Foreign policies (5:8-15)
During the reigns of the Judean kings Jotham and Ahaz, Israel and Syria tried to persuade Judah to join them in an alliance aimed at resisting the spreading power of Assyria. When Judah refused to cooperate, Israel and Syria attacked Jerusalem,
whereupon Ahaz, contrary to Isaiah’s advice, asked Assyria for help. Assyria replied by conquering Syria and much of Israel. But Judah’s independence also suffered, because in asking Assyria for help, it placed itself under Assyria’s power (2 Kings 16:5-9; Isa 7:1-9;
Hosea sees Israel going to battle and knows that the nation is about to bring a fitting calamity upon itself.
He also condemns Judah, who took the opportunity to seize some of Israel’s territory. He sees the inner decay of both kingdoms as a judgment of God upon them (8- 12).
When Israel’s foreign policy proved fatal, the king Pekah was assassinated by Hoshea, a sympathizer with
Assyria who then became king (2 Kings 15:30; 17:3). But Assyria could not solve Israel’s problems any more than it could Judah’s. Both Israel and Judah were morally sick. They turned to foreign nations to
help them instead of turning from their sins to God. Now they will find that God will use foreign nations to punish them. As a lion destroys a lamb, so God will destroy Israel and Judah (13-14). He will give no help to his people till they repent of their sins and seek him afresh (15).