Hosea (Ch 9-10)

Chapter 9 starts with “rejoice not” Ephraim returning to Egypt and eating unclean food in Assyria, both places where O Israel have been in captivity.

Hosea 9

1 Rejoice not for joy, O Israel, as other people, for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God; thou hast loved for reward upon every threshing floor. — for thou hast gone a whoring; playing the harlot with many nations; committing adultery; worshipping idols, making feasts before them, and dancing about them; and so departing from God; the Targum says it this way: “for you have erred from the worship of your God; you have loved to serve idols on all, corn floors.”

The floor and the wine press shall not feed them, and the new wine shall fail in her.

They shall not dwell in the Lord’S land; but Ephraim shall return to Egypt, and they shall eat unclean things in Assyria. — Ephraim returning to Egypt and eating unclean food in Assyria, both places where O Israel have been in captivity; the indication of this word “shall” used three time above is prophetic; back into captivity, “Egypt,” for 190 years.

They shall not offer wine offerings to the Lord, neither shall they be pleasing unto Him; their sacrifices shall be unto them as the bread of mourners. All that eat thereof shall be polluted, for their bread for their soul shall not come into the house of the Lord. — they have gone too deep into idolatress that any sacrifices would be viewed as the bread of mourners; and, instead of being acceptable to God, were abominable to him; and all that partook them should consider them as funeral feasts; God’s feasts are always joyous.

What will ye do in the solemn day, and in the day of the feast of the Lord?

For lo, they are gone because of destruction. Egypt shall gather them up; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess the pleasant places for their silver; thorns shall be in their tabernacles.

The days of visitation have come, the days of recompense have come; Israel shall know it. The prophet is a fool; the man of the spirit is mad because of the multitude of thine iniquity and great hatred. — the prophet is a fool; so Israel said, before those days came, of a true prophet of the Lord, that he was a fool for prophesying of evil things, but now they shall find it otherwise. So the Targum says: “they of the house of Israel shall (note the subtle change of present ‘is’ to future tense ‘shall’) know that they who had prophesied to them were true prophets;” but rather this is to be understood of false prophets, who, when the day of God’s visitation shall come on Israel in a way of wrath and vengeance, will appear both to themselves and others to be fools, for prophesying good things to them, when evil was at hand.

The watchman of Ephraim was with my God; but the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and hatred in the house of his God. — the watchman of Ephraim was with my God…. formerly the watchmen of Ephraim, were with the true God, as Elijah and Elisha, had revelations and instructions from him; and were under the inspiration of his Spirit, and prophesied in his name things according to his will;

— but now the prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways; the false prophet, instead of guiding and directing Ephraim in the right way in which he should go, lays snares for him in all the ways he takes, to lead him wrong, and draw him into sin, particularly into false doctrines and false prophecies;

— and after everything is over, these prophets become detestable in the house of God.

They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days of Gibeah. Therefore He will remember their iniquity; He will visit their sins.

10 “I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness; I saw your fathers as the first ripe of the fig tree at her first season. But they went to Baalpeor, and separated themselves unto that shame, and their abominations were according as they loved.

11 As for Ephraim, their glory shall fly away like a bird from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception.

12 Though they bring up their children, yet will I bereave them, that there shall not be a man left; yea, woe also to them when I depart from them!

13 Ephraim, as I saw Tyre, is planted in a pleasant place; but Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.” — the Septuagint renders: “Ephraim, even as I saw, gave their children for a prey; yea, Ephraim was ready to bring out his children to slaughter;”

— the reference to Tyre is less obscure; and read it as: “I look on Ephraim even as I look on Tyre, planted in a secure resting-place.” The impregnable fortress of Tyre was a conspicuous object in the days of Hosea; so as in today’s Ephraim; the United States has seven fleets plowing up and down the five oceans effortlessly without any challenge.

14 Give them, O Lord — what wilt Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts. — give them, O Lord; what wilt Thou give? the question interrupting the flow of thought showing the deep indignation of the prophet over the willful corruption of His people. Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts, sterility being considered a disgrace and a reproach, one of the sternest punishments of the Lord.

15 “All their wickedness is in Gilgal, for there I hated them; for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of Mine house. I will love them no more; all their princes are revolters.

16 Ephraim is smitten, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit; yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb.” — Ephraim is smitten, like a plant struck by the too direct rays of the sun, their root is dried up, they shall bear no fruit; yea, though they bring forth, yet will I slay even the beloved fruit of their womb, by permitting their children to be killed.

