God's names, titles, and attributes, are the memorials of him; there is no need for images to be such. And that which was a revelation of God to one is his memorial to many, to all generations.

_ _ (2.) Here is a use of exhortation, Hosea 12:6. “Is this so, that Jacob thy father had this communion with the Lord God of hosts, and is this still his memorial?” Then, [1.] Let those that have gone astray from God be converted to him: Therefore turn thou to thy God. He that was the God of Jacob is the God of Israel, is thy God; from him thou hast unjustly and unkindly revolted; therefore turn thou to him by repentance and faith, turn to him as thine, to love him, obey him, and depend upon him. [2.] Let those that are converted to him walk with him in all holy conversation and godliness: “Keep mercy and judgment, mercy in relieving and succouring the poor and distressed, judgment in rendering to all their due; be kind to all; do wrong to none. Keep piety and judgment” (so it may be read); “live righteously and godly in this present world; be devout and be honest. Do not only practise these occasionally, but be careful, and constant, and conscientious in the practice of them.” [3.] Let those that walk with God be encouraged to live a life of dependence upon him: “Wait on thy God continually, with a believing expectation to receive from him all the succours and supplies thou standest in need of.” Those that live a life of conformity to God may live a life of confidence and comfort in him, if it be not their own fault. Let our eyes be ever towards the Lord, and let us preserve a holy security and serenity of mind under the protection of the divine power and the influence of the divine favour, looking, without anxiety, for a dubious event, and by faith keeping our spirits sedate and even; this is waiting on God as our God in covenant, and this we must do continually.

John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Hosea 12:1

Feedeth on wind — It is a proverbial speech; denoting his supporting himself with hopes, as unfit to sustain him as the wind is to feed us. Increaseth lies — By making new leagues, and fortifying himself with them, against the menaces of God by his prophets. Desolation — Which will only hasten and increase his desolation. Oil — Not common oil for trade, but rich and precious oils, to procure friendship there too.

Geneva Bible Translation Notes

Hosea 12:1

Ephraim feedeth (a) on wind, and followeth after the east wind: he daily increaseth lies and desolation; and they do make a covenant with the Assyrians, and (b) oil is carried into Egypt.

(a) That is, flatters himself with vain confidence.

(b) Meaning presents to get friendship.

Cross-Reference Topical ResearchStrong's Concordance

Hosea 8:7 For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.
Job 15:2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Jeremiah 22:22 The wind shall eat up all thy pastors, and thy lovers shall go into captivity: surely then shalt thou be ashamed and confounded for all thy wickedness.

he daily:

Hosea 11:12 Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.

and they:

Hosea 5:13 When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah [saw] his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound.
2 Kings 15:19 [And] Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.
2 Kings 17:4-6 And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as [he had done] year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. ... In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor [by] the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
Isaiah 30:6-7 The burden of the beasts of the south: into the land of trouble and anguish, from whence [come] the young and old lion, the viper and fiery flying serpent, they will carry their riches upon the shoulders of young asses, and their treasures upon the bunches of camels, to a people [that] shall not profit [them]. ... For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength [is] to sit still.
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