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Exile is at Hand
This prophecy appears to have been written in a time of rejoicing over a good harvest and vintage. Israel need not rejoice, says the prophet, with the wild joy of the heathen. Their praises to the local Baals are insults to Jehovah, whom they have denied. Their rejoicing will end in disaster, culminating in captivity either in Egypt or Assyria.
1, 2. People] RV ’peoples,’ i.e. the heathen nations around. The allusion is probably to the orgies of the heathen festival. The sins of. the people called rather for sorrow and contrition.
Reward] RV ’hire,’ the bounteous crops being regarded as due to the favour of the idols in return for Israel’s worship. As a punishment the corn and wine would fail.
3. See on Hosea 8:13. Egypt and Assyria were the nations which assailed them on either side. By one of them they would be taken captive. ’Unclean food’ (RV), in contrast to the fertile products of their own land: cp. 2 Kings 18:27-31; Ezekiel 4:12, Ezekiel 4:13.
4. Bread of mourners] Instead of being joyous festivals they would be like funeral feasts. For their bread, etc.] RV ’for their bread shall be for their appetite: it shall not come,’ etc. A further step in their misery. They would only have enough bread to satisfy the pangs of hunger, and have none left to offer to God. The reference here appears to be to the horrors of a siege.
5. The feast days come, but no one is ready or able to observe them. Their only concern is to escape destruction.
6. Egypt.. up] Their efforts to escape are useless. They would be captured and brought to Egypt, with only death and burial to look forward to: see on Hosea 8:13. The pleasant.. silver] RV ’their pleasant things of silver.’ While they die in captivity, all their treasures are laid waste and overgrown with weeds: cp. Isaiah 34:13. Tabernacles] RV ’tents.’
7. Israel shall know.. it] The people have refused to believe the prophet’s threats; they would realise the truth very soon, when the calamities came upon them. The prophet is a fool] The meaning is doubtful. Some interpret thus: ’Into such excesses have they fallen that their prophets have gone mad, so that they utter no clear message, but only the incoherent muttering of frenzy.’ In this case the prophet would refer to the false prophets. Or it may mean that their iniquity and enmity had hitherto made them ignorant of the real character of the true prophet, who appeared to them a mad fool. The spiritual man] lit. ’the man of the spirit,’ an unusual synonym for prophet.
8. The watchman] ’Watchman’ is similarly used metaphorically of a prophet in Isaiah 21:6, Isaiah 21:11. The meaning is very uncertain.
Was with my God] perhaps, ’is with my God,’ i.e. is in the keeping of my God. A snare of a fowler.. ways] Wherever he goes he is in danger of being trapped. Hatred in.. God] The enmity of the people dogs him in his most sacred duties.
9. Gibeah] The reference is to the glaring sin of the Gibeonites described in Judges 19 : cp. Hosea 10:9.
10. Grapes in the wilderness] the last place to find grapes. But God had found these poor tribes in the wilderness, and made them His people. Time] RV ’season.’ The first ripe fruit is eaten with peculiar relish, all the more so if it be the first crop of the figs: cp. Isaiah 28:4. Israel was the first nation which God had chosen. Baal-peor] see Numbers 25. God’s love even at the beginning did not hinder them from acts of idolatry and gross impurity. Separated.. shame] RV ’consecrated themselves unto the shameful thing,’ i.e. the idol and the licentiousness which its worship involved.
11-13. The prophet threatens them with barrenness as the punishment for immorality: cp. Hosea 4:10. Even if children should be born, they would fall by the sword of the enemy.
13. As I saw Tyrus] i.e. like Tyre. Pleasant place] perhaps fold, as in Jeremiah 23:3, the reference being to security rather than natural beauty.
14. The prophet here appeals to God’s justice to carry out the punishment foretold. The prophet has his moods; at one time an earnest hope for the nation’s repentance, at another a disgust at their hopeless irreligion and immoralities. Even here the language implies a struggle of different feelings. He seems to begin with a prayer and to end with something like a curse.
15. Gilgal] cp. Hosea 4:15. Gilgal was the home of idolatry and its accompanying iniquity. There Israel called forth the wrath of God. Mine house] These words show that the worship at Gilgal was at least in theory paid to Jehovah.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Hosea 9". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the <>Sixth Sunday after Easter