12:14 Through a Navi they were guarded
In verses 13 and 14, Hoshea ties together two stories from Israel’s history: Yaakov’s sojourn in Aram and Israel’s slavery in Egypt. Both places served as refuge. Aram was Yaakov’s asylum from his brother’s wrath, and Egypt provided sustenance for Yaakov’s family during the famine. However, in both of those places, the experiences turned sour. Yaakov was deceived by Laban into working for his wives under strenuous conditions, and ultimately had to flee back to Israel. The Egyptians also took advantage of their guests and enslaved the Israelites. Hoshea uses the Hebrew word shamar (שמר), meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to guard,’ to connect the two episodes. At the end of verse 13, he writes that Yaakov guarded Laban’s sheep from danger, while at the end of verse 14, he says that Hashem guarded Israel through His prophet and led them out of Egypt to safety.