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Bible Commentaries

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes
Hosea 4



Verse 1

the Lord. Hebrew. Jehovah. App-4.

children = sons.

a controversy = a judicial inquiry and cause. Compare Hosea 12:2. Isaiah 1:18, and Isaiah 3:13, Isaiah 3:14. Jeremiah 25:31. Micah 6:2.

mercy = lovingkindness, or grace.

knowledge: or, acknowledgement. See note on Hosea 2:20. Compare Hosea 4:6; Hosea 5:4.

Verse 2

By swearing, &c. These are the evils which flow from a want of the knowledge of God. Compare Hosea 4:6; Hosea 2:20. Romans 1:21. 1 John 2:3, 1 John 2:4; 1 John 4:7, 1 John 4:8.

blood toucheth blood: or, murder follows murder; "blood" being put by Figure of speech Synecdoche (of Species), App-6, for bloodshed.

Verse 3

Therefore shall the land mourn. Compare Jeremiah 4:28, and Jeremiah 12:4. Amos 5:16, and Amos 8:8.

the beasts = the very beasts (Beth essentioe).

be taken away = be gathered [into the ranks of the mourners].

Verse 4

let no man. The reason being given in Hosea 4:4.

they that strive with the priest. Reference to Pentateuch (Numbers 16:1, &c. Deuteronomy 17:12). App-92.

Verse 5

fall = stumble.

in the day. Compare Jeremiah 6:4, Jeremiah 6:5 and Hosea 15:8.

destroy = lay prostrate.

thy mother: i. e. the whole nation is referred to, as is clear from verses: Hosea 4:4, Hosea 4:3, &o.; Hosea 2:3, Hosea 2:9, Hosea 2:12.

Verse 6

People are. Not "is", because the noun though singular is collective, with plural verb.

lack of knowledge. See note on Hosea 2:20.

knowledge = the knowledge [of Me].

thou hast forgotten. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 32:18).

Verse 7

sinned. Hebrew chata". App-44.

therefore will I change their glory into shame. The Sopherim confess (App-33) that they altered thus the primitive Hebrew text: which read "My glory have they changed into shame": i. e. they altered the verb hemiru (they have changed) to "amir (I shall change); and, kebodi (My glory) to kebodam (their glory). This alteration was made from a mistaken reverence. It will be seen that the word "therefore" is not required.

Verse 8

eat up the sin = the sin-offering. Reference to Pentateuch (Leviticus 6:30): i. e. those sin-offerings which should have been wholly burnt, and not eaten. See notes on Leviticus 6:26, Leviticus 6:30. App-92.

Set their heart = lift up their soul: i. e. desire. Hebrew. nephesh. App-13.

iniquity = wrong-doing.

Verse 9

like people, &c. Compare Isaiah 24:2. Jeremiah 5:31.

punish = visit.

reward = requite.

Verse 10

not have enough. Reference to Pentateuch (Leviticus 26:26). The same words. App-92.

shall commit = have committed.

whoredom = idolatry. See note on Hosea 1:2.

the LORD. Hebrew. Jehovah.(with "eth) = Jehovah Himself. App-4.

Verse 11

wine. Hebrew. yayin. App-27.

new wine. Hebrew. tirosh. App-27.

heart. Put by Figure of speech Metonymy (of Adjunct), App-6, for understanding. See Isaiah 28:6.

Verse 12

ask counsel = inquire of (habitually). Compare Jeremiah 2:27. Habakkuk 2:19.

stocks = idols made of wood.

staff, &c. Referring to divination by rods.

spirit. Hebrew. ruach. App-9. Compare Hosea 5:4. Isaiah 44:20.

gone a whoring: i. e. gone away into idolatry. Compare Ezekiel 23:5.

from under = from under [the authority] of, &c, as Gomer had left Hosea. Compare Numbers 5:19, Numbers 5:29. Ezekiel 23:5.

Verse 13

They sacrifice, &c. Compare Isaiah 1:29, and Isaiah 57:5, Isaiah 57:7. Ezekiel 6:13, and Ezekiel 20:28. Reference to Pentateuch (Deuteronomy 12:2).

Verse 14

daughters: who became Temple-women. See next verse.

themselves = [the men] themselves.

separated = secluded.

harlots. Hebrew. kedeshah = the Temple-women, consecrated to the unclean "worship" of the Canaanites, by which the foulest corruption became a holy duty. Reference to Pentateuch. Found only here and Genesis 38:21, Genesis 38:22, and Deuteronomy 23:17. App-92.

Verse 15

harlot = wanton. Not the same word as in Hosea 4:14, though the symbol is similar.

Judah. Compare Hosea 1:7.

Gilgal. Jeroboam had erected an idolatrous temple there. See Hosea 9:15; Hosea 12:11. Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5. Compare Judges 3:19. There, too, they had rejected Jehovah as king (1 Samuel 7:16; 1 Samuel 10:8; 1 Samuel 11:14, 1 Samuel 11:15). See note on Hosea 9:15.

Beth-aven = house of naught. Put for Beth-el (= the house of GOD), now profaned by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:28-33; 1 Kings 13:1. Amos 3:14). The prophecy fulfilled in Jeremiah 48:13. See also 2 Kings 10:29; 2 Kings 17:6-23. Amos 7:13.

nor swear, &c. Compare Amos 8:14. Zephaniah 1:5.

Verse 16

slideth back = hath been stubborn, restive, or intractable, refractory.

a lamb = a young ram of more than a year old.

in a large place = an uninclosed space: i. e. the lands of the heathen.

Verse 17

joined = mated, or united to.

Verse 18

sour. Hebrew turned, turned back, thrust aside as having turned bad.

Give ye. By the Figure of speech Metallage (App-6) the fact of continual whoredom (or idolatrous worship) is changed to the new thought of the rulers loving to continually command, "Give ye [sacrifices]", with contempt for the sacrifices Jehovah commanded. See Hosea 8:13. Thus, the verse is not "untranslatable", as alleged.

Verse 19

wind, &c. = the spirit of whoredoms (Hosea 4:12) has bound itself up. Hebrew. ruach. App-9.

in her wings = in her skirts (so as to impede her gait).

they shall be ashamed. Compare Isaiah 1:29. Jeremiah 2:26. This verse is not "in confusion", as alleged. These verses (16-19) are not "scraps", as alleged, but are closely connected with the context. They are required by the Structure "Hosea 4:15-19" and "Hosea 5:8-15" on p. 1213.


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Hosea 4:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". 1909-1922.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 28th, 2020
the Week of Christ the King / Proper 29 / Ordinary 34
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