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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Hosea 12

Introduction

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 11:12-2 Kings : 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 1-14

Hosea 11:12 to Hosea 12:14 (= Hebrews 12:1-Ezra :). 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-Joshua : *). [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.

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-Joshua : . 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-Joshua :), to show the providential care of God in the life of Jacob and in the Exodus.

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

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.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hosea 12". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/hosea-12.html. 1919.