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Punishment for Israel’s Sin

 9

Do not rejoice, O Israel!

Do not exult as other nations do;

for you have played the whore, departing from your God.

You have loved a prostitute’s pay

on all threshing floors.

2

Threshing floor and wine vat shall not feed them,

and the new wine shall fail them.

3

They shall not remain in the land of the Lord;

but Ephraim shall return to Egypt,

and in Assyria they shall eat unclean food.

 

4

They shall not pour drink offerings of wine to the Lord,

and their sacrifices shall not please him.

Such sacrifices shall be like mourners’ bread;

all who eat of it shall be defiled;

for their bread shall be for their hunger only;

it shall not come to the house of the Lord.

 

5

What will you do on the day of appointed festival,

and on the day of the festival of the Lord?

6

For even if they escape destruction,

Egypt shall gather them,

Memphis shall bury them.

Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver;

thorns shall be in their tents.

 

7

The days of punishment have come,

the days of recompense have come;

Israel cries,

“The prophet is a fool,

the man of the spirit is mad!”

Because of your great iniquity,

your hostility is great.

8

The prophet is a sentinel for my God over Ephraim,

yet a fowler’s snare is on all his ways,

and hostility in the house of his God.

9

They have deeply corrupted themselves

as in the days of Gibeah;

he will remember their iniquity,

he will punish their sins.

 

10

Like grapes in the wilderness,

I found Israel.

Like the first fruit on the fig tree,

in its first season,

I saw your ancestors.

But they came to Baal-peor,

and consecrated themselves to a thing of shame,

and became detestable like the thing they loved.

11

Ephraim’s glory shall fly away like a bird—

no birth, no pregnancy, no conception!

12

Even if they bring up children,

I will bereave them until no one is left.

Woe to them indeed

when I depart from them!

13

Once I saw Ephraim as a young palm planted in a lovely meadow,

but now Ephraim must lead out his children for slaughter.

14

Give them, O Lord—

what will you give?

Give them a miscarrying womb

and dry breasts.

 

15

Every evil of theirs began at Gilgal;

there I came to hate them.

Because of the wickedness of their deeds

I will drive them out of my house.

I will love them no more;

all their officials are rebels.

 

16

Ephraim is stricken,

their root is dried up,

they shall bear no fruit.

Even though they give birth,

I will kill the cherished offspring of their womb.

17

Because they have not listened to him,

my God will reject them;

they shall become wanderers among the nations.

 


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Ho 9:1-17. Warning against Israel's Joy at Partial Relief from Their Troubles: Their Crops Shall Fail, and the People Leave the Lord's Land for Egypt and Assyria, Where They Cannot, If So Inclined, Serve God According to the Ancient Ritual: Folly of Their False Prophets.

1. Rejoice not … for joy—literally, "to exultation." Thy exultation at the league with Pul, by which peace seems secured, is out of place: since thy idolatry will bring ruin on thee.

as other people—the Assyrians for instance, who, unlike thee, are in the height of prosperity.

loved a reward upon every corn floor—Thou hast desired, in reward for thy homage to idols, abundance of corn on every threshing-floor (Ho 2:12).

2. (Ho 2:9, 12).

fail—disappoint her expectation.

3. return to Egypt—(See on Ho 8:13). As in Ho 11:5 it is said, "He shall not return into … Egypt." Fairbairn thinks it is not the exact country that is meant, but the bondage state with which, from past experience, Egypt was identified in their minds. Assyria was to be a second Egypt to them. De 28:68, though threatening a return to Egypt, speaks (De 28:36) of their being brought to a nation which neither they nor their fathers had known, showing that it is not the literal Egypt, but a second Egypt-like bondage that is threatened.

eat unclean things in Assyria—reduced by necessity to eat meats pronounced unclean by the Mosaic law (Eze 4:13). See 2Ki 17:6.

4. offer wine offerings—literally, "pour as a libation (Ex 30:9; Le 23:13).

neither shall they be pleasing unto him—as being offered on a profane soil.

sacrifices … as the bread of mourners—which was unclean (De 26:14; Jer 16:7; Eze 24:17).

their bread for their soul—their offering for the expiation of their soul [Calvin], (Le 17:11). Rather, "their bread for their sustenance ('soul' being often used for the animal life, Ge 14:21, Margin) shall not come into the Lord's house"; it shall only subserve their own uses, not My worship.

5. (Ho 2:11).

6. because of destruction—to escape from the devastation of their country.

Egypt shall gather them up—that is, into its sepulchres (Jer 8:2; Eze 29:5). Instead of returning to Palestine, they should die in Egypt.

Memphis—famed as a necropolis.

the pleasant places for their silver—that is, their desired treasuries for their money. Or, "whatever precious thing they have of silver" [Maurer].

nettles—the sign of desolation (Isa 34:13).

