Hosea 9:3 They will not remain in the LORD's land; Ephraim will return to Egypt and eat unclean food in Assyria.

When were these fulfilled?

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The name "Ephraim" is often used as a euphemism for the 10 northern tribes of Israel. This is true of Hos 9:3. Benson comments as follows:

Hosea 9:3. They shall not dwell in the Lord’s land, but Ephraim shall return into Egypt — God will turn them out of that inheritance he gave to their fathers, and they shall be carried into captivity or become exiles a second time in Egypt. When Shalmaneser made the ten tribes captive, such as were able to escape the conqueror fled into Egypt, having implored the aid of that country against the Assyrians. And they shall eat unclean things in Assyria — They have transgressed my law, in eating unclean things in their own land; and the time shall come when they shall be forced by their imperious masters the Assyrians to eat unclean things, whether they will or not. They will have no choice left them, but, as slaves, will be forced to eat what is given them.

Similarly, Barnes observes:

But Ephraim shall return to Egypt - He had broken the covenant, whereon God had promised, that they should not return there (see above the note at Hosea 8:13). They had recourse to Egypt against the will of God. Against their own will, they should be sent back there, in banishment and distress, as of old, and in separation from their God.

And they shall eat unclean things in Assyria - So in Ezekiel, "The children of Israel shall eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them" Ezekiel 4:13. "Not to eat things common or unclean" was one of the marks which God had given them. whereby he distinguished them as His people. While God owned them as His people, He would protect them against such necessity. The histories of Daniel, of Eleazar and the Maccabees (Daniel 1:8; 2 Macc. 6; 7), show how sorely pious Jews felt the compulsion to eat things unclean.


Hosea 1

1This is the word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and of Jeroboam son of Jehoash, king of Israel.

Hosea 9:3

They will not remain in the LORD's land; Ephraim will return to Egypt and eat unclean food in Assyria.

Some years later, in 2 Kings 17:6

In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River and in the towns of the Medes.

Daniel explicitly mentions unclean food in 1:8

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

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