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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 9

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 1-9

Hosea 9:1-9 . The Joyless Discipline of Exile.— The delirious joy of the popular nature-religion shall soon be exchanged for the sorrows of exile. In her own land Israel had treacherously ascribed to the Baalim the crops given by Yahweh; therefore, in a strange land, she shall lose all opportunity of sacrificing to Him. Their bread shall be “ as the bread of mourners,” unoffered and unconsecrated in Yahweh’ s Temple; and what will they do for festivals? Egypt shall be their grave, and all their wealth destroyed in the day of visitation ( Hosea 9:1-7 a) . If the prophet (Hosea) is “ mad” this is explained by the universal sin against Yahweh, and the universal enmity against His prophet ( Hosea 9:7 b, Hosea 9:8). The nation’ s guilt is indeed profound, and shall incur inevitable punishment ( Hosea 9:9).

Hosea 9:1 . joy: read “ exult not” (LXX).— By hire ( i.e. harlot’ s hire; cf. Hosea 2:14) is meant the material gifts which the Israelites look for as the reward of the Baal-worship.

Hosea 9:2 . shall not feed: read “ shall ignore,” and for “ her” read “ them” (LXX). They shall not enjoy the harvest ( cf. Amos 5:11).

Hosea 9:3 . Egypt and Assyria symbolise lands of exile ( cf. Hosea 7:11, Hosea 8:9; Hosea 8:13). The foreign land is unclean because it is impossible to sacrifice to Yahweh in it ( cf. Amos 7:17); there can be no more joyful sacrificial meals in Yahweh’ s house.

Hosea 9:4 . neither . . . mourners: read “ nor prepare for him their sacrifices. Like the bread of mourners shall their bread be.” By “ the house of the LORD” is meant any of the numerous sanctuaries, which were nominally dedicated to the worship of Yahweh.— [ Hosea 9:4 b , Hosea 9:5 .? a gloss.]

Hosea 9:6 . they . . . destruction: read “ they shall go to Assyria.” Their cherished possessions (pleasant things) in Palestine shall become a waste.

Hosea 9:7 b. Here a new verse should begin. It is the prophet’ s reply to the reproach of his hearers that he is “ mad.”

Hosea 9:8 f. The text appears to be corrupt. Hosea 9:8 a may mean “ Ephraim acts the spy with my God” (G. A. Smith), but this is doubtful. Hosea 9:8 b may refer to persecution encountered by the prophet. Then join Hosea 9:9 a, to Hosea 9:8, reading “ they have made a deep pit for him” ( i.e. they have plotted against the prophet). The rest of 9 may be an addition (? made up from Hosea 10:9 and Hosea 8:13; so Wellhausen). For the crime of Gibeah cf. Judges 19.

Verses 10-17

Hosea 9:10-17 . The Nemesis of an Impure Worship ( cf. Hosea 4:11-14).— Israel in unspoilt youth had appeared to Yahweh “ like grapes in the wilderness,” but at the very first of the Canaanite shrines which they reached, Baal-Peor, they polluted themselves ( Hosea 9:10). The consequent nemesis was barrenness [12] ( Hosea 9:11).—“ their root is dried up” ( Hosea 9:16) should be inserted (Wellhausen) between Hosea 9:11 and Hosea 9:12. If children are brought up to die prematurely ( Hosea 9:12), or are destined to slaughter ( Hosea 9:13), let Yahweh rather only doom them to barrenness ( Hosea 9:14). The centre of all this iniquity is the cultus at Gilgal, and because of it they shall be driven “ out of mine house” ( i.e. Yahweh’ s land), unloved; all their princes are rebels, they are rejected and doomed to exile ( Hosea 9:15; Hosea 9:17).

[12] There is a play on the name Ephraim (fruitful). The “ fruitful” has become unfruitful.

Hosea 9:10 . The sin of Baal-Peor ( cf. Numbers 25) was continued in the impure cultus.— shameful thing: a substitute for “ Baal” ( Hosea 2:16 *).

Hosea 9:11 . The name Ephraim suggests a bird’ s pinions (’ abâ rî m) . Their glory, i.e. their abundant population, shall take wings and fly.

Hosea 9:12 a. though: render “ even if.”

Hosea 9:12 b. ? a gloss.

Hosea 9:13 . The text is corrupt. It may be restored ( cf. LXX) somewhat as follows: “ Ephraim I have seen like a man, who maketh his sons a prey, Yea Israel himself hath led forth to the slaughter his sons!” (so Marti, cf. Wellhausen).

Hosea 9:14 . A despairing interjection by the prophet. Let Ephraim be doomed to barrenness rather than rear children only for slaughter.

Hosea 9:15 . In Gilgal ( cf. Hosea 4:15), one of the most famous sanctuaries of the cultus, “ the corruption of the northern kingdom had its focus” (Cheyne). Had it been the scene of human sacrifice ( cf. Hosea 9:13 as above)?— all their princes are revolters: there is an assonance in the original, “ all their rulers are unruly” ( cf. Isaiah 1:23).

Hosea 9:17 .? a gloss.

Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Hosea 9". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pfc/hosea-9.html. 1919.
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