Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 10:4 - 10:4

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 10:4 - 10:4

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The thoughts of Hos 10:2, Hos 10:3 are carried out still further in Hos 10:4-7. Hos 10:4. “They have spoken words, sworn falsely, made treaties: thus right springs up like darnel in the furrows of the field. Hos 10:5. For the calves of Beth-aven the inhabitants of Samaria were afraid: yea, its people mourn over it, and its sacred ministers will tremble at it, at its glory, because it has strayed from them. Hos 10:6. Men will also carry it to Asshur, as a present for king Jareb: shame will seize upon Ephraim, and Israel will be put to shame for its counsel.” The dissimulation of heart (Hos 10:3) manifested itself in their speaking words which were nothing but words, i.e., in vain talk (cf. Isa 58:13), in false swearing, and in the making of treaties. אָלֹות, by virtue of the parallelism, is an infin. abs. for אָלֹה, formed like כָּרֹת, analogous to שָׁתֹות (Isa 22:13; see Ewald, §240, b). כָּרַת בְּרִית, in connection with false swearing, must signify the making of a covenant without any truthfulness in it, i.e., the conclusion of treaties with foreign nations - for example, with Assyria - which they were inclined to observe only so long as they could promise themselves advantages from them. In consequence of this, right has become like a bitter plant growing luxuriantly (רֹאשׁ = רֹושׁ; see at Deu 29:17). Mishpât does not mean judgment here, or the punitive judgment of God (Chald. and many others), for this could hardly be compared with propriety to weeds running over everything, but right in its degeneracy into wrong, or right that men have turned into bitter fruit or poison (Amo 6:12). This spreads about in the kingdom, as weeds spread luxuriantly in the furrows of the field (שָׂדָי a poetical form for שָׂדֶה, like Deu 32:13; Psa 8:8). Therefore the judgment cannot be delayed, and is already approaching in so threatening a manner, that the inhabitants of Samaria tremble for the golden calves. The plural ‛eglōth is used with indefinite generality, and gives no warrant, therefore, for the inference that there were several golden calves set up in Bethel. Moreover, this would be at variance with the fact, that in the sentences which follow we find “the (one) calf” spoken of. The feminine form ‛eglōth, which only occurs here, is also probably connected with the abstract use of the plural, inasmuch as the feminine is the proper form for abstracts. Bēth-'âven for Bēth-'ēl, as in Hos 4:15. Shâkhēn is construed with the plural, as an adjective used in a collective sense. כִּי (Hos 4:5) is emphatic, and the suffixes attached to עַמֹּו and כְּמָרָיו do not refer to Samaria, but to the idol, i.e., the calf, since the prophet distinctly calls Israel, which ought to have been the nation of Jehovah, the nation of its calf-idol, which mourned with its priests (kemârı̄m, the priests appointed in connection with the worship of the calves: see at 2Ki 23:5) for the carrying away of the calf to Assyria. גִּיל does not mean to exult or rejoice here, nor to tremble (applied to the leaping of the heart from fear, as it does from joy), but has the same meaning as חִיל in Psa 96:9. עָלָיו is still further defined by עַל־כְּבֹודֹו, “for its glory,” i.e., not for the temple-treasure at Bethel (Hitzig), nor the one glorious image of the calf, as the symbol of the state-god (Ewald, Umbreit), but the calf, to which the people attributed the glory of the true God. The perfect, gâlâh, is used prophetically of that which was as good as complete and certain (for the fut. exact., cf. Ewald, §343, a). The golden calf, the glory of the nation, will have to wander into exile. This cannot even save itself; it will be taken to Assyria, to king Jareb (see at Hos 5:13), as minchâh, a present of tribute (see 2Sa 8:2, 2Sa 8:6; 1Ki 5:1). For the construing of the passive with אֵת, see Ges. §143, 1, a. Then will Ephraim (= Israel) be seized by reproach and shame. Boshnâh, a word only met with here; it is formed from the masculine bōshen, which is not used at all (see Ewald, §163, 164).