Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, July 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 11

Peake's Commentary on the BiblePeake's Commentary


PART II., Hosea 4-14. A series of addresses which give a summary of Hosea’ s prophetic teaching. The period presupposed seems to be the time of anarchy which followed the death of Jeroboam II ( c. 743 B.C.). But there is no reason to suppose that the sections are arranged in chronological order. In Hosea 4-8 Israel’ s guilt is emphasized, in Hosea 9:1 to Hosea 11:11 the punishment, and in Hosea 11:12-12 both lines of thought are continued, the whole being rounded off with a brighter picture (Hosea 14). As, however, the oracles are essentially independent it is best to treat them separately. The text is in places very corrupt.

Verses 1-11

Hosea 11:1-11 . The Divine Father’ s Love for Israel.— In Israel’ s youth Yahweh loved him, and called him from Egypt to be His son, but he proved disloyal, sacrificing to the Baalim ( Hosea 11:1 f.). Yet it was Yahweh who guided and protected him as a father, and healed him in sickness ( Hosea 11:3). The figure now changes (but see notes). Yahweh has treated Israel as a humane master who gently leads and eases the yoke for the tired team of oxen ( Hosea 11:4). The ungrateful son must return to Egypt— be exiled; his cities shall be given up to the sword, because of incurable idolatry ( Hosea 11:6 f.). Here the prophet movingly expresses Yahweh’ s love for His people: “ How shall I give thee up, Ephraim?” How devote Israel, loved from youth, to destruction? And yet must not the annihilating judgment take its course? Does not Yahweh’ s holiness inexorably demand it? ( Hosea 11:8 f.). But there shall be a return from exile ( Hosea 11:10 f., post-exilic).

Hosea 11:1 . Render “ called (him) to be my son” or (reading lô b) “ called to him, my Son: LXX “ called his sons” (“ and since Egypt I have been calling his sons,” Marti). Israel’ s sonship dates from the Exodus ( cf. Exodus 4:22).

Hosea 11:2 a. Read (LXX), “ But the more I have called to them, so much the more have they departed from me.”

Hosea 11:2 b. Render “ sacrifice,” “ burn” (present tenses).

Hosea 11:3 b. Marti and Nowack read, “ But they knew not that I carried them, that I healed them from sickness.” Yahweh is the good physician ( cf. Exodus 15:26).

Hosea 11:4 a. man: perhaps “ kindness” ( hesed) should be read (parallel to love).

Hosea 11:4 b. The text is uncertain (the yoke is not placed on the jaws, but on the neck). Read ( cf. LXX), “ And then I became to him as a man-smiter; I turned against him (‘â lâ w) and overcame him” (so Marti).

Hosea 11:5 . Omit “ not” ( transferred to end of Hosea 11:4). As places of exile Assyria and Egypt are employed indifferently in Hosea.

Hosea 11:6 . Text corrupt. Read probably, “ And the sword shall consume in his cities, and devour in his fastnesses.”

Hosea 11:7 . Very corrupt. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed.

Hosea 11:8 . Admah and Zeboim play the same rô le in Hosea as Sodom and Gomorrah in Amos and Isaiah ( cf. Amos 4:11, Isaiah 1:7-10). According to tradition they belonged to the five cities of the plain ( cf. Genesis 10:19; Genesis 14:2; Genesis 14:8, Deuteronomy 29:23).

Hosea 11:9 . Render, “ Shall I not execute?” “ Shall I not return?” etc.— and I . . . city: ( mg. is impossible) read probably, “ and shall I not extirpate” (Heb. w e lô abhâç r) ? [If construed absolutely (I will not execute, etc.), the verse is a promise of mercy. But this hardly suits the clause about God’ s holiness; holiness demands severe purgation.]

Hosea 11:10 depicts the return from exile; it is doubtless a post-exilio gloss.— make them to dwell in: read, “ bring them back to.”

