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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 . Rom 1:21 . 1 John 2:3 , 1Jn 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 Hos 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; 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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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Hosea 4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bul/hosea-4.html. 1909-1922.