Hosea 9


The prophet reproves the Israelites for their sacrifices and

rejoicings on their corn-floors, by which they ascribed to

idols, as the heathen did, the praise of all their plenty, 1.

For which reason they are threatened with famine and exile,

2, 3,

in a land where they should be polluted, and want the means of

worshipping the God of their fathers, or observing the

solemnities of his appointment, 4, 5.

Nay more; they shall speedily fall before the destroyer, be

buried in Egypt, and leave their own pleasant places desolate,


God is then introduced declaring his early favour for his

people, and the delight he took in their obedience; but now

they had so deeply revolted, all their glory will take wing,

God will forsake them, and their offspring be devoted to

destruction, 10-16.


Verse 1. Rejoice not] Do not imitate the heathens, nor serve

their idols. Do not prostitute thy soul and body in practicing

their impurities. Hitherto thou hast acted as a common harlot, who

goes even to the common threshing places; connects herself with

the meanest, in order to get a hire even of the grain there

threshed out.

Verse 3. But Ephraim shall return to Egypt] See on Ho 8:13.

Verse 4. As the bread of mourners] By the law, a dead body, and

every thing that related to it, the house where it lay, and the

persons who touched it, were all polluted and unclean, and

whatever they touched was considered as defiled. See De 26:14;

Nu 19:11, 13, 14.

For their bread for their soul] The bread for the common support

of life shall not be sanctified to them by having the first-fruits

presented at the temple.

Verse 5. What will ye do in the solemn day] When ye shall be

despoiled of every thing by the Assyrians; for the Israelites who

remained in the land after its subjection to the Assyrians did

worship the true God, and offer unto him the sacrifices appointed

by the law, though in an imperfect and schismatic manner; and it

was a great mortification to them to be deprived of their

religious festivals in a land of strangers. See Calmet.

Verse 6. For, lo, they are gone] Many of them fled to Egypt to

avoid the destruction; but they went there only to die.

Memphis] Now Cairo, or Kahira, found them graves.

The pleasant places for their silver] The fine estates or villas

which they had purchased by their money, being now neglected and

uninhabited, are covered with nettles; and even in their

tabernacles, thorns and brambles of different kinds grow. These

are the fullest marks of utter desolation.

Verse 7. The days of visitation] Of punishment are come.

The prophet is a fool] Who has pretended to foretell, on Divine

authority, peace and plenty; for behold all is desolation.

The spiritual man] ish haruach, the man of spirit,

who was ever pretending to be under a Divine afflatus.

Is mad] He is now enraged to see every thing falling out

contrary to his prediction.

Verse 8. The watchman of Ephraim] The true prophet, was

with-faithful to, God.

The prophet] The false prophet is the snare of a fowler; is

continually deceiving the people, and leading them into snares,

and infusing into their hearts deep hatred against God and his


Verse 9. They have deeply corrupted themselves, as in the days

of Gibeah] This relates to that shocking rape and murder of the

Levite's wife, mentioned Jud 19:16, &c.

Verse 10. I found Israel like grapes in the wilderness] While

they were faithful, they were as acceptable to me as ripe grapes

would be to a thirsty traveller in the desert.

I saw your fathers] Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, Caleb,

Samuel, &c.

As the first ripe] Those grapes, whose bud having come first,

and being exposed most to the sun, have been the first ripe upon

the tree; which tree was now in the vigour of youth, and bore

fruit for the first time. A metaphor of the rising prosperity of

the Jewish state.

But they went to Baal-Peor] The same as the Roman Priapus, and

worshipped with the most impure rites.

And their abominations were according as they loved.] Or, "they

became as abominable as the object of their love." So Bp. Newcome.

And this was superlatively abominable.

Verse 11. Their glory shall fly away] It shall suddenly spring

away from them, and return no more.

From the birth] "So that there shall be no birth, no carrying in

the womb, no conception."-Newcome. They shall cease to glory in

their numbers; for no children shall be born, no woman shall be

pregnant, for none shall conceive. Here judgment blasts the very

germs of population.

Verse 12. Though they bring up their children] And were they

even to have children, I would bereave them of them; for, when I

depart from them, they shall have all manner of wretchedness and


Verse 13. Ephraim, as I saw Tyrus] Tyre was strongly situated on

a rock in the sea; Samaria was on a mountain, both strong and

pleasant. But the strength and beauty of those cities shall not

save them from destruction.

Ephraim shall bring forth his children to the murderer.] The

people shall be destroyed, or led into captivity by the Assyrians.

Of the grandeur, wealth, power, &c., of Tyre, see the notes on

Ezekiel, Eze 27:2-28:25.

Verse 14. Give them, O Lord: what wilt thou give?] There is an

uncommon beauty in these words. The prophet, seeing the evils that

were likely to fall upon his countrymen, begins to make

intercession for them; but when he had formed the first part of

his petition, "Give them, O Lord!" the prophetic light discovered

to him that the petition would not be answered and that God was

about to give them something widely different. Then changing his

petition, which the Divine Spirit had interrupted, by signifying

that he must not proceed in his request, he asks the question,

then, "What wilt thou give them?" and the answer is, "Give them a

miscarrying womb, and dry breasts." And this he is commanded to

announce. It is probable that the Israelites had prided themselves

in the fruitfulness of their families, and the numerous population

of their country. God now tells them that this shall be no more;

their wives shall be barren, and their land cursed.

Verse 15. All their wickedness is in Gilgal] though we are not

directly informed of the fact, yet we have reason to believe they

had been guilty of some scandalous practices of idolatry in

Gilgal. See Ho 4:15.

For there I hated them] And therefore he determined, "for the

wickedness of their doings, to drive them out of his house," so

that they should cease to be a part of the heavenly family, either

as sons or servants; for he would "love them no more," and bear

with them no longer.

Verse 16. Ephraim is smitten] The thing being determined, it is

considered as already done.

Their root is dried up] They shall never more be a kingdom. And

they never had any political form from their captivity by the

Assyrians to the present day.

Yea, though they bring forth]

See Clarke on Ho 9:11; "Ho 9:12".

Verse 17. My God will cast them away] Here the prophet seems to

apologize for the severity of these denunciations; and to

vindicate the Divine justice, from which they proceeded. It is-

Because they did not hearken unto him] That "my God," the

fountain of mercy and kindness, "will cast them away."

And they shall be wanderers among the nations.] And where they

have wandered to, who can tell? and in what nations to be found,

no man knows. Wanderers they are; and perhaps even now unknown to

themselves. Some have thought they have found them in one country;

some, in another; and a very pious writer, in a book entitled, The

Star in the West, thinks he has found their descendants in the

American Indians; among whom he has discovered many customs,

apparently the same with those of the ancient Jews, and commanded

in the Law. He even thinks that the word Je-ho-vah is found in

their solemn festal cry, Ye-ho-wa-he. If they be this long lost

people, they are utterly unknown to themselves; their origin being

lost in a very remote antiquity.

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