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the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 10

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-15

Denunciations and Entreaties

This prophecy appears to have been uttered at a later date than the last. There is no longer any mention of Egypt, but the calamity from Assyria seems imminent. Again Hosea urges them to repent while there is time, and again gives way to despair.

1. Empty] RV ’luxuriant,’ with reference to the prosperity of Israel. The more he prospered, the more he multiplied his heathenish altars and symbols. Fruit unto himself] RV ’his fruit.’ Images] RV ’pillars’: see on Hosea 3:4.

2. Their.. divided] It is no simple worship of Jehovah, but a confused heathenish worship, which God will altogether destroy: see Intro.

3. What.. us] RV ’and the king, what can he do for us?’ They have no king, because they have not submitted themselves to their natural king, Jehovah; and they realise too late the impotence of him who is a king only in name (i.e. probably Hoshea).

4. They.. covenant] They have spoken words, i.e. mere words not followed by deeds, and sworn falsely to agreements which they have not kept. The reference is probably to their commercial dealings with each other as in Hosea 4:2. Hemlock.. field] Judgment will come upon them like the rank growth of a noxious weed.

5. Samaria] as in Hosea 8:5., for the whole people. Calves of Bethaven] see on Hosea 4:15. They will be terribly afraid lest their God be taken away. Priests and people alike will mourn for sorrow.

6. King Jareb] see on Hosea 5:13. There is a fine touch of irony in the suggestion that a god is sent off as a present to a king.

7. Samaria is doomed, and her king disappears, like a foam-bubble bursting on the water.

8. A picture of the desolation and terror following invasion. Aven] for Bethaven: see on Hosea 4:15. They.. us] In their despair they would welcome the most violent death. The words are quoted by our Lord in His prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem (Luke 23:30): see also Revelation 6:16.

9. From the days] RM ’more than in the days.’ Gibeah] see on Hosea 9:9. The battle] RV ’that the battle.’ Hosea finds a parallel between the battle of vengeance against the Benjamites in Gibeah (Judges 20) and the judgment that is coming against Israel. They remain impenitent, hoping that a similar calamity may not overtake them.

10. It.. should] RV ’when it is my desire, I will,’ etc. There may be some delay, but, when God wills, the punishment must come. When.. furrows] RV ’when they are bound’ (RM ’yoked’) ’to their two transgressions,’ usually explained of the two ’calves.’ For a somewhat similar figure cp Isaiah 5:18. But translation and interpretation are both very uncertain.

11. See on Hosea 5:3. Ephraim is like a heifer accustomed only to the light work of threshing; but both she and Judah must now bear the yoke of a foreign oppressor. I passed.. neck] a rather curious but forcible way of saying, ’I have put the yoke upon her neck.’ It is an instance of the prophetic past, describing as done an event only determined by God. The images which follow express the same general thought, the dominion of a foreign power.

Jacob] instead of Israel or Ephraim.

12, 13. The metaphor of ploughing leads to that of sowing and reaping. Hosea uses it to make another appeal for repentance. In the past they had devoted themselves to iniquity, and were beginning to reap the consequences. Let them now devote themselves to righteousness, and they will receive mercy. Rain righteousness] RM ’teach you righteousness.’

Trust.. way] i.e. you chose your own path instead of allowing yourselves to be directed by God. Another reading is, ’in thy chariots,’ which is a better parallel to the next clause.

14. Among] RM ’against.’ Their confidence would be found misplaced. The fortresses manned by their mighty men would be destroyed by the enemy. Shalman.. battle] Nothing is known of this event, and neither the man nor the place can be identified with certainty; but the sack of Betharbel had evidently created a terrible impression of the horrors of war.

15. So shall Beth-el do] RM ’so shall it be done unto you at Beth-el.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hosea 10". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/hosea-10.html. 1909.
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