Verse 12

Hosea 11:12 to Hosea 12:14 (= Hebrews 12:1-15). Ephraim’ s Infidelity Traced from the Beginning.— This is one of the most difficult passages in Hosea. In the text Judah also is mentioned; but this may be due to a later hand. Hosea 12:4 f., Hosea 12:12 f. are probably additions. The chapter-division is wrong in EV and right in the Heb. Israel’ s sins of treason and deceit as it were surround Yahweh (nor has Judah been faithful). Ephraim loves (see note) wind, symbol of worthlessness and violence, heaps up falsehood and fraud, and faithlessly enters into covenant relations with Assyria and Egypt ( Hosea 11:12 to Hosea 12:1). Yahweh has a controversy with Israel (so read for “ Judah” and omit “ also” ), and will punish Jacob ( Hosea 12:2). Israel has the faults of his ancestor who defrauded his brother in the womb, and in manhood even strove ( mg.) with God ( Hosea 12:3; see Hosea 12:4-6 *). [13] He even practises the deceits of Canaan, and cheats in order to become rich ( Hosea 12:7 f .) . But Yahweh will disappoint these degraded ambitions, and bring him again (as at the first) into the wilderness ( Hosea 12:9 f.). He has been warned often enough of the impending calamity ( Hosea 12:10); Gilead and Gilgal, famous centres of idolatry, shall be overtaken by the ruin ( Hosea 12:11). Some further references to Jacob ( Hosea 12:12 f.) are probably later additions. The continuation of Hosea 12:11 is seen in Hosea 12:14, in which Yahweh pronounces the final justification of Ephraim’ s doom.

[13] 123– 6 is regarded by Welcb as quoted by Hosea from a temple song current at Bethel (so also 61– 3).

Hosea 11:12 b. Probably a Judæ an addition. The text is here out of order (see LXX). Read perhaps, “ But Judah is still known ( i.e. trusted; reading yâ du a for râ d) with God and faithful to (with) the Holy One.” If original the clause must be taken as an indictment of Judah. Render then, “ And Judah is yet wayward ( cf. mg.) with God, and yoked with the Q e dç shim (sacred prostitutes: reading nismâ d for neĕ? mâ n) .

Hosea 12:1 . feedeth on:? “ loveth” (or possibly “ herdeth” ).— wind symbolises what is vain, unsubstantial, with implied reference to Egypt (“ east wind” to Assyria, cf. Hosea 13:15, Job 15:2; Job 27:21).— he . . . multiplieth: read, they multiply.” For “ desolation” read “ vanity,” and at end and they carry.” Oil was precious ( cf. Deuteronomy 8:8) and so appropriate for a costly present ( cf. Isaiah 30:6).

Hosea 12:3 . took . . . by the heel: i.e. attacked at the heel, overreached. Hosea 12:3 b may be regarded as contrasted with Hosea 12:3 a (by way of praise), and as an addition. But this is unnecessary. Render “ contended with God” ( cf. Genesis 32:24 ff.).

Hosea 12:4-6 . Perhaps a later expansion, designed to mitigate the hard judgment on Jacob in Hosea 12:3; Hosea 12:4 a is probably one gloss, Hosea 12:4 b Hosea 12:6 another (the theophany at Bethel, cf. Genesis 35:9 ff.), Hosea 12:6 forming the glossator’ s hortatory conclusion addressed to contemporaries.

Hosea 12:4 . us: read “ him.”

Hosea 12:6 . wait: render “ hope.”

Hosea 12:7 . Render ( cf. mg.) “ Canaan— the balances of deceit, etc.”— oppress: read ( cf. mg.), “ overreach” (Heb. la aqô b, play on Jacob).— Canaan here means commercialised Ephraim.

Hosea 12:8 a gives Ephraim’ s reply, he has become rich.

Hosea 12:8 b is the prophet’ s retort. Read, “ All that he has amassed shall not suffice for the guilt he has incurred” (LXX).

Hosea 12:9 . Perhaps out of place; the logical connexion is difficult.

Hosea 12:9 a= Hosea 13:4 a. from: render, “ since.”— the solemn feast is difficult. The feast of the desert was Passover, not Tabernacles. Read (?) “ thy youth.”

Hosea 12:10 . I have used similitudes: corrupt. No satisfactory emendation has been proposed.

Hosea 12:11 . Text in disorder. Read, “ In Gilead” ( cf. Hosea 6:8 *) “ they have practised iniquity; in Gilgal ( Hosea 9:15 *) they have sacrificed to demons; (so) also shall their altars become stone-heaps,” etc. [The logical connexion with Hosea 11:10 is difficult to trace. Marti thinks Hosea 11:10 an insertion.]

Hosea 12:12 f. Probably a gloss (? by the same hand as Hosea 12:4-6), to show the providential care of God in the life of Jacob and in the Exodus.

Hosea 12:12 . Cf. Genesis 29:13-30.

Hosea 12:13 . a prophet: i.e. Moses ( cf. Deuteronomy 18:15; Deuteronomy 34:10).— was preserved: i.e. in the wilderness wanderings.

Hosea 12:14 . Text hopelessly corrupt. After anger a threat of punishment may have followed.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hosea 11". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/hosea-11.html. 1919.
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