Hosea 7


Here God complains that though he had employed every means for

reforming Israel, they still persisted in their iniquity,

without fearing the consequences, 1, 2;

that those who ought to check their crimes were pleased with

them, 3;

and that they all burned with adultery, as an oven when fully

heated, and ready to receive the kneaded dough, 4.

The fifth verse alludes to some recent enormities; the sixth

charges them with dividing their time between inactivity and

iniquity; the seventh alludes to their civil broils and

conspiracies; (see 2Ki 15:10, 14, 25;)

the eighth to their joining themselves with idolatrous nations;

and the ninth describes the sad consequence. The tenth verse

reproves their pride and open contempt of God's worship; the

eleventh reproves their foolish conduct in applying for aid to

their enemies; (see 2Ki 15:19; 17:4;)

the twelfth and thirteenth threaten them with punishments; the

fourteenth charges them with hypocrisy in their acts of

humiliation; the fifteenth with ingratitude; and the image of

the deceitful bow, in the sixteenth verse, is highly expressive

of their frequent apostasies; and their hard speeches against

God shall be visited upon them by their becoming a reproach in

the land of their enemies.


Verse 1. When I would have healed Israel] As soon as one wound

was healed, another was discovered. Scarcely was one sin blotted

out till another was committed.

The thief cometh in] Their own princes spoil them.

The troop of robbers spoileth without.] The Assyrians, under

different leaders, waste and plunder the country.

Verse 2. They consider not in their hearts] They do not consider

that my eye is upon all their ways; they do not think that I

record all their wickedness; and they know not their own evil

doings are as a host of enemies encompassing them about.

Verse 3. They make the king glad] They pleased Jeroboam by

coming readily into his measures, and heartily joining with him in

his idolatry. And they professed to be perfectly happy in their

change, and to be greatly advantaged by their new gods; and that

the religion of the state now was better than that of Jehovah.

Thus, they made all their rulers, "glad with their lies."

Verse 4. As an oven heated by the baker] Calmet's paraphrase on

this and the following verses expresses pretty nearly the sense:

Hosea makes a twofold comparison of the Israelites; to an oven,

and to dough. Jeroboam set fire to his own oven-his kingdom-and

put the leaven in his dough; and afterwards went to rest, that the

fire might have time to heat his oven, and the leaven to raise his

dough, that the false principles which he introduced might infect

the whole population. This prince, purposing to make his subjects

relinquish their ancient religion, put, in a certain sense, the

fire to his own oven, and mixed his dough with leaven. At first he

used no violence; but was satisfied with exhorting them, and

proclaiming a feast. This fire spread very rapidly, and the dough

was very soon impregnated by the leaven. All Israel was seen

running to this feast, and partaking in these innovations. But

what shall become of the oven-the kingdom; and the bread-the

people? The oven shall be consumed by these flames; the king,

the princes, and the people shall be enveloped in the burning,

Ho 7:7. Israel was

put under the ashes, as a loaf well kneaded and leavened; but

not being carefully turned, it was burnt on one side before those

who prepared it could eat of it; and enemies and strangers came

and carried off the loaf. See Ho 7:8, 9. Their lasting captivity

was the consequence of their wickedness and their apostasy from

the religion of their fathers. On this explication Ho 7:4-9, may

be easily understood.

Verse 7. All their kings are fallen] There was a pitiful

slaughter among the idolatrous kings of Israel; four of them had

fallen in the time of this prophet. Zechariah was slain by

Shallum; Shallum, by Menahem; Pekahiah, by Pekah; and Pekah, by

Hoshea, 2Ki 15:8-30. All were idolaters, and all came to an

untimely death.

Verse 8. A cake not turned.] In the East having heated the

hearth, they sweep one corner, put the cake upon it, and cover

it with embers; in a short time they turn it, cover it again, and

continue this several times, till they find it sufficiently baked.

All travellers into Asiatic countries have noted this.

