The Meaning of Hosea 7:16 Explained

Hosea 7:16

KJV: They return, but not to the most High: they are like a deceitful bow: their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

YLT: They turn back -- not to the Most High, They have been as a deceitful bow, Fall by sword do their princes, From the insolence of their tongue, This is their derision in the land of Egypt!

Darby: They return, but not to the Most High: they are like a deceitful bow. Their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

ASV: They return, but not to him that is on high; they are like a deceitful bow; their princes shall fall by the sword for the rage of their tongue: this shall be their derision in the land of Egypt.

What does Hosea 7:16 Mean?

Verse Meaning

They had looked around to other nations for help, but they had not turned their hearts and eyes to heaven to seek the Lord"s help. They had become like a warped bow in Yahweh"s hands. Rather than shooting His enemies, they shot their own leaders and slew them (e.g, Zechariah , Shallum, Pekahiah, and Pekah). In the days of Jeroboam II the Israelites had also boasted insolently to the Egyptians about not needing Yahweh. But the Egyptians, their treaty partner on several occasions, would deride them for their weakness.
"As we review these images, we might take inventory of our own devotion to the Lord. How lasting is it? How deep is it? How strong is it? How serious is it? How dependable is it?" [1]

Context Summary

Hosea 7:1-16 - Iniquity Uncovered
The last clause of the previous chapter belongs to this. God desired to turn aside the captivity of His people and to heal Israel, but His pleading was unavailing because of their inveterate sin. This evil-doing witnessed against them, Hosea 7:2. Their passions did not need incitement, just as an oven retains its heat without the baker's continued attention. The royal birthday was celebrated with drunken orgies, and the national religion had become a confused mixture of Gentile superstition and the old Hebrew faith. In this Israel resembled a cake not turned-crisp on one side, sour and uneatable on the other, Hosea 7:8.
What a searching suggestion comes in Hosea 7:9! Can it be that strangers have been stealing away our strength, without our realizing that deterioration is creeping steadily through our religious life? Silently the frosty air steals the warmth from boiling water; silently the fungus pitches its tent in the autumn woods; silently old age fastens on the stalwart frame. Thus also our spiritual strength declines, unless we watch and pray; and when it ebbs away, we become foolish as the dove which flies straight into the snare, and useless as the deceitful bow which turns aside in the archer's hand, Hosea 7:11; Hosea 7:16. [source]

Chapter Summary: Hosea 7

1  A reproof of manifold sins
11  God's wrath against them for their hypocrisy

What do the individual words in Hosea 7:16 mean?

They return [but] not to the Most High they are like a bow treacherous shall fall by the sword their princes for the cursings of their tongue This [shall be] their derision in the land of Egypt
יָשׁ֣וּבוּ ׀ לֹ֣א עָ֗ל הָיוּ֙ כְּקֶ֣שֶׁת רְמִיָּ֔ה יִפְּל֥וּ בַחֶ֛רֶב שָׂרֵיהֶ֖ם מִזַּ֣עַם לְשׁוֹנָ֑ם ז֥וֹ לַעְגָּ֖ם בְּאֶ֥רֶץ מִצְרָֽיִם

יָשׁ֣וּבוּ ׀  They  return 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: שׁוּב  
Sense: to return, turn back.
לֹ֣א  [but]  not 
Parse: Adverb, Negative particle
Root: הֲלֹא 
Sense: not, no.
עָ֗ל  to  the  Most  High 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular
Root: עַל  
Sense: height adv.
הָיוּ֙  they  are 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Perfect, third person common plural
Root: אֶהְיֶה 
Sense: to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out.
כְּקֶ֣שֶׁת  like  a  bow 
Parse: Preposition-k, Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: קֶשֶׁת  
Sense: bow.
רְמִיָּ֔ה  treacherous 
Parse: Noun, feminine singular
Root: רְמִיָּה 
Sense: laxness, slackness, slackening, deceit, treachery.
יִפְּל֥וּ  shall  fall 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperfect, third person masculine plural
Root: נָפַל  
Sense: to fall, lie, be cast down, fail.
בַחֶ֛רֶב  by  the  sword 
Parse: Preposition-b, Article, Noun, feminine singular
Root: חֶרֶב  
Sense: sword, knife.
שָׂרֵיהֶ֖ם  their  princes 
Parse: Noun, masculine plural construct, third person masculine plural
Root: סָרַר 
Sense: prince, ruler, leader, chief, chieftain, official, captain.
מִזַּ֣עַם  for  the  cursings 
Parse: Preposition-m, Noun, masculine singular construct
Root: זַעַם  
Sense: anger, indignation.
לְשׁוֹנָ֑ם  of  their  tongue 
Parse: Noun, common singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: לָשֹׁון  
Sense: tongue.
ז֥וֹ  This  [shall  be] 
Parse: Pronoun, feminine singular
Root: זׄו  
Sense: this, such rel pron f.
לַעְגָּ֖ם  their  derision 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine plural
Root: לַעַג  
Sense: mocking, derision, stammering.
בְּאֶ֥רֶץ  in  the  land 
Parse: Preposition-b, Noun, feminine singular construct
Root: אֶרֶץ  
Sense: land, earth.
מִצְרָֽיִם  of  Egypt 
Parse: Proper Noun, feminine singular
Root: מִצְרַיִם  
Sense: a country at the northeastern section of Africa, adjacent to Palestine, and through which the Nile flows adj Egyptians = “double straits”.