Hosea 11:12-12:1 (NIV)
Ephraim has surrounded me with lies,
Israel with deceit.
And Judah is unruly against God,
even against the faithful Holy One.
Ephraim feeds on the wind;
he pursues the east wind all day
and multiplies lies and violence.
He makes a treaty with Assyria
and sends olive oil to Egypt.
Winds shift direction unpredictably. That’s why the wind is a common Biblical image of fickleness.
I have seen all the things that are done under the sun; all of them are meaningless, a chasing after the wind. – Ecclesiastes 1:14 (NIV)
Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. – Ephesians 4:14 (NIV)
The wind from the east of Israel is particularly rough, as that’s mostly desert, plus the people of the east have been frequent enemies. So, the east wind is a common Biblical image of danger.
Like a wind from the east,
I will scatter them before their enemies;
I will show them my back and not my face
in the day of their disaster. – Jeremiah 18:17 (NIV)
Would a wise person answer with empty notions
or fill their belly with the hot east wind? – Job 15:2 (NIV)
Israel’s folly is described as pursuing the east wind all day. Thus, Israel multiplies lies and violence. There’s no vision. They just flip-flop around and, of course, lie about it.
Their foreign policy is fickle and dangerous too.
He makes a treaty with Assyria and sends olive oil to Egypt
Their treaties are foolish deals with enemies.
The lesson here is the connection between fickle policy and lying. Defending your actions means explaining why you did them. When your actions are just chasing after the wind—not based on any first principles—they can’t be explained. Defending them is an exercise in spewing baloney.
This is spin doctoring and Americans are frightfully good at it—so good that the truth is now often almost impossible to discern.
Ancient Israel has nothing on us. We live in an age of unclean lips.
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