Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 4:13 - 4:13

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Keil and Delitzsch Commentary - Hosea 4:13 - 4:13

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This whoredom is still further explained in the next verse. Hos 4:13. “They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and upon the hills they burn incense, under oak and poplar and terebinth, for their shadow is good; therefore your daughters commit whoredom, and your daughters-in-law commit adultery.” Mountain-tops and hills were favourite places for idolatrous worship; because men thought, that there they were nearer to heaven and to the deity (see at Deu 12:2). From a comparison of these and other passages, e.g., Jer 2:20 and Jer 3:6, it is evident that the following words, “under oak,” etc., are not to be understood as signifying that trees standing by themselves upon mountains and hills were selected as places for idolatrous worship; but that, in addition to mountains and hills, green shady trees in the plains and valleys were also chosen for this purpose. By the enumeration of the oak, the poplar (lı̄bhneh, the white poplar according to the Sept. in loc. and the Vulg. at Gen 37:30, or the storax-tree, as the lxx render it at Gen 37:30), and the terebinth, the frequent expression “under every green tree” (Deu 12:2; 1Ki 14:23; Jer 2:20; Jer 3:6) is individualized. Such trees were selected because they gave a good shade, and in the burning lands of the East a shady place fills the mind with sacred awe. עַל־כֵּן, therefore, on that account, i.e., not because the shadow of the trees invites to it, but because the places for idolatrous worship erected on every hand presented an opportunity for it; therefore the daughters and daughters-in-law carried on prostitution there. The worship of the Canaanitish and Babylonian goddess of nature was associated with prostitution, and with the giving up of young girls and women (compare Movers, Phönizier, i. pp. 583, 595ff.).