Verse 9. Gray hairs are here and there upon him, yet he knoweth

not.] The kingdom is grown old in iniquity; the time of their

captivity is at hand, and they are apprehensive of no danger. They

are in the state of a silly old man, who through age and

infirmities is become nearly bald, and the few remaining hairs on

his head are quite gray. But he does not consider his latter end;

is making no provision for that eternity on the brink of which he

is constantly standing; does not apply to the sovereign Physician

to heal his spiritual diseases; but calls in the doctors to cure

him of old age and death! This miserable state and preposterous

conduct we witness every day. O how fast does the human being

cling to his native earth! Reader, hear the voice of an old man:-

O my coevals! remnants of yourselves,

Shall our pale withered hands be still stretched out?

Trembling at once with eagerness and age;

With avarice and ambition grasping-fast

Grasping at air! For what hath earth beside?

We want but little; nor THAT LITTLE long.

Verse 10. The pride of Israel] The same words as at Ho 5:6,

where see the note. See Clarke on Ho 5:6.

Verse 11. Ephraim also is like a silly dove without heart] A

bird that has little understanding; that is easily snared and

taken; that is careless about its own young, and seems to live

without any kind of thought. It has been made, by those who, like

itself, are without heart, the symbol of conjugal affection.

Nothing worse could have been chosen, for the dove and its mate

are continually quarrelling.

They call to Egypt, they go to Assyria.] They strive to make

these their allies and friends; but in this they showed that they

were without heart, had not a sound understanding; for these were

rival nations, and Israel could not attach itself to the one

without incurring the jealousy and displeasure of the other. Thus,

like the silly dove, they were constantly falling into snares;

sometimes of the Egyptians, at others of the Assyrians. By the

former they were betrayed; by the latter, ruined.

Verse 12. When they shall go] To those nations for help-

I will spread my net upon them] I will cause them to be taken by

those in whom they trusted.

I will bring them down] They shall no sooner set off to seek

this foreign help, than my net shall bring them down to the earth.

The allusion to the dove, and to the mode of taking the fowls of

heaven, is still carried on.

As their congregation hath heard.] As in their solemn assemblies

they before have heard; in the reading of my law, and the

denunciation of my wrath against idolaters.

Bishop Newcome translates: "I will chastise them when they

hearken to their assembly." That is, when they take the counsel of

their elders to go down to Egypt for help, and trust in the arm of

the Assyrians for succour.

Verse 13. Wo unto them!] They shall have wo, because they have

fled from me. They shall have destruction, because they have

transgressed against me.

Though I have redeemed them] Out of Egypt; and given them the

fullest proof of my love and power.

Yet they have spoken lies against me.] They have represented me

as rigorous and cruel; and my service as painful and unprofitable.

Verse 14. They have not cried unto me with their heart] They say

they have sought me, but could not find me; that they have cried

unto me, but I did not answer. I know they have cried, yea,

howled; but could I hear them when all was forced and

hypocritical, not one sigh coming from their heart?

They assemble themselves for corn and wine] In dearth and famine

they call and howl: but they assemble themselves, not to seek ME,

but to invoke their false gods for corn and wine.

Verse 15. Though I have bound and strengthened their arms]

Whether I dealt with them in judgment or mercy, it was all one; in

all circumstances they rebelled against me.

Verse 16. They return, but not to the Most High] They go to

their idols.

They are like a deceitful bow] Which, when it is reflexed, in

order to be strung, suddenly springs back into its quiescent

curve; for the eastern bows stand in their quiescent state in a

curve, something like [curved figure "C"]; and in order to be strung

must be bended back in the opposite direction. This bending of the

bow requires both strength and skill; and if not properly done, it

will fly back, and regain its former position; and in this recoil

endanger the archer-may even break an arm. I have been in this

danger myself in bending the Asiatic bow. For want of this

knowledge not one commentator has hit the meaning of the passage.

Shall fall by the sword] Their tongue has been enraged against

ME; the sword shall be enraged against them. They have mocked me,

(Ho 7:5,) and their fall is now a subject of

derision in the land of Egypt. What they have sown, that do they

now reap.

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