Reproof of Israel.
Probably delivered in the interreign and civil war at
Pekah's death; for Ho 7:7, "all
their kings … fallen," refers to the murder of Zechariah,
Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah. In Ho 7:8 the reference seems to be to Menahem's
payment of tribute to Pul, in order to secure himself in the usurped
throne, also to Pekah's league with Rezin of Syria, and to Hoshea's
connection with Assyria during the interregnum at Pekah's death [Maurer].
1. I would have healed Israel—Israel's
restoration of the two hundred thousand Jewish captives at God's
command (2Ch 28:8-15) gave hope of Israel's reformation
[Henderson]. Political, as well as
moral, healing is meant. When I would have healed Israel in its
calamitous state, then their iniquity was discovered to be so great as
to preclude hope of recovery. Then he enumerates their wickedness: "The
thief cometh in (indoors stealthily), and the troop of robbers spoileth
without" (out-of-doors with open violence).
2. consider not in their
hearts—literally, "say not to," &c. (Ps 14:1).
that I remember—and will punish.
their own doings have beset them
about—as so many witnesses against them (Ps 9:16; Pr
before my face—(Ps 90:8).
3. Their princes, instead of checking, "have
pleasure in them that do" such crimes (Ro 1:32).
4. who ceaseth from raising—rather,
"heating" it, from an Arabic root, "to be hot." So the
Septuagint. Their adulterous and idolatrous lust is inflamed as
the oven of a baker who has it at such a heat that he ceaseth from
heating it only from the time that he hath kneaded the dough, until it
be leavened; he only needs to omit feeding it during the short period
of the fermentation of the bread. Compare 2Pe 2:14, "that cannot cease from sin" [Henderson].
5. the day of our king—his birthday or
day of inauguration.
have made him sick—namely, the
king. Maurer translates, "make
with bottles of wine—drinking not
merely glasses, but bottles. Maurer translates, "Owing to the heat of wine."
he stretched out his hand with
scorners—the gesture of revellers in holding out the cup and
in drinking to one another's health. Scoffers were the king's boon
6. they have made ready—rather, "they
make their heart approach," namely their king, in going to drink with
like an oven—following out the image
7:4. As it conceals the
lighted fire all night while the baker sleeps but in the morning burns
as a flaming fire, so they brood mischief in their hearts while
conscience is lulled asleep, and their wicked designs wait only for a
fair occasion to break forth [Horsley].
Their heart is the oven, their baker the ringleader of the plot. In
Ho 7:7 their plots appear, namely, the
intestine disturbances and murders of one king after another, after
7. all hot—All burn with eagerness to
cause universal disturbance (2Ki 15:1-38).
devoured their judges—magistrates; as
the fire of the oven devours the fuel.
all their kings … fallen—See on
none … calleth unto me—Such is
their perversity that amid all these national calamities, none seeks
help from Me (Isa 9:13; 64:7).
8. mixed … among the people—by
leagues with idolaters, and the adoption of their idolatrous practices
(Ho 7:9, 11; Ps 106:35).
Ephraim … cake not turned—a cake
burnt on one side and unbaked on the other, and so uneatable; an image
of the worthlessness of Ephraim. The Easterners bake their bread
on the ground, covering it with embers (1Ki 19:6), and turning it every ten
minutes, to bake it thoroughly without burning it.
9. Strangers—foreigners: the Syrians and
Assyrians (2Ki 13:7; 15:19, 20; 17:3-6).
gray hairs—that is, symptoms of
approaching national dissolution.
are here and there upon—literally,
"are sprinkled on" him.
yet he knoweth not—Though old age
ought to bring with it wisdom, he neither knows of his senile decay,
nor has the true knowledge which leads to reformation.
10. Repetition of Ho 5:5.
not return to … Lord … for all
this—notwithstanding all their calamities (Isa 9:13).
11. like a silly dove—a bird proverbial
for simplicity: easily deceived.
without heart—that is,
call to Egypt—Israel lying between the
two great rival empires Egypt and Assyria, sought each by turns to help
her against the other. As this prophecy was written in the reign of
Hoshea, the allusion is probably to the alliance with So or Sabacho II
(of which a record has been found on the clay cylindrical seals in
Koyunjik), which ended in the overthrow of Hoshea and the deportation
of Israel (2Ki 17:3-6). As the dove betrays its foolishness by
fleeing in alarm from its nest only to fall into the net of the fowler,
so Israel, though warned that foreign alliances would be their ruin,
rushed into them.
12. When they shall go—to seek aid from
this or that foreign state.
spread my net upon them—as on birds
taken on the ground (Eze 12:13),
as contrasted with "bringing them down" as the "fowls of the
heavens," namely, by the use of missiles.
as their congregation hath
heard—namely, by My prophets through whom I threatened
"chastisement" (Ho 5:9; 2Ki 17:13-18).
13. fled—as birds from their nest (Pr 27:8;
me—who both could and would have
healed them (Ho 7:1), had
they applied to Me.
redeemed them—from Egypt and their
other enemies (Mic 6:4).
lies—(Ps 78:36; Jer 3:10). Pretending to be My worshippers, when
they all the while worshipped idols (Ho 7:14; Ho 12:1); also defrauding Me of the glory of
their deliverance, and ascribing it and their other blessings to idols
14. not cried unto me—but unto other
gods [Maurer], (Job 35:9, 10). Or, they did indeed cry unto Me,
but not "with their heart": answering to "lies," Ho 7:13 (see on Ho
when they howled upon their
beds—sleepless with anxiety; image of deep affliction.
Their cry is termed "howling," as it is the cry of anguish, not the cry
of repentance and faith.
assemble … for corn,
&c.—namely in the temples of their idols, to obtain from them
a good harvest and vintage, instead of coming to Me, the true Giver of
these (Ho 2:5, 8, 12), proving that their cry to God was "not
with their heart."
rebel against me—literally, "withdraw
themselves against Me," that is, not only withdraw from
Me, but also rebel against Me.
15. I … bound—when I saw their
arms as it were relaxed with various disasters, I bound them so as to
strengthen their sinews; image from surgery [Calvin]. Maurer
translates, "I instructed them" to war (Ps 18:34;
144:1), namely, under
Jeroboam II (2Ki 14:25).
Grotius explains, "Whether I chastised
them (Margin) or strengthened their arms, they imagined mischief
against Me." English Version is best.
16. return, but not to the Most High—or,
"to one who is not the Most High," one very different from Him,
a stock or a stone. So the Septuagint.
deceitful bow—(Ps 78:57). A bow which, from its faulty
construction, shoots wide of the mark. So Israel pretends to seek God,
but turns aside to idols.
for the rage of their tongue—their
boast of safety from Egyptian aid, and their "lies" (Ho 7:13), whereby they pretended to serve God,
while worshipping idols; also their perverse defense for their
idolatries and blasphemies against God and His prophets (Ps 73:9; 120:2,
their derision in … Egypt—Their
"fall" shall be the subject of "derision" to Egypt, to whom they had
applied for help (Ho 9:3, 6; 2Ki 17:4).