The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will He recompense him.
He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God:
While the majority of Hosea’s warnings are aimed at the ten tribes of the north, he also has many words of warning for Judah. He refers here to the well-known story of Jacob and Esau, who struggled even before they were born. Genesis 32 tells us the story of Jacob’s wrestling match with God, and the physical limp that stayed with Jacob for the rest of his life–a reminder that God allowed Jacob to escape with his life.
Jacob was always deceitful. In his day, a “heel-catcher” was one who used devious means to gain his goals, going behind his victim’s back to defeat him. Such behavior characterized Jacob all his life. Hosea points out that such behavior characterized Jacob then, and Israel now. They were even foolish enough to think they could deceive God!
Jacob even physically struggled with God, Who appeared in human form to challenge Jacob.