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Monday, July 15th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
Hosea 4

Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New TestamentZerr's N.T. Commentary

Verse 1

Hos 4:1. When people depart from the proper rule of life on any one fundamental point, there is no logical reason why they will not take up with other evils. The people of Israel had forsaken the first commandment in the law and had become a nation of idolaters. They did not Stop at their corrupting the true religion, but they disregarded the law as to their personal conduct. They carried such abominable ways to such an extent that all respect for the truth was lost. The original word for controversy is defined in Strong’s lexicon as, “A contest,’’ and it means the same as the trial described in the comments at chapter 3: 3.

Verse 2

Hos 4:2. This verse is a literal description of the corrupt way of life into which the people of Israel had fallen in Hosea’s day. Blood toucheth blood means one act of bloodshed would no sooner be committed than another would be done.

Verse 3

Hos 4:3. God sometimes punishes his people by sending some curses upon the land, and this verse is a warning that something of that kind would come upon the nation.

Verse 4

Hos 4:4. A glance at some verses ahead will help io grasp the meaning of this one. With that in view. I consider this to mean the common people are all guilty of unfaithfulness. And if the priest, with the advantage that he has, is so hardened in error that he cannot be affected by striving or reasoning with him. there is no use for any man to strive with the common people.

Verse 5

Hos 4:5. The mother is said of the nation as a whole, and the threat is that the whole group ie destined to fall or be cut off from the land.

Verse 6

Hos 4:6. Ignorance is never any excuse for wrong doing, especially if the party has the opportunity of knowing what is right. The simple statement that God’s people were to he destroyed or severely punished because of their lack of knowledge might seem harsh or unjust. But the explanation that follows makes the justness of the condemnation evident. This lack of knowledge was due to the fact that they had rejected knowledge. It Is the same truth expressed in Isa 1:3, where God’s people are charged with ignorance of their Master, and then follows the explanation of why it is so; "my people doth not consider.” There is an old and true saying which is as follows: “No one is as blind as he who will not see, nor deaf as he who will not hear." Because God's people had rejected divine knowledge, they were to he rejected by Him.

Verse 7

Hos 4:7. The more numerous the people of God became the more they increased their unrighteousness. They had become vain because of their numerical strength and were glorying in it. But the Lord decreed that the condition was to be reversed, and in place of glory would come shame.

Verse 8

Hos 4:8. The!/ evidently refers to the priests who were supposed to be teachers and lead the people in the ways of righteousness. Instead of doing that, it is said they eat up the sin of my people. The meaning is that they found satisfaction in the sin of the people, and that is as objectionable to God as to be the direct doers of the wrong. This principle of responsibility is taught by Paul la Rom 1:32.

Verse 9

Hos 4:9. There shall he is an expression looking forward to something to come, though the condition of which the Lord complained was present when the statement was made, The meaning is that when God brings the threatened punishment on the people, He will treat both the people and priest alike, and that is because they were both to blame. Jeremiah gives a brief but clear view of the mutuality of the corruptness of the nation as it pertained to the various classes, in chapter 5: 31, That statement is so fundamental in its bearings that I shall quote It for the convenience and information of the reader: "The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and the people love to have it so."

Verse 10

Hos 4:10. This verse specifies some of the things that God threatened to impose aa a punishment upon the unfaithful nation. The people were to be unsatisfied even after partaking of food. Commit whoredom, and not increase. There are two motives back of the natural law that attracts the sexes to each other. One is the experience of pleasure and the other is for the perpetuation of the human race. Both are right if practiced under proper regulations. The people of Israel practiced the first without regard for law and order, hence God was going to punish them by denying them the increase of their population. Such a penalty would mean much to a nation that wished to boast of its numerical strength.

Verse 11

Hos 4:11. The word wine occurs twice and Is from altogether different Hebrew originals. The first means the fermented kind and the second is the juice of the grape newly pressed out. The first would intoxicate and the second would tend to satiate or glut. Heart means the mind or intellectual part of man. The whole verse is a picture of the corrupt practices of the people, especially in their disorderly assemblages where they gave themselves up to revelry and lust and drunkenness.

Verse 12

Hos 4:12. Stocks and staff refers to (he wooden idols which they had made. They had become so confused by their debased manner of life that their judgment was deranged. This whoredom was both fleshly and spiritual, for when the people became merged with the heathen in their worship of idols, they also took up with the immoral practices that was a part of their religion.

Verse 13

Hos 4:13. Fleshly and spiritual adultery seem to have been closely associated in Biblical times. The forepart of this verse describes the latter form of the abomination, for the hills were used as desirable spots for idolatrous practices, and trees of all kinds were brought into it because the idolaters like the attractiveness of the large plants for such performances. The last part of the verse refers to fleshly adultery, and it is a prediction with a suggestion of threat. Since fleshly unfaithfulness is no worse than spiritual (if as bad), and Lhese leading men of the nation were guilty of the latter, it will serve them justly If their own wives prove unfaithful to them by committing the former.

Verse 14

Hos 4:14. It is true that “two wrongs do not make one right,” but God sometimes suffers certain things that are wrong in order to teach a lesson. In the. present instance the Lord declared he would not punish the women folkB of the men of Israel for their immorality. Themselves is a pronoun that stands for these men, and they also were guilty of a like sin. Separated •with whores means they were associated with them, Slot only in their immorality, but also in their idolatrous worship. Doth not understand refers to the men and women in general, and reminds us of the statement in verse 6, also the statement of Isaiah in chapter 1: 3.

Verse 15

Hos 4:15. The Lord has been directing the prophet to write against Israel most of the time. In this verse a warning is slipped in for the benefit of Judah, for her to learn a lesson from the example of the 10-tribe kingdom. Gilgal and Beth-aven were once places of respect for the true God, hut had been desecrated by the idolaters. Therefore Judah was warned to stay away from such places when they wished to offer their vows to the Lord.

Verse 16

Hos 4:16. The original for backsliding is defined in the lexicon, "To be refractory,” and that means to resist. In the case of a heifer it would mean she would throw off the yoke and refuse to pull her share of the load. Feed ... (or pasture) them in a large place. A Iamb turned out into a large field would not have much chance In case of attack from wild beasts. God did not intend to let his people become entirely destroyed, but he did decree to "turn them out" into the wide field of exile in the Assyrian Empire.

Verse 17

Hos 4:17. Ephraim, refers to the 10-tribe kingdom, which was so closely attached to idolatry that it was useless to hope for improvement while in his own country. For this reason the prophet was told to le£ him alone or not to try reforming him. Jeremiah was given similar instruction in Hos 7:16 of his hook.

Verse 18

Hos 4:18. Drink, is sour is an unusual figure of speech meaning “utter abandonment.” Rulers love give ye means the leaders of the nation were coveteous and wanted to he paid for doing their duty.

Verse 19

Hos 4:19. Wind hath hound her up. When the lightness of something is to be compared or described, it is often done by likening it to “chaff which the wind driveth away” (Psa 1:4), and Israel is so pictured in this passage. Ashamed because of their sacrifices refers to the complete cure of idolatry that resulted from exile.
Bibliographical Information
Zerr, E.M. "Commentary on Hosea 4". Zerr's Commentary on Selected Books of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/znt/hosea-4.html. 1952.
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