4:17 Ephraim. Ephraim, as the largest and strongest of the ten tribes in the northern kingdom of Israel, is referred to as synonymous with all Israel. By this time, all ten of these tribes were so consumed by idolatry that they were beyond hope of revival. As a result, God instructed Hosea and other prophets to quit trying (compare Genesis 6:3). Their remaining burden was to call Judah to retain her faith in the true God (Hosea 4:15) rather than following Israel.
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