DO HOSEA 11:12 AND HOSEA 12:2 CONTRADICT?
by Shawn Brasseaux
Hosea 11:12: “Ephraim compasseth me about with lies, and the house of Israel with deceit: but Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.”
Hosea 12:2: “The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.”
Hosea 11:12 says, “Judah yet ruleth with God, and is faithful with the saints.” There is nothing wrong here. However, in chapter 12, the following is found in verse 2: “The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him.” Is Judah “with God… faithful with the saints” (Hosea 11:12)? Yes. Then why does God have a “controversy with Judah” in Hosea 12:2? Is there a problem with the Bible text here?
Friend, the easiest explanation is usually the most likely. Here is the simplest answer. When the Prophet Hosea wrote/preached Hosea 11:12, Judah (Southern Kingdom) was still on God’s side. By the time of Hosea 12:2, however, a considerable amount of time has passed. Now, Judah is apostate, against God, sinful enough to where JEHOVAH God complains about them; they are now just as wicked as Israel (Northern Kingdom). Hosea’s ministry covered a long period of time—Dr. Scofield, citing Archbishop Ussher, estimates 60 years. Hosea chapter 11 is estimated to be 740 B.C. while chapter 12 is approximately 725 B.C. Over a period of as much as 15 years, Judah transformed from good to bad, righteous to evil.
What happened to Judah between Hosea chapters 11 and 12 is something all too familiar to us even today. We lead someone to Christ as personal Saviour, and he or she starts off in sound doctrine. That person attends Bible study, agrees with the doctrine, and seems to be progressing in spiritual maturity. Sometime later, he or she slips away into error, waxing worse and worse. While the person started off right, he or she ended up wrong. There are two separate conditions here, each at a different point in time.
Concerning Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2, there is no need to cry out as the critics do, “Contradiction!” We have no reason to doubt the Bible, friend. Each verse is true at a specific point in time, but they are not true at the same time (use common sense). This is yet another proof that if we encounter a problem in Bible study, the problem is not with the Bible but rather with us! We should always give the Bible the benefit of the doubt—that is the viewpoint of the Bible believer anyway. Simple!