God will bring disaster on Ephraim (a tribe in the Northern Kingdom) and Judah. That much is certain. Hosea, like other prophets, has thrown in an outlier of hope or two so far in his book. None of them are as surprising as what he states in the midst of promised judgement, ““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) This statement would be quoted in part by the apostle Paul years later (1 Corinthians 15:55), but the place where God makes this promise to Hosea makes these words feel abrupt. God goes from guaranteeing judgement to promising a rescue from a surprising enemy. Now this is the third time in three books (see Ezekiel 37 and Daniel 12) we have clear promises of God’s desire to give life after the grave. Here we are told this is true even to those worthy of judgement. As consistently as Hosea claims God is so ready to punish Israel for their many sins, we should be more astounded that God is willing to mock even death and promise of His imminent victory over the great enemy we all deserve. What a mighty God we serve.