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Corruption of the Court
In this chapter the tone again becomes despondent. How can Israel be saved when her iniquity is so deep, so glaring, so obstinate? Samaria is especially instanced as the centre of a wicked and corrupt government sustained by a lawless people and false teachers. Hosea dwells chiefly on some plot which ended in regicide and the reliance on foreign powers which meant want of faith in God.
2. They fail to realise how patent in God’s sight their iniquity is, while they attempt to combine a profession of religion with sins of the worst type. Now they are ’holden with the cords of their sins’ (Proverbs 5:22).
3. They induced their rulers not only to connive at, but to take part with delight in their wicked practices.
4. The fire of lust is likened to a baker’s oven. But the simile seems also to include the passion of anger which worked in the heart and produced acts of violence, such as regicide.
5-7. A scene from the palace. The king carouses with his courtiers, who have formed a plot against him, and wait the fitting moment to rise and put him to death. It would appear that Hosea has in his mind the assassination of a king at a feast, or just after a feast, in the early morning. The case is perhaps that of Zechariah, son of Jeroboam II (see Intro.).
5. The day.. king] some royal feast, probably the king’s birthday. Have.. wine] RV ’made themselves sick with the heat of wine.’ By their drunken carouse they heaped up fuel on the fire of their malicious hate. He stretched out] i.e. in hospitality. The hand is stretched out by the host to offer the cup to his guests. Scorners] those who in their heart despise the king and are ever plotting his death.
6. Their baker] Perhaps we should follow the LXX, etc., and read, ’their anger.’ Their anger sleeping would mean that they manage to control it, until it can work with effect. If we keep the reading ’baker,’ it will mean that just as the baker sleeps when once he has made up his fire and heated his oven ready for use in the morning, so they wait for the morning to execute their purpose.
7. Judges.. kings] whatever definite event the prophet has in his mind this describes the general character of the northern kingdom, a restless disloyalty to kings and rulers. The only dynasties of any duration were those of Omri and Jehu. None.. calleth unto me] Irreligion lay at the root of this constant disloyalty.
8. Ephraim, he hath mixed himself among the people] RV ’the peoples’ or nations. Another fault, and another evidence of a want of patriotism, the tendency to court foreign alliances and foreign influences, such as was seen in the policy of Menahem with reference to Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:19). A cake not turned] which is therefore burnt on one side, and half raw on the other, and so spoilt.
9. Strangers.. strength] the natural consequence of seeking help from a foreign alliance, which meant the exaction of what was practically tribute, and consequently heavy taxation (2 Kings 15:20). Israel did not realise that these signified the beginning of national decrepitude, just as grey hairs here and there are the first signs of old age.
10. The pride.. face] see on Hosea 5:5. He is so besotted with pride that he recognises neither the evil itself nor its true remedy.
11. A silly dove] As the dove flies helplessly one way and another, so Israel turns to one power after another, only eventually to make enemies of both. The only recorded alliance with Egypt was that of Hoshea (2 Kings 17:4); but it was a common policy of Judah, and is frequently condemned by the prophets. There was a natural temptation to play off Egypt against Assyria, and such an alliance may have been already projected by those opposed to Menahem’s action. Heart] RV ’understanding,’ as in Hosea 4:11.
12. They shall go] i.e. for help. This courting of alliances will inevitably, by God’s providence, end in their destruction. The metaphor of the dove suggests that of the fowler. Jehovah will through their own folly lure them to their ruin. As their congregation hath heard] Hosea had warned them beforehand of what was to befall.
14. Howled.. beds] Their prayers do not proceed from any reverential fear of God. They are like the howling of an animal from pain. They cry out because they are in trouble, but their prayers are for material blessings, and they are still rebellious at heart: cp. Job 35:9. They assemble themselves] i.e. meet in religious exercises, but RM has ’cut themselves,’ referring to heathen practices in time of tribulation: cp. 1 Kings 18:28.
15. Bound] RV ’taught,’ by chastisement.
16. They return, etc.] Their turning is ever farther away from God. Their princes shall fall] As a punishment for their insolence they would perish amidst the derision of the very people whose aid they had sought: see Hosea 7:11.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hosea 7". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29