Bible Question:

In the book of Hosea, the judgments are made against Israel. Usually when Israel is mentioned, the personal pronoun “she” or “her” is used. However, in a few instances such as Hosea 10:1, Israel has the masculine “he”. Can you explain the reason for this?

Bible Answer:

Hosea 10:1 helps us understand the message of the book of Hosea. God says that Israel was a land of wealth.

Israel is a luxuriant vine; he produces fruit for himself. The more his fruit, the more altars he made; the richer his land, the better he made the sacred pillars. (NASB) Hosea 10:1

The Message

That did not bring them closer to God. Wealth and comfort do not bring most people close to God. Jesus said,

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. (NASB) Mark 10:25

Riches make us feel comfortable. Riches draw us away from God and we do not depend on God as we should. That is what happened in the church of Laodicea.

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I would that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing . . .” (NASB) Revelation 3:15-17

These folks were wealthy and lived self-sufficient lives. They did not obey or serve God. They were independent “Christians.” This was Israel’s problem. God called them and He calls us not to depend on our wealth but in fact, as Christians, to give some of it away.

But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang. (NASB) 1 Timothy 6:9-10

He does not call us to become poor but He does call us to give to others.

The Pronouns

There does not appear to be anything significant to the masculine references of “he” in Hosea 10:1. Most of the earlier references to Israel are without feminine or masculine terms. In fact, earlier in Hosea 4:17-18, scripture uses both the feminine and masculine terms to refer to Ephriam. An intermingling of pronouns is not necessarily significant. It appears there is no unique meaning to the masculine reference in connection with Israel other than – maybe – Jacob was the father of Israel.


Hosea 10 is a call to seek God. Many Christians seek wealth, health, and prosperity. Yet, this is the very thing that makes us content with ourselves. It is easy to forget God when it appears we are doing well without Him. God wants us to seek Him and not our possessions.