Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 12:7 - 12:7

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 12:7 - 12:7

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“Canaan, in his hand is the scale of cheating: he loves to oppress. Hos 12:8. And Ephraim says, Yet I have become rich, have acquired property: all my exertions bring me no wrong, which would be sin.” Israel is not a Jacob who wrestles with God; but it has become Canaan, seeking its advantage in deceit and wrong. Israel is called Canaan here, not so much on account of its attachment to Canaanitish idolatry (cf. Eze 16:3), as according to the appellative meaning of the word Kena‛an, which is borrowed from the commercial habits of the Canaanites (Phoenicians), viz., merchant or trader (Isa 23:8; Job 40:30), because, like a fraudulent merchant, it strove to become great by oppression and cheating; not “because it acted towards God like a fraudulent merchant, offering Him false show for true reverence,” as Schmieder supposes. For however thoroughly this may apply to the worship of the Israelites, it is not to this that the prophet refers, but to fraudulent weights, and the love of oppression or violence. And this points not to their attitude towards God, but to their conduct towards their fellow-men, which is the very opposite of what, according to the previous verse, the Lord requires (chesed ūmishpât), and the very thing which He has forbidden in the law, in Lev 19:36; Deu 24:13-16, and also in the case of ‛âshaq, violence, in Lev 6:2-4; Deu 24:14. Ephraim prides itself upon this unrighteousness, in the idea that it has thereby acquired wealth and riches, and with the still greater self-deception, that with all its acquisition of property it has committed no wrong that was sin, i.e., that would be followed by punishment. אֹון does not mean “might” here, but wealth, opes, although as a matter of fact, since Ephraim says this as a nation, the riches and power of the state are intended. כָּל־יְגִיעַי is not written at the head absolutely, in the sense of “so far as what I have acquired is concerned, men find no injustice in this;” for it that were the case, בִּי would stand for לִי; but it is really the subject, and יִצמצְאוּ is to be taken in the sense of acquiring = bringing in (cf. Lev 5:7; Lev 12:8, etc.).