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Israel’s Idolatry and its Consequences
The main thought of this c., which is a continuation of the last (cp. Hosea 12:9; Hosea 13:4), is the folly of Israel incurring the enmity of God, who had shown Himself such a loving friend, but might become so terrible an enemy. The sudden change of tone in Hosea 13:14 is highly characteristic.
1. When.. trembling] RV ’When Ephraim spake, there was trembling.’ Ephraim was a strong and powerful tribe, which could command obedience, as especially in the days of Joshua. He died] Baal-worship was the cause of the national decay and its final doom.
2. Kiss] as an act of worship. For men that sacrifice RM has ’sacrificers of men.’ Murder is combined with sacrifice: cp. Isaiah 1:15.
4. Yet.. Egypt] see on Hosea 12:9.
5, 6. I.. thee] In the wilderness Jehovah became their friend. He knew them, and bade them know Him. But when they prospered in a land of fertility, they became proud and forgot Him.
10. 1.. king] RV ’Where now is thy king?’ What use would the king and princes whom they had so clamoured for be in their trouble?
11. 1.. anger] This has often been referred to Saul, but the Hebrew tenses suggest repeated action, and the allusion may, therefore, be to the frequent changes of dynasty in the northern kingdom.
12. Hid] RV ’laid up in store.’ The sin of Israel is kept stored in God’s remembrance, and will surely bring about its own punishment.
13. He is an unwise son, etc.] Ephraim is like a foolish child that delays his own birth by staying in the passage from the womb. In other words, he has not the wisdom to rouse himself in this great crisis.
14. With a startling transition of thought, Hosea contemplates the power of Jehovah to save, even from death itself: cp. Isaiah 26:19. If it is too much to regard it as a definite prophecy of the resurrection, it is at least an example of faith in the unbounded mercies of God, and His power to trample even upon death and Hades.
O death.. destruction] RV ’O death, where are thy plagues? O grave’ (RM ’Sheol’), ’where is thy destruction?’ Cp. Hosea 13:10, where the same negative answer to the rhetorical question is intended. See 1 Corinthians 15:55, where St. Paul, quoting freely from LXX, gives a better rendering than AV. Sheol is the place of departed spirits, Hades, as in Isaiah 14:9, etc.
Repentance.. eyes] i.e. I will not relent in my purpose.
15. Suddenly again the hope vanishes. Ephraim in his prosperity is compared to a fertile country suddenly dried up by the east wind from the desert, and the failure of water.
Wind.. Lord] RV ’breath of the Lord,’ the wind being poetically conceived of as God’s breath, just as the thunder was His voice: cp. Genesis 1:2. He shall spoil] i.e. the east wind, or rather the enemy whom it typifies.
16. Shall become desolate] RV ’shall bear her guilt,’ i.e. be punished for her sin. Their.. up] Ephraim would have to bear the cruelties inflicted by a merciless foe in a barbarous age.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hosea 13". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter