I've been confused on this because a couple of verses later it shows that Israel will have their babies dashed on rocks & their pregnant women ripped open. Why did God say this to Israel?
ESV - 8 I will fall upon them like a bear robbed of her cubs; I will tear open their breast, and there I will devour them like a lion, as a wild beast would rip them open.
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The theme of the entire book of the prophet Hosea is an account of the manner in which the nation of Israel (despite the ways God had cared for them and protected them over a period of centuries) had repeatedly committed "spiritual adultery" against Him by worshiping idols and other false gods. This conduct made God very angry with them, just as a husband would be with a wife who had been unfaithful to Him by taking other lovers. God's initial (and justified) response to Israel's unfaithfulness is expressed by verses such as that cited in the question, which speak of the way God would allow Israel's enemies to commit the described atrocities against Israel as the punishment they deserved as a result of their conduct (as well as to show them that the idols and other false gods that they worshipped could not save them). At the same time, however, God also spoke through Hosea (in passages such as Hosea 11:8-11) of how difficult it was for Him to treat His own chosen people in that manner, and He appealed to Israel to forsake their sin and to return to Him.
God's punishment of his people Israel is always the discipline of a Father seeking to correct the waywardness of his children. God instructed his people how to live a God pleasing life through the Law of Moses. Those who believed God's word and lived by faith were blessed by God. But many of the people were attracted by the ways of the world around them, like many Christians in our world today, and they were led into worshipping idols and false gods. God said, "He showed how he loved his people when he brought them out of Egypt but when they were satisfied, they became proud and then they forgot me." (Hosea 13: 6). God's discipline was always just and proportional to the severity of their offences. God would send neighbouring nations to raid the towns and villages, stealing the harvest and kidnapping slaves. God would wait for his people to cry out for his mercy. He would examine their hearts for true repentance and then he would save them. But the unfaithfulness got worse and worse - "They offered human sacrifices and kissed calf idols," (Hosea 13:2), so the discipline got very severe indeed. God sent the empire of Assyria against Samaria (northern 10 tribes) who conquered the country, destroying all the towns and cities, killing many innocent people who would not surrender, and taking all the Israelites into exile to Assyria. There they were resettled in other countries as foreigners, and other nationalities were settled in northern Israel. A second exile from the two southern tribes took place later when the Babylonian empire crushed Judah and Jerusalem and took the people into captivity. God kept the people in exile for 70 years and then his anger was satisfied so he relented, allowing all the believing Jews to return from captivity. Most of the faithful Jews who returned came from Babylon. God's purpose in getting the people to repent is always to save them from eternal destruction. God says, “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction?" (Hosea 13:14). Those who repent are demonstrating their genuine faith in God and they will be saved from God's eternal punishment. They will receive the eternal inheritance that God has promised them. God's discipline in our lives, as Christians, works the same way. When we stray from a pure and sincere devotion to God, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins, making us feel guilty and ashamed, until we confess our sins and repent, turning back to God. When we ignore the Spirit's call to repentance, God sends greater discipline (more heat) into our lives until we are willing to repent. If we still stubbornly refuse to respond to God, he may inflict us with severe and lasting suffering, or he may decide to take us home to heaven because we are not fulfilling his plan and purpose for our lives. We will escape eternal destruction like one running through the fire. When we are unfaithful to God, he loves us too much to leave us where we are. He is constantly drawing us closer to himself, to refine our faith and develop our Christlike character. God never gives up on those he has chosen.
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