What does it mean to sow the wind and reap the whirlwind?


Hosea 8:7

ESV - 7 For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind. The standing grain has no heads; it shall yield no flour; if it were to yield, strangers would devour it.

Clarify Share Report Asked July 01 2013 Mini Anonymous (via GotQuestions)

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Shea S. Michael Houdmann Supporter Got Questions Ministries
Hosea 8:7 makes the enigmatic statement, "For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind." This proverb is known in modern times for its use in military speeches and as a title for a scie...

July 01 2013 2 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
The phrase "warns us that we should anticipate suffering serious consequences as the outcome of our own bad actions or negligence." --Dr. Robert Kim-Farley

About Hosea 8:7, Wiersbe says, “In their idolatry and political alliances, the Israelites were trying to sow seeds that would produce a good harvest, but they were only sowing the wind—vanity, nothing— and would reap the whirlwind. Nothing could stop the force of the Assyrian army. The harvest would be more powerful than the seed!” To further explain this exposition of Wiersbe in his The Wiersbe Bible Commentary, I compare his comments in his book, Index of Biblical Images. Here he wriites that Wind/Whirlwind symbolizes Vanity, Futility of Life. He lists:
Proverbs 11:29
Eccles. 1:14, 17; 2:11, 17, 26; 4:4, 6, 16; 5:16; 6:9; 8:8
Isaiah 26:18; 41:29
Hosea 8:7; 12:1

The phraseology, "sown the wind," proverbially means that all their undertakings shall be profitless (Pr 11:29; Ec 5:16). 

In one of the Proverbs of Solomon it says, 

"Whoever troubles his own household will inherit the wind,
and the fool will be servant to the wise of heart." (Proverbs 11:29). 

In a different Old Testament book authored by King Solomon, Ecclesiastes 5:16 says in a section about the vanity of wealth and honor, "This also is a grievous evil: just as he came, so shall he go, and what gain is there to him who toils for the wind?" (Ecclesiastes 5:16).


The above refer to "sowing the wind." "Reaping the whirlwind" would include, I believe, verses about God's Judgment:

Hosea 4:19 --NET Bible
A whirlwind has wrapped them in its wings; they will be brought to shame because of their idolatrous worship.

Source: https://bible.knowing-jesus.com/Hosea/4/19
Hosea 8:7

Hosea 8:7 beginning here to the end of the chapter in the ESV (Hos 8:7-10)

Israel Will Reap the Whirlwind

7 For they sow the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.
The standing grain has no heads;
it shall yield no flour;
if it were to yield,
strangers would devour it.

April 14 2022 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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