Predictions of Punishment
The priests, the people, and the royal dynasty have alike sinned, and will alike be punished. Their coquetting with Assyria will prove utterly futile. Judah has also sinned, and will receive their punishment. But there is ever yet hope in the future, if they will but repent.
1. Toward you] RV 'unto you.' Judgment belongs to you by right, and having abused your privilege you deserve greater punishment.
Mizpah and Tabor are both spoken of as ancient sanctuaries: cp Judges 21:1, Judges 21:8; 1 Samuel 7:5-10, and see on Hosea 4:13. The assemblies for religious and political purposes had been made occasions for robbing the people by unjust judgments and perhaps by extortionate demands for sacrifices: see on Hosea 4:8;
2. Are profound.. slaughter] lit. 'have gone deep to slaughter,' i.e. have committed horrible slaughter. It refers probably to the violence of political factions: cp. Hosea 7:7.
Though I have been] RV 'but I am.' Their violence will not escape punishment. Them all] priests, people, and rulers (Hosea 5:1).
3. I know.. from me] Israel and Ephraim are in this book synonymous. The people had corrupted themselves by sins of impurity, but Jehovah had seen it and would punish: cp. Psalms 10:14.
4. They.. doings] RV 'Their doings will not suffer them.' To repent would mean to give up their cherished vices.
5. The pride.. face] Worse still; they were actually proud of themselves and their doings. Their vaunting of their wickedness was its most obvious proof.
6. The time would come when they would in vain offer sacrifices to Jehovah.
7. Strange children] Some see here an allusion to intermarriage with the Canaanites: cp. Ezra 9, 10. But it may be merely metaphorical. The result of their faithless union with heathen gods was a race of people who were not true Israelites, acknowledged and loved of Jehovah. A month] RV 'the new-moon.' The profanation of their festivals would be punished by the enemy destroying them and their land.
Portions] RV 'fields.'
8. With this begins what is probably a new prophecy. Hosea ironically bids the herald call the people to arms to defend themselves against an invading foe. Gibeah ('a hill') and Ramah ('a high place') would both be suitable spots for sounding an alarm. Bethaven] see on Hosea 4:15. After thee.. Benjamin] RV 'behind thee,' etc. From Judges 5:14 it is supposed that this was the battle cry of the Benjamites, used by the soldiers in following their leaders. It would have been a summons to the Benjamites to battle.
9. But such preparations would be quite useless. The judgment was surely coming.
10. The princes.. bound (RV 'landmark')] They had abused their power to oppress and rob the people. The prophet here includes Judah in his denunciations and threats of consequent punishment. The Assyrians who demolished the northern kingdom crippled Judah in the days of Hezekiah. The deliverance of Judah, temporary as it in fact proved, was a later revelation of prophecy.
11. Broken in judgment] i.e. defeated in his suit and condemned. After the commandment] RM 'after vanity,' i.e. idolatry.
13. Assyrian.. Jareb] cp. Hosea 10:6. This refers probably to Menahem paying voluntary tribute to Tiglath-pileser (Pul, 2 Kings 15:19). The name Jareb ('adversary') is coined by Hosea to point out the absurdity of their seeking help from such a source. In the words, when Judah saw his wound, Hosea seems to hint at a similar policy on the part of Judah, which was afterwards pursued by both Ahaz and Hezekiah (2 Kings 16:7-8; 2 Kings 18:14-16).
14. See on Hosea 5:10.
15. The prophet still hopes that these calamities will produce repentance and the remission of the full calamity. Meanwhile Jehovah will leave them to the discipline of His punishment.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hosea 5". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany