13. Here the Prophet takes away from the Israelites the hope of pardon, and declares that it was all over with them, for God had now resolved to destroy them. For as God everywhere declares himself to be ready and inclined to pardon, hypocrites hope that God will be propitious to them; and entertaining this vain confidence, they despise his threatenings and boldly rise up against him. Hence the Prophet here shows, that God would hereafter be inexorable to them, because they had too long pertinaciously abused his patience. Woe to them! he says, for they have withdrawn from me: desolation to them! for they have acted perfidiously towards me. There is then no reason, says the Prophet, for them to delude themselves in future with vain confidence, as they have hitherto done; for this has been once for all determined by God—to inflict on them his extreme vengeance, for their defection deserves this.
He then adds, I will redeem them, and they have spoken his against me. They who render the first word in the future tense, think that the Prophet asks a question, “Shall I redeem them? for they have spoken lies against me:” and they think it to be an indefinite mode of speaking—“Should I redeem them, men of no faith; for what good should I do by such kindness?” Others give this exposition—“Though I wished to redeem them, yet I found that this would not be beneficial nor just, because they speak lies against me;” as though God did not express here what he had done, but what he had wished to do. But the past tense is not unsuitable to this place; and we know how common and familiar to the Hebrews was the change of tenses. The meaning, then, will be, “I have redeemed them, and they have spoken lies against me;” that is, “I have often delivered them from death, when they were in extreme peril; but they have not changed their disposition; nay, they have deprived me of the praise due for their deliverance, and they have lived in no way better after their deliverance. Since, then, I have hitherto conferred my benefits to no good purpose, nothing now remains but that I must destroy them.” And this seems to me to be the Prophet’s meaning.
He then declares, in the first clause, that they hoped for mercy in vain from God, because their ultimate destruction was decreed. Then follows the reason for this, because they had foolishly and impiously abused the favour of God, inasmuch as, having been redeemed by him, they yet went on in their own wickedness, and even acted perfidiously towards God, while yet they pretended to act differently. Since, then, there was no change for the better, God now shows that he would spend his favour no longer on men so impious. Now this place teaches how intolerable is our ingratitude, when, after having been redeemed by the Lord, we keep not the faith pledged to him, and which he requires from us; for God is our deliverer on this condition, that we be wholly devoted to him. For he who has been redeemed ought not so to live, as if he had a right to himself and to his own will; but he ought to be wholly dependent on his Redeemer. If, then, we thus act perfidiously towards God, after having been delivered by his grace, we shall be guilty of such impiety and perfidiousness as deserve a twofold vengeance: and this is what the Prophet here teaches.
We indeed know how mercifully God had spared the people of Israel: after they had fallen away into superstitious worship, and had also violated their faith to the posterity of David, the Lord did not yet cease to show to that people many favours notwithstanding their unworthiness. We know also, that under Jeroboam prosperity had attended them beyond all human expectation. But they yet hardened themselves more and more in their wickedness, so far were they from returning to the right way. 
13 Verse 13 is one of two places in the book where a cry of woe is pronounced upon Israel (the other is 9:12). It is a rhetorical device used by prophets to call attention to calamity and to lament, and such a cry fits a situation in which a heedless Israel stands culpable before YHWH. The initial basis for Hosea’s “woe” is explicated in the first two bicola of the verse:
they have strayed (nādad)
|devastation (šōd) …
they have rebelled (pāšaʿ).
In the bicola the “woe” is reinforced by “devastation,” and the verbs “stray” and “rebel” play the same role.
The use of the verb rebel may have political nuance. It can be used for those who revolt against a political overlord (1 Kgs. 12:19; 2 Kgs. 1:1; 8:20). The connotation of rebelling against an authority or breaking faith with someone carries over to its use in the theological sense of spurning God or rejecting divine instruction. This is the way the term is used in 8:1.
Verse 13 concludes with a colon expressing a supposed condition (that YHWH would redeem Israel) that sadly will not come to pass. The people are portrayed yet a third time in v. 13 in negative terms as speaking “lies” (kĕzābîm). It is also a word that Hosea uses elsewhere (12:1 [MT 2]).
7:13 / Woe in verse 13 clearly marks off verses 13–16 as a separate oracle. Woes were pronounced over those who were doomed or who were already dead, and so this oracle is an announcement from Yahweh that Israel is doomed to die. The reason for the announcement gathers up the two primary sins for which Israel is condemned throughout the book of Hosea: the sin of apostasy, in turning to worship the baals, and the sin of rebellion, in relying on politics and other nations for deliverance (see the introduction).
The depth of Israel’s perfidy is emphasized by the contrasts drawn in the Hebrew:
verse 13c: “I [emphasized with a separate pronoun] would redeem them, but they [again emphasized with a separate pronoun] spoke against me lies.”
verse 15: “And I [emphasized] trained them, I strengthened their arms, but me they regarded as evil.”
The verb rebelled in verse 13b is from the Hebrew pāšaʿ, is frequently found in the prophetic writings, and is the strongest term used for sin in the ot. It is a political term, indicating refusal to submit to authority, e.g., rebellion against a king (cf. 1 Kgs. 12:19). Thus God here accuses Israel of denying his lordship, of being subversive in his kingdom. But the fact that God is Lord over Israel makes judgment on this rebellion necessary, for if God overlooked such revolt, he would not be Israel’s Lord.
God wants to redeem Israel. That is, he wants to buy Israel back from religious slavery to Baal and political slavery to foreign nations. Both hold Israel captive, encompassing the people with a spirit of harlotry (4:12; 5:4) and of adultery (7:4). But when God would redeem his people, they speak lies against God. The term “lies” probably refers to Israel’s false identification of Yahweh with the fertility gods and is intended to characterize what follows in verse 14.
13. fled—as birds from their nest (Pr 27:8; Is 16:2).
me—who both could and would have healed them (Ho 7:1), had they applied to Me.
redeemed them—from Egypt and their other enemies (Mic 6:4).
lies—(Ps 78:36; Je 3:10). Pretending to be My worshippers, when they all the while worshipped idols (Ho 7:14; Ho 12:1); also defrauding Me of the glory of their deliverance, and ascribing it and their other blessings to idols [Calvin].
Ver. 13.—Woe unto them! for they have fled from me: destruction (margin, spoil) unto them! because they have transgressed against me. Of these exclamations, the first is general and indefinite, the second is specific and precise. The thought of coming chastisement calls forth the exclamation of woe; while the second exclamation fixes the character and explains the nature of that woe denounced. In neither case does יְהִי or יָבֹא need to be supplied; the opposite expression is שָׁלוֹם לָהֶם or בְּלָכָה לָהֶם. In assigning the reason, there is a retrospective reference to the figures of the two immediately preceding verses. The word נָדַד with min is employed in relation to birds which, when scared from their nest, fly away. Kimchi thinks it applies to the abstention or withdrawal of the Israelites from Divine service in the national sanctuary in Jerusalem. His comment is: “They fly from me, from the service of the house of my sanctuary, to the service of the calves; and this is a breach of faith and defection from me.” The LXX. translate the beginning of the second clause freely by δειλαῖοι εἰσὶν, equivalent to “they are cowards;” and Jerome by “miseri (maticulose) erunt, et semper timentis ac formidantes.” The cause assigned is their breaking covenant with God, which is expressed by פָּשַׁע, literally, “to break away from,” “tear one’s self loose from.” Though I have redeemed them. This first part of the last clause is rendered (1) as a past by some, as Jerome, who refers it to the redemption from Egypt; thus also the Chaldee: “And I was their Deliverer.” Rosenmüller approves of this, but, instead of restricting it to the deliverance from Egypt, includes their recent deliverance from the Syrians by Jeroboam II. It is (2) better rendered in a voluntative or optative sense: “I would (should like) to redeem them, but they speak lies against (or, concerning) me.” The verb ’ephdem cannot with any propriety be taken for a preterite. Yet they have spoken lies against me; rather, but they on their part have spoken lies concerning me. The prophet had already charged them with lying at ver. 3, and previously at ch. 4:2; but their lies were not confined to their intercourse or dealings with their fellow-men; they spoke lies against or, as the preposition sometimes signifies, concerning God. The lies in question included, no doubt, a denial of his essential Deity or sole Divinity; of his power or willingness either to protect or punish. Or they might consist in their falsehood in drawing near to God with their lips without either true faith or real affection in their hearts; some were directly opposed to the claims of Jehovah, some insincere in his service, and others turned aside to the idolatry of the calves—all, with probably some honourable exceptions, had proved false to his covenant with Israel. The last clause has been taken (3) independently by Ewald, without any considerable alteration of the sense: “I, for my part, would redeem them, but they, on their side, speak lies against me.” Other acceptations, (a) interrogative and (b) conditional, evidently mistake the sense. The whole clause is correctly explained by Kimchi thus: “It was in my heart to redeem them out of their distress; but they speak lies against me, while they say that I know nothing nor exercise any providential care over their actions, whether their actions are good or bad. Therefore I have withdrawn my providential oversight, and have hidden my face from them, and they shall be consumed.”
7:13. This brief unit begins on an ominous note. Woe (’ôy) suggests impending doom (cf. Num. 21:29; Jer. 4:13, 31, “alas”; 48:46), as the next sentence (cf. Destruction to them) clearly shows. The basis for judgment was Israel’s rebellion (cf. Hosea 8:1; 13:16) against the Lord (because they have strayed from Me and because they have rebelled against Me). Despite His desire to save them (God said, I long to redeem them), they had spoken lies against Him. The word for “redeem” (pāḏâh) is used frequently to describe the deliverance from Egypt (cf. Deut. 7:8; 9:26; 13:5; 15:15; 24:18; 2 Sam. 7:23; Ps. 78:42; Micah 6:4). Mays aptly comments, “The God of the Exodus is unchanged in His will, but because of Israel’s lies there will be no exodus’ from the Assyrian danger” (Hosea, p. 111). In this context “lies” probably refers to Israel’s practical denial of God’s redemptive ability, expressed through her attempts to find security through other nations.
7:13 — “ … Though I redeemed them, yet they have spoken lies against Me.”
How do we speak lies against our Redeemer? We lie when we say that He has forgotten about us, that He doesn’t keep His promises, that He plays favorites. Such lies bring us nothing but pain.
7:13 redeem. This term from commercial law meaning “buy back” (Lev. 27:27–31) is used also of Israel’s deliverance from bondage (13:14; Ex. 15:13; Deut. 7:8; 9:26; Mic. 6:4).
lies. This may refer to the false ideas about the Lord that had been imported into Israel’s religion, to insincere words of repentance (6:1–3), or more generally to the broken promises of the covenant.
7:13 The section that begins in 6:1 with a call to return to the Lord and be healed ends here with a lament that Israel had done just the opposite. Woe to them is a declaration of coming judgment (9:12; Is 3:9; Jr 50:27; Jd 11). The term for fled is often used of birds (Is 16:2; Jr 4:25) and can also refer to restless wandering (Pr 27:8). Israel could flee from God in rebellion, but they could not escape destruction. The phrase I want to redeem can also be translated “I redeemed,” referring to the exodus (Dt 7:8; 9:26; Mc 6:4). God’s deliverance should cause his people to declare the truth about him.
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 Dearman, J. A. (2010). The Book of Hosea (p. 212). Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.
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