A bit of a confusing chapter as Israel, the nation, is personified (“he” did this or that) and referred to metaphorically as Jacob and Ephraim. Too many names!
It’s tracing the history of Israel to give an ultimately hopeful message, but one that includes due punishment for their deceit, and requires their repentance.
They are compared to Jacob, who did always strike me as a morally ambiguous patriarch. There is the story of him cheating Esau out of his inheritance. And his favouritism of Joseph (…Or was it his prophetic awareness of Joseph’s significance?).
And Jacob was the reason Israel wound up in Egypt in the first place, before Moses led them out.
There are abiding images of him wrestling all night with the angel of God, and having the vision of the staircase that led to God, and there receiving promises of blessings.
Israel in Hosea’s time can also be a blessed deceiver, but only by being sent away, repenting and being bought back, a pattern built into the founding of their nation. It’s unfair, from a few different perspectives, but so is all grace.
Never beyond the reach of grace, always a good time to repent.
Amen to that, as I enter day whatever of lockdown. Daisy out of quarantine today. She can leave her room properly now.