7. visitation—vengeance: punishment (Isa 10:3).

Israel shall know it—to her cost experimentally (Isa 9:9).

the prophet is a fool—The false prophet who foretold prosperity to the nation shall be convicted of folly by the event.

the spiritual man—the man pretending to inspiration (La 2:14; Eze 13:3; Mic 3:11; Zep 3:4).

for the multitude of thine iniquity, &c.—Connect these words with, "the days of visitation … are come"; "the prophet … is mad," being parenthetical.

the great hatred—or, "the great provocation" [Henderson]; or, "(thy) great apostasy" [Maurer]. English Version means Israel's "hatred" of God's prophets and the law.

8. The watchman … was with my God—The spiritual watchmen, the true prophets, formerly consulted my God (Jer 31:6; Hab 2:1); but their so-called prophet is a snare, entrapping Israel into idolatry.

hatred—rather, "(a cause of) apostasy" (see Ho 9:7) [Maurer].

house of his God—that is, the state of Ephraim, as in Ho 8:1 [Maurer]. Or, "the house of his (false) god," the calves [Calvin]. Jehovah, "my God," seems contrasted with "his God." Calvin's view is therefore preferable.

9. as in the days of Gibeah—as in the day of the perpetration of the atrocity of Gibeah, narrated in Jud 19:16-22, &c.

10. As the traveller in a wilderness is delighted at finding grapes to quench his thirst, or the early fig (esteemed a great delicacy in the East, Isa 28:4; Jer 24:2; Mic 7:1); so it was My delight to choose your fathers as My peculiar people in Egypt (Ho 2:15).

at her first time—when the first-fruits of the tree become ripe.

went to Baal-peor—(Nu 25:3): the Moabite idol, in whose worship young women prostituted themselves; the very sin Israel latterly was guilty of.

separated themselves—consecrated themselves.

unto that shame—to that shameful or foul idol (Jer 11:13).

their abominations were according as they loved—rather, as Vulgate, "they became abominable like the object of their love" (De 7:26; Ps 115:8). English Version gives good sense, "their abominable idols they followed after, according as their lusts prompted them" (Am 4:5, Margin).

11. their glory shall fly away—fit retribution to those who "separated themselves unto that shame" (Ho 9:10). Children were accounted the glory of parents; sterility, a reproach. "Ephraim" means "fruitfulness" (Ge 41:52); this its name shall cease to be its characteristic.

from the birth … womb … conception—Ephraim's children shall perish in a threefold gradation; (1) From the time of birth. (2) From the time of pregnancy. (3) From the time of their first conception.

12. Even though they should rear their children, yet will I bereave them (the Ephraimites) of them (Job 27:14).

woe … to them when I depart—Yet the ungodly in their madness desire God to depart from them (Job 21:14; 22:17; Mt 8:34). At last they know to their cost how awful it is when God has departed (De 31:17; 1Sa 28:15, 16; compare Ho 9:11; 1Sa 4:21).

13. Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus … in a pleasant place—that is, in looking towards Tyrus (on whose borders Ephraim lay) I saw Ephraim beautiful in situation like her (Eze 26:1-28:26).

is planted—as a fruitful tree; image suggested by the meaning of "Ephraim" (Ho 9:11).

bring forth his children to the murderer—(Ho 9:16; Ho 13:16). With all his fruitfulness, his children shall only be brought up to be slain.

14. what wilt thou give?—As if overwhelmed by feeling, he deliberates with God what is most desirable.

give … a miscarrying womb—Of two evils he chooses the least. So great will be the calamity, that barrenness will be a blessing, though usually counted a great misfortune (Job 3:3; Jer 20:14; Lu 23:29).

15. All their wickedness—that is, their chief guilt.

Gilgal—(see on Ho 4:15). This was the scene of their first contumacy in rejecting God and choosing a king (1Sa 11:14, 15; compare 1Sa 8:7), and of their subsequent idolatry.

there I hated them—not with the human passion, but holy hatred of their sin, which required punishment to be inflicted on themselves (compare Mal 1:3).

out of mine house—as in Ho 8:1: out of the land holy unto Me. Or, as "love" is mentioned immediately after, the reference may be to the Hebrew mode of divorce, the husband (God) putting the wife (Israel) out of the house.

princes … revolters—"Sarim … Sorerim" (Hebrew), a play on similar sounds.

16. The figures "root," "fruit," are suggested by the word "Ephraim," that is, fruitful (see on Ho 9:11, 12). "Smitten," namely, with a blight (Ps 102:4).

17. My God—"My," in contrast to "them," that is, the people, whose God Jehovah no longer is. Also Hosea appeals to God as supporting his authority against the whole people.

wanderers among … nations—(2Ki 15:29; 1Ch 5:26).




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