Q. Hosea 13:16 states “Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.” I’m having an inner conflict. This sounds like God is commanding his people to commit horrible acts, and I know if the Lord commanded me to do such things that I would have to refuse. Am I reading this passage wrong? I’ve always been taught that he is a loving God and I need help justifying this passage.
A. This passage is about the conquest of the Northern Kingdom by the Assyrians. It happened because the Northern Kingdom abandoned God and returned to the idolatry of Egypt. Verse 16 is directed toward Samaria, the capital of the Northern Kingdom, saying one consequence of their rebellion against God was to be defeated by their enemy. The Lord is not commanding these things to be done, but is saying this is how the Assyrians, who were known for their brutality, would treat them. God is a loving God to those who love Him but a vengeful God to those who reject Him, as the coming End Times judgments will clearly demonstrate.