17 My God will cast them away, because they did not hearken unto Him; and they shall be wanderers among the nations. — and they shall be wanderers among the nations: exiles, fugitives, and vagabonds. Cf Deuteronomy 28:65.

Hosea 10

Israel is an empty vine; he bringeth forth fruit unto himself. According to the multitude of his fruit he hath increased the altars; according to the goodness of his land they have made goodly images. — Israel is an empty vine…. the people of Israel are often compared to a vine, and such an one from whence fruit might be expected, sometimes planted in good soil, other times in poor soil;

— the Targum renders it, “a spoiled vine;” spoiled by their enemies, who robbed them of their wealth and riches, and trampled them under foot;

— the Septuagint version understand it in a sense quite the reverse, rendering it, “a flourishing vine”; putting forth branches, leaves, and fruit.

Their heart is divided; now shall they be found faulty. He shall break down their altars; He shall despoil their images. — their heart is divided; as the Targum says; their hearts were divided between God and their idols; as in Ahab’s time between God and Baal; they pretended to worship God when they worshipped the calves, as if they had done that which was right and good, and were guilty of no evil.

For now they shall say, “We have no king, because we feared not the Lord. What then should a king do to us?” — for now they shall say, we have no king…. this they would say, as if they had no king; they had none to protect and defend them, to sally out at the head of them against the enemy, and fight their battles for them; or rather when the city was taken.

They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant; thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field. — judgments, divine judgement shall prevail not as a blessing, but as a curse; not as a precious harvest, but as a poisonous plant.

The inhabitants of Samaria shall fear because of the calves of Bethaven; for the people thereof shall mourn over it, and the priests thereof who rejoiced on it for the glory thereof, because glory has departed from it. — for the people thereof shall mourn over it; either the people of Samaria, the same with the inhabitants of it; who would mourn over their loss, being taken away from their land, and disposed of as in the next verse.

It shall be also carried unto Assyria for a present to King Jareb. Ephraim shall receive shame, and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel. — and Israel shall be ashamed of his own counsel; of giving in to such idolatry, contrary to the counsel, mind and will of God; or of the counsel which they and Jeroboam took to set up the calves at Dan and Bethel, and thereby to keep the people from going up to Jerusalem.

As for Samaria, her king is cut off as the foam upon the water.

The high places also of Aven, the sin of Israel, shall be destroyed. The thorn and the thistle shall come up on their altars; and they shall say to the mountains, “Cover us!” and to the hills, “Fall on us!” — shall say to the mountains, Cover us! and to the hills, Fall on us! That is the cry of the unbelievers, mockers, when they see the judgment approaching them, when it is too late for salvation. Cf Isaiah 2:19Luke 23:30.

“O Israel, thou hast sinned from the days of Gibeah. There they stood. The battle in Gibeah against the children of iniquity did not overtake them.

10 It is in My desire that I should chastise them, and the people shall be gathered against them when they shall bind themselves in their two furrows.

11 And Ephraim is as a heifer that is taught and loveth to tread out the corn, but I passed over upon her fair neck. I will make Ephraim to ride, Judah shall plow, and Jacob shall break his clods.” — and Ephraim is as an heifer that is taught, and loveth to tread out the corn…. like a heifer taught to bear the yoke, and to plough; but learned it not,

— as the Targum; does not like it; chooses to tread out the corn where it can feed upon it, its mouth not being then muzzled, according to the law; oxen or heifers were used both in ploughing and treading out corn, to which the allusion is.

12 Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy, break up your fallow ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, till He come and rain righteousness upon you.

13 Ye have plowed wickedness, ye have reaped iniquity, ye have eaten the fruit of lies, because thou didst trust in thy way, in the multitude of thy mighty men. — Rashi: you have eaten fruit of lies: You have received the retribution for your deeds; as a sweet morsel though bread of deceit; which could not profit them, nor yield them in the issue the pleasure it promised them, and they hoped for from it.

14 Therefore shall a tumult arise among thy people, and all thy fortresses shall be despoiled, as Shalman despoiled Betharbel in the day of battle: the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children. — in the day of battle; the mother was dashed in pieces upon her children, in an excess of unnatural cruelty.

15 So shall Bethel do unto you because of your great wickedness; in a morning shall the king of Israel be utterly cut off. — in a morning shall the king of Israel be utterly cut off; meaning Hoshea, Hosea, or Osee, the last king of Israel, and the kingdom entirely destroyed; so that afterwards there was no more king in Israel.

~ by Joel Huan on October 10, 2021.

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