Hos 9.1-17 is a discourse to the ten tribes telling them not to rejoice in their present prosperity because punishment for their sins is coming. The temporal blessings they wanted from their idols were not going to happen.
1…Do not rejoice, O Israel, with exultation like the nations (as other people)! For you have played the harlot (in idolatry), forsaking your God. You have loved rewards on every threshing floor (what he expected from the idol for his worship-an abundant harvest).
v 2…Threshing floor and wine press will not feed them, and new wine will fail them (they will be disappointed when the harvest comes in).
v 3…They will not remain in the land (it happened with the Canaanites and now it is going to happen to them), but Ephraim will return to Egypt (prophetically Europe), and in Assyria (prophetically Russia) they will eat unclean (some of the ten tribes will flee there when Assyria came, giving meaning to a prophecy in Deut 28.68. They will live in a lifestyle of Torah impurity on a level with the heathen-Ezek 4.13).
v 4…They will not pour out libations of wine to the Lord (Yehovah), their sacrifices will not please him (if they wanted to please him because there will not be a Temple); like bread of mourning are they to him (because food eaten at such a time was seen as unclean since all objects in a house of mourning was defiled); all who eat it will be defiled, for their bread will be for themselves, it will not enter the house of the Lord (because there will not be a Temple to come into during the exile).
v 5…What will you do in the day of the appointed festival and on the day of the feast of the Lord (they could do nothing because there was no Temple and they will be out of the land. You can’t keep the festivals outside of the land. They could not keep the festivals outside of the place God chose to put his name, which was the Temple-Deut 12.11; 2 Chr 6.6, 7.16; Hos 2.11)?
v 6…For behold (see, take note), they will go because of destruction (that was coming upon them); Egypt will gather them up (they will die there), Memphis (the principal city in Egypt) will bury them. Weeds will take over their treasures of silver; thorns will be in their tents (houses are deserted).
v 7…The days of punishment have come (upon Israel), the days of retribution have come (repeated for the certainty of it); let Israel know this! The prophet is a fool, the inspired man is demented (this was said about the true prophets because they were right, but the people did not want to listen), and your hostility is so great.
v 8…Ephraim was a watchman with my God, a prophet; (but now) the snare of a bird watcher is in all his ways (once there were true prophets there, but now there are false prophets ensnaring the people with false teachings and doctrines), and there is hostility in the house of his God (towards Yehovah and the true prophets).
v 9…They have gone deep in depravity as in the days of Gibeah (when the morality of Israel was low, as seen in Judges 19.1-30); he will remember their iniquity, he will punish their sins (being unrepentant like the men of Gibeah and Benjamin, when that tribe was nearly wiped out).
v 10…I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness (when Yehovah brought them out of Egypt, I saw your forefathers as the earliest fruit on the fig tree in its first season (this expresses Yehovah’s high regard for them). But they came to Baal-peor and devoted themselves to shame (Num 25-the Hebrew “boshet” means shame and is associated with Baal, and it can be seen in several names like Jerubaal is Jeroboshet in Jer 8.35; Eshbaal is called Ishboshet in 1 Chr 8.23; Meribaal is Meriboshet in 1 Chr 8.34), and they became as detestable as the that which they loved ( Yehovah singles out this idolatrous incident at Baal-peor because Baal worship was at the center of his contention with Israel).
v 11…As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird (suddenly and swiftly, never coming back, etc)-no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception (Yehovah withholding the fruit of the womb-notice the process is backward).
v 12…Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them until not a man is left (by the sword, famine, disease, or going into captivity). Yes, woe to them indeed when I depart (his protection and favor) from them!
v 13…Ephraim, as I have seen, is planted in a pleasant meadow like Tyre (prosperous and had plenty, was strong and planted with a purpose); but Ephraim will bring out his children for slaughter (to fight a losing battle with Assyria).
v 14…Give them, O Lord-what will you give (for their willful disintegration to idols, etc)? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts (sterility which was seen as a curse and a disgrace; it was also a way of sparing them from watching their children get slaughtered).
v 15…All of their evil is at Gilgal (once a good place where Israel was circumcised, the Mishkan was there, the first Passover in the land celebrated there, and the kingdom was renewed there when Saul was made king-1 Sam 11.14. But now much evil is done there); I came to hate them there (because they defiled the place where Yehovah was worshiped)! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house (the congregation was like an adulteress wife)! I will love them no more (not his special love he will always have had, but his general providential favor); all their princes (rulers, leaders) are rebels.
v 16…Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up (like a plant with too much sun), they will bear no fruit (that generation was cut off). Even though they bear children, I will slay the precious ones of their womb (by war, famine, disease, and captivity).
v 17…My God will cast them away because they have not listened to him; and they will be wanderers among the nations (dispersed by Assyria and Babylon, where they are today. This is where the term “m’loh ha goyim” or fullness of the Gentiles comes from in Gen 48.19 and Rom 9.25-29, 11.25-26; Ezek 37.21; Isa 49.